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Remote Philippines

4th - 24th March 2018


Leader: Mark Villa (Bohol, Negros, Cebu, Mindoro, Tablas) and Pete Simpson (Camiguin and Mindanao)

Max group size: 4


Day 1:
International arrivals into Manila with the option of an evening visit to look for Philippine Eagle Owl a few hours outside of the city in the evening. Night at Sulo Riviere Hotel, Quezon City.

Day 2:
Morning visit to La Mesa Ecopark in Quezon City where the main attraction is the resident Ashy Thrushes but Lowland White-eye, Grey-backed Tailorbird and Philippine Magpie Robin are usually present. Afternoon flight to Cebu City for an overnight stay.

Day 3:
Morning birding at Tabunan Forest on Cebu looking for Cebu Boobook pre-dawn, then Black Shama, Cebu (Streak-breasted) Bulbul, White-vented Whistler and others. In the afternoon take the fast ferry across to the neighbouring island of Bohol which is most famous for its ‘Chocolate Hills’, a bizarre geological formation of more than 1200 hills, but which has an exciting set of endemics too. Night at Simply Butterflies Resort.

Days 4-5:
We have two full days within Rajah Sikatuna National Park which protects the most extensive forests on Bohol. There is excellent birding on a network of trails where we might hope to find all major targets; Visayan Wattled Broadbill, Yellow-breasted Tailorbird, Black-crowned Babbler, ‘Samar Hornbill’ which is split from the birds on Mindanao by some authorities, and the recently split Bohol Sunbird and Visayan Blue Fantail. There will be plenty more to keep us entertained and this is an excellent place to see the likes of Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher, Streaked Ground Babbler, Rufous-lored Kingfisher, Amethyst Brown Dove and Steere’s Pitta. At night we will try to find Philippine Frogmouth and the Everett’s Scops Owl, a recent split from the former Philippine Scops Owl. Nights at Simply Butterflies Resort.

Day 6:
After a final morning within Rajah Sikatuna National Park looking for any missing species we take the fast ferry to Dumaguete in southern Negros which will be our base for the next 3 nights at Residencia Al Mar hotel.

Days 7-9:
We have two and a half days to bird at various sites in the Dumaguete area.
A whole suite of endemics await us; Visayan Hornbill, Visayan Shama, Visayan Fantail, Visayan Brown Dove, Visayan Tailorbird, Visayan Balicassiao, White-winged Cuckooshrike, Maroon-naped and Magnificent Sunbirds, Black-belted Flowerpecker and at night Negros Scops Owl. The spectacular but localized Flame-templed Babbler is a big target and the rare Yellow-faced Flameback is possible. We will always be on the look-out for the rare Visayan Rhabdornis which sometimes sits up on open branches in the early morning. On one day we ascend the slopes of Mount Talinis which is one of a very few places on Negros where we can find the islands only true endemic; Negros Striped Babbler and the local form of White-browed Shortwing which is a likely future split. On the afternoon of day 9 we drive north to Bacolod for an overnight stay at L’Fisher Hotel.

Day 10:
We will spend much of the day at Gawahon Ecopark where we will target two species rarely seen elsewhere; White-throated Jungle Flycatcher and Southern Indigo-banded Kingfisher but we also have a good chance of finding the spectacular Flame-templed Babbler and other commoner visayan endemics like Black-belted Flowerpecker. Afternoon or early evening flight from Bacolod to Manila for an overnight stay at the Midas Hotel, Manila.

Day 11:
Early morning flight to San Jose (0605/0700), Mindoro then transfer to Sablayan. After lunch, the rest of the day will be spent birding within Sablayan Penal Colony. We will begin our searches for the islands endemics and also remain after nightfall to search the forest edge for Mindoro Boobook. Night in Sablayan.

Day 12:
Full day birding at Sablayan Penal Colony. The penal colony has some of the last remaining forest on the island and here we will hope to find Scarlet-collared Flowerpecker, Mindoro Hornbill and Black-hooded Coucal. We will also expect to find the Mindoro Bulbul, a cryptic member of the former ‘Philippine Bulbul’ complex, and the recently split Mindoro Racquet-tail. We will also have a chance of several tricky Philippine endemics that are now easier to find here than elsewhere in the islands such as Spotted Imperial Pigeon, Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeon and Black-bibbed Cicadabird. Night in Sablayan.

Day 13:
Today we return first to Manila (5J514, 0740/0830), connecting with our flight to Tablas (1130/1240) and transfer directly to our base at the sleepy town of San Agustin. In the afternoon we begin our birding and make our first attempts to see the recently described endemic Romblon Boobook, with a good chance of Mantanani Scops Owl too. Night in San Agustin.

Day 14:
Full day birding within the Dubduban Watershed, the only substantial remaining patch of forest on the island. We will be looking out in particular for the island endemics; Tablas Bulbul, Tablas Fantail and the spectacular lyre-tailed Tablas Drongo. Night in San Agustin.

Day 15:
Another morning birding in the watershed either securing better views of species already seen or looking for other Philippine endemics with Dimorphic Kingfisher, Yellow-breasted Fruit Dove, Blue-crowned Racquet-tail and Rufous-lored Kingfisher all present. In the afternoon we take the flight back to Manila (1300/14/10) for an overnight stay at the Midas Hotel, Manila.

Day 16:
Fly from Manila via Cebu (0050/0610) to the small volcanic island of Camiguin Sur, a surprising hotbed of endemism. Full day birding on Camiguin. Night at the Paras Beach Resort.

Day 17:
We have a full day on the island searching for the island endemic Camiguin Hanging Parrot but also making sure to see ‘Camiguin’ Yellowish Bulbul and distinctive taxa of Black-naped Monarch and Yellowish White-eye. Dimorphic Dwarf Kingfisher is not uncommon on the island and at night we will look for the recently described Camiguin Boobook. Night at the Paras Beach Resort.

Day 18:
After any final birding on Camiguin if required we take a ferry back to the main island of Mindanao and travel south to the Compostella Valley for a two-night stay.

Day 19:
We spend all day at a site in the mountains of the Compostella Valley, the most accessible site known to search for Lina’s Sunbird which is pleasantly common, and the secretive Dark-eared Brown Dove. Mindanao Lorikeet is present although speedy fly-overs are typical along with the ultra-skulking Bagobo Babbler, surprisingly showy Long-tailed Bush Warblers and a vocally distinct form of McGregor’s Cuckooshrike. If the weather allows night-time birding then Mindanao Scops Owl, Chocolate Boobook, Giant Scops Owl, Everett’s Scops Owl and Philippine Frogmouth are all present. Night at Compostella Valley.

Day 20:
A final morning birding in the Compostella Valley if needed before driving south to Davao in the afternoon for an overnight stay on the slopes of Mount Apo. Night at Eden Resort.

Day 21:
Early morning birding near Eden resort for two difficult Mindanao endemics; Whiskered Flowerpecker and Cryptic Flycatcher, and we will try our best to visit a Philippine Eagle nesting site if an accessible one is in the area. In the evening we fly back to Manila to connect with international departures.


Tour Photo Albums

Remote Philippines, 2013

Remote Philippines custom, April-May 2016

Remote Philippines, 2011