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Why settle for a beachfront hotel when you can stay right over the ocean in a cottage on stilts? And why settle for any old dive site when you can snorkel in an orchid-walled lagoon? El Nido is known as the Philippines' last frontier, and if you're looking for magnificent beaches in an unspoiled setting, it's a perfect place for you to vacation.
Palawan is a slice of heaven, a sliver of an island that teems with exotic wildlife, quaint fishing villages, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Wave hello to endangered animals at the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary or explore the Japanese shipwrecks of Coron Island, regarded as one of the best dive sites in the world. A guided boat tour of the Puerto Princesa Underground River will take your breath away.
From the cosmopolitan metropolis of Cebu City and the white-sand beaches of Mactan to the electric-blue waters of Kawasan Falls and the whale sharks of Oslob, it’s easy to see why Cebu Island is one of the Philippines’ top destinations.
Want to make your co-workers insanely jealous? Just casually drop "I’m vacationing in the Maldives this year" into conversation, preferably in the dead of winter. Or better yet, go there without mentioning it to anyone—then send them a "Wish you were here!" postcard.
The biggest island in the Philippines, Luzon is also one of the most diverse—it’s where mountain peaks and volcanoes meet miles of coastline, and indigenous culture melds with Spanish colonial history. You can relax at the beach in Pagudpud, hike with locals up the Batad Rice Terraces, ride in a horse-drawn carriage in Vigan, and snack on street food and dance the night away in Manila. You’ll need a few days and a bus pass, but you’ll be glad you stayed.