Stretching from the south of China to the northern tip of Borneo, this archipelago of over seven-thousand islands lies scattered across a brilliantly coloured tropical palette of stunning seascapes. Encircled by the clearest and warmest ocean waters, the islands range from tiny islets, boasting scarcely more than a beach and a few palm trees, to awesome landscapes of towering mountain peaks, vast rice terraces, and lush, green jungles.
The Filipino people are the product of a colourful cocktail of races and traditions (there are 111 ethnic and linguistic groups), out of which has been moulded a unique culture. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that the Philippines can now claim to be the third largest English-speaking country in the world. Inevitably, given the scale and geography of the Philippines, only a glimpse of their many dimensions is possible on an escapist holiday, orientated towards enjoying the remote island surroundings of our luxurious hideaway offering, Amanpulo.
When on a luxury holiday to the Philippines with Creed Solutions, an overnight stop in Manila may be necessary. Alternatively, as the flight between Hong Kong and Manila is only one hour and fifteen minutes long, why not consider combining a short stay in Hong Kong with Amanpulo?
The islands of Bohol and Panglao dovetail perfectly, combining natural splendor, relaxation and buzzing local life. Base yourself in Panglao, its strips of powder-soft sand fabulous for sun-seekers and its beaches studded with a great selection of bars and restaurants serving authentic food and drink.
A hop over to Bohol is a must, for it’s the land of adventure, where forested peaks, rice fields and sleepy villages cover its interior. Sitting right at its heart are the otherworldly Chocolate Hills, a mysterious collection of mounds that are lush green in the summer and brown in the dry season – hence the name! You might spot the miniature bug-eyed Philippine tarsier clinging on to trees, the wildlife jewel of the island, while out and about either exploring on foot or kayaking along the jungle-fringed rivers.
With a 4km stretch of sand called White Beach, the island of Boracay doesn’t disguise its beauty in exotic names. White by name and beautifully white by nature, the sand on Boracay is so soft it squeaks between your toes – the perfect spot for daytime lounges and relaxing evening strolls. The turquoise sea that laps it promises pristine snorkelling and diving, while blue-sailed boats bob on the surface. The nightlife here is the heartbeat of the island, one which is charming rather than tacky, while boutique shops and cafés tease you down snug alleyways for a taste of local life.
You can’t take a trip to the Philippines and not visit Palawan, for its islands of Coron and El Nido form a mesmerizing chain of limestone karsts so sublime our own travel fantasies would struggle to conjure up something so staggering. This landscape rivals anything found in Halong Bay, just here you’ll likely only be joined by far fewer tourists. Every angle you see from is impressive – on the beach, aboard a boat or below the waves, its vivid coral gardens and marine life a haven for snorkelers and divers. It’s no surprise that the islands, which form part of the Bacuit Archipelago, are often voted as some of the world’s finest.
Located on the south-eastern corner of the island of Negros, Negros Oriental is a paradise for divers. Renowned Apo Island lies a short boat ride away, where coral-encrusted walls, a house reef and astounding ocean life combine for an impressive display of the natural world. Negros Oriental has lots for non-divers as well, with lakes, rugged peaks and delightful towns making a wander of the island’s interior worthwhile.
If the rest of the Philippines is rarely a feature of many people’s holiday plans to Southeast Asia, then Siargao falls right off the map. A tiny teardrop-shaped isle, Siargao is a completely remote escape where you’re enveloped by nature and the gorgeous beaches are all yours. Surfing is a big part of the island’s culture but beyond it lies a mix of secluded pools, caves and coral reefs. For a luxury base from which to explore, Nay Palad Hideaway is an intimate retreat that feels more like a family home, with every detail from the food to the activities you try tailored to your liking.
Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccinations are currently recommended and the Philippines is deemed to have a risk of Malaria and the Zika virus. If you’re entering the Philippines from a Yellow Fever zone, possession of a valid Yellow Fever inoculation certificate is required. For any current travel health advice, you should seek guidance from your GP at least four to six weeks prior to travel. You would also need a Covid-19 vaccination card and a negative Covid-19 PCR test result not less than 72hours old.
The official currency of the country is the Philippine peso.
Whether one needs a Philippines visitor visa or not will depend primarily on their country of citizenship. Several nationalities can travel to the Philippines visa-free for stays of up to 30 days. Speak with your agent on how to get a visa.
The official languages spoken in the Philippines are Filipino and English
With over 7,000 islands scattered across approximately 115,000 square miles, it’s inevitable the weather slightly varies depending on which island group you’re visiting.
Generally, though, the best time to visit the Philippines is during its dry season from November to April. December to February sees the country at its coolest, with temperatures not deviating too far from 26°C. Plan a holiday early in the dry season (November and December) and you’ll see its islands at their most lush, including the Chocolate Hills. Visit in April and the famous hills will live more up to their name, turning a chocolate brown.
May can be a great little window in which to travel to the Philippines. While temperatures creep up to around 32°C, the rains are yet to get started and the crowds have already thinned out in anticipation of the wet season.
June to November marks the wet season where humidity is higher. While many get scared off by the term ‘monsoon’, many days are packed with sunshine hours and the rains (up until July, usually) only consist of short, intense downpours once dusk falls. This is especially the case of central islands such as Bohol and Cebu, and Palawan in the west.
Once August hits, the threat of tropical storms and typhoons increases, but the central and western islands (Bohol, Cebu, and Palawan) are least affected, protected by the country’s eastern chain. However, August and September are great for surfers heading for Siargao, where they’ll be greeted by monster waves. Surf’s up!
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