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Philippines: The Road Less Travelled

Some guidebooks might skip our archipelago and we kind of like it that way. Explore the hidden beauty & magic of our cities and islands. From uncrowded stretches of coast to the hole-in-the-wall karinderyas (eateries), our local guides show you around.

 
 

Philippines: The Road Less Travelled

Some guidebooks might skip our archipelago and we kind of like it that way. Explore the hidden beauty & magic of our cities and islands. From uncrowded stretches of coast to the hole-in-the-wall karinderyas (eateries), our local guides show you around.

Shot by Lunar PH

 
 

our destinations

There is more to the Philippines than its islands and beaches. Each community, each town, each destination has something unique to offer. Follow your own route! Choose where you want to go and let our MAD Travel experts help guide you to experience a different kind of adventure around the Philippines.

Banaue
Bataan
Bohol
Manila
Negros
Rizal
Sagada
Siargao
Palawan
Zambales
 
Unlike many ancient man-made wonders, Banaue inspires awe from visitors for having the native culture carved out in nature. With curiosity as your fuel, every step of your hike would be proven worthwhile by the reward of wonder– the view of grand staircases of green (or gold, during harvest season) grain splayed out like a carpet over the mountains.  Limited mobile signal and traditional homestay accommodations encourage travelers to leave their comfort zones: to truly reconnect with themselves and nature, and fully experience the warmth of the homes & hearts of the Ifugao people in the midst of the cool mountain air.
 
Things to do: Hiking & Trekking, waterfalls, try local delicacies like Pinikpikan (chicken dish) and native rice wine, stay in a native Ifugao hut
 
Best explored with: Manila, Zambales
 
 
The Bataan peninsula, situated in the central part of Luzon island, is a rich cultural and historical archive that holds stories of struggle and hope across its varied landscape– from its shipwrecks & reefs, through its winding roads and rivers, and up its lush rainforests. Today, the province and its people are cultivating optimism with its focus on ecotourism, helping all its residents– folk and fauna — to thrive and flourish into the future, while keeping closely connected to the lessons of their past. With the diversity of this part of the country, you’ll be sure to find an experience for you- whether you’re a history & culture geek, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker.
 
Things to do: Relax on the beach, mountain biking, wildlife & bird-watching, native flora, step back in time at the WWII Museum or at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
 
Best explored with: Manila, Zambales

» «

 

The province of Bohol is one most sought after destinations in the Philippine archipelago – and for good reason. It offers the best of both the land and the sea, with its adventure parks, nature conservatories, and marine sanctuaries. Most famous are the Chocolate Hills and the tarsier, both being experiences exclusive to this island in the southern Visayas. No matter what kind of traveler you are, whether you’re a young adrenaline junkie looking for his next fix, a nature enthusiast seeking to enjoy the island’s unique biodiversity, or a city-dweller looking for a relaxing holiday by the beach, Bohol has something for you.

Things to do: Homestay, Cooking Class, Organic Farming, Island Hopping, Snorkelling/Diving

Best explored with: Manila, Negros Island

 

Manila’s hip cafes, artisan markets, and trendy speakeasies often lose their spots on travel magazines to the rest of the country’s white sands, clear skies, and palm trees. Those spirited enough to immerse in the city, however, will discover an unexpected and clandestine culture of soul, revelry, and progress that they won’t soon forget. The capital has earned a little bit of a bad rep over the years because of its clogged roads, crowded streets, and extreme heat – but know where to look, and it’ll be well worth it.

Things to do: Restaurant/Cafe/Bar Hopping, Thrift Shopping, Live Music & Art Galleries, Historic Walks

Best explored with: Zambales, Bulacan, Rizal or Bataan

» «

 

Negros is the heart of the Visayas – and not just in terms of its geographic location. The closing of the world-famous Boracay for environmental rehabilitation gave Negros’ rich marine and ecological reserves – characterized by natural waterslides, mountains, and secluded beaches and islands – a well-deserved spot on local and foreign bucket lists. Its cities and towns are equally colorful and alive with festivals, street parties, and historic houses (balays). Home to cities with nicknames such as “The City of Smiles”, “The Paris of Negros”, and “Sugarlandia”, Negros is truly a world-class destination.

Things to do: Homestay, Hiking & Camping, Diving/Snorkelling, Fishing, Biking

Best explored with: Bohol, Manila

» «

 

With its booming cities and towns so close to the metropolis, many travelers often overlook what Rizal has to offer, thinking that it is but an extension of the nation’s capital. Set on the southwestern slopes of the Sierra Madre mountain range, the province tucks away many natural treasures and rich indigenous culture longing to be noticed by its cityfolk neighbors. Explore majestic waterfalls, caves, and rock formations just a hop & skip away from the crowd. And as you jump off the bandwagon, you’ll help empower the indigenous community to keep their forest home’s integrity alongside the continuously growing concrete jungle.

Things to do: Sunrise hike, waterfall and cave treks, tree-planting, traditional cooking

Best explored with: Manila, Bulacan

» «

 
Perched on a hill of native tribal traditions and rich history, the mountain town of Sagada is enveloped in mist and mystery. Famous for its hanging coffins, sea of clouds and maze of caves, and traditional celebrations, this quiet town has the uncanny ability to take you to the past while grounding you in the present. Between periods of harvesting when the rice terraces are a glistening gold and periods of rain when the waterfalls are especially powerful, there is never a bad time to visit Sagada – and when there, it’s always recommended to have a cup of the province’s famous coffee.
 
Things to do: Homestay, Sunrise Hike, Waterfalls, Pottery, Coffee Farming, Caving
 
Best explored with: Banaue, Zambales, Manila

» «

 
Once a rugged island kept secret by surfers, Siargao island, dubbed the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”,  is becoming increasingly popular among all types of local and foreign travelers. Its world-class & friendly waves, hypnotic Gatorade-blue waters, endless coconut fields and laidback island vibe are charming people to forget about their return tickets after experiencing being on Cloud 9. 😉  Tourism has brought in many opportunities to this little slice of paradise. You’ll find yourself going offline in your own “secret spot” but also never really getting too quiet or bored with the diversity of food and activities. But with it also come the changes & challenges that locals and new residents are trying to balance with sustainable practices. So just be sure to be mindful and respect their island home. 
 
Things to do: Surfing, island hopping, explore the island on a motorbike or with the Bathala jeep, join a beach cleanup with the local kids, enjoy the lively island nightlife, stay at the quiet side of the island with Lokal Siargao, try yoga & meditation at Lotus Shores
 
Best explored with: Bohol, Manila

 

With its turquoise lagoons, long beaches, and uninhabited islands, Palawan may very well be synonymous to paradise. Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa are the archipelagic provinces’ main attractions – with each group of islands boasting its own unique collection of the country’s most breathtaking natural reserves. It is difficult to overstate Palawan’s beauty, but one visit will make any traveler understand why the province probably has more protected areas than any other in the Philippines.

Things to do: Island Hopping, Snorkelling, Surfing, Trekking, Wellness Retreats

Best explored with: Negros, Manila

 
Easily accessible from Manila, Zambales is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations for Filipinos and foreigners alike. Its towns are alive with fresh markets and local festivities while its rugged shorelines are home to tranquil islands and coves. Visitors can expect to enjoy everything from ATV rides and hikes to surf lessons and island hopping with friendly Zambales locals, many being from the Filipino indigenous Aeta tribe. A weekend getaway might not be enough! Tip: Schedule your trip to be somewhere between April and June to get the best of Zambales’ famed mangoes.
 
Things to do: Trekking, ATV Ride, Learning Indigenous Culture, Surfing, Island Hopping
 
Best explored with: Bataan, Manila

sample routes

We all have unique styles and tastes. Whatever type of traveler you are, we can customize a trip for you. Take a look at some of the ways you can travel differently with us.

intrepid adventure

For the outgoing and adventurous!

meaningful holiday

Laid-back and family-friendly experiences.

idyllic escape

Made for couples and “friends” looking for a getaway.

the team

Meet the team behind your adventures: a mix of well-traveled Filipinos and Filipinos-at-heart from all over. Having discovered stories of the country’s landscapes & locals ourselves, we see travel as a way to build new perspectives and make a positive impact — and we want you to experience the same!

