Stuart Dooley



Getting around in the Philippines, with its 7107 islands, is a challenging yet exciting and rewarding experience!
To help you find your way, here's dmASIA's expert Survival Guide to the Philippines:


As the Philippines is an archipelago, the easiest way to get around is by plane and the cheapest way is to use the commercial ferry service. Some ferries carry thousands of passengers, though, and it’s probably not the most comfortable way to go!

Commercial airlines are also an option, but the usual search engines don’t list every airport. You could end up wasting money and time and landing miles from where you want to be! But seeing as you’ve come so far, why not go the whole way and travel by charter plane? Our recommendation is a short scenic flight to reach your desired destination hassle-free and comfortably with Air Juan.

Forget endless check-in lines, cramped waiting areas, and big crowds. Air Juan marries the ease and allure of flying with the romance of travel. You choose who you want to fly with, where you want to go, and when you want to fly.


CNN listed El Nido as one of the World’s Best Beaches. It’s home to many uninhabited islands and hidden lagoons, where you can sail through picturesque landscapes and enjoy the stillness of island life. Savour the moment. Rather than going on a group excursion, charter a boat. And while you’re there, try a  stand-up paddleboard. So much fun!

Photo: @everchanginghorizon

Enjoy a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city and take yourself to Kawasan Falls to  try canyoneering - hiking, scrambling, swimming, climbing, and jumping, whatever it takes. Just 130 kilometres from Cebu city, surrounded by the mountains of Barangay in Matutinao, Badian, you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.  And if you don’t fancy all that exertion, you can laze around and enjoy the stunning scenery.

 Photo: @kevineassa


The Philippines is characterised by hot, humid weather. But if you’re a fan of a cooler breeze, you’ll love the Batad rice terraces. Built by the indigenous peoples more than 2000 years, a visit there is a great way to discover the traditional Filipino culture while hiking your way through the  lush greenery.

Photo by

In search of chocolate that doesn’t make you fat? Look no further than the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, a slight mystery to locals and visitors alike. These rounded hills, chocolate brown in colour during the dry season, are located at the centre of the tiny island of Bohol. Formed by leftover limestone deposits from a time when streams and rivers were far above sea level, no one quite knows how many chocolate hills there are, but there’s at least 1000. A UNESCO World Heritage site, they also feature on the provincial flag.

Erika Owen via Travel + Leisure.

The incredible, turquoise water of the magical Hinatuan Enchanted River in Mindanao is surrounded by myths and legends. The saltwater river flows into the Pacific Ocean and attracts visitors from around the world who want to discover where the saltwater comes from. Go and find out yourself!

Photo Courtesy @tara_dito  @atlasobscura

And if you’re are a party person, you can’t afford to miss Boracay, with its vibrant nightlife and powder-like white sands. For fun on the water, visit the surfing paradise of Siargao, where beginner and intermediate surfers are welcome.


When it comes to places to stay in the Philippines, visitors are spoiled for choice. At DmASIA, we’ve done the research for you.

On the remote, reef-fringed Pamalican Island, the Amanpulo boutique hotel is the ultimate hideaway from every day. Reachable only by private jet, this exclusive private island resort has expansive villas and 42 beachfront, treetop, and hillside Casitas modelled on a traditional Filipino bahay kubo house that reflect the island’s homes both inside and out.

Photo: Amanpulo

Dedon Island, which just reopened as a Nay Palad Hideaway on Siargao was listed as one of the top 25 coolest hotels in the world by Forbes! Just 3 hours from Manila, it’s a nature lovers dream. This intimate, tropical, beachfront resort plays an important part in protecting the mangroves, ocean, and wildlife unique to this part of the Philippines. It offers pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, coral reefs, secluded natural pools, underground caves, world-renowned sport fishing and diving, exquisite seafood, and a lively nightlife.

Photo: @dedon_island

Ariara Island was named the best private island and the most glamorous place to stay in the world by Time magazine. This private property is available to let and includes exclusive use of the whole island, managed and serviced by the owner’s personal staff. Imagine it. It can be all yours to share with whom you wish! There are four beach cottages on the island, offering 25,000 square feet of accommodation for up to 18 guests.

Photo: Ariara island

So, whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor adverturer, or just want to have great fun discovering a culture with lovely people and traditions, you’ll find all this and more in the Philippines, where everything is more fun.

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