Travel restrictions are starting to ease once again, but not everyone is willing or ready to face the risks and deal with the extra requirements and expense of COVID testing at this time purely for leisure travel.
For those who can’t leave their house, immersive and interactive virtual tours offer a taste of travel in the safety of one’s home.
Here’s a roundup of some unique locally-offered virtual field trips and online tours ideal for families with residents below 18 and over 65, and just about anyone looking for something interesting to do to spice up weekends at home.
Big Binondo Food Wok: Virtual Edition by Old Manila Walks
For those who miss food-tripping in Binondo, here’s a fun food tour you can enjoy at home.
Old Manila Walks founder Ivan Man Dy recently launched a virtual edition of his cultural-culinary walking tour that takes visitors all around Manila’s Chinatown.
The online tour now held via Zoom provides an alternative way for foodies and history enthusiasts to experience the popular Binondo Food Wok tour and learn about the most fascinating details about Binondo’s 400-year-old heritage community.
The virtual meet includes a specially-curated package of Tsinoy goodies for participants to snack on while they learn all about the history of Binondo Church (Basilica de San Lorenzo Ruiz), Ongpin Street, local specialty restaurants and shops, and the Carvajal Alley Market.
An assortment of goodies like lumpia, kikiam, stir-fried noodles and more are delivered to the homes of participants a few hours before the Zoom meet. The participants are also treated to a bit of history about the restaurants and the food in their package.
The virtual food tour fee is priced at P1,950/head + delivery. For inquiries, message Old Manila Walks on their Facebook page.
Rizal at 160 Virtual Field Trip by The Ayala Museum
In celebration of Jose Rizal’s 160th birth anniversary, Ayala Museum is holding virtual field trips for kids aged 9-12 years old this coming June 19.
Participants will virtually explore places from Rizal’s childhood and discover the significance of his life using objects, artifacts and photos from the Ayala Mseum and Filipinas Heritage Library collection.
Ayala Museum is currently offering two Rizal-themed tours.
Part 1 covers Rizal’s Childhood and Early Education, where participants can learn more about the national hero’s early adventures and achievements as a young student.
Part 2 covers Rizal’s Travels and Legacy, where visitors can learn more about Rizal’s travel abroad, his famous writings and the reasons he is considered a hero.
The season pass costs P1,300 for two tours or P750 for regular tour. A discounted fee of P600 is being offered for AGC Employees, Ayala Museum Members and ARC Cardholders.
Where in the Philippines is Sam San Mateo? by Mystery Manila
Last December, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched a gamified virtual tour of the Philippines titled “Where in the Philippines is Sam San Mateo?”, an online mystery tour of the Philippines.
For the project, the DOT partnered with Mystery Manila, who designed the gameplay of the virtual tour. The game involves actual tour guides who are stationed in select destinations across the country and will lead the game through video streaming.
Players can interact with locals through the live tour guides, participate in local activities, and contribute to choices that will affect the tour’s outcome, creating an unreplicable and unique experience.
You can also book a private game for your family and friends. Book private games here.
Allies for Fredom Virtual Tour by Bambike EcoTours
Bike tour provider Bambike Ecotours is taking its award-winning Intramuros Experience into the digital age in the form of virtual field trips for students and teachers all around the country.
Bambike has launched a Filipino Heritage eLearning Kickstarter project to bring immersive educational content to public school students for free.
The guided bamboo bike tours are being transformed into immersive 360 degree virtual tours that can be embedded with tools used for eLearning. Their goal is to make the content available to all public school teachers and students for free.
Their first virtual tour, Allies for Freedom, a special photography exhibit located at the American Barracks in Fort Santiago, Intramuros is now up and running. This is just a proof of concept and a "practice run" for the full Intramuros Experience virtual tour and virtual field trip for eLearning.
Trese-themed online tour and more by Wander Manila
Tour group Wander Manila now offers several online versions of their popular walking tours held via Zoom or Google Meet covering a variety of topics that allow participants to discover or rediscover Manila from the safety of their homes.
All online tours are true audiovisual experiences, incorporating videos, pictures, and audio onto the presentation for an engaging and interesting experience.
The Manila History Talk relates the history of Manila from pre-colonial times to the modern era. Hola Intramuros talks about the Spanish Colonial period, using Intramuros as the backdrop. The Commonwealth Tour delves into the American influence in Manila, though the context of the heritage structures. Stories From The War covers the key events leading to the Battle of Manila and its horrible aftermath.
The highly successful Halloween-themed One Night in Intramuros is also available for private online sessions. The online dark history tour of Intramuros focuses on the more macabre stories and events that happened within its walls.
Wander Manila’s tour fees costs P3,000 per session with a cap of 15 participants per private online tour.
With Netflix’s Trese adaptation coming soon on Netflix, viewers might also be interested in checking out the online tour of Through the Dragon Gate, which premiered on Facebook on YouTube last September 2020. This unique Trese-themed online tour, which you can watch for free below, takes audiences to some of Metro Manila’s iconic places that were inspired by some of the stories in Trese comics.
(Banner/thumbnail images via Old Manila Walks, Bambike & Netflix)