El Nido Resort is usually one of the first names to pop up when researching hotels in Palawan.
The string of boutique properties was one of the first luxury ventures to touch down in El Nido more than 30 years ago, when there were only a handful of modest beach bungalows in the area.
The most remote in the El Nido Resorts portfolio? Apulit Island.
Situated on the eastern coast of Palawan in lesser frequented Taytay Bay, this eco-adventure spot is surrounded by imposing limestone cliffs.
A vacation here offers an adrenaline-filled few days of diving — there’s a Japanese shipwreck just off the coast — snorkeling, cliff jumping, rock climbing, rappelling, spelunking, snorkeling and island hopping.
Built on stilts, the 50 over-water cottages promise unobstructed sea views and easy access to the turquoise water below.
Most travelers budget at least a week to enjoy the area, due to the lengthy trip.
Plan for a one-hour flight from Manila to El Nido, followed by a 1.5-hour drive east, and an hour-long boat transfer.
Hidden away in the southeastern Bicol Region of the Philippines, Ticao Island Resort enjoys a long stretch of sand all to itself.
It’s a well-earned reward after a long trip. To reach the island outpost, expect an hourlong flight to Legazpi City from Manila, followed by a 1.5-hour drive and a 2-hour outrigger boat ride.
Upon arrival, guests quickly settle into the laid-back island life thanks to full-board rates and nearly all-inclusive activities.
The beachfront cabanas and rustic surrounds are perfect for back-to-basics getaways — picture simply appointed thatched roof huts, breezy decks, an open-air restaurant and uninterrupted ocean views.
Thanks to the manta ray and whale shark populations nearby, the address has developed a reputation for its diving classes and tours.
One of the hotel’s partners is also the founder of the Manta Bowl dive site. Ideal for experienced divers, the site is like an underwater ride thanks to a current that pulls divers through the water alongside fevers of rays.
Back on land, Ticao Island Resort offers a full roster of activities, including jungle treks, horseback riding, billiards, darts and outings to nearby Mayon Volcano.
The address conveniently sits opposite the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary, which makes for easy snorkeling and diving excursions.
Emphasizing health and wellness, Atmosphere comes fully equipped with a gluten-free and vegan-friendly bakery, daily yoga classes by the beach and a secret garden-like spa where treatment pavilions are surrounded by waterfalls.
The destination is relaxing, but getting here takes some effort.
To reach the resort, travelers fly into Dumaguete airport — about an hour-long flight south of Manila — followed by a 40-minute drive.
A recently opened resort on its own outlying island — off the coast of El Nido in Palawan — Cauayan Resort aims to attract a well-heeled crowd.
To reach the private island resort, travelers typically fly from Manila to El Nido, followed by a 15-minute transfer to the port and a 30-minute boat ride.
The stylish resort offers a mix of private villas, a few scattered around a lagoon and the rest right on the beach, where baby whale sharks swim freely.
Each of the 24 bungalows is decked out with teak wood, king-sized beds and rain showers, while the Grand Cauayan Pool Villa features two bedrooms and a private pool.
Aside from the bamboo bungalows and some wooden steps, Cauayan Island is still an untouched tropical jungle, so expect back-to-nature experiences with insects, birds, and unexpected animal encounters.
To make the most of its location in scenic Bacuit Bay, the hotel runs daily island hopping outings, which may include stops at the aptly named Secret and Hidden beaches nearby, as well as the iconic Big and Small lagoons, accessible by kayak.
This is the place for carefree island vibes and a stretch of empty sand.
Dedon Island is a remote outpost on Siargao Island in the far south of the archipelago, about a five-hour trip from Manila via Cebu, followed by a 40-minute ride in the hotel’s jeepney bus.
The luxurious retreat offers all-inclusive rates, so you can spend your time sipping sundowners rather than counting coins.
From open-air pavilions to coconut tree groves, frangipani gardens, a hidden treehouse, romantic day beds and bird’s nest woven chairs, it seems every detail has been designed to celebrate the area’s natural beauty.
The upscale address is also a favorite among well-to-do surfing enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to Cloud 9 — a break in the Philippine Deep trench known for picture-perfect tubes.
Can’t balance on a board? No to worry — there’s a wide lineup of activities, including deep-sea fishing, kayaking, wakeboarding, island hopping, biking and relaxing evenings at the outdoor cinema.