The Philippines Explored

North Sulawesi & Philippines: Bitung to Manila 10 Day Expedition Cruise

M082304309
Dates
04/30/23 to 05/09/23
Ship
SH Minerva
Duration
10 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
$ 9,131
Per Person
BOOK NOW
Trip Details

Enjoy the beauty of the Philippines, an island nation where palm-lined beaches meet magnificent dive sites on our 9-night North Sulawesi & Philippines cruise. From laid-back beach vibes to spirited urban centres, the Philippines is a southeast Asian archipelago made up of 7,641 tropical islands and inhabited by some of the world’s friendliest people. A rare cultural mixing pot of a place, this country has been heavily influenced by those who colonised these islands - Spanish, Americans and Japanese - before it declared independence after World War II. The island nation now seamlessly blends natural wonders with exciting food scenes - the result is a lively mix. Enjoy unique onshore excursions and extraordinary underwater adventures on board our boutique expedition ship crewed by a passionate and knowledgeable team.

READ MORE
Trip Highlights
Swim with the gentle giants of the ocean, whale sharks, near Limasawa Island
Discover the exciting food scene and try local Filipino cuisine in Cagayan de Oro
Witness natural wonders such as the giant mole-hill-shaped Chocolate Hills
Swim under the 30-m-tall Catandayagan Falls in Ticao Island that empty into the sea
Explore the underwater utopia of Apo Reef Natural Park, the second largest coral reef in the world
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Bitung Day 1

This cosmopolitan port city weaves nature, recreation and Sulawesian culture into an irresistible package. Seahorses and mandarin fish dart amid the black volcanic sand of the Lembeh Strait, and keen muck divers will also glimpse spiny frogfish, slender snake blennies and coy cuttlefish. Hike jungle trails in the nearby Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve, where black macaques roam and saucer-eyed tarsiers shelter. Or head to provincial capital Manado to discover Dutch colonial architecture and local seafood specialties.

At Sea Day 2

You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of our knowledgeable on-board experts.

Limasawa Island Day 3

Serene Limasawa is a small island of enormous historical and religious significance. Located south of Leyte in the east-central region of the Philippines, Limasawa saw Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first make proper contact with Filipino people in early 1521. It is said that the country’s first Roman Catholic mass was celebrated here on Easter Sunday of that same year. This mass was a baptism for the country, and some 500 years later, the Philippines is one of only two Christian countries in South-east Asia. From the supposed site of the mass, visitors can climb some 450 steps to see Magellan’s Cross and admire the God-given views. The water around Limasawa is renowned for its whale shark assemblages, for which scuba enthusiasts will travel long and far. Gatherings are migration dependent, but if you’re lucky, you might enjoy swimming with the ocean’s largest fish, whose placid nature belies its name.

Cagayan De Oro Day 4

Any stop in Cagayan de Oro is sure to involve three things: great food, great people and the great outdoors. Located in northern Mindanao, this friendly city is very much a base for outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, rock climbing and caving – some of which can be undertaken in nearby Mapawa National Park. Back in town, if you fancy some culture instead of adventure, the Malasag Eco-Tourism Village and Museum of Three Cultures come highly recommended. The town’s exciting food scene spotlights the deliciousness of Filipino cuisine in all its bold sour, sweet and tangy glory. Adobo, kare-kare, lechon and halo-halo are all must-tries. Wash it all down with a beer: San Miguel founded its original brewery here in 1890, and it’s the nation’s go-to drink.

Bohol Island (North Coast) Day 5

Having sailed across the Bohol Sea, you arrive today at tiny Balicasag Island, about six km southwest of Panglao. One of the most popular diving spots in the Philippines, it is circled by a reef that has been declared a marine sanctuary where the sea here drops away to impressively deep submarine cliffs. Soft and hard corals are found around the drop-offs, as well as sublime multicoloured shoals. Afterwards, head to the city of Tagbilaran, a gateway to Bohol’s jungly interior, where you can see the world’s cutest (arguably) animal, tarsiers – nocturnal primates less than 16 cm high with distinctive bulbous eyes – at the conservation centre and sanctuary. Bohol is also famous for its Chocolate Hills, a quirk of geology that look like giant mole hills.

Capul Island & Ticao Island Day 6

The friendly Capul island, named after Acapulco, has some of the best beaches in the Philippines. On this forested island in Northern Samar, west of Dalupiri, sits a Victorian-era landmark lighthouse, which served as a guidepost for the Acapulco-Manila trade vessels passing through the San Bernardino Strait who stopped over on the island. Other landmarks include a well-preserved church and a ruined fort complex with a watchtower. West of Capul island, Ticao is one of three major islands in the Masbate province. The island vibe is laid-back, while the culture remains authentic and unspoilt. Highlights include the 30-m-tall Catandayagan Falls that empty into the sea and the west coast’s beaches. Ticao is surrounded by great snorkelling spots teeming with colourful corals and full of manta rays, but the nutrient rich-waters also host a large variety of other marine life, including whale sharks - the gentle giants of the sea - as well as hammerhead and tiger sharks.

Sibuyan Island Day 7

West of the Masbate Islands, crescent-shaped Sibuyan Island’s big draw is Mount Guiting-Guiting National Park. Keen amateur botanists and birders take note, this vast park is home to an estimated 700 plant species, more than 120 bird species and a scattering of rare mammals, including the small, nocturnal tube-nosed fruit bat; some of which are endemic. The park’s namesake peak, whose name means ‘jagged’ in the local Romblomanon dialect, is truly spectacular – and it’s often called the Philippines’ best climb.

Apo Reef Day 8

Welcome to an underwater utopia. Today the ship will anchor so that you can explore the Apo Reef Natural Park. It’s the largest contiguous coral reef in the Philippines and the second largest one in the world, and as such it’s being considered for UNESCO World Heritage List status. Above the waterline, the area consists of three islands, and mangrove-strewn Apo Reef is the largest. Below the surface, the diving is something special, with sightings of sharks, barracuda, tuna and turtles reasonably frequent. There are around 400 species of coral here, from tiny effervescent bubble corals to bulging brain corals, along with hundreds of species of smaller reef fishes.

Corregidor Island Day 9

This morning, the historically curious will be delighted to stop at the fortress island of Corregidor. Known locally as ‘The Rock’, Corregidor stands fast at the entrance of Manila Bay and was the site of two major battles during World War II. Learn about these actions at the Malinta Tunnel and experience its sound and light show. History buffs can also enjoy visiting the Pacific War Memorial or the ruins of the Mile-Long Barracks.

Manila Day 10

In this teeming, sprawling metropolis, Manila, the capital of the Philippines buzzes with a creative, exciting energy, which infuses everything from art to food. Spend time in the city with so much to see and do: museums, the world’s oldest Chinatown and the Chinese Cemetery are a few highlights. And make time to explore Intramuros – the old Spanish walled town at the heart of the city with Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church.

SHOW MORE
Rates Include
Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
All meals onboard
Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
24-hour room service
Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
Standard WiFi
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
SHOW MORE
Itinerary Map
Itinerary changes and surprising experiences are part of expedition cruise life. The world has a habit of amazing us with incredible things when we yield to the unexpected. Join us with an open mind and a sense of adventure and you’ll find that this can pay off in the most rewarding ways.

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK
Stateroom
Number of Guests
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
Price From
$ 0
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
Price From
$ 0
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
Price From
$ 0
Itinerary changes and surprising experiences are part of expedition cruise life. The world has a habit of amazing us with incredible things when we yield to the unexpected. Join us with an open mind and a sense of adventure and you’ll find that this can pay off in the most rewarding ways.

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK