Escape to Paradise – Best of The Philippines

Published 02 March 2017   

The remote archipelago is as vast as it is diverse. Picking the crème de la crème out of over seven thousand idyllic islands can get even the most intrepid adventurer overwhelmed! You can totally pull off the Robinson Crusoe here, as most of the islands are still relatively unexplored, or you can dive into the madness of the capital Manila. With limited time, we narrowed it down to two of the most rewarding destinations to get the taste of what the Philippines has to offer. You can explore until you drop.

Text & Photos : Veronika K.


World famous White Beach. Seven kms of the softest white powdery sand.

Boracay Island

Despite having a reputation of being too touristy, Boracay can be extremely rewarding for both thrill and quiet seekers. The big reason to go would be the most spectacular 4km stretch of the whitest, glistening powdery sand we’ve ever set our feet on, aka The White Beach.

It is often voted the best beach in Asia and for a good number of reasons. Fringed with swaying palm trees and colorful outrigger boats floating on the surface of a crystal clear water – it doesn’t get more postcard perfect than that. Here you can do as little or as much as you want. Just kick back, bake in the sun and do absolutely nothing or choose from a plethora of water activities. We totally fell for (and often fell off) stand up paddle boarding – it’s a great way to explore the pristine coast by water and get core strengthening activity all in one.
At night, the sleepy beach comes alive – you’ll find everything from cozy cafes and various restaurants, to funky bars that stay open till the wee hours. Do not miss out on having a feast at a famous seafood dinner at the boisterous D’Talipapa night market.


Shangri-La Resort’s private beach. The water here is crystal clear and turquoise.

Over on the other side of the island, there is Bulabog Beach – absolute paradise for water sports fanatics. It is a world-class wind & kite surfing destination. In the high season the beach turns into a colorful panorama of sails; on an average busy day you can count as many as two hundred!

WHERE TO STAY

Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa

The majestic resort sits in a huge, lush, tropical eco-reserve and offers an ideal island abode in your private slice of paradise! Situated on the cliff on the northern-most side of the island, it is famous for its unparalleled Filipino hospitality, impeccable service and luxe comfort all rolled into one.


The majestic Shangri-La resort from a bird’s eye perspective.

Designed in their hallmark elegant style, Shangri-La provides a perfect antidote to the wild, enticing nigthlife of Boracay; perfect for those who seek solitude and relaxation in a peaceful idyllic setting.

But worry not, there is a lot more to do here than just work on your tan on the softest white sand at one of the two private beaches. Explore the preserved corals and reefs on a popular Snorkeling Safari, or opt for anything from kayaking, parasailing to deep sea diving.

Healthy lifestyle pursuers will rejoice at the Tai-Chi, Yoga or Aqua Fit classes. Or perhaps you fancy a game of ping-pong? The possibilities at Shangri-La are literally endless.

Indulge in special bespoke private dinners either on Shangri-La’s gorgeous beach, the Sea Pavilion or your very own villa. Seafood is a speciality and they’ve got the freshest catch ready to land on your plate ready every. Watch a famous red golden sunset at the Sirena restaurant perched atop the cliff, where they serve succulent seafood with sweeping sea views on the side.


Shangri-La’s elegant master bedroom with a breathtaking view from the cliff top villa.

If you feel like exploring the most hectic part of Boracay along with the world famous White Beach, they make it as easy as 1,2,3 with their free shuttle service running every hour there and back.

After a day full of adventures, don’t forget to book in for a treatment at the Chi Spa, for an ultimate massage experience. The complex features ten private villas, each equipped with its own bathing facilities, a steam room and a tropical garden. Get pampered amidst the calm of verdant greenery and let the professional therapists rejuvenate both your body and mind.

Bohol Island

Until recently relatively undiscovered, Bohol Island offers not just beach fun, but also heaps of adventures inland. Famous for its iconic Chocolate Hills – an unusual formation of over 1000+ dome shaped rolling peaks. In the dry season, the grass covering the tops dries up and turns brown, hence the name.


Chocolate Hills with over one thousand conic hills stretching as far as the horizon.

The world’s smallest (and cutest) primate – the Philippino Tarsier – also calls this island home. Its signature bulging eyes make the Tarsier look like it is permanently bewildered. This tiny creature is only endemic to Bohol and the only other place where you can spot them is Indonesian island of Sulawesi. A fun fact: the master Yoda character from Star Wars was based on this miniature primate.


Philippino Tarsier. The smallest primate in the world.

For a lot of beach fun and some serious underwater action – crowds now flock to Panglao Island. It is connected with the main island by a handy bridge and is popular for its varied aquatic menu. Its coasts are ideal for whale & dolphin watching, diving with schools of jack fish or snorkeling – with its abundance of spectacular coral reef formations – Panglao aquamarine waters will make you feel like you are swimming in a tropical aquarium.

WHERE TO STAY:

Panglao Island

Definitely make Panglao Island your base – there is a funky traveler scene with a pretty stretch of white sand nearby, called Alona Beach. It is dotted with cute little cafes and seafood restaurants. Make it a point to walk towards the southernmost end of the beach; there is an amazing viewing spot, perched up top a small cliff. There are a few basic homestays on Alona beach and one big, yet pretty uninspiring resort. The options here are still quite limited as the island is still recovering from a damaging earthquake in 2013.


Alona Beach. Take a snorkelling trip to the nearby idyllic islets.

WHERE TO EAT:

Don’t miss out on the local gem – Buzzzzz Café

It is a simple, but delicious experience. Try their interesting smorgasbord of organic delights. They combine the freshest ingredients to create unusual offerings not often found on the market.


Loboc man-made Forest. Explore Bohol island’s tropical interior.

They also own the famous Bohol Bee farm with a family run resort, and despite it being neither luxurious, nor exactly boutique, it is still probably your best bet in Bohol; clean, direct beachfront and with the bonus of having the café right on the premises. They’ve got a small shop downstairs and a café upstairs. Sit back, relax, order a latte and an organic feast, and watch the Bohol life pass you by.

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