InFlight Traveller Issue 28

Page 1

2 Women in Travel

El Nido’s Eva Aston and Boracay’s Erielyn Gaston reveal their travel secrets

Boracay’s Top 10 Eats

16 of the Best Beaches in El Nido


AirTrav is the new way to fly

Find us on Facebook @InFlightTravellerArchipelago For press releases and features on People + Travel News Section Email
JUNE–JULY-AUGUST 2023 VOLUME 9 ISSUE 28 contents Photo courtesy of AirTrav 26 Cover Story AROUND THE ISLANDS BY PRIVATE SEAPLANE Discover a new way to fly with AirTrav Forget the airport queues, fly private and direct to paradise with AirTrav JUNE–JULY–AUGUST 2023 | INFLIGHT TRAVELLER | 1


12 Boracay’s Top 10 Eats Boracay resident Zo Aguila and other islanders reveal their list of favorite restaurants, from a drag night spot serving great food to the famous Dos Mestizos

34 16 of the Best Beaches in El Nido It’s the holy grail of travellers — the perfect icing-sugar sand beach with clear, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. Our insiders pick some of the best

44 Zoned In Take me to… Twin Lagoon, Coron Kayak, swim, and enjoy the crystal clear waters and limestone cliffs of one of Coron’s amazing lagoons

Photo by Christopher Hasenauer
World-famous Twin Lagoon set against a backdrop of vertical karst walls


Editor-in-Chief: Giselle Dalton

Art Director: Jocas A. See

Contributing Assistant Editor: Lory Alba

Contributing Writers

Bridget Dalton, Cristian Maban, and Zo Aguila

Contributing Photographers

ReyRey Ochavez, Christopher Hasenauer, Ike Eichensehr, and Jack Jarilla


Sales and Marketing Director: Bing Rodriguez

Senior Account Manager: Kim Tutanes

Administration and Ad Sales Traffic Officer: Daryl Joy Mendoza

Boracay Media Representative: Mae Zandueta


Chairman: Iren Dornier

Publishing: Nikos Gitsis

Editorial: Giselle Dalton

Legal: Atty. Loreto Dapon, Jr.


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Location: Flower Island Resort, Palawan

My and My Philippines

4 Me and My El Nido: Eva Aston

Top things to do, where to eat and drink, and best travel souvenirs from an insider

8 Me and My Boracay: Erielyn Gaston

Kasbar owner and Unisikad Boracay’s president talks about bike tours, shopping, and her love of the island


18 A Spa Treat and Where to Stay in Boracay Travel Supplement

Whether you love staying in a leisure hotel complex or a boutique resort by the beach, InFlight Traveller’s featured hotels and resorts make for a great stay on the island


THE PREMIER TRUSTED TRAVEL MAGAZINE TRAVELLER in Travel and Boracay’s Erielyn Gaston reveal their travel secrets Boracay’s Top 10 Eats Best Beaches AROUND THE ISLANDS BY PRIVATE SEAPLANE AirTrav is the new way to fly
Photos: Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay, Eva Aston by Jack Jarilla; and Erielyn Gaston by Ike Eichensehr
Photo by ReyRey Ochavez
Eva Aston Station X, Hue Hotel Erielyn Gaston 4 18
Ike Eichensehr



Top things to do, where to eat and drink, and best travel souvenirs from an insider



How has El Nido in Palawan changed after the pandemic? El Nido has always been a beautiful, unspoiled place. But during the pandemic, nature has had time to flourish. We would regularly spot turtles and occasionally see dugongs close to the shore - nature basically had time to repair itself. When El Nido reopened in early in 2022, tourists started coming back, primarily driven by domestic travelers and returning Filipinos from overseas. We were delighted that business had resumed but I think it will take another year before we get to pre-pandemic levels.

Do you have any regrets, setting up your home and business in El Nido? None at all. When I first visited my relatives in El Nido in 2014, I was captivated by El Nido’s beauty and knew that I wanted to settle down here. My husband Jeremy and I opened Café Athena in El Nido in 2016, our first baby! It was a natural choice of business for me, as I love cooking and talking to people. I used to travel to Greece when I was younger, and immediately fell in love with the food there. Our menu at Café Athena is mainly Greek, with a few contributions from my husband, who is also a foodie like me.

