Tour was good, a few things went wrong and we missed out on a big part of the tour due to the weather which was a bit disappointing. Cristina though was absolutely amazing, helped us out when needed. Kept the group dynamic going and was a fantastic tour leader. She's very friendly and always put a smile on everyone's faces!
Operator's comment: Hi Chantelle, thank you for the review. We're sorry to hear that the weather wasn't the best for your trip. As a lot of activities on the Philippines tour are in the water, the coast guard often dictates whether it is safe to proceed out on the boat or not. Unfortunately this was the case with your tour, however, we heard that Cristina was able to provide some fun and engaging alternatives for you. If you have any further feedback on how we can improve our accommodation and transportation, we'd love to hear at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again and we hope to see you on one of our other tours in Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia or India in the future
Cristina is possibly the friendliest lady I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. She made the trip so much fun with how energetic she is and how much she loves life. She made me feel so safe and happy. When I wasn’t feeling very well she made the greatest effort with me to help me to feel better and truly I appreciated it. I’ve had the best experiences over the last ten days and I will remember my trip for all of my life x Elvina xx
I enjoyed the tour and the people on it! However during our time in Port barton we did experience bad weather which made us not do some of the activities i.e camping on the island, I feel as though there should've been a similar activity put in place with similar experience as that to staying on the island. I don't think this was down to the tour guide but to the company as a whole (needed to put in place a backup activity if weather is bad)
Operator's comment: Hi Menna, thank you for the review. A lot of activities on the Philippines tour are in the water, therefore the coast guard dictates whether it is safe to proceed out on the boat or not. Unfortunately, as our #1 priority is our guest's safety, we weren't able to take part in the island hopping during this time. You are absolutely right that alternatives should be provided and we'll look at what alternatives we can do in times of extremely bad weather. Palawan is a fantastic but also developing island and therefore, safe alternatives in places as remote as Port Barton can be difficult to arrange last minute so we do extremely appreciate your patience with us on tour. Hope to see you on one of our other tours in the future.
Loved the tour however wasn’t overly impressed with Port Barton! Although of course the weather had a massive impact. I felt very uncomfortable during the typhoon but this is out of human control as I understand. I think the amount of meals we have to pay for is a lot considering how much we pay for the tour! I have thoroughly enjoyed my tour with Cristina though, she is AMAZING:))))
Operator's comment: Hi Millie, thank you for the review. It's a real shame you weren't able to fully experience the magic of Port Barton. Port Barton is one of our favourite places on tour to really get away and find one of those last remaining remote beach villages in South East Asia, but we totally understand that the weather had an affect on your experience. Cristina is amazing, we don't know what we would do without her! If you have any more feedback on the accommodation and meals then please do let us know at email@example.com. We do provide more meals on this tour than the industry standard, however, we are always looking for ways to improve the tour so please do get in contact with us. Hope to see you on one of our other tours our other fantastic locations in the future.
Cristina was amazing from start to finish. She was always so happy & energetic and made us love every minute of the trip. We had a bit of a weather issue but she dealt with it amazingly. Would book another trip with her anyday.
I really loved Cristina’s energy and her love for the Philippines! Her smile and laugh made everyone happy!
Fantastic! I’m more than happy with all, Cristina was really polite and always smiling and reflecting a good vibe, she is the best!!!!!! , the accommodation was really good, food, tours, tours staffs, Thanks for the best experience of my life!!!
All in all I would say this tour is average. I had high expectations after watching the well presented and very deceiving video that sells this tour on YouTube. In fact, some of the video is actually filmed in a nice resort called Cadlao Resort in El nido and not even on the tour! (I know this because I stayed there for a few days after the tour ended.) So I can’t help but feel like in some ways we were sold a dream which was far from reality, comparable to the Fyre festival documentary if anyone’s seen it on Netflix.