  • Tom

    Co-founder (from England)

    Tom loves the warm welcome our partner communities provide and how it reminds him that he does not need to be constantly pursuing more stuff to be happy. Despite knowing this intellectually, something about being present in the communities and sharing simple, beautiful moments with them bring the message to him on a deeper level. His favorite things about the Philippines are the mangoes, the karaoke (only if he’s singing), and the fact that you can gain extended family (kuyas or titos) in a matter of minutes. His biggest tip is to eat local and exotic fruits from a market, this is a lot cheaper and there are less emissions compared to imported produce.

  • Raf

    Co-founder (from Quezon City, Philippines)

    Raf loves how humble the communities that MAD works with are and he loves the Philippines for how fun it is. He recommends to always expect your plans to change and to be prepared to wait (Filipino time!). He says the street food is delicious as is the food inside houses of friends. From a sustainability aspect, he encourages anyone who can use the bathroom standing up to install a urinal at home because they save a lot of water. Raf also advises to design your home in such a way that the roof doesn’t heat up too much and that you have big windows to let the breeze in. Finally, he says to plant a tree.

  • Sophie

    Chief Operations Officer (from Germany)

    Sophie loves the endless optimism of the communities MAD works with as well as their ability to always look at the brighter side of life. She also loves the people in the Philippines and says she has never lived in a country with a nation so loving and humble. She advises travelers to not believe the weather forecast and to travel mindful where you go. Her best sustainability tip is to eat local because buying regional and seasonal food from farmers is the best way to support local communities without major environmental impact. Plus, you get to try exotic food and maybe even find your new favorite!

  • Andrea

    Customer Experience and Community Development Head- Luzon (from Bacolod, Philippines)

    Andrea loves that there is nothing quite like the spirit that the communities MAD works with gives off. The endless possibilities and activities that the Philippines offers, such as surfing, hiking, and rock climbing, constantly reminds Andrea of why she loves living here. She recommends that travelers keep their itineraries open, as many of the best things to see are the ones you discover and explore on your own. As far as sustainability goes, she focuses on choosing local and quality products, which is something simple that everyone can incorporate into their daily lives as well.

  • Anna

    Customer Experience (from Bulacan, Philippines)

    Anna cherishes the real people with real stories from the communities that MAD works with. Her biggest travel advice is to not just look on the surface but to discover the stories by meeting the locals. She loves Filipino hospitality and that they make sure to always bring their humor wherever they go. She never leaves the house without her reusable water bottle and eco bag in hopes of reducing the plastic waste she produces. This is an easy swap anyone, even a traveler, can make!

  • Pecco

    International Sales and Partnerships (from France)

    Sophie’s favorite thing about the communities that MAD works with is their constant smile that brings heat to your heart. She loves the Philippines because life in Siargao is very chill and beautiful. She advises all travelers to use maps.me to never get lost, as it has saved her multiple times! One way she practices sustainability is by using public transportation or bicycle, and she recommends you try to, too.

  • Paula

    Chief Experience Officer and Community Development- Visayas (from Manila, Philippines)

    Paula loves working with the communities because they are her home away from home. She knows she always has family in Visayas she can count on because of them. Her favorite thing about the Philippines are the people and the food. She highly recommends trying local food as it is part of getting to know the people and the place. Asking for help never hurts and smiling always helps. One way a traveler can be more sustainable is by not using plastic utensils- she even says eating using bare hands is the best! In addition to this, Paula walks everywhere she can to avoid emissions from vehicles.

  • Rhea

    Customer Service Manager (from Bacolod, Philippines)

    Rhea loves the communities MAD works with because of their warmth and smiles despite all of the challenges they face everyday. Her favorite thing about the Philippines is the people and the food. In any given day, the weather can go from super sunny to super rainy, so Rhea always recommends bringing an umbrella. One way any person can be more sustainable is by using public transportation or walking when possible.

