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Cebu

Cebu is one of the largest islands in the Visayas region, a collection of hundreds of islands in the centre of The Philippines, world renowned for diving, snorkelling and soft adventure. The island of Cebu is one of the major international gateways and often the starting point for a Turquoise Holiday to the Philippines, with direct flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.  You might stop off here before flying on to a remote island resort or taking the ferry over to its neighbour Bohol. However Cebu is a melting pot of fun with the locals always up for a celebration. The island is famous for its Spanish guitars and you’ll hear lovely music everywhere you go – Cebu hosts the Philippines biggest Mardi Gras on the 3rd Sunday in January and it is really worth spending a few days to soak up the atmosphere. Make sure you try their local delicacy, roasted pig – or Lechon – always part of any celebration or festival and served nightly at the Shangri-La hotel.

Beyond snorkelling the many marine parks and diving on world famous reefs, top of the activity list has to be swimming with the whale-sharks up in the north east at Oslob, about three hours drive south of Cebu city and available year round.

If you have an interest in history it was here that Ferdinand Magellan laid a sovereign hand on the archipelago for Spain and began the process of colonization and Catholicization that shaped so much of the nation’s history for hundreds of years – Cebu hosts the country’s most iconic heritage spots and The Basilica del Santo Niño houses one of the country’s oldest religious relics: a statue of the Child Jesus that dates back to 1521.

The majority of visitors will stay on the nearby island of Mactan, linked to the city and airport by a bridge. Mactan Island is a busy little island with hotels, restaurants, marine reserves and is an ideal base to explore the region. The Shangri-La Mactan is Turquoise top choice, a luxury resort with excellent facilities, particularly suited to families.

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Tucked away in a secluded bay of emerald waters and dramatic limestone karsts, El Nido Pangulasian in the Philippines is simply sublime. Endless stretches of pristine beaches and a marine sanctuary beneath the waves, you will see why it has been voted as the Most Beautiful Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveller. This really is an untouched, picture perfect haven just waiting to be discovered…

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Island of the month

El Nido Pangulasian – Philippines

Tucked away in a secluded bay of emerald waters and dramatic limestone karsts, El Nido Pangulasian in the Philippines is simply sublime. Endless stretches of pristine beaches and a marine sanctuary beneath the waves, you will see why it has been voted as the Most Beautiful Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveller. This really is an untouched, picture perfect haven just waiting to be discovered…