I feel like going to Manila was a waste of time. We had to be up at around 4am after not getting hardly a wink of sleep due to a Halloween party (no ones fault but still not a good start) to then fly to Puerta Princessa where there is nothing to do except go to a prison to have a look at prisoners as if they’re animals at a zoo. I was with a majority group of females who I felt were being completely gawked at and as we walked by the maximum security section, the prisoners were looking through the gates saying things and giggling in their language. (I could only imagine what a bunch of bad dudes would be saying as a group of good looking young females walk past.) I wonder why this wasn’t featured on the glamorous YouTube vid?
Anyway, by this stage of the trip my partner and I were seriously considering bailing on the tour and flying to a different country because at this point we were not even anywhere close to what I would consider a tropical island holiday but we stuck in there because the people on the tour and our tour guide Alice were really awesome people.
We spent most of the next day travelling to Port Barton and when we arrived I must say I really loved it there. It finally felt like like a tropical holiday that was promised. Port Barton is a cool laid back little town with dirt roads, friendly people, nice restaurants, beautiful scenery and great vibes. In my honest opinion, the tour should start in Puerta Princessa and head straight to port barton. I really loved island hopping and camping on the island it was pretty epic. We split the group up and played competitive games which was actually hilarious. I thought Alice did really well with getting everyone involved.
We finished up our last few days in El Nido where unfortunately we were hit with a typhoon which killed most of the activities I was most looking forward to. Thankfully Alice improvised and made lemonade out of the lemons that were handed to us. If it wasn’t for her we would have been in our hostel rooms doing absolutely nothing.
On the day of the Phillipines experience we trekked through the jungle in torrential rain, slipping over in mud for almost an hour due to the conditions and by the time we got there I found it hard to pull myself out of a bad mood.
Never got to do the El Nido island hop on the tour but thankfully I stayed a few days extra and was able to go. However, a lot of people on my tour did not.
All in all was unfortunate with the weather which is out of anyone’s control so choose your time of year carefully.
Furthermore I would like to add I noticed the tour guides don’t get private rooms for the whole tour and yet they have to stay positive, energetic and run a tour of potentially 20+ people for 10 days at a time. I don’t think this is acceptable and you should look after the people who run your business from the ground much better than that.
Operator's comment: Hi Kurt, thanks for the review. Firstly I'd like to apologise for the fact that the tour did not match your expectations. Our goal is never to deceive people, we are focused on running an ethical and sustainable business, one that helps local communities and truly tries to show people an incredible and diverse time in the Philippines. You are correct in that the promotional video on YouTube is slightly out of date, however, we hope that you noticed that the majority of the trip is well represented in line with our sustainability and eco-tourism guidelines. One of the major reasons we begin the trip in Manila is that it allows all group members an easy location to arrive into. Since we provide the one-way domestic flight to Puerto Princesa on day 2, we felt that this would be a good inclusion so people can relax and concentrate on getting over their jet-lag as soon as they land in the capital and let us take care of their trip from the very beginning. The prison trip in Puerto Princesa is our chance to show a different side of the Philippines, a more cultural representation of the lives of others in the country in which we operate. We often find that a lot of our guests get so much out of this experience by interacting with locals from different backgrounds so we're sorry that you didn't get this experience. We're glad you loved Port Barton, it truly is an excellent place to stay and visit and one of our favourite places to go. Alice is a superstar! She's not been with the company too long, so it's great to hear that you thought she was a real asset to the company and we'll be sure to pass along your feedback. The weather in El Nido is unfortunate, however, we've found in the past that people really enjoy the day at the Philippine Experience and find the trekking and mud all part of the adventure. We'll be sure to take your feedback on board regarding the rooms for the guides, unfortunately, we are at the mercy of our suppliers' availability, although this is something we will continue to improve and work on in the future. Thanks for joining us again, and we truly hope we see you on another one of our tours in the future.
Overall I had a good experience. I think this had a lot to do with the other people on the tour and Alice.
Day 1 and 2 are a waste of time. To fly in to Manila day 1 and then wake up at the crack of dawn on day 2 to spend the whole day travelling is not enjoyable. Spending a night in Puerto Princesa is also pointless as there is nothing to do there.
