With hearts and stomachs fully refuelled, the days that succeed the holiday rush are the perfect time to take a bit of a breather before the calendar resets for another year.  To aid your year-end travels, The Edition has put together a list of great escapes that will take you from the fjords of Iceland to the safaris of South Africa. This time, we keep you a little closer to home:

El Nido, Palawan

Depending on who you ask, there are two island destinations that traveling foreigners consider the Philippines’ greatest offerings as a travel stop.

One of them is Boracay, famed among those who aren’t necessarily in it for the sun and the sand, so long as the drinks flow and the company is easy. The other is Palawan, the “last ecological frontier of the Philippines”–world-renowned for pristine waters, white sand beaches, and rich biodiversity, just to start.

Among the many spectacular sites that the archipelago can offer, El Nido has emerged as a particular favorite. Spend you days paddling through serene lagoons and hidden beaches (to feel as if you’re the only being on the planet) or pick from over 30 dive sites teeming with tropical fish, endangered sea turtles, and coral reefs (to remind yourself that you certainly aren’t). El Nido is also prized as the gateway to Bacuit Bay, whose towering limestone karst cliffs rise from the country’s largest marine sanctuary.

As with much of the rest of Palawan, Ed Nido also makes conscious efforts to promote eco-tourism. It thus plays host to such accommodations as the El Nido Resorts of Miniloc, Lagen, and Pangulasian, which have taken home awards for their commitment to sustainability and responsible tourism. The sites of the islands aside, these accommodations could very well be the best reason to book your tickets; at the end of the day, a vacation destination is only as good as its ability to call you back there. – Arianna Lim

Art by Maine Manalansan

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