  • Kay

    Customer Service Officer (from Laguna, Philippines)

    Kay’s favorite thing about the communities MAD works with is how they are so warm, open and welcoming to the point that they feel like family. Her favorite things about the Philippines are the beautiful mountains, rivers and beaches. It offers so much beauty to explore. Kay also encourages people to travel and expose yourself to different cultures, situations, places and perspectives as much as possible, as this allows you to be more knowledgeable about the reality of the problems. After this, you will be able to see the value of making more sustainable choices, no matter how small the action seems.

Frequently Asked Questions

About MAD Travel
About the Philippines
Getting Around
Health & Safety
Booking Information
Other Information
 

What is a MAD Travel Experience?

 

How do MAD Travel tours create impact?

 

Who are your local partner communities and what does the relationship look like?

 

Who leads your tours?

 

This sounds like me! Where do I sign up!?

 

I want to bring my team & company. Do you have packages for corporations?

 

Philippine Culture

 

Language & Important Vocabulary

 

Climate in the Philippines

While the climate in the Philippines is generally hot because it’s a tropical country, there are two main seasons in the Philippines: Dry and Wet. Wet season is typically from June to October while Dry season is from November to May.
 

Packing – what to bring?

  • Passport and printed return ticket out of the Philippines
  • Cash in Philippine Peso
  • SG to Philippines adaptor
  • Light weight clothing including pants, shorts, skirts, T-shirts, etc.
  • Shoes and clothes you’re comfortable getting dirty
  • Something to cover your shoulders if necessary (i.e. a shawl)
  • Cap/Hat
  • Bathers and swimming shorts
  • Sunblock & Mosquito Repellent
  • Water Tumbler
  • Towel & Toiletries
  • Padlock (not essential but useful)
  • Sandals and/or comfortable walking shoes
  • Laundry – If your tour is situated in a big city like Manila, Dumaguete, or Bohol, there are normally several laundry stations or services where you can do your laundry. Hotels, hostels, and even communities you stay at can take your laundry as well, for a fee.
 

Money & Banks

The currency in the Philippines is Philippine Peso. That converts to around 50 US Dollars. There are several money changers in cities and towns but ATMs are scarce in provinces or towns. It is advised that whenever guests are in big cities or in airports that they already withdraw enough money for their small-town trips. We also strongly encourage guests to take any and all precautionary steps to keep their money (whether cash or otherwise) safe as the company is not liable for any losses experienced in the trip.
 

Electronics

Socket / Plug types in the Philippines are type A, B, and C with a standard voltage of 220V and a standard frequency of 60hz
 

Philippine Visa & Passport

 

Transportation & Getting Around in the Philippines

      • For inter-island travel in the Philippines, there are available domestic airlines and ferry lines to take you to your preferred destination. Drop us a line if you want to arrange your travel with us!
      • For inter-city travel in Luzon, the bus is your best bet! Or if you want to travel more comfortably, we can also book a van to take you to where you need to go.
      • For going around a city or town, there are several ways to travel in style: Uber, Grabcar, Taxi, Train, Bus, Jeepney, or Tricycle. You can also try to walk to nearby destinations if you want the extra exercise! Just make sure to be extra careful and cautious of your belongings when commuting.
 

Safety in the country

You may have done an initial web search on the Philippines or travelling to a third world country. While it is true that some areas of the Philippines are not advisable for travelling because of the separatist problem in the far south, MAD Travel’s destinations in Luzon and Visayas are far away from the Mindanao region, where these problems occur. Of course, being in a third world country, it still goes without saying that safety precautions when travelling still have to be exercised. This includes but is not limited to keeping your valuables and belongings in secure places, not openly travelling with flashy items or gadgets, keeping your belongings close by (if not held) when commuting, never giving personal information (like hotel rooms, amount of cash brought, etc.) to strangers, and the like.
 

Dengue, Malaria & Zika

We believe that one of the best ways to tackle health problems such as Dengue, Malaria, and Zika is through prevention. Before coming into the country, it is advised that you pack a mosquito repellant that works best for you. Also try to be more cautious during early morning and early evening as these are the times when mosquitoes are known to be most active. Avoid places with murky, still water and try to cover up during peak times. When air conditioning is not available, ensure that the bed you will sleep in has a mosquito net that you can set up. Regularly updated information about Dengue, Malaria, and Zika are available via a web search. We advise that you and your group take a bit of time to read about the ways you can further prevent these diseases. The national and local health departments in the country are also regularly updated about any outbreaks or causes of concern regarding these diseases. Should we find any reports leading up to your trip, we will take the necessary steps to inform you immediately.
 

