Emma Justice

Ayala Land’s El Nido Resorts Apulit Island, Philippines

The Philippines does paradise islands better than most. It has over 7,000 of them in total and 45 of the best are concentrated in the idyllic province of El Nido. The stunning islands here tick all the boxes; soft white sand, tick, shimmering turquoise water, tick, beautiful coral reefs, romantic sunsets and non-stop sunshine, tick, tick, tick. But the icing on the paradise island cake is the fact that the resorts here are still unspoilt and uncrowded while the locals are genuinely friendly.

With 45 islands to choose from it’s hard to pick a favourite but for one that offers a touch of adventure alongside the requisite luxury sun loungers, we recommend Apulit. Owned by Ayala Land’s El Nido Resorts, who operate the best honeymoon hotels in the region, it’s slightly off the beaten track in Taytay Bay, North-eastern Palawan.

Apulit boasts 50 rustic water cottages on either side of a picture perfect beach (30, which sleep two, are perfect for honeymooners and 20 are split level so great for families or friends). Thrillseekers can abseil down the 60-metre limestone cliff for a birds-eye view of the island (and watch everyone else relaxing on those sun loungers!).

Diving and snorkelling is fabulous as they pride themselves on their eco-credentials (all guests are given a canvas bag to take away plastics and other rubbish that might damage the reef) and sustainability. As a result the wildlife here is fantastic - and the ocean is teaming with turtles, baby sharks and colourful tropical fish. A true nature lovers paradise.

Winning streak: For romance you can’t beat dinner for two on a floating candle-lit raft moored in the middle of Apulit bay. A speed boat zooms up with each course - including the still sizzling king prawns!

Flight time: 14 hours to Manila then a one hour internal flight to Palawan. El Nido is the closest airport and from there you’ll be collected by car and taken to Taytay bay (around an hour and a half drive) for the further 45 minute boat transfer to Apulit. You can also fly to Puerto Princesa which is four hours from Taytay.

Go: Philippines Airlines offer flights from London Heathrow to Manila and domestic flights to Puerto Princesa from £579pp return including taxes.

Ayala Land’s El Nido Resorts offer double rooms on Apulit from £452 per night.