Why share paradise when you can have a 50-hectare private island all to yourself and a bunch of friends? Tucked away in the Calamian Archipelago some 260 kilometers southwest of Manila, Ariara accommodates a maximum of 18 guests exclusively. Its eight airy beach cottages and jungle villas, designed by Filipino architect Jorge Yulo, have been infused with indigenous Pinoy charms under thatched roofs, with local furnishing ranging from Mindanao textiles and wooden chests crafted in mainland Palawan to ceramics by artist Ugu Bigyan. The island comes with about 30 staff who will be happy to help you plan out your day, whether that involves sunrise yoga classes or New York–caliber manicures.
Places of note: Hop on one of Ariara’s available boats and explore Coron’s striking rock formations and the many hot springs and lakes hidden among them, or, for those seeking for something more adventurous, take Ariara’s speedboat out in search of remains of a 17th-century Spanish fort. The island is also home to a 30-meter trimaran, with cabins that are well equipped for live-on-board diving trips around Palawan’s northern tip.
How to get there: From Manila, guests can reach Ariara with a private seaplane or helicopter or take a domestic flight to Busuanga airport on the island of Coron, followed by a short boat ride.
When to go: The weather is hottest throughout March to June, which is considered summertime in the Philippines. The final quarter of the year is often the typhoon season.
For more information, visit Ariara Island.