Shedd Adventures 2014

The Philippines (February 12 to 26)

This trip has been canceled due to the Typhoon Haiyan disaster.

On this 15-day exploration, you'll snorkel the vibrant coral reefs that inspired Shedd's "Wild Reef" exhibit, visiting island communities that are managing their life-giving reefs for today and tomorrow, and sampling the culture and cuisine of the Philippines. You'll also swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world!

Download the journey brochure for full details (PDF).

Wednesday, February 12
Depart from the United States for Manila.

Thursday, February 13
For those who arrive early in the day, a half-day tour of Manila will be offered. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner and talk about the expedition.

Friday, February 14
Depart in the morning for Dumaguete. After lunch, we’ll tour twin lakes, a system of calderas from ancient volcanoes.

Saturday, February 15
Apo Island is one of the oldest and most successful marine protected areas in the Philippines. For more than two decades, local fisherman and scientists have worked together to protect and monitor the reefs around the island. The abundance of corals and fishes is staggering, and we will spend all day at the island exploring its rich reefs.

Sunday, February 16
In the morning we’ visit the marine lab at Silliman University to learn about current research and tour the facilities. We’ll make a second stop at the Philippine crocodile research facility. In the afternoon, we depart by “fast ferry” for Bohol and an afternoon of enjoying the beach, snorkeling, kayaking or just relaxing.

Monday, February 17
We visit the amazing Chocolate Hills, a series of more than 1,700 perfect limestone mounds (some 400 feet high) that were carved millions of years ago by fresh water. By the end of the annual dry season, the hills’ lush grass turns brown, inspiring their name. We will also visit the Tarsier Sanctuary to meet these small endemic primates.

Tuesday, February 18
We’ll spend the day visiting the village of Handumon on the island of Jandayan, to visit with scientists at Project Seahorse’s original Philippines research site. Project Seahorse is an integrative global initiative to conserve and manage seahorses, their relatives and their habitats. Shedd Aquarium is a partner with Project Seahorse in seahorse conservation. We will spend the day with Project Seahorse staffers and local villagers learning about the different marine conservation efforts here.

Wednesday, February 19
On our three-hour boat tour in the waters of Pamilacan Island, we can expect to see large numbers of spinner dolphins, but the area is also frequented by bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, Risso’s dolphins and several species of baleen whales including the largest, the blue whale. Afterward, we’ll snorkel on the reefs of one of Pamilacan’s marine protected areas.

Thursday, February 20
In the morning we take a fast ferry through the Bohol Strait, between Cebu and Bohol, for Mactan Island for an afternoon of snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, or relaxing on the beach.

Friday, February 21
We depart for Olongo Island, home to one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the Philippines. This island is important not only to local birds but also to migratory birds that follow the “Asian flyway.” We can expect to see a variety of shorebirds including plovers, sandpipers and egrets.

Saturday, February 22
A morning flight and short drive brings us to the coastal fishing village of Donsol, on Luzon Island, to begin our search for the elusive whale shark, the world’s largest living fish. Donsol, called the “Whale Shark Capital of the World,” has the highest number of recorded sightings of whale sharks anywhere in the world.

Sunday, February 23
We take a Filipino outrigger to where we can swim with the whale sharks! In the afternoon, we will float along the mangrove-lined banks of the Ugod River. Our tour includes great opportunities for birding and visiting villages where agriculture (both farming and fishing) is still the focus of daily life.

Monday, February 24
We depart for Legaspi to spend time on the world’s most perfect strato-volcano, Mt. Mayon. The first stop is at the ruins of Cagsawa, buried by a violent eruption nearly 200 years ago. We then head up the mountain 3,000 feet to visit the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology station that monitors the active volcano.

Tuesday, February 25
We’ll fly back to Manila this afternoon with time to relax at our hotel for the night. For those departing this evening, you’ll have a day room at your disposal.Wednesday, February 26
In the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meet Cheryl Mell, your Shedd Aquarium guide
Cheryl Mell, Shedd’s senior vice president of global field expeditions and conservation ambassador, is no stranger to travel. An avid scuba diver, snorkeler and kayaker, she’s visited all seven continents and has a keen interest in aquatic conservation. Since joining Shedd in 1991, Cheryl has successfully grown Shedd’s conservation, sustainability and educational programs through professional development seminars and hands-on workshops. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology and marine science, as well as a Master of Science in education, biology and secondary education, from the University of Miami, Florida. She’s passionate about inspiring greater stewardship of the natural world and is looking forward to sharing this passion with you!

Your Journey Includes
• Customized pre-departure documentation
• Airport transfers on February 13 and 26
• All internal flights, land and boat transportation.
• Double-occupancy accommodations
• Meals on February 13 through lunch on February 25, including water and soft drinks
• All excursions; permit and park fees.
• The services of ATJ tour leader• All transfers, porterage and service charges.
• The services of Shedd guide Cheryl Mell.
• Gratuities for local guides (excluding ATJ tour leader).
• 1 complimentary Sponsor level Shedd Aquarium membership per household

Not included
• Travel to/from Manila
• Passport fees
• Expenses of a personal nature, including all forms of travel insurance, laundry service, all alcoholic beverages and all personal beverages other than those included at group meals
• Gratuity for ATJ tour leader.

Feb. 13: Shangri La Hotel, Manila
Feb. 14 and 15: Atmosphere Resort, Dauin
Feb. 16 to 19: Anayana, Bohol
Feb. 20 and 21: Abaca Boutique Resort
Feb. 22 to 23: Elysia Beach Resort, Donsol
Feb. 24: Venezia Hotel Legaspi
Feb. 25: Shangri La Hotel, Manila

Physical requirements
This is a moderate touring program with comfortable accommodations. Expect some day hikes/walks over uneven terrain. Most reasonably fit people will have no problem completing the activities in this program. It is always good to begin a journey in good a shape, if possible. It will contribute to your general well-being and enjoyment of the trip. More important than your physical condition, however, is a flexible attitude. While we will do everything possible to adhere to this itinerary, occasional weather conditions and/or local events may necessitate deviations.

Important information
Temperatures in the Philippines in February are generally in the 80s during the day and low 70s at night with little or no rainfall. Snorkeling is suitable for the inexperienced, but you should be a good swimmer. Our time with whale sharks in the Bay of Donsol requires swimming in moderately swift currents and quick disembarkation into the water from small motor boats. Water temperatures at Donsol are usually in the upper 70s (wet suits can be rented if needed); waters elsewhere are warmer, generally in the low 80s. Travel will be by small aircraft, motorboat, ferry and vans.

For reservations and more information

Cheryl Mell

Journey cost, per person

• $7,450 double occupancy
• $1,400 single-room supplement
• $1,300 estimated airfare from Chicago to Manila

Aquarium membership included with your adventure

Continue your connection with nature after you return home. Each household with a Shedd Adventures traveler receives a complimentary Sponsor-level Shedd Aquarium membership.

Other travel opportunities

This trip is one of four offered through Shedd Adventures in 2014. See where else you could venture.

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