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Photograph courtesy of Wilderness Travel
PHILIPPINES
Summit to Sea

The Philippines has a PR problem. While it harbors as many islands as the Caribbean and some of the most spectacular reefs on the planet, the nation sees only a fraction of the visitors of nearby Thailand. Even travel companies, it seems, have bought the bad rap: Other than the occasional sea kayaking trip, U.S. guides have largely avoided the archipelago. But Wilderness Travel has finally gotten wise. This May the outfit will lead clients high into the 4,000-foot Cordillera Central, then deep into the world’s most biodiverse marine environment. The trip begins in Banaue, where travelers spend days hiking into terraced mountains and nights back at the town’s namesake hotel (pine cabins, private balconies, killer views). Then it’s down to the island of Cabilao, trading butterflies for fish� species of them. For the next five days, you’ll bob around reefs, scanning the area’s 350 varieties of coral (including table coral that’s a whopping nine feet wide). But don’t forget: The best snorkeling starts at dusk. “It’s like being in a train station during commuting hours,” says Barbara Banks, Wilderness Travel’s director of new trip development. “The day fish are moving out and the night creatures like octopuses and eels are moving in.”

Outfitter: Wilderness Travel; wildernesstravel.com
Price: $3,300 ($$)
Length: 12 days
Departs: May

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