In literature, film and art, the sea has always played a powerful symbolic role, so much so that when asked what we would do if we won the lottery, many of us would probably answer, “Fly to the Maldives.”

The mountains boast their own grace, as do fragrant forests and serene lakes, yet there is something about soft white sand and crystalline blue waters that make us seem a little bit closer to paradise. Marisa Cutillas brings readers a small selection of beautiful islands which definitely merit a spot on every keen traveller’s bucket list…

Palawan Island – Philippines

Palawan in the Philippines is one of those islands that consistently makes it to renowned selections of the world’s best islands (including Condé Nast Traveler); in fact, Travel + Leisure has named it the Best Island in the World for three years in a succession – based on a sizeable survey of readers, who vote on an island’s attractions, food, service, beaches, and value.

What most stands out about this island is its majesty – deep blue and emerald hued waters, jutting rock masses and emerald coloured cliffs that reach to the sky that are no less than awe inspiring.

How to get there: The quickest way is by plane from Manila. Upon arrival, your resort will organise a jeepney (local transport vehicle) to take you to your hotel, located about half an hour’s drive from the airport.

What to do: The beaches in Palawan are powdery and soft, and the water is deliciously warm so you might chose to simply spend most of your days at your luxury resort and enjoying swims, massages and snacks. However, the island is ideal for those who like a bit of adventure.

An absolute must is the island-hopping tour, which will take you around the Bacuit archipelago on a bangka (Filipino wooden boat), which you will jump off to swim through tiny sinkholes and dip in lagoons completely surrounded by vertiginous cliffs.

For a fun activity, take a kayak and paddle through the mangroves… you will discover different beaches and even local villages and fishermen in the sea…

Words Marisa Cutillas

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