Loved Port Barton and the island tours! It would have been great to get there faster and spend more time there rather hanging round in Manila and Puerto Princesa.
In El Nido the weather was horrid (a typhoon hit) so a lot of our activities including island hoping was cancelled. Alice did her absolute best to ensure our day was rearranged and we had activities to do. She did a great job!
I also wanted to give some feedback about the visit to the prison. I felt very uncomfortable walking through there and having all the men gawk at us. We are going somewhere to ‘look’ at people as if they are a sight to see? Hearing their stories was also very depressing and upsetting when we are supposed to be on an upbeat on a holiday.
I noticed that the guides do not get their own room. I feel that someone responsible for potentially 22 people should have their own space of an evening to relax and have a good rest so they are energised the next day. Plus, everyone needs their own space at some point. Just a side note but thought I would feed back.
Absolutely love what you guys do by supporting the locals and giving back to the community.
Operator's comment: Hi Mia, thank you very much for the review. We're delighted that you had a fantastic time in Port Barton and you noticed the work that we do in the local communities. One of our core values as a company is growth and development, whether that means for the communities that we work in or the people in the company, so we're glad you noticed this. The main reason we begin the trip in Manila is that it gives all group members an easy location to arrive into and allows us to get the group altogether from the moment they land in the country. Our amazing accommodation in Puerto Princesa also helps settling people in and aiding with the Jet lag and is also a perfect location to begin our trip to the Underground River. The prison trip in Puerto Princesa is our chance to show a different side of the Philippines, a more cultural representation of the lives of others in the country in which we operate. We often find that a lot of our guests get so much out of this experience by interacting with locals from different backgrounds so we're sorry that you didn't get this experience. We love Alice, so we're glad that you did too! We agree that guides deserve plenty of rest and relaxation, unfortunately sometimes our suppliers' availability doesn't allow us to provide our guides with their own room, although this is something we will continue work on in the future. Thanks for joining us again, and we truly hope we see you on another one of our tours in the future.
The accommodation was not what I was expecting and I would have been willing to pay more for better accommodation. For transportation, the tricycles are not safe/ meant to carry a lot of weight and I would have preferred the group to even travel in the Jeepy’s the whole time. The food was amazing and the best part of the trip, even my dietary requirements we’re accommodated for. Alice went the extra mile and ordered a surprise cake for a birthday on tour.
However, it was really disappointing to travel so far and miss the el Nido island hopping which I was most excited for. Alice did her best to keep the group entertained despite the overall disappointed mood of the group. The one thing I wish went differently was The Philippine Experience as the group was not properly warned of how muddy and difficult the trail would be to walk which ultimately ruined the time spent there. I felt the experience was not worth the 1 hour journey in the tricycle during a downpour (which I felt was super dangerous) and trek through mud/rain. Although out of control, the weather had a huge factor in how the trip went.
Operator's comment: Hi Sarah, thank you for your review. We're sorry that the accommodation didn't quite meet your expectations. Palawan is still very much a developing island so we do try to use the very best accommodation available. As much as we would like to use Jeepneys for the parts of the tour in which we use tricycles, private jeepney hire is not permitted in El Nido. The tricycles do go through regular check-ups by the El Nido government and have to pass stringent laws to carry tourist with a strict maximum capacity, however, we are sorry if you did not enjoy these short rides on our tour. As is often the case when including water-based activities we have to adhere to the coast guard and unfortunately due to the typhoon, the El Nido Coast Guard deemed it too unsafe to allow any island tours to depart at this time, so we're sorry that you were not able to experience this part of the trip. Our goal with the Philippine Experience is to shine a light on some cultural aspects of the Philippines. We feel as though this helps by going out to a beautiful, remote village and engaging in unique activities synonymous to Filipino culture. The ride to the trekking area should really only take a maximum of 15 minutes, however, if this was not the case on your tour then please do let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can investigate what happened here.
Thank you again for the review and we'd love to see you on one of our other tours in the future, in fact, our Sri Lanka tour actually has some incredible accommodation throughout so we hope to see you in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean soon.