Day 1 – Manila, Philippines
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this exciting Silversea Expedition across the Philippines and into the Philippine Sea. This afternoon, you will attend a safety briefing before leaving Manila.
Later, important members of the crew will be introduced, as well as your Expedition Team. We invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and in the evening enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
At dinnertime Silver Discoverer will head for the Mindoro Strait.
Day 2 – Apo Reef, Philippines
A reef and three islands make up the Apo Reef Natural Park which is also a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apo Island is the largest island and harbours mangroves and beach vegetation on its 22 hectares. Apo Reef, the important and main geographical features of the park, lies to the east of Apo Island. Binangaan is a small rocky Iimestone island with relatively little vegetation and Cayos del Bajo a coralline rock formation with no vegetation.
Snorkelers will enjoy the crystal blue waters and be looking for some of the 400 varieties of soft and hard corals registered, cushion stars, damsel fishes, butterfly fishes, angel fishes, parrot fishes, cardinal fishes, trigger fishes, and wrasses.
For those who want to relax on a beach, a visit to Apo Island, which features a shallow lagoon surrounded by a verdant mangrove forest, will be of interest. Close to 50 species of birds have been recorded for the park and there are records of the rare Nicobar Pigeon for Apo Island.
Day 3 – San Fernando, Sibuyan, Philippines
Your stay in San Fernando will present a unique opportunity to become immersed in the traditional ways of Sibuyan Island.
At the time of our arrival ashore, the local community will be pulling in fishing nets and an Udyak (a celebration for the catch) will take place. We will be welcomed by the Sibuyan Mangyan Tagabukid indigenous community and will partake in a cleansing ritual with scented smoke. At the market the mayor will officially welcome us, before we will take Jeepneys to reach Taclobo Village to see and partake in a Paguma, or rice planting and harvesting. While we learn and plant, traditional folk singers will entertain us. After this hands-on and feet-in-mud activity we will continue in our Jeepneys to the Cantingas River and a ceremony to honour the unseen spirits. Afterwards the indigenous community members of Taclobo Village will show how they catch freshwater shrimps and will have a cooking demonstration involving the shrimp. You can swim in the Cantingas River, considered the cleanest body of water in the Philippines.
After lunch aboard, we will head back ashore for a Pag-alad Festival, an annual commemoration of the transfer of the town of Azagra to San Fernando. We will see the 17th century Casa del Cuartel, declared an Important Cultural Property, watch street dancing and will taste some local cuisine.
To close the day, each guest is given an ironwood or tiga (an extremely hard and endemic hardwood) seedling for planting.
Day 4 – Donsol and Ticao Island, Philippines
During the morning we will visit the island of Donsol whose bay is home to schools of whale sharks and reputedly has the world’s largest concentration of these massive fish. During the month of May whale sharks can usually be seen by divers and non-divers, swimmers and non-swimmers. For the chance to swim with the whale sharks we will use official local boats.
During lunch aboard, Silver Discoverer will sail south to reach Ticao Island. Again we will use our Zodiacs for some island hopping, admiring limestone formations and the Catandayagan waterfalls, swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear water, or simply relaxing on white sand beaches.
Day 5 – San Luis, Capul Island, Philippines
If Donsol and Ticao were meant for relaxation, the visit to Capul today will be busy with participation in a local fiesta. Once ashore, we will be taken by motorcycle (today’s mode of transportation) to a coconut farm and we will be divided into task groups to prepare puso (rice cooked in young coconut leaves), chicken tinola, stuffed squid, grilled blue marlin and coconut-based desserts. If you are not culinary inclined, you can be part of the banquet table decoration team.
While you wait for the food to be cooked, a coconut harvesting, husking, grating, drying, packing and transporting demonstration will take place. Then the food prepared will be displayed at the banquet tables and can be eaten in the traditional Filipino farm style.
Guests will then be divided into groups to see three heritage sites on the island including a Spanish-built lighthouse overlooking the San Bernardino Strait, the 17th century fortress church of St. Ignatius de Loyola and the Banadero, a spring used by the Galleon Trade before heading out to Acapulco.
During the afternoon, Silver Discoverer will head from the Philippine Sea to the Visayan Sea. Our course will eventually go back into the Philippine Sea and the island of Bohol. On board lecturers will present talks or seminars, but you can also relax on the outer decks and watch the landscape and islands go by.
Day 6 – Bohol and Balicasag Island, Philippines
An early morning departure from Tagbilaran means a chance at the best light for photos of the Chocolate Hills found in Central Bohol. There are more than 1,200 of these conical karst hills and in the dry season the grass that covers the hills turns brown, and hence their name. At a viewing station you can choose to climb more than 200 steps for a panorama that is well worth the effort.
To see some of the other unusual features of Bohol, we will partake in a cruise on the Loay River. On local boats watch the lush green landscape go by while being serenaded by local musicians and enjoying light snacks of local delicacies.
A visit to a Tarsier Sanctuary will give us a chance to see one of the smallest primates, the endemic Philippine tarsier, and proceeding to Baclayon, we will see some of the oldest heritage houses and the oldest stone church on the island. While there, you might want to taste broa, a local delicacy -supposedly the BEST lady fingers in the world!
Following lunch aboard and during the afternoon we will relax on Balicasag Island. This tiny island is located southwest of Tagbilaran and surrounded by a beautiful sandy beach. Fringed by a narrow reef shelf the island is well liked by snorkelers on the lookout for colourful schools of reef fish, turtles, wrasses, groupers, and barracuda.
Day 7 — Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Coming ashore at Macabalan Port, we will have a welcome and cultural reception before transferring to the Bulua pottery and the Vjandep Bakeshop to view pastel baking and hopefully trythis famous Camiguin delicacy. Transferring to Chali Beach we will have a cooking demonstration of the typical Mindanao and Visayas “Sinuglaw.” This refers to grilling food that has been soaked in vinegar. Lunch ashore will include corn cake and local desserts.
In the afternoon there will be more food tasting and a visit to the Museo de Oro at the Xavier University. This museum highlights findings of a nearby excavation, folkloric artefacts and old photographs. The San Agustin Cathedral will be the last stop before returning to the port and Silver Discoverer.
If the food options, aboard and ashore, are overwhelming, you may choose instead to try white water rafting in lower Mambuyan. As it is the only white water rafting destination in the country, Cagayan de Oro is known as the "White Water Rafting Capital of the Philippines."
Day 8 — Mambajao, Camiguin Island, Philippines
Silver Discoverer will anchor off Camiguin’s east side and we will go ashore in Benoni. After a welcome ceremony, venture into the foothills of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano. Stop at the ruins of the Moro Watchtower and see the processing and preparation of local delicacies. Continuing on the morning tour we will reach a fishing village and witness how the locals catch the fish and process dried squid. We will visit the town plaza of Sagay before returning to the port and lunch aboard Silver Discoverer.
The afternoon is planned to be spent at the Mantigue Island Sanctuary. The island covers a total of 4 hectares and is located 3 kilometres from Camiguin’s shore. This island offers glowing white powdery sand beaches and a small shade-giving forest. A huge diversity of macro creatures, clown fish and turtles is a must-see for our snorkelers.
Day 9 — Limasawa Island, Philippines
Limasawa will offer not only a welcome by local performers, the community and officials, but will lead you back in time to Magellan’s attempt to circumnavigate the world. This is where the first Christian Mass was held in the Philippines and you will walk to the National Shrine of the First Mass. Later a replica of a Pintado longhouse will be visited, where you can see young men and women in Pintados costumes and will enjoy a performance of a dance-drama relating to the famous ruler Rajah Kulambo. The word “pintados” (painted) goes back to Magellan’s companion Pigafetta and refers to the local custom of tattooing – here you can also get a henna tattoo.
