the-best-philippines-islands:-a-local’s-guide-to-the-10-prettiest-islands

The Best Philippines Islands: A Local’s Guide To The 10 Prettiest Islands

Referred to as the Pearl of the Orient by those who’ve visited and loved the Philippines, this archipelago in Southeast Asia has so much to offer to those looking to find a slice of tropical escapism. This rich, biodiverse country is made up of 7,641 islands (depending on the tide) – and to our minds, is one of the most alluring destinations on the planet. 

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    1. Boracay, Aklan

    Boracay Island is hailed as having the best beach in the world across countless reader polls – this is the Philippines’ most famous island for a reason. Famous though it may be, the caster-sugar beaches, crystal waters and vivid sunsets make it well worth a stop-off. Unlike some of the smaller, more off-grid isles, Boracay has some sensational places to stay, too – ranging from rustic boltholes to grand spots from the likes of Shangri-La.

    While the best-known White Beach may be a tad overcrowded for some, check out the island’s less-hyped beaches for an experience away from the hordes. Bolabog Beach is set on a quieter side of the coast and is well-loved by Boracay’s kitesurfing community. Here, you can watch hundreds of colourful kites light up the sky – all the better while sipping a Pineapple Mint shake at the Banana Bay, Bolabog’s best-kept boutique hotel.

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    2. Siargao, Surigao del Norte

    The once sleepy surf town of Siargao has grown in popularity over recent years and, in 2019, was voted as the best island in the world by Condé Nast Traveller readers. With giant barrel-shaped waves, Siargao is the Philippines’ surf capital – but there’s plenty to occupy those who aren’t taking to the waves, too. This tear-shaped island is dotted with hidden lagoons, magical rock pools, gigantic national parks and protected dive sites.

    Naked Island, Guyam Island and Daku Island are three of the immaculate islets you can visit in Siargao. Naked Island is a completely uninhabited sand bar that disappears with the tide, while Guyam Island is a small tropical atoll covered by a handful of palm trees that you can cross in 50 steps. Daku Island, meanwhile, is our favourite for the handful of delicious seafood restaurants run by locals. Siargao also has a reputation as one of the Philippines’ most notorious party islands, with wild, joyful raves a nightly occurrence in many of the local bars.

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    3. El Nido, Palawan

    Comprising 45 islands, El Nido is one of the most biodiverse archipelagos in the Philippines. Characterised by limestone formations and aquamarine lagoons, the landscape is as close as possible to what comes to mind when one conjures up images of the Philippines.

    El Nido Resorts, which has three outstanding hotels in Miniloc, Lagen and Pangalusian Islands, is your best bet for a truly superb stay – charter private ‘bangkas’, or wooden boats, to visit El Nido’s many natural sites such as the picturesque Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, Seven Commandos Beach, and Snake Island.

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