Be responsible – take care of yourself

By the nature of our company, we invite guests to embark on adventures with us — small and big. While we design the experience in a way that doesn’t put you at risk of accidents or danger, we also recognize that you, the traveller, play a big part in ensuring that your experience is well and safe. Travelling in a tropical country can be a pain if you’re not well prepared, especially if you come from colder regions and are not used to hotter weather. Make sure you always stay hydrated on your adventures with us. We recommend bringing a reusable tumbler that you can just fill up with water anytime and anywhere. There are several places in each town to get clean, potable water. Protect your skin from the sun by packing the essentials: sunscreen, a cap or hat, and some sunglasses. You might want to bring some protective clothes, as well, on days when we might go hiking or trekking. When visiting islands, forests, or mountains, take precaution in touching or picking up items that look out of the ordinary. Your best bet for uncertainty is always to ask your guide first.
 

Vaccinations

Any traveller is typically recommended by their respective governments to get routine vaccines before they travel to any destination. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Specific to the Philippines, it may also be recommended by your doctor to get vaccinations on Hepatitis A and Typhoid. While we ensure that our guests eat clean and safe food, we will not be able to control what you eat outside of our tours. For other vaccine concerns, your doctor will be the best person to ask with regards to what other shots you might need to take based on your personal medical history and the destination you’re visiting.
 

Dietary Requirements

We try to make your experience as authentic as possible so we let the communities you will be visiting cook most of your meals. Should you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, please tell us in advance, prior to your trip, so that we can prepare accordingly.
 

Alcohol & Liquor Consumption

You may want to try some of the local beer or rum in the destinations you’re visiting. While this is okay to do outside the tour hours, we do advise guests to make sure that drinking is in moderation. Everyone in the team likes to have a good time but we also understand how one bad hangover can ruin your trip. We wouldn’t want one night of heavy drinking outside the tour mess with the authentic and fulfilling experience we have for you the day after. Do note that consuming alcohol in Gawad Kalinga communities is prohibited and frowned upon because of the nature of the community members’ backgrounds and the values formation it tries to instill with every person who lives there. As such, we expect our guests visiting these areas to uphold the rules set by the communities and serve as good examples. For special events and occasions on tour, moderate drinking is permitted. You may consult your MAD Travel tour coordinator about this before your trip or event.
 

Why go long-term?

 

Are the tours safe?

 

Cancellation Policy for Private Tours

 

How do I book one?

 

What is GK or Gawad Kalinga?

Gawad Kalinga, “to give care,” is a global movement that started in the Philippines that aims to end poverty by first restoring the dignity of the poor. Since it was formally established in 2003, GK has expanded its work to over 2,000 organized communities throughout the country. Today it has emerged as a multi-faith, multicultural platform for nation building, peace-building work in conflict areas in Mindanao, and reconstruction work in post-disaster communities. The GK model has also been adopted in other developing nations like Cambodia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. As of today, it has changed over 1 million lives.
 

Donations

Donations are often useless, expensive and have harmful effects on the local population. Why?

  • Unfair competition with the local market (better to buy locally then)
  • Dependency to international aid (it’s only a punctual help that won’t change their lives)
  • Maladjustment (every donation should target a specific need)
  • Strengthening of corruption (the way donations are given without the involvement of the beneficiaries)
  • Cultural Identity endangered (donations coming from developed countries reinforce the idea that Western goods are “better” and the youth will develop inferiority complex)
  • You can help without harming by putting extra efforts in understanding the culture and meeting the community

  At the end of your stay at the Enchanted Farm, MAD Travel will present different ways of supporting the GK programs or making donations, should you wish.