At mid-morning an Anibong Festival will be prepared. This was done to present the young women before they were taken as brides. Local entertainers will liven up the atmosphere while guests will be split into groups and dressed in traditional costumes to partake in the festival and will learn to prepare blue crabs, lobster Thermidor local style, breadfruit, grilled white marlin, assorted deep-fried fowls, squid stew and assorted seaweed.
Day 10 — Sohoton Bay, Philippines
Sohoton Bay has many special sites, but the Sohoton Cove National Park just slightly to the east on Bucas Grande’s southwestern side is enchanting. The half-submerged entrance is the only way in and out and can only be used at low tide. It is almost impossible to find if you come at the wrong time of the day. Sohoton Cove National Park is filled with gorgeous, muffin-shaped, forest-covered islets. Most of them are untouched by human hands and the natural arrangement acts like a gigantic, natural maze. The blue lagoon is also home to several caves and caverns and a fantastic variety of flora and fauna.
Magkukuob cavern is another cave in one of the seven islets inside Sohoton Cove. Its walls have natural colours from yellow to aqua to turquoise which makes it surreal. Climbing an enthralling passage whose adjoining walls offers a stunning display of mineral-encrusted stalactites and stalagmites you will reach a 5-meter jump off point to the clear, blue sea right below your feet. Another attraction in Sohoton Cove is the jellyfish sanctuary at Tojoman Lagoon where one can swim with thousands of non-stinging spotted jellyfishes only found between March and June.
This last day in Sohoton Bay and Sohoton Cove will be an remarkable end to our exploration of the “Emerald Islands” of the Philippines and forges a connection to Palau’s famous Rock Islands.
Days 11-12 — At Sea
While Silver Discoverer sails in a south-easterly direction experience the exhilaration of being at sea and out of sight of land. It is awe inspiring to look out in all directions and find the simple beauty of undulating ocean waves, wispy clouds and foaming sea spray. Members of the expedition team are ever-vigilant during sea days watching for seabirds, marine mammals, schools of feeding fish, and any other unexpected wildlife interactions to share with our guests on the outer decks at a moment’s notice.
Take advantage of the fresh air and boundless vistas out on deck, or perhaps join the Executive Chef for a culinary demonstration, or the bar team for a wine tasting. If you would like to have a Spa treatment or do some work-out in the Gym, these two days might be just perfect.
In the afternoon of our last day at sea, do not forget to attend the Videographer’s presentation of our voyage documentary.
Day 13 – Koror, Palau
Silver Discoverer will come alongside in Malakal Harbour before breakfast. Malakal Island is connected to Koror via two bridges. If you prefer a self-exploration of Koror, you can head into town and visit the National Museum of Palau or the private Etpison Museum with its outstanding exhibition on “traditional money.” To have a look at Palau’s underwater creatures you could visit the Aquarium.
If you are a snorkeler or like special geological features, take the inclusive excursion and head out to see the famous “Rock Islands” — a must, if you have not been to Palau before. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin. The beauty of these islands is heightened by a complex reef system featuring over 385 coral species. The area sustains a diversity of plants, birds and marine life including dugong and at least thirteen shark species. The world’s highest concentration of marine lakes (isolated bodies of seawater separated from the ocean by land barriers) is also found here. Although most of them can only be accessed by scientists, the so-called Jellyfish Lake, used to be a snorkel highlight to swim among thousands of harmless jellyfish. Unfortunately, in recent times jellyfish numbers have declined and authorities have closed access to the lake to protect its integrity.
Another option would be to go on an excursion to see some of the cultural and archaeological points of interest on Babeldaob, Palau’s largest island. These include man-made terraces and the famous bai (men’s meeting houses). Whatever you choose to do in Palau, it will be busy and fascinating day.
Day 14 — Koror, Palau
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
Please Note: Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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