Nearly 8,000 islands make up the Philippines. Some – Boracay, Cebu – are classic paradises with white-sand beaches and lanky coconut palms throwing their shade across hammocks and bamboo bars. Others are remote and wild, carved with the limestone karsts of the Caramoan Peninsula or blooming in countless shades of green at the Hundred Islands. Diving meccas like Palawan and Coron draw the water lovers with resplendent coral gardens filled with whale sharks, turtles, zebrafish, puffers – the list goes on. Going off-piste means finding surf-mad Siargao or waterfall-splashing Siquijor. Sticking to the cities involves exploring age-stained Spanish missions and steamy Asian food markets. Cheap flights to the Philippines typically land in Manila, from where internal connections reach oodles of other islands.
At the tip of Palawan, this is a diving and partying hub. Days are about snorkeling in blue lagoons; nights are about sunset beers on the beach.
Swim with sea turtles, bronze yourself on cotton-colored beaches, and delve into carved canyons on the wondrous isle of Cebu.
Good vibes rule on laid-back Siargao, a place blessed with barreling surf waves and empty stretches of tropical coastline.