 

Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines

There are more than 100 known indigenous groups in the Philippines. Through specific tours, you will be able to meet one or two of them. We care deeply about the tribes that we work with. Our tours don’t only provide financial assistance and employment opportunities to these tribes, they also allow their real history and culture to be preserved. Through tourism, we hope to shed light on the real lives these indigenous groups live and the rich traditions they uphold — far from the usual way they are often represented (or misrepresented) in some history books and media. As you get to know the tribes, you might find that they’re not much different from you. As such, we ask that our guests give the same level of respect to these community members as they would expect to receive from anyone else. Please don’t treat the tribal village like a human zoo. While the members are fond of having their photographs taken, please extend some courtesy first by engaging with them and asking them if it’s okay to take a photo.
 

Travel with children

We love to see parents taking their children on adventures! We believe that there’s no better teacher than experience! For as long as your child can walk and is physically fit enough to embark on our adventures, they may tag along! Do note, however, that they will be counted as one regular person for payment.

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Philippine Culture

Historically the Philippines is shaped by Spanish colonial times and occupation by the US and Japan. Time has influenced indigenous traditions with Spanish and American habits. There are a few things which are important to know about the culture in the Philippines.

Due to Spanish colonial rule, the most practiced religion is Roman Catholic with more than 85% of Filipinos baptized in this faith. This explains the common practice of praying before starting a meal or any kind of event.

One really important aspect of Filipino culture is family and family life. It is the base for everything and the most important for Filipinos. Respect regarding elders and authorities are also key for inter-personal relations. Children might greet you with the tradition of “mano po” which means “hand please,” wherein children would take your hand and hold them at their forehead to receive a blessing. It is also common courtesy to use the word “po” when talking to someone older or of authority.

Almost as important as family is food. People would greet each other with the words “kain tayo” which basically means “let’s eat.” Snacks, coffee and meals are often immediately offered when entering a house. Refusing food may typically be considered impolite by some hosts and should be handled carefully. If you really don’t want to eat anything let your host know that you are really thankful for the offer but way too full to have any food.

In general, a meal is never complete without rice. During the afternoon snack called “merienda,” people would eat pizza or pasta, instant coffee and any sweet snack such as sticky rice or cookies. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are mainly served with rice. Being a vegetarian is challenging but possible. Table knives are not used. Traditionally, just a spoon and fork are used for dining.

Daily life starts early. People wake up around 4 to 5 am and go to bed early, making the most of daylight hours. After lunch people sometimes do a siesta and rest for a while.

Language & Important Vocabulary

There are more than a hundred local languages and subsequent dialects registered in the Philippines. However, most Filipinos you will encounter on your travel with us will have at least a basic knowledge in speaking the national language, Filipino (Tagalog). An ability to speak and understand English is also common in the Philippines but should not be completely relied on as people in more remote areas might not speak it. Below are a few key Tagalog phrases you can use when relating or interacting with Filipinos during your travel:

Salamat – “Thank you”

You’re Welcome – “Walang anuman”

Magandang Umaga – “Good morning”

Magandang Hapon – “Good afternoon”

Magandang Gabi – “Good evening”

Masarap – “Delicious”

Magkano? – “How much?”

Paano pumunta sa (place)? – “How do I go to (place)?”

Mainit – “Hot”

Malamig – “Cold”

Maganda – “Beautiful”

Ingat – “Take Care”

Paalam – “Goodbye”

Kamusta? – “How are you?” (may be used to greet someone hello)

Climate in the Philippines

While the climate in the Philippines is generally hot because it’s a tropical country, there are two main seasons in the Philippines: Dry and Wet.

Wet season is typically from June to October while Dry season is from November to May.

Packing – what to bring?

  • Passport and printed return ticket out of the Philippines
  • Cash in Philippine Peso
  • SG to Philippines adaptor
  • Light weight clothing including pants, shorts, skirts, T-shirts, etc.
  • Shoes and clothes you’re comfortable getting dirty
  • Something to cover your shoulders if necessary (i.e. a shawl)
  • Cap/Hat
  • Bathers and swimming shorts
  • Sunblock & Mosquito Repellent
  • Water Tumbler
  • Towel & Toiletries
  • Padlock (not essential but useful)
  • Sandals and/or comfortable walking shoes
  • Laundry – If your tour is situated in a big city like Manila, Dumaguete, or Bohol, there are normally several laundry stations or services where you can do your laundry. Hotels, hostels, and even communities you stay at can take your laundry as well, for a fee.

