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Remote Philippines

3rd – 20th February 2019


Leaders: Rob Hutchinson (Mindoro, Negros, Bohol) and Pete Simpson (Camiguin and Mindanao)

Max group size: 7

Day 1: 
International arrivals into Manila International Airport. Night at Henry Hotel, Manila.

Day 2: 
Early morning flight to San Jose, 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 3:
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 Cuckooshrike. Night in Sablayan.

Day 4: 
Return to San Jose early morning to connect with our flight back to Manila and continue to Bacolod in northwest Negros for an overnight stay at L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod.

Day 5: 
Morning at nearby Gawahon Ecopark targeting two species rarely seen elsewhere; White-throated Jungle Flycatcher and Southern Indigo-banded Kingfisher although both are extremely difficult. We also have a good chance of finding the spectacular Flame-templed Babbler and other commoner visayan endemics like Black-belted Flowerpecker. And Visayan Fantail. After our morning birding we drive south to Dumaguete for a three-night stay at at Residencia Al Mar Hotel.

Days 6-7: 
We have two full days to explore various sites near Dumaguete with a whole suite of endemics awaiting 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. If ot already seen, then Flame-templed Babbler is a big target and the rare Yellow-faced Flameback is possible. There will also be more opportunities to see Visayan Balicassiao, Visayan Fantail and other nice species such as White-vented Whistler, a local form of Yellowish White-eye, Lemon-throated Leaf Warbler, Blue-crowned Racquet-tail, Pink-bellied Imperial Pigeon and Philippine Needletail. We should also look out for the rare Visayan Rhabdornis which sometimes sits up on open branches in the early morning, and there are further opportunities for Black-belted Flowerpecker in the lowlands. On one day we ascend the steep 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, with the local form of White-browed Shortwing which is surely a future armchair split. Nights at Residencia Al Mar Hotel, Dumaguete.

Day 8:
We should have a few hours to seek out any remaining targets before we take the fast ferry across to the neighbouring island of Bohol. Upon arrival we head inland to our quaint accommodation at ‘Simply Butterflies’ in the centre of the island which is conveniently located close to Rajah Sikatuna Natural Park (RSNP), our focal point for the coming days.

Days 9-10:
We have two full days to explore the 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 with mixed feeding flocks, Yellow-breasted Tailorbird, Black-crowned Babbler, Samar Hornbill, 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, Short-billed and Amethyst Brown Dove, Black-bibbed Cicadabird and Steere’s Pitta. At night we will try to find Philippine Frogmouth and Everett’s Scops Owl. Nights at Simply Butterflies, Bilar.

Day 11:
We have a final morning within RSNP looking for any remaining targets, before taking the ferry across to nearby Cebu for an overnight stay at the Henry Hotel, Cebu City.

Day 12:
Take an early morning flight to the small volcanic island of Camiguin Sur which lies off the north coast of Mindanao and is a surprising hotbed of endemism. We spend the remainder of the day birding on the island, staying after dark to look for the recently described Camiguin Boobook. Night at the Paras Beach resort.

Day 13:
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. Night at the Paras Beach resort.

Day 14:
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, where we will base ourselves for 2 nights at the Cocos Hotel.

Day 15:
A full day at higher altitudes within the Compostella Valley where Lina’s Sunbird is the main target. Mindanao Brown Dove is present but usually difficult to see and other possibilities include Mindanao Lorikeet, the extremely skulking Bagobo Babbler, and interesting forms of McGregor’s Cuckooshrike and Long-tailed Bush Warbler. We will look for Bukidnon Woodcock at dusk and Mindanao and Giant Scops Owls are present. Night at the Cocos Hotel.

Day 16:
After a final morning in the Compostella Valley we travel south to the foothills of Mount Apo for an overnight stay at the Eden Resort.

Day 17:
This area is the easiest place to find two very scarce and localised Mindanao endemics, namely Whiskered Flowerpecker and Cryptic Flycatcher, and these will be our main targets before returning to Manila for an overnight stay at the Henry Hotel.

Day 18:
International departures from Manila.


Tour Photo Albums

Remote Philippines, 2013

Remote Philippines custom, April-May 2016

Remote Philippines, 2011