Jude C. (from Sydney Australia)
“I travelled on a Philippines adventure tour through a number of the islands in the Visayas region. I’ve travelled extensively through India, Asia and SE Asia and love the challenges that travelling through completely different cultures can bring. I’m not often one for guided tours, but for this tour through the Philippines I thought I’d let someone else do the hard work of sorting all the logistics. I was very glad I did! Ben and the team from PAT did a completely stand up job throughout the tour. The lads know the language, know the country, know how to get things done, and know all the little secrets and shortcuts that are necessary to get through the philippines with as little frustration as possible!
The Philippines is a stunning country, the people are amazing, the landscape, beaches, volcanos, lakes, sulphurous rivers are epic. The traffic is mental (of course). Its like I imagine Thailand or even Vietnam was before tourism completely took over.
But make no mistake. Its not easy to get things done, at least not without having first spent a bit of time there to understand the culture, the people and the bureaucracy. This is where PAT excelled. Organising transfers, motorbike hire, boat hire and just knowing where to go! It let us enjoy everything the philippines has to offer without the frustration and hassle. And they did it a proper kiwi way, no fuss, no BS, you didn’t feel like you’re on some package tour. We were involved in the decisions. We got to see the real Philippines and hang with real Philippinos, ride motorbikes up riverbeds, drink stupidly cheap beer on white sand beaches.
Finally the diving. Diving with the whale sharks was a treat, but the house reef at Apo Island was absolutely world class. Certainly among the best I’ve dived – for comparison I can say its easily as good as Richelieu Rock in the Similans.
Cannot recommend Philippines Adventure Tours highly enough. Do it – you won’t regret it!
Jude – PADI OW Instructor”
David C. (from Auckland N.Z.)
I went on a tour with PAT last year and it became the best two-week holiday I’ve had in a very long time. It was good to leave the suit behind, of course, but this was really special…
Firstly, the country: the Philippines is GREAT. It’s vibrant and exciting, peaceful and noisy, unspoiled and modern…Yes, all of these things and more. And the places PAT takes you to, it’s also incredibly beautiful. (These guys really have sussed out where to take you.) Way back in my youth I spent over a year travelling independently in South East Asia, and I can tell you: the Phillipines today is like Bali or Thailand 40+years ago. But, with this difference—no matter where you go there are hotels offering everything from basic “motel-type” accomodation to absolute Five Star. And it’s easy to get American-type food,too, if that’s what you want. (Actually, take some extra shopping money with you—just about everything is very cheap by western standards and PAT gets you good deals.) I’m no diver, but an aussie PADI dive instructor in our group, who has dived all over the world, said it was the best diving he’d ever experienced. I certainly found the snorkelling mind-blowing.
The Filipinos: unfailingly happy, pleasant,polite and friendly. You never feel they are trying to charm you, they just do! This is not a rich country but you see people who appear to have little or nothing and they’re laughing and joking. And nobody hassles you!
Philippine Adventure Tours:They absolutely know this country, and what Kiwis want. This is unlike any other Tour that I know of. It’s relaxed and always aimed at providing you with what you want. They don’t intrude and they’re very flexible. Perhaps their tours are a little intrepid, but you will never actually feel afraid. The fact that Ben speaks Bisayu is of course invaluable. He has explored the country for some eight years, and knows it well. Of course, you could go to the Philippines on your own, but I’ll guarantee you that in that case you would have half the experience and it would probably cost you more!
I’d say, get in touch with them, and GO. You will not regret it. (I’ll be going again.)
Bruce Tucker. (from Auckland N.Z.)
“I would rate this as being up there with one of my top holidays”!
I have traveled throughout America, Europe, most of the Pacific Islands including Samoa, Tonga, Niue , New Caledonia, Tahiti etc..I have snorkeled Thailand and the surrounding Islands and I travel up to Hawaii regularly. From experience my opinion of the snorkeling in The Philippines is this:
The Philippines snorkeling is world class and only Fiji even comes close, but the problem with Fiji is that the good snorkeling is hard to find and it takes hours to get there.
In the Philippines amazing snorkeling is right outside your door every step of the way. Don’t get me started on the turtles in a few feet of water or the whale sharks just off the beach! It truly is amazing to wake up in the morning and know that they are all there just waiting for you!
I had heard all sorts of rumors before going on a tour with the crew in The Philippines and most likely I would of never gone there on my own. I can now say that everything I heard was a complete myth, the people were super friendly and I never once felt unsafe while on tour with the crew. I felt as if I could leave my hotel door open and my keys in the motorbike!
Before we moved onto the next leg of the journey there was always a great feeling of anticipation and when we arrived… ‘WOW’ , every leg and trek of the journey had a ‘wow’ factor.
I vividly remember the second night in the islands as a first impression and at around dusk the whole place just started to sparkle while we were up in the the mountains, we had traveled up on motorbikes for a swim at a local stream fed pools. Every night afterward the whole place just came alive with color and vibrancy like absolute magic and after a perfect day of adventure, relaxation, exploration and socializing I lay in bed thinking to myself ; ‘how could I have navigated this better on my own in such a small time frame?’…..I couldn’t find a single fault !
Going on tour with the Philippines Adventure tours crew was the best thing I could have done for my peace of mind and relaxation while in The Philippines.
I will definitely be back on tour with the crew to experience the awesome out of this world snorkeling and intrepid adventure activity. I will be bringing as many friends as I can.
“see you there!”
Rob from N.Y. (walk on walk off guest)
“These guys can ride. Just as important in the Philippines, they know where to ride. And when to take a boat. Or a bus. Sometimes even a whale shark”.
“My Filipina girlfriend and I had the pleasure of touring with Ben and Levi on motorcycles on one of their organized trips in the Philippines. It was a small group, seven of us, and I met up with them on the ferry going to Dumaguete. Before joining up with them, my girlfriend and I had been traveling together on our motorcycle by ourselves. So this is what I mean when I say these guys can ride.
“Traveling via any mode in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart. Some parts of it are very scenic and can be enjoyed immensely on a motorbike, but they may be far away. So part of knowing how to ride means knowing when not to. Ben has been in the Philippines for almost seven years. He knows what parts you should see on a bike, and which parts are best traversed via other means (like a bus)! In the Philippines this could just as easily mean a boat. This is not a coherent country in the way some may be accustomed to, the nautical forms of transportation in particular! One needs to be part mystic, part geographer, part suppliant. One will have to be a cartographer since many of the ships you will have to travel on (particularly the points of embarkation and disembarkation the hours and fares) will not appear on any map.
These guys have the experience to know all that. So you will save a lot of time missing the things you didn’t want to see, and seeing things you really want to see, most importantly on a motorcycle, if you use these guys.
“So what is the rest of the story then, the part about these guys can ride … is it their skill level? Well, having said they know when not to ride, sometimes, especially in the Philippines, magnificent sites and rides are right under your nose if you know where to look and if you have the skill level to get there. Their skill on motorbikes is at the expert level, and that meant a lot to me when I was on their tour because I was not currently up there on the motorbike skill level at the time.
“That is because, while the Philippines is blessed with magnificent scenery, it does not have the best infrastructure. The national highway is paved, but even that can be a crap shoot. Get off that to the interesting places you want to see, and that nice paved road can (and will) become an unpaved road … a gravel road … to a dirt road … with random stretches of pavement of varying lengths sporadically … to a footpath/jeep trail/goat-path … to a washed-out bridge … to a washed out road leading to a bamboo footbridge over a stream … down the banks of the stream to the riverbed and along that for a while until you find another road that leads to a magnificent vista and sights no one could find in just one day! Yeah, we did all that in only one day. This is where it ended.
“Was it worth it? Yeah!!!”
Ron Pinto 30/3/2012
“Having traveled to the Philippines over the past 8 years from the States, and having met both Ben and Levi there I can truly say my most enjoyable time is when we are together”.
Each time I go I find I have just scratched the surface on places to go, people to meet and another adventure starts tomorrow. If your looking to Dive or snorkel your in heaven. Divers beware, you will not want to leave if you truly love being under water.
If your looking to rent a motorbike, travel to places that few outside of the Philippines have seen then your adventure lies ahead. Renting a motorbike is inexpensive and you can keep it as long as you like.
My wife being Filipino came to me one day and said” I was asked while shopping if I knew the foreigner who spoke Bisaya” the local language in the Visayas, she immediately knew it was Ben and said yes. Knowing the local language makes many friends and earns much respect amongst the locals.
Beautiful beaches, out of this world snorkeling or diving, adventures in the mountains or on land via motorbike, the Philippines has it all, Just remember this is a country of Islands not super highways and traveling from one to another is part of the adventure, and one more thing, if your a single male, you are in the land of beautiful woman who love to smile and laugh.
That’s all for now, I will be returning to what I call the Islands before the end of the year, for another adventure……..