If you are looking for serene beaches, animal encounters, and undiscovered islands, you must visit the Philippines.
The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands, each more stunning than the next. Planning a trip - especially on a strict timeline - is no easy task.
Here are our top 5 picks.
Hire a private boat to whisk you away for a gorgeous day of island hopping. A colorful array of fresh fruit, whole fish, and barbecued chicken is prepared by the crew for lunch. So don't fret. You're not likely to starve on a deserted island.
From private lagoons to secret beaches, the scenery is eclectic as it is breathtaking. Don't be surprised to have an entire island to yourselves.
El Nido, Palawan - voted the most beautiful island in the world - tops our list.
In 2012, a tourist nearly fainted when he spotted a school of whale sharks just offshore. Today, people flood to Oslob, Cebu each year to swim with these majestic creatures.
The time you have to get up close and personal with these massive leopard-spotted sharks will feel like a lifetime. You won't forget it in yours.
Though the Philippines has hundreds of waterfalls, none is more spectacular than the famed Kawasan falls on the western coast of Cebu.
A walk alongside an emerald river will bring you to the first and most impressive waterfall. Hire a bamboo raft or take a swim in the impossibly blue water. But be warned, it does not taste like Gatorade as you might expect. Venture upstream a bit further to discover breathtaking falls, natural pools, and picturesque canyons.
From Alona Beach on Panglao island, rent a scooter and drive 50km to the Chocolate Hills, named for the striking resemblance to chocolate truffles.
Make pit stops at the Loboc River, Man-Made Forest, and Tarsier Sanctuary before finally arriving at the hills themselves. You'll think you've just stepped into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
The only thing more gorgeous than the water itself is the majestic world that exists below its surface. While starfish line the beach, the coral reef just offshore is home to hundreds of fish and the occassional sea turtle.
Photos courtesy of The Asia Collective.