In recent years the Philippines’ weather has become somewhat unpredictable and while June to September are considered the “rainy” months, some areas of the country aren’t rainy at all. Accommodation prices usually decrease around this time and tourist hotspots are far less crowded. Temperatures stay in the high 20s year round and although humidity is reliably high, the ocean does a good job of cooling you off. 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$1,230, and business class fares from A$3,783.
Best for surfers
Just nine luxury villas make up this palmfringed resort on Siargao Island, in the far eastern reaches of the Philippines archipelago. Aside from a few fishing villages and empty beaches the island houses one of the world’s most legendary surf breaks, Cloud 9, which has attracted the likes of Kelly Slater. And now there’s another reason to visit. Owned by Bobby Dekeyser, a former Bayern Munich goalkeeper and the man behind luxe rattan-furniture company Dedon, the resort is speckled with his handcrafted furniture, including cocoon swing chairs dangling from coconut palms outside the locally crafted villas. There is plenty to do without leaving the resort (including an outdoor cinema) but for those seeking more action, the likes of surfing, paddle boarding and deep-sea fishing can all be arranged and is included in the price.
Villas are priced from US$580 (about A$626) per person per night twin share plus taxes all-inclusive. dedonisland.com/en
Best for privacy
Sitting within 125 acres of tropical forest, Ariara is a private island resort in northern Palawan, a short helicopter ride from Manila. Available for exclusive use only the resort accommodates up to 18 guests across its jungle and beach villas with a central lodge at the end of the pier for dining and entertaining. Make the most of the crewed yacht and spend a day island hopping, or stay within the resort by the infinity pool or out snorkelling the reef that runs along the 600-metre stretch of sand. For the duration of your stay you’ll be well looked after by the owner’s 30 personal staff, including a PADI dive master, private chef, masseuse and manicurist.
The resort is priced from US$475 (around A$513) per person per night plus taxes for the whole island based on a seven-night stay. ariaraisland.com
Best for foodies
abacá boutique resort + restaurant
This nine-room hideaway on Mactan Island, a few kilometres from Cebu, is nothing short of intimate. Six suites are housed in the main villa overlooking the ocean, while three individual villas are scattered throughout the gardens, two with their own plunge pool. All have 24-hour butler service (English speaking) and sport sleek Asian-inspired interiors with classic woods and copper lighting. Stretch out on a day bed on your deck or head for one of the grass-thatched cabanas by the pool. The restaurant is a destination in its own right, opening three years before the villas were built. Australian chef, Wade Watson whips up Californian-meets-Mediterranean dishes with a focus on roasted dishes straight from the wood-burning oven.
Rooms are priced from A$367 per night plus taxes. abacaresort.com