We’re fast approaching Christmas, and if you still haven’t found the time to plan your holiday getaway yet, don’t fret. It’s never too late to start booking a memorable one. While the rates of plane tickets and hotel reservations to Europe or the US may have already been fully booked by now, you’re still abound with options to experience a white Christmas this year.
Instead of looking for a snow-filled destination, may we suggest you turn to exotic beaches with white, powdery sand instead? Something that Palawan — an archipelago of 1,780 beautiful islands in the Philippines — is renowned for. Its waters are also known to be among the clearest and bluest in the world.
This paradise may only be an hour and 30-minute flight away from Manila, but Palawan feels like a world away. Stunning teal waters teeming with colourful schools of fish swarming coral reefs surround the sparsely-populated archipelago of lagoons, coves, and secret beaches. From Coron to El Nido island, these crystal blue waters harmoniously blend with emerald green, jungle-filled mountains that appear to rise up from the ocean while small fishing villages dot the island.
Linapacan Island is sure to make divers never want to leave its famed diving spot, while Puerto Princesa’s longest underground navigable river in the world will leave adventurers in awe. Itching to go to the Philippines, now? We’ve rounded up 6 luxury resorts, spas, and even private islands that could just be the perfect venue for your dream tropical getaway.
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Find the perfect retreat in this private estate in Pamalican Island in the northeast part of Palawan. As in other parts of the Cuyo archipelago, the cerulean sky and turquoise sea merge at Amanpulo Luxury Resort, captivating the imagination with its expansive villas and the 42 beachfront, treetop, and hillside Casitas. It features a large spa with a yoga and meditation studio that is set on a hillside above the treetops.
Amanpulo Resort, Pamalican Island, Palawan, Philippines, +63 2 976 5200
Lagen Islands Resort is nestled between a lush four-hectare forest. The eco-sanctuary resort has the densest forest, home to a diverse variety of birds and mammals. Its forest trail leads to a rewarding view of one of the coves on the other side of the island. The 50-room property is made up of timber recycled from old Filipino homes for floors and furnishings, which evoke charm and quiet luxury.
Lagen Islands Resort, El Nino, Palawan, Philippines, +63 2 902 5980
Tucked away in Palawan’s northern part of Busuanga, Huma Island Resort & Spa is a private holiday retreat. Its unspoilt beauty is surrounded by islands and abundant marine life, scenic beaches, and natural greenery that also attract travellers from the world over. This exclusive hideaway has 81 villas and suites with six dining venues, an over-water spa complex, and a slew of recreational facilities.
Huma Island Resort & Spa, Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines, +63 2 553 0119
Find and enjoy a five-star luxury in this private island’s contemporary, environment-friendly design. Renting the Ariara property includes exclusive use of the entire island and the services of the owner’s personal staff. Its luxurious and spacious accommodation can entertain up to 18 guests at once. The rooms are situated along the main beach so expect fabulous uninterrupted views of the sea and the neighbouring islands.
Ariara Island, Palawan, Philippines, email at email@example.com
Dos Palmas Island Resort and Spa rests in one of the 16 islets of Arreceffi Island off Honda Bay, which is located in the northeast of Puerto Prinsesa — the capital city of Palawan. It offers a unique island experience that’s designed around its rich ecosystem of old-growth mangrove forests, grass beds and coral reefs. Don’t forget to feast on abundantly fresh and affordable seafood while you’re here.
Dos Palmas Island Resort & Spa, Arreceffi Island Resort Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan, Philippines, +63 2 637 4226
The Asian-themed architecture of Princesa Garden Island Resort & Spa’s villas perfectly blends with the beautiful nature of Palawan’s Puerto Princesa City. Aside from one-hour complimentary use of bicycles and non-motorized water sports facilities, resort guests also have access to its nine-hole mini golf course, entertainment centre, art village, and a seaside volleyball court.