Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Tue June 30 2015

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  • Nicole Connolly | June 30, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    The Top 3 Islands in the Philippines

    The Top 3 Islands in the Philippines

    Photo of Boracay man holding crayfish courtesy of Thinkstock

    You could spend months in the Philippines and not see everything the sprawling archipelago has to offer. Tourism and trade are big business there and the islands are really making a name for themselves as a luxury travel destination. And then there are those islands that emphasize natural beauty and adventure. If you are considering taking a trip there, and want to dive in to authentic Filipino ambiance, check out our picks for the top three islands. They certainly have a lot to offer.

    Boracay, Aklan

    Boracay Island looks exactly like that stock photo in your mind of a tropical paradise where you wouldn’t mind lounging and relaxing. This is one of the most luxurious and breathtaking islands of the Philippines as far as scenery goes.

    The people on the island make you feel as if you've known them your whole life, and the atmosphere everywhere is light and fun, giving it a bit of a party vibe. You're encouraged to leave your shoes in your hotel room and walk through white sands that feel as close to powder as anything you can imagine.

    There’s certainly no lack of adventure here. Take up surfing or grab the Jet Ski and jump some waves if you have the urge.

    Sit on the sand at one of several Tiki outdoor restaurants and enjoy a wonderful meal with a satisfying cocktail or two. The island comes alive at night with candlelit sand castles and an abundance of fire dancers. If a rousing good time is what you're looking for then this is the island for you. They say Boracay is where the world parties, and after your first visit, you might agree.

    Elnido and Taytay, Palawan

    If you are looking for something a little more off the beaten path to avoid heavy crowds, then head over to El Nido Island. This luxury resort was once only available to travelers who were wealthy enough to get there and afford the lodging. Today though, things have changed, and the prices make it much more accessible to all.

    The beautiful huts hover above the waters of the lagoon and offer a view of the gorgeous surrounding limestone cliffs. There are limited accommodations and you won't have to worry about noise because it is so much less crowded than Boracay.

    The crystal blue lagoons are a great place to snorkel and kayak as you enjoy the wildlife and surrounding natural beauty. Relax on the beautiful beaches in the shade of a palm tree as you soak up the salty air, or if you decide to adventure; take off on one of the many hiking trails that backpackers love to enjoy. Just be prepared for a period of rugged travel, as the roads leading up to the trails can be a bit rough.

    Yet, that will be the last thing you're thinking of when you're nestled in your bed at night, feeling the ocean breeze, and hearing the water lapping beneath your cottage. This heavenly location will have you feeling reinvigorated when you leave.

    Island Garden City of Samal

    Known as “the island that has all,” this beautifully craggy and tucked-away tropical haven has much to offer to savvy travelers that are looking for adventure. 

    The highly recommended and acclaimed pro-form luxury resort is one of the biggest and most popular accommodations on the island.

    Outside of the resort’s delights, hiking in the mountains and down to the beautiful and overabundant plains is a popular way to spend your vacation. This will lead you to the Haiga-mine Falls, which are very popular on walking tours.

    And the beaches aren’t just for lounging. There is a beautiful protected coral garden marine park called Talikud's Island. It is home to some of the most colorful coral in the region. You can also visit Vanishing Island (a sandbar that disappears completely during high tide).

    If you are more open-minded about animal interactions, you can visit the bat sanctuary, which has over 2 million fruit bats. Just make sure you leave them in the caves!

    These three islands can surprise you at every turn. Natural wonder, beautiful scenery, and friendly locals all combine to make the Philippines a unique travel destination that dishes up a five star experience.


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Nicole Connolly Suitcase Stories' Luxe Life Travel Tales and Tips

Nicole Connolly Nicole, along with her husband Michael, left her ordinary life behind for a life of extraordinary travel. The couple left Australia in March 2012 and have been traveling ever since. Nicole has a penchant for all things luxury and this shows in their lifestyle. They may live the life of a gypsy but they certainly know how to do it in style. Their goal is to share their experiences and show others how a life of luxury is possible without the big bank account. Follow their adventures at
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