The philippines is a fairly rainy nation, but the next few months are usually among the driest. Temperatures stay in the high 20s and, though humidity is reliably high, there’s always the crystal clear ocean to cool off in. Typhoon season starts towards the end of the year, so Australian winter is a great time to visit.
Direct flights to Manila are available from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and flight time is between six and eight hours. Return economy fares start from A$1,500, premium economy fares from A$2,350 and business class fares from A$6,500.
Best for Ultra luxury
Amanpulo is on the private Pamalican island, a tiny, white sand outcrop in the Cuyo Islands in the Palawan region. The island is fringed with seven kilometres of pristine reef just 300 metres off shore, making for some of the best and most easily accessible diving in the Philippines. Each of the rooms (called casitas and styled after traditional Philippine dwellings) comes with its own buggy to explore the island. Choose one of the beach casitas for direct access to the sand, or if you’re looking for more space and privacy stay in one of the private villa homes that come with a swimming pool, kitchen, cook and housekeeper.
Rates: Casitas from US$900 (about A$880) per night and villas from US$1,550 (about A$1,517) per night plus taxes.
Best for Romance
This large, white, Santorini-esque resort is on the island of Marinduque, close to the main island of Luzon. Choose between hotel rooms, apartments, freestanding houses or luxe villas perched on the clifftops. There are a few dining options, a cigar bar, full spa and a nine-hole golf course. The island is a short hop from Manila but instead of braving the budget airline that flies the route, have the resort arrange a private charter flight or luxury yacht transfer.
Rates: Entry level rooms from US$680 (about A$665) per night and villas from US$1,200 (about A$1,174) per night.
Best for Barefoot luxury
This resort opened in December 2012 with 42 luxury villas sitting around 750 metres of pristine, private beachfront on Pangulasian Island at the northernmost tip of Palawan. The canopy villas sit almost 20 metres above the ground, connected by a wooden boardwalk that twists through the forest, while the beach villas are right on the sand. If you’re staying with a group consider the Kawalan Villas – a cluster of four private villas in a secluded cove at the western end of the island with a large pool and outdoor dining sala. Snorkel at the house reef directly in front of the resort or explore the huge caves that dot the island.
Rates: Villas from PHP27,000 (about A$648) per night plus taxes.
Best for Families
You’ll never be bored at Misibis Bay – ride around the island on ATVs, dune buggies or mountain bikes; fly through the trees on one of two ziplines; cruise around on a stand up paddleboard, hobie cat, kayak or wind surfer; or try something faster like a jetski, wakeboard or banana boat. Further afield the resort is close to Donsol, the whale shark capital of the Philippines and the giant fish can be found up until July. Stay in one of the 37 villas for direct pool access or a private path to the beach. Rates: Entry level rooms from US$470 (about A$460) per night and villas from US$640 (about A$626) per night.