What are your top 10 favourite places to eat, drink, shop, and just chill in El Nido? Hayahay Café. I try to eat healthy food as much as possible, and I get my veggie boost at Hayahay. I go for their vegetarian wrap or their quinoa bowl which comes with a choice of tasty, healthy fillings as well as a selection of homemade sauces. Art Café (@artcafeelnido on FB) for the variety of food on offer and their farm-to-table dishes. District Bar and Kitchen (@district.philippines on FB) for their signature cocktails, live music and regular DJ sets. SAVA bar (@SAVABeachBar on FB) for their ambience and variety of music. Maremegmeg Beach Bar (@MaremegmegBeachBar on FB) for their ambience and amazing sunsets. OPPA Restaurant (@oppaelnido on FB) for delicious Korean food and D’factory (@dfactorysince2014 on FB) for homemade ice cream. The Organic Spa ( for its traditional Filipino hilot and the stone massage. For Yoga, I usually go to Yoga Tayo (@yogatayo.elnido on FB) in Lio three times a week.

For shopping, there is Kalye Artisano (www. which offers natural products, native bags, interior decor, earrings and other accessories. I’m an island girl so I’m often in slippers and linen clothes. Walang Problema (www.walangproblema.

com), a boutique shop near Café Athena that sells beach clothes.

What not to miss when visiting El Nido? I would say book one or two island tours to appreciate the beauty of El Nido’s islands — Snake Island’s sand bar on Tour B is probably my favorite stop. Go to Nacpan Beach for a chilled afternoon, or an overnight stay at Angkla ( and Nacpan Beach Glamping ( If I have family and friends visiting, I would take them to Papaya Beach, which isn’t too far from El Nido town. It has soft, white sand and crystal clear waters, and is more secluded than other locations. Duli Beach ( offers a great surfing experience and a laid back vibe.

Could you tell us some of the tour operators you trust? I recommend Ape Tours (, Tao Philippines ( and Art Café

What are some of the active things you can do in El Nido? Surfing, muay thai, yoga, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, open water swimming… the list goes on. There are so many activities for visitors and locals to try out, and the list keeps on growing.

What are some of the best souvenirs to buy in El Nido and Puerto Princesa? Palawan honey, available at Art Café in El Nido and in the local market, handmade bags from Kalye Artisano, abaca slippers from Art Café, and linen clothing from Kultura (www. in Puerto Princesa.

Eva Aston owns Café Athena Greek Taverna in El Nido (, and is the co-owner of District Bar and Kitchen (@district.philippines), Hayahay Café (@hayahaycafe.elnido on Instagram), and The Organic Spa (

Hayahay Café Photo courtesy of Hayahay Café




Boracay’s owner talks about bike tours, shopping, and her love of the island


When did you start biking? I think I really got into biking about three years ago. My husband bought me a bike for our wedding anniversary. It was the height of the pandemic, and sometimes I can’t find a ride on the island, so I found it really useful to have my own bike to get around.

Why Unisikad Boracay? I sought out a bike group on the island to just have people to bike with. I joined this motley group of bikers — mommies, athletes, seniors — who knew everything about biking, but chose me as President. I was flattered. I guess they saw me as a leader and someone good with people. In 2021, the Department of Tourism invited our group, named Unisikad Boracay Association (@unisikadboracay on Facebook), to organise bike tours on Boracay Island to promote biking as a way of exploring the island. This tour, a DOT-accredited tour, is now a regular attraction. Recently, we did our first UNISIKAD Invitational Circuit Bike Race during Love Boracay in Newcoast, and gathered sponsorship to help Boracay Athletes. We will do this bike race yearly.

Tell us more about the bike tour. You can choose from an easy ride, mainly on flat roads, or moderate and hard rides, including climbs and scenic routes. Along the way, you’d see rural life and stop at attractions on the island like Willy’s Rock, Bulabog beach, the Ati Village, the Lugutan Mangrove Park and Puka Beach.

