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WINGS Birding Tours – Information


Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to the Philippines. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING THE PHILIPPINES : A passport valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure is required for United States citizens to enter the Philippines.  Citizens of other countries should check with their consulate/embassy for instructions. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour.

MAPS AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of Philippines in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on the Philippines here.

CLIMATE: The Philippines is hot and humid year-round. The weather pattern across the archipelago is complex, but can be roughly divided into the dry season (September to May) and the wet season (June to September). There is little seasonal variation in most places with average highs and lows of around 31°C (87°F) and 24°C (76°F) respectively. Between December and May, slightly cooler and drier conditions prevail. At Mount Kitanglad the daytime temperature ranges from about 70°F (mid-day) (mid-50s at night); while in the lowlands it reaches about 90°F.  Night time temperatures will be correspondingly higher, as well.  The humidity is quite high which may make it seem hotter.  Rainfall can be expected at any time in brief, heavy downpours.  Total annual rainfall averages between 200 and 260 cm (between 77 and 100 inches), and falls mostly from October to February.

HEALTH: Unless advised otherwise, all water including tap water is NOT potable, bottled water will be provided throughout the tour. In many cases however you can safely enjoy the salads, fresh fruit and vegetables. Your leader will advise. No vaccinations are required, however, cholera and yellow fever inoculations are required if you arrive within five days of departing from an infected area. Typhoid vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics in this region. There is no risk for yellow fever in the Philippines. Malaria is present and participants are strongly advised to take and seek the advice of their doctor with regard to the form of prophylactic to use. As standard travel precautions, you should always be up to date with tetanus shots, and strongly consider inoculations against Hepatitis types A and B.  We recommend participants contact their doctor for advice prior to departure.

PACE OF THE TOUR: The pace of this tour is fairly demanding.  Our leader, Susan, doesn’t believe in forced marches but there are sites where this is unavoidable. That said, the average distance covered being about 2-4 kms per “birding period”. Our pace is very slow, of course, but on some days we may walk up to four miles.  Since there is a lull in the bird activity in the middle of the afternoon, siestas are often scheduled.  The mornings will be early (as early as 5:45 AM departures from the hotel in some places).  Evening or early morning owling is offered where possible for those who want to participate.  Most of the trails are undulating, and somewhat steep uphill climbs are necessary in some places.  The leader will inform the group of trail conditions ahead of time so that if anyone wants to opt out, he or she has that opportunity.

ACCOMMODATION: We stay at small, pleasant boutique-style hotels where possible, with air conditioned rooms with private facilities and hot water showers. The accommodation at Mount Kitanglad is, out of necessity, very simple camping conditions.

DRESS: Informal throughout.

TRANSPORT: Land travel will be in an air-conditioned minibus and where necessary, due to road conditions, in 4WD vehicles. At PICOP, we will travel around the area by jeepney.

SMOKING: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any lodge, accommodation, or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive policy than the WINGS policy, that more restrictive policy will prevail.

GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONDITIONS: Please take a moment to read the WINGS General Information and Conditions. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours, and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for Tours to The Philippines will be sent to each registrant on receipt of booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Created: 08 November 2013