There's much to be said about the virtues of getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There's also much to be said about how you can't put a price tag on memories. Every now and then, you must splurge on life-changing experiences. Here are some of our favorite resorts where you can do just that. And they're right here in the Philippines, too.
A go-to destination for VIPs both foreign and local, Palawan's Amanpulo lives up to its reputation as one of the Philippines' most sought-after resorts. Casitas patterned after the bahay kubo are designed to work around what you want to do most—waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore, taking in a hillside view of the sea over breakfast, or enjoying quiet moments beneath the forest canopy—while the villas, with their wide-open spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows, offer you a seamless transition between the comfortable indoors and the alluring natural surroundings. There's a private chef and a butler service in each villa, letting you enjoy your stay completely worry-free.
Pamalican Island, aman.com, 976.5200
2. Lagen Island
Sitting at the fringes of a lush Palawan forest and overlooking a calm, peaceful lagoon, a stay in El Nido's Lagen Island is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature. The resort is billed as an eco-sanctuary, with the development taking great care to leave the habitats of the local flora and fauna untouched. This leaves guests with the opportunity to go bird-watching, explore the island's mangroves, and trek through forest trails en route to a breathtaking limestone cavern. In keeping with the resort's eco-friendly mindset, accommodations are built with sturdy timber recycled from old homes, adding a sense of familiarity to the villas' understated, yet elegant design.
El Nido, Palawan, elnidoresorts.com, 902.5980
3. Huma Island Resort
It's only fitting that Huma takes its name from a Spanish galleon that, according to legend, got shipwrecked on an idyllic island in Palawan—the area is a treasure trove of natural beauty. Surrounded by crystalline waters that nourish a thriving coral reef, the island's namesake resort stands out for its water villas: an outcrop of Maldives-inspired huts, elevated directly above the water by stilts and topped off with rustic thatched roofs. Each villa offers the most relaxing view of the Palawan sunset, with hot tubs on every sun deck allowing you to soothe your body as you take in the spectacular sight. The island's coral reefs and 10 nearby shipwrecks offer unmatched underwater exploration, and the spa's "signature journeys"—authentic healing traditions from Morocco and India—are ready to pamper you after the day's adventures.
Huma Island Resort & Spa, Busuanga, Palawan, humaisland.com, 0999.886.2510
4. Eskaya Beach Resort
The most common impression of Eskaya is that it's less a resort than it is a spa with its own beach. Seclusion and simplicity are key to the Eskaya experience. Each villa has its own private pool, the perfect place to disconnect from the real world and recharge yourself. The resort doesn't advertise frill services like beach-hopping or diving, opting instead to focus on the two things to which you'll be treating yourself most: the full-service spa and the excellent food. Dining al fresco along the waterfront gives you a stellar view of the Bohol sea, and indulging in a massage at the hilltop spa before retiring to your Zen private villa reinvigorates even the most tired of souls.
Brgy. Tawala, Panglao Island, Bohol, eskayaresort.com, 654.6480
5. The Island Buenavista
If privacy is the height of luxury for you, then The Island Buenavista is the perfect summer stop. Rather than renting out rooms and villas, the resort's proprietors rent out the island itself. Balinese-inspired villas house no one but you and your guests, with nothing but Davao's turquoise waters surrounding the island. The attentive staff is available at your call to offer massages, guide you on fishing trips, or even start bonfires for those perfect beach evenings. The island is also home to a hawksbill turtle reservoir, so its protected waters are among the cleanest and clearest you'll find in the country.
848 Atis Street, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City, buenavistaislandresort.com, (082) 299.2992
6. Nay Palad Hideaway
Located in Siargao, Nay Palad Hideaway (formerly Dedon Island Resort) was founded by Carolin Dekeyser with the philosophy of barefoot luxury. Nay Palad Hideaway prides itself in its tailor-made, all-inclusive itineraries where guests can live out all their "tropical fantasies" without worry. There are only nine villas in the whole resort, with your choice of a garden view villa or an ocean view villa. Aside from the accommodations, there is an abundance of underground caves and untouched beaches as well as activities such as deep-sea fishing and, of course, the legendary Cloud 9 barreling wave.
8419 Malinao Road, Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, naypalad.com
7. Balesin Island Club
A 25-minute chartered plane ride will transport guests to the otherworldly property of Balesin, a members-only getaway that boasts of 7.3 kilometers of white-sand beaches. Balesin is where luxury accommodations, leisurely activities, fine dining, intricate design, and all the gifts of nature meet. The island is divided into seven villages, each based on tropical destinations around the world: Balesin, Bali, Phuket, Mykonos, St. Tropez, Costa del Sol, and Toscana. There is a wide range of recreational activities to dabble in on the island, making it the ideal escape for family bonding.
Balesin, Polillo, Quezon, balesin.com, 337.2055
8. Banwa Private Island
This ultra-exclusive island in Palawan might have had a quiet opening, but international and local media was quick to pick up on its $100,000 (or P5.19 million) price tag per night, making it the world's most expensive resort. The entire island accommodates a cozy number of 48 guests at a time, all housed in villas and suites on a 15-acre property. There are only two ways to get to the island—by chartered plane or helicopter ride, which is telling of the level of privacy guests may enjoy.
Puerco Island, Roxas, Palawan, banwaprivateisland.com, (028) 396.8888
9. Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay
Boracay may not hold the title for the most laidback island in the Philippines but luxury resort Movenpick has secured a covetable spot on the island in Punta Bunga Cove. The resort has created a world of its own, nestled among coconut trees and breathtaking views of the sky and seas at every turn. One of its draws is its private beach, which only guests may access.
Punta Bunga Cove, Boracay, Aklan, (036) 288.2256
10. Shangri-La's Boracay Resort & Spa
A vacation at the Boracay edition of Shangri-La is an escape to an oasis far from all the other resorts on the island. The resort is a favorite for those in for a beach staycation as the resort is a private getaway in itself. One of the must-dos is to pay a visit to its Chi, The Spa, which offers relaxing treatments to rejuvenate the mind and body. Aside from trying out the dining establishments, guests may also opt for a private dinner on the beach, where a fireworks display and fire dancers make memorable additions to any occasion.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.