Easy rides for two hours cost Php1,000 per person, including bike and helmet rental, DOT-accredited tour

guide, and souvenir items from the Ati community, and a bottle of mineral water. Book with Unisikad Boracay, tel +63 920 982 9840, or on Facebook @ unisikadboracay.

How would you describe yourself as a biker? I’m a chill bike rider. I bike about three times a week. On Sundays I bike with my friends, go up the mountain on the mainland. For bike clothes, I like Salt Plus Fin (

What are your favorite shops in Boracay? I shop at Islanders Bike Shop, owned by my friend, and B-sikleta at D’Mall (@BSikleta on Facebook, tel +63917 724 8546).

Aside from Unisikad and Kasbar, what else keeps you busy these days? I’m a make up artist and fashion designer and I’m thrilled to have just been invited by the Philippine Fashion Week (@PhilippineFashionWeekLive on Facebook) in Manila to join as the Visayas representative. I’m nervous. Fashion week is in May next year.

Tell us about your designs My design brand, Epitome of Eve (@EpitomeofEVE on Facebook and IG) is sold at Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay’s boutique shop ( I sell mostly beach kimonos and robes.

Where do you usually take visiting friends and family in Boracay? White Beach of course. And Puka Beach. I recently had family on the island and I took them island hopping. I haven’t done that for five years. It was real fun. We went snorkelling near Angol Beach, went cliff jumping at Magic Island . We had lunch, a boodle fight (a Filipino way of eating together, chucking cutlery in favor of eating with your hands. Rice is served on banana leaves with grilled meat, seafood, vegetables stacked or on the side), and then got back on the boat for the mainland. The island hopping tour started at 9am and we were back by 1pm.

What are your favorite restaurants and hotels in Boracay? Nagisa Japanese restaurant (@ NagisaCafeAndJapaneseFood on FB), Lazy Dog for breakfast (@lazydogboracay on FB), and Lanterna for Italian (@LanternaHotelBoracay on FB). For hotels, it’s Crimson Hotel, Shangri-La Resort, and Kalamansi House (, a 9-beroom villa on the mountain.

How do you like living in Boracay? I love it. I live in Newcoast, with a view of the golf course and the sea. Last night when I was looking up at the sky, I thought it’s really the simple things that grab you. Like the sky and a walk on the beach. I really like Boracay now. I like the fact that the sun beds have been removed. But I also feel sad that a lot of establishments were not able to recover after the pandemic.



An to

Boracay’s 10 T o p

E a t s

Boracay resident Zo Aguila asked fellow Boracay island residents about their favorite restaurants and came up with a list of top eats, including her own favorites.

“As a tourist, I used to ride on the trend and went to places that people were raving about or just simply to have a holiday pic of a tropical shake,” said Aguila. “I now go to comfy, consistent bang-for-buck spots.”


For an Asian food fix


TUCKED AWAY IN the food hall of Hue Hotel’s Station X is this Singaporean hawker–inspired Asian food stall. I like kicking off the day with their salted yema kaya toast. Or, you’ll spot me chowing down on scallion chicken, BBQ pork , or Mixed Bowl combo bowls. On days when my friends and I are too lazy to head out, we’ll probably call in for some siomai rice delivery. On afternoons when we’re wanting to soothe a sweet tooth, catch us sipping on some milo dinosaur. At a reasonable range of Php150 to Php350 per hearty dish, you’re guaranteed to satisfy your Asian food cravings.

Chans Boracay, Station X, inside Hue Hotels and Resorts, Station 2, Boracay, tel +63 917 113 1628 or find them on Facebook @chans.boracay

1 2

For brunch, booze, and Boracay sunsets


Café Boracay

BRUNCH, BOOZE, AND Boracay sunsets — even locals can’t get enough of these. Smooth Cafe serves up all three and is a favorite place for locals to do their remote work, hang out, and gush over golden sunsets. It’s right on the pretty stretch of Station 1 beachfront, so the views are to die for.

