The Republic of the Philippines is home to the world’s second largest archipelago that encompasses over 7,000 stunning, tropical islands. Not only are these gorgeous islands renowned for their beauty but they also offer thrilling recreational facilities like world-class diving and snorkeling, opportunities to swim with sharks and bespoke island-hopping escapades.
Your explorations in the Philippines will probably begin in Manila, the country’s populous and bustling capital, which is located on the large island of Luzon, part of the country’s northernmost island group, which bears the same name. The other two groups that make up the Philippine archipelago are the Visayas and the Mindanao islands. The city of Manila encompasses a collection of various towns; Makati, Quezon City, Quiapo, Ermita, Binondo and others, all of which have their own distinct character and offer varied points of interest like the historic, ancient walled area of Intramuros, the Coconut Palace, Fort Santiagoand several top-notch hotels, bars and restaurants, along with colossal busy malls and animated markets.
Manila is also an established port of call for luxurious cruise liners, though several luxury yacht charter companies also operate in the city and offer day cruises in Manila Bay, aboard kitted-out luxe vessels. Many of these cruises are at dinnertime, so as to give visitors a chance to take in the gorgeous Manila sunsets, while they tuck into traditional delectable Filipino fare like Chicken Adobo, Sisig and Lechon.
Aside from sunset cruises in Manila Bay, Filipino luxury yacht charter companies also offer travel enthusiasts the opportunity to go island-hopping in nearby Subic Bay. This former naval base, situated in the Luzon Sea, is a part of the Subic Bay Freeport zone, a duty-free enclave in the Philippines which attracts tourists and locals alike. Subic Bay yacht cruises feature cruiser/racer yachts, magnificent sailboats and even grand motor yachts. In fact, Subic Bay serves as one of the main starting points for longer yachting explorations to the many gorgeous islands of the Philippines.
Yachting destinations in the Philippines
Revel in the natural wonders of Palawan Island
Situated in the south-west corner of the Philippines, the island province of Palawan is renowned the world over for its jaw-dropping seascapes. Composed of several island clusters, Palawan is widely regarded as the last frontier of the Philippines, as it is home to some ancient Stone Age tribes, who were discovered only recently. The port at Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan, is one of the main access points on the island.
Palawan is famed for its many natural wonders like the Tabon Caves, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, the El Nido Marine Reserve Park and the Bacuit Archipelago. Yachting trips in and around Palawan almost always include an expedition to the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest national park of the Philippines, which is also considered to be the country’s best dive site.
Examine old ship-wrecks on Busuanga Island
Busuanga Island is a remote island paradise that lies to the north of Palawan. This island, which is part of the Calamian island group, offers a tranquil sanctuary for intrepid tourists who enjoy island-hopping, hiking, mountain biking and more. Bespoke sailing trips to the neighboring islands of Coron, Calumbuyan and Malcapuya aboard modified bangkas (traditional sailing boats) are the order of the day on Busuanga Island.
Other attractions on the island include the Maquinit Hot Springs, the Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary and shipwreck-diving. Busuanga Island was the site of many fierce battles during World War II and its azure waters presently contain the impressive wreckages of Japanese ships, sunk by American bombers during the war.
Relax and Rejuvenate in the Cuyo Islands
The Cuyo Islands consists of a cluster of approximately 40 islands that lie to the north-east of Palawan Island. These islands are known for their splendid coral reefs, white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The Cuyo Islands, with their many hidden coves and bays, offer splendid opportunities for diving and snorkeling and are thus immensely popular with luxury yacht charters. These luxury yacht journeys also sometimes include stays at the ultra luxurious and soothing Amanpulo Resort, which encompasses all of Pamalican Island.
Discover the unique fauna of Bohol
The lush, laid-back island of Bohol is part of the Visayas group of islands and forms yet another popular stop on the luxury yacht charter circuit. The island is renowned the world over as the home of the world’s smallest primate, the Tarsier. This adorable creature, which is not much bigger than the human palm, is believed to have inspired Hollywood director Steven Spielberg’s hit sci-fi character; E.T. Another famed attraction of Bohol is its collection of conical karst hills, called the Chocolate Hills, which are said to resemble mounds of chocolate during the summer months, when they are overrun with brown grasses. Like many other Filipino islands, Bohol is also endowed with white sand beaches, live coral reefs, impressive dive sites and facilities for many recreational activities like hiking, biking, dolphin-watching and alfresco dining on the beach.
Learn the history of the Philippines in Cebu
The large island of Cebu encompasses one of the oldest Spanish settlements in the Philippines. The island’s capital, Cebu City, is one of the most developed urban areas in the Philippines today and is home to thriving industries like shipping, back-office processing, furniture making and tourism. Despite its industrial character, Cebu also features prominently on the yachting circuit, for it hosts various historical sight-seeing attractions like Magellan’s Cross and the Fort San Pedro, the first Spanish fort in the Philippines. Other attractions on Cebu include magnificent dive sites like Moalboal and Badian, serene beaches and the towering Kawasan Falls. Also of interest is Mactan Island, which is located close by and is populated with many high-end, amenity-filled beach resorts.
Dance the night away in Boracay
The immensely popular Philippine beach resort of Boracay, nowadays consistently tops the list of the world’s best ‘beach resorts’. Renowned for its stunning, spun sugar white sand beach (naturally called White Beach) and its three distinctive ‘stations’, the hedonistic island of Boracay is today firmly ensconced on the luxury yacht circuit. The island, aside from being populated with raucous bars and clubs, also hosts several super-luxurious resorts and offers facilities for countless water sporting activities, like diving, snorkeling, kite and wind-surfing, though it also accommodates less energetic, relaxing pursuits like beach combing, sun-bathing and spa treatments.
Explore Davao City
Davao City, the third largest city in the Philippines after Manila and Cebu, and capital of the Southern Mindanao region of the Philippines also features as a prominent port of call on the luxury yacht travel network. This rapidly developing city offers various attractions in the form of Fort of Datu Bago, the Philippine Eagle Center, the People’s Park and Mount Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines. The city’s pristine Talomo Beach is also a huge hit with scuba diving enthusiasts.