The beauty of Palawan instantly floods your
memory, with upstart coral isles rising like an anarchist’s wedding cake,
and at dusk a million bats shooting out from the caves high on the El Nido
cliffs like a huge dark wave heading for the moon.
Pandanus-topped cliffs overlook the white coral beach of Pangulasian. It’s not the world’s most perfect stretch of sand, but the surroundings make this place more than “exotic”. You can hire a kayak and paddle into the hidden lagoons of the ma¬rine reserve, or by banca chug out to any one of a score of dive sites, where piers of coral balance like jungle ballerinas on that turquoise sea.
Most of El Nido has been preserved from logging and dynamite fishing — a heartening example of low-impact tourism helping to protect rather than plunder a tropical treasure trove. By full moon, the shallows of Pangulasian Beach glow as green as old jade, and by day, as turquoise as an old T-shirt, and the memories it brings back.
GUYAM ISLET: A DAY TRIP TO PARADISE:- Phillippine
In this vast archipelago of 7107 islands, it’s difficult to single out just one place, but Guyam Islet, off the coast of Mindanao, gets my vote for “best desert island beach”. Minuscule Guyam, 4km from General Luna on the east side of Siargao Island and 600km south of Manila, is a tiny speck on a submerged reef plateau reaching out into the Pacific Ocean.
The islet is little more than a grove of coconut trees, a few bushes and an untracked beach of fine white sand dotted with large shells. The entire island can be circumnavigated in a (slow) five-minute stroll. It’s too far and too deep to walk from Siargao, and the islet is too small for de¬velopment so this little beach really does deliver that elusive desert island paradise experience. And it can be all yours for a long day-trip.
Leave early in the morning, and ask your boatman to come back and collect you before dark. Bring plenty of drinking water there is none on Guyam and food for lunch. Hats are also recommended for pro¬tection from the intense tropical sun. The surrounding reefs are easily accessible from the beach, but don’t expect to see a lot of fish the waters around Siargao are heavily fished by the local residents, and the few survivors of this plunder are wary and elusive.
BURUANGA BEACH: Philippine
Boracay’s reputation as one of the world’s finest tropical beaches is no exaggeration, but if you get tired of stepping over rows of tanning tourists, there is a completely dif¬ferent kind of beach you can escape to just an hour’s boat ride away.
As your boat heads around the impressive limestone cliffs of Buruanga Point, to¬wards a series of sheltered coves fined by narrow strips of white sand, you’ll feel as though you’re approaching another world. The only humans in the area are a few friendly fishermen and their families, living beneath the coconut trees in a style which has changed little in hundreds of years. The only food to eat is what you bring, unless you ask one of the children for a buko, the local name for a delicious green coconut, which you can sip sifting under a palm tree on the narrow strip of sand, only a few metres from the glistening water.
Rocks and coral fie close to the shore, so bring your mask, snorkel and fins and swim with a great variety of aquatic life in the clear, shallow water. There’s also a small cliffside resort on the way into the cove, offering cliff diving from rocks and boards of varying heights into deeper wa¬ter. Buruanga makes a fine afternoon trip from Boracay, and if you time your return right, you’ll motor home towards a mag¬nificent ocean sunset.
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