Once a backpacking haven with only the most basic accommodations, this 5-mile-long island now rivals better-known Asian destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui, Thailand. A 45-minute flight from Manila brings you to either Kalibo or Caticlan, where boats connect directly to White Beach, whose powdery sand may just be the softest in the world.
Room to Book: A short tuk-tuk ride from the southern end of White Beach, Mandala Spa & Villas feels like a true retreat, with daily yoga classes and massages included in room rates, along with all the mangoes you can eat. The cliffside Pool Villa has the best vantage point over the Sulu Sea.
Table for Two: Feast on Mediterranean mezes at Kasbah (Station One, White Beach), where pillow-strewn sofas evoke North Africa on the sand.
Don’t Miss: Mandala Spa & Villas’ Hilot Trilogy, which incorporates an ancient Filipino form of massage.