Credit: The Luxe Nomad
February 2018

image credit:

Incredible marine life. Azure blue waters. Powder-like sandy beaches. Tilted palm trees. If that isn’t a picture of paradise, we don’t know what is. With a total of 7107 idyllic islands catering to everyone from backpackers to the most discerning of travellers, it’s a wonder why more people don’t visit the Philippines! If you want to party like a rockstar, there’s an island for that. Surf with the pros? Swim with the biggest fish in the world? Go deep-sea fishing? Or, our favourite: do nothing at all. Here are our picks of the best islands in Philippines!

Days 1-3: Palawan

El Nido

image credit: Pinterest

Make the main archipelago of Palawan your base for the first part of your trip – transport is easy to find, and some of the most beautiful islands are waiting off its coastline. Fly into Puerto Princesa airport from Manila, then hop on a shuttle to El Nido, at the tip of the Palawan archipelago. Here you’ll find towering marble cliffs, white sand beaches (there are about 50 to choose from) and over 30 dive sites with water so clear you can see fishes swimming several meters below the surface. Scenes of Bourne Legacy were shot here, as were parts of The Amazing Race – and if it’s good enough for Jason Bourne, it’s good enough for us!


A short 25-minute boat ride off the coast of El Nido is Pangulasian Island, also known as the ‘Island of the Sun’ for its breathtaking views of both the sunrise and sunset. We wouldn’t mind being stranded at this small and exclusive (just the way we like it) slice of heaven – decadent luxury villas await with surreal views of the South China Sea. It’s also a fully equipped PADI Resort Center so you could spend your days exploring the underwater world.


image credit:

The next day, take a ferry to Coron – you can choose between the fast ferry, which takes three to four hours, or the larger passenger liner which can take up to eight. Coron is the third-largest island in the Calamian Islands in northern Palawan, with so many treasures to offer. Pack your snorkelling equipment and hiking boots – this is one for the explorers! It is as beautiful as it is mysterious: jagged rocky terrains meet lush flora meet turquoise waters – there’s the sea and then there are the lakes. The stars are Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda. The former is protected by mountain walls while the latter offers unique layers of fresh, salt and brackish water and dramatic temperature shifts, which also means the marine life is diverse and lively.

Day 4: Luzon

image credit:

Fly from Palawan up north to Luzon Island, where Bicol awaits. Located in the southernmost tip of Luzon Island, Bicol needs to be on your bucket list (if it isn’t already) for this: swimming with whale sharks. For centuries, fishermen have feared the whale sharks that gather in the waters off the coast of Bicol, thinking they’re as threatening as their carnivorous relatives. But after marine experts clarified, a ban was imposed on killing whale sharks and instead of being feared, they’ve become protected and respected sea dwellers. Only small groups are allowed at any one time to swim with them. Forget your scuba equipment – the sharks are spooked by the noise of bubbles so you’ll only need your snorkels (and an underwater camera)!

Day 5: Boracay

image credit:

Want to get your party rockin’? Boracay is your island. Just a one-hour plane journey from Luzon, this is a paradise of white, powdery sands and crystal clear waters. With plenty of options when it comes to dining and dancing, happy hours here start early and end late into the wee hours of the morning (we’ll toast to that)! Need a break from partying? There’s a calmer side to Boracay too, with secluded strips of sand, coves, and cliffs.

Bonus: The private islands

image credit:

If you’ve still got an appetite for islands after that round trip, schedule in a special treat: a trip to one (or two) of the Philippines’ luxe private islands. Charter a helicopter from Manila to Ariara and enjoy the whole island to yourself. This remote and unspoiled private-island retreat has four spacious cottages, all with jaw-dropping views of the ocean. Go scuba diving, windsurfing, wakeboarding or have a massage and fall asleep by the beach.

Or hop on a private plane to Pamalican, where exclusive resort Amanpulo awaits. It’s the only resort on the island, with five-star amenities and services. You can relax on the white sands or enjoy a host of watersports – scuba diving, windsurfing and sailing, to start with – or stay landbound and explore the beautiful surrounds with guided nature walks. And when you're done for the day, sit down to a meal of local seafood, cooked with island-grown herbs and vegetables. Pure white sand, rich marine life and beautiful reefs – here, the shoes come off and stay off.


Select country :