Money & Banks

The currency in the Philippines is Philippine Peso. That converts to around 50 US Dollars. There are several money changers in cities and towns but ATMs are scarce in provinces or towns. It is advised that whenever guests are in big cities or in airports that they already withdraw enough money for their small-town trips. We also strongly encourage guests to take any and all precautionary steps to keep their money (whether cash or otherwise) safe as the company is not liable for any losses experienced in the trip.

Electronics

Socket / Plug types in the Philippines are type A, B, and C with a standard voltage of 220V and a standard frequency of 60hz

Philippine Visa & Passport

Transportation & Getting Around in the Philippines

      • For inter-island travel in the Philippines, there are available domestic airlines and ferry lines to take you to your preferred destination. Drop us a line if you want to arrange your travel with us!
      • For inter-city travel in Luzon, the bus is your best bet! Or if you want to travel more comfortably, we can also book a van to take you to where you need to go.
      • For going around a city or town, there are several ways to travel in style: Uber, Grabcar, Taxi, Train, Bus, Jeepney, or Tricycle. You can also try to walk to nearby destinations if you want the extra exercise! Just make sure to be extra careful and cautious of your belongings when commuting.

Safety in the country

You may have done an initial web search on the Philippines or travelling to a third world country. While it is true that some areas of the Philippines are not advisable for travelling because of the separatist problem in the far south, MAD Travel’s destinations in Luzon and Visayas are far away from the Mindanao region, where these problems occur.

Of course, being in a third world country, it still goes without saying that safety precautions when travelling still have to be exercised. This includes but is not limited to keeping your valuables and belongings in secure places, not openly travelling with flashy items or gadgets, keeping your belongings close by (if not held) when commuting, never giving personal information (like hotel rooms, amount of cash brought, etc.) to strangers, and the like.

Dengue, Malaria & Zika

We believe that one of the best ways to tackle health problems such as Dengue, Malaria, and Zika is through prevention. Before coming into the country, it is advised that you pack a mosquito repellant that works best for you. Also try to be more cautious during early morning and early evening as these are the times when mosquitoes are known to be most active. Avoid places with murky, still water and try to cover up during peak times. When air conditioning is not available, ensure that the bed you will sleep in has a mosquito net that you can set up.

Regularly updated information about Dengue, Malaria, and Zika are available via a web search. We advise that you and your group take a bit of time to read about the ways you can further prevent these diseases.

The national and local health departments in the country are also regularly updated about any outbreaks or causes of concern regarding these diseases. Should we find any reports leading up to your trip, we will take the necessary steps to inform you immediately.

Be responsible – take care of yourself

By the nature of our company, we invite guests to embark on adventures with us — small and big. While we design the experience in a way that doesn’t put you at risk of accidents or danger, we also recognize that you, the traveller, play a big part in ensuring that your experience is well and safe.

Travelling in a tropical country can be a pain if you’re not well prepared, especially if you come from colder regions and are not used to hotter weather.

Make sure you always stay hydrated on your adventures with us. We recommend bringing a reusable tumbler that you can just fill up with water anytime and anywhere. There are several places in each town to get clean, potable water.

Protect your skin from the sun by packing the essentials: sunscreen, a cap or hat, and some sunglasses. You might want to bring some protective clothes, as well, on days when we might go hiking or trekking.

When visiting islands, forests, or mountains, take precaution in touching or picking up items that look out of the ordinary. Your best bet for uncertainty is always to ask your guide first.

Vaccinations

Any traveller is typically recommended by their respective governments to get routine vaccines before they travel to any destination. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Specific to the Philippines, it may also be recommended by your doctor to get vaccinations on Hepatitis A and Typhoid. While we ensure that our guests eat clean and safe food, we will not be able to control what you eat outside of our tours.

For other vaccine concerns, your doctor will be the best person to ask with regards to what other shots you might need to take based on your personal medical history and the destination you’re visiting.

