The Philippines's 7107 islands are often overlooked in the search for an idyllic sun and sand tropical escape. But break with tradition and you'll be rewarded with an experience equal to, if not better than what you're used to.
Take Boracay, a 45-minute flight from the capital Manila, where you'll find one of the world's top 10 beaches. On a fine day the island's famous White Beach cannot be seen with the naked eye. Sunglasses are a must, so blinding is her four kilometre stretch of powder-fine sand. Beyond the chiffon shallows, the horizon is filled with the blue and white triangular sails of native outrigger boats. What budding castaway could resist?
Hidden discreetly behind the coconut trees however, there is an unmistakable party vibe, akin to Bali or Phuket.
Here you can enjoy a massage any time of day. Tattoo artists and hair braiders tout for business hoping to cash in the carefree attitude of young backpackers passing through on their journey of self-discovery.
During the day the summer heat keeps the beach crowds down. It is at sunset when the beachfront come alive, awash not just with barefoot tourists sipping cocktails and feasting on barbecued seafood on tables laid on the sands, but locals enjoying a dip and giving their children a chance to burn off energy before bed in the cool