Dietary Requirements

We try to make your experience as authentic as possible so we let the communities you will be visiting cook most of your meals. Should you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, please tell us in advance, prior to your trip, so that we can prepare accordingly.

Alcohol & Liquor Consumption

You may want to try some of the local beer or rum in the destinations you’re visiting. While this is okay to do outside the tour hours, we do advise guests to make sure that drinking is in moderation. Everyone in the team likes to have a good time but we also understand how one bad hangover can ruin your trip. We wouldn’t want one night of heavy drinking outside the tour mess with the authentic and fulfilling experience we have for you the day after.

Do note that consuming alcohol in Gawad Kalinga communities is prohibited and frowned upon because of the nature of the community members’ backgrounds and the values formation it tries to instill with every person who lives there. As such, we expect our guests visiting these areas to uphold the rules set by the communities and serve as good examples.

For special events and occasions on tour, moderate drinking is permitted. You may consult your MAD Travel tour coordinator about this before your trip or event.

Cancellation Policy & Refund

Unfortunately, we have a non-refundable,non-transferable policy with our tour. This means that once paid, your attendance is already counted on the tour. Since we coordinate operations with the tribe or community, we have to ensure that we have a sure number of people going on the tour days before it begins. Your pre-payment allows us and the tribe to prepare for your visit i.e. buy food, ready transportation, etc.

Emergency Contact of MAD Travel

In case of an emergency, you may reach our tour coordinator, Trish Magcase, at +63917-7138607. Please only contact us outside of business hours if it’s an emergency.

Business hours are from Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm. Thanks for understanding!

Payment & Bank Details

Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)

Bank Account Name: Make A Difference for Social Tourism Inc.

Bank Account Number: 0241-0307-84

Bank Account Branch: Pasig Boulevard Branch

Type of Account: Checking

Bank code: 010040018

Bank swift code: BOPIPHMM

Branch code: 0024

Paypal: info@madtravel.org

What is GK or Gawad Kalinga?

Gawad Kalinga, “to give care,” is a global movement that started in the Philippines that aims to end poverty by first restoring the dignity of the poor. Since it was formally established in 2003, GK has expanded its work to over 2,000 organized communities throughout the country. Today it has emerged as a multi-faith, multicultural platform for nation building, peace-building work in conflict areas in Mindanao, and reconstruction work in post-disaster communities. The GK model has also been adopted in other developing nations like Cambodia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. As of today, it has changed over 1 million lives.

Donations

Donations are often useless, expensive and have harmful effects on the local population. Why?

  • Unfair competition with the local market (better to buy locally then)
  • Dependency to international aid (it’s only a punctual help that won’t change their lives)
  • Maladjustment (every donation should target a specific need)
  • Strengthening of corruption (the way donations are given without the involvement of the beneficiaries)
  • Cultural Identity endangered (donations coming from developed countries reinforce the idea that Western goods are “better” and the youth will develop inferiority complex)
  • You can help without harming by putting extra efforts in understanding the culture and meeting the community

 

At the end of your stay at the Enchanted Farm, MAD Travel will present different ways of supporting the GK programs or making donations, should you wish.

Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines

There are more than 100 known indigenous groups in the Philippines. Through specific tours, you will be able to meet one or two of them.

We care deeply about the tribes that we work with. Our tours don’t only provide financial assistance and employment opportunities to these tribes, they also allow their real history and culture to be preserved. Through tourism, we hope to shed light on the real lives these indigenous groups live and the rich traditions they uphold — far from the usual way they are often represented (or misrepresented) in some history books and media.

As you get to know the tribes, you might find that they’re not much different from you. As such, we ask that our guests give the same level of respect to these community members as they would expect to receive from anyone else. Please don’t treat the tribal village like a human zoo. While the members are fond of having their photographs taken, please extend some courtesy first by engaging with them and asking them if it’s okay to take a photo.

Travel with children

We love to see parents taking their children on adventures! We believe that there’s no better teacher than experience! For as long as your child can walk and is physically fit enough to embark on our adventures, they may tag along! Do note, however, that they will be counted as one regular person for payment.

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