I am a fan of their coffee selection and creative cocktails, as well as their extensive menu. For mains, order the baby back ribs, a meat lover’s dream, or tuna tataki, a healthy, hearty guiltfree option. For breakfast or brunch date, try the bananas foster mochi waffle. Expect to shell out about Php600 to Php1,000 per head, for a meal and drinks. Another reason locals love Smooth — live saxophone on the beach.

Smooth Café Boracay, Station 1 beachfront, near Willy’s Rock. Find them on Facebook @smoothcafeboracay

Salted Yema Kaya Toast, Mixed Bowl combo, find Chan’s inside Station X
Baby Back Ribs, Smooth ube cocktail, and sax on the beach? Yes please!


For healthy Filipino food

Nonie’s 3

For work-from-beach comfort

Love Shack Bistro and Café

WE’RE ALWAYS ON the hunt for comfy corners on paradise island, and Love Shack over at the quiet stretch of Angol is one of the coziest nooks I visit on the reg. They serve up all-day, everyday comfort food with wine pairings, as well as good coffee. Located inside Everrich Boutique Resort, a cute little petfriendly hotel, Love Shack serves comfort grub priced from Php230 to Php985, in generous portions. Grilled salmon with truffle risotto is a favorite as well as the savory steak splice and date-night tenderloin. My friends and I go for the comfort food and chill vibe, sure, but we also stay for the chance to cuddle Love Shack’s resident dogs and cats.

Love Shack Bistro and Café, inside Everrich Boutique Resort, Angol. Find them on Facebook @loveshackbistro

NONIE’S HAS CHANGED the Filipino food landscape with its fresh, healthy, and sustainable local dishes. Think savory chicken and pork adobo on a bed of mountain rice, a vegan sisig , and healthy all-day breakfast fare like our fave adlai arroz caldo and pineapple pandan pancakes. Grain bowls start at Php250, while their mains start from Php450. Since Nonie’s has a meticulous menu that sets standards high, they’re able to accommodate people with special food lifestyles (vegan/vegetarian) and allergies. When we have visitors on the island we want to impress, we’re sure to take them Nonie’s.

Nonie’s, Hue Hotels and Resorts, Station 2, Boracay. Call +63912 394 8948 or find them on Facebook @noniesboracay

Clockwise from Top: Vegan sisig, chicken and pork adobo, drop by Nonie’s for healthy, delicious grub, and pandan pineapple pancakes

Grilled Salmon with Truffle Risotto


For beachside chill

Bistro De Amis 5

TO AVOID THE busy throng of tourists, head over to the quieter end of Angol beach for some real R&R. You’ll likely spot locals at Bistro Des Amis, sipping on some Aperol Spritzes or catching up over a bottle of wine during sunset hour.

This Belgian/Mediterranean bistro’s popular dishes include mussel bowls, tartares, ham and cheese croquettes and quiche Lorraine. The Belgian Waffle is a hit with kids. A meal here will set you back about Php500 to Php1,100, and it’s always worth the Angol trek. I love how the staff make you feel extra special and at home.

Bistro De Amis, Beachfront, Angol Beach, tel +63 999 819 2918 or find them on Facebook @bistrodesamisboracay

Good food and the best beach views, quiche

Lorraine, and ham and cheese croquettes

For pre-game nights out

Island Izakaya

LOCALS LOVE THE noisy quirky vibe of Izakayas in Tokyo, so we’re thrilled that we have our own little Izakaya grill spot on the island. Chef Kenji from Japan helped set it up, so you’re sure to have the best authentic Japanese dishes on the menu.

Simple yakitori skewers go for Php70, and the mains are from Php350 to Php400. While all the bowls on the menu are popular, I seem to keep ordering the salmon donburi or rice bowl. Then, I share with friends a side of Aburi oysters or korokke. Plus yakitori, including Momo skewers, our personal fave on the list. Island Izakaya also has signature highballs, Japanese-inspired cocktails, and sake shots, so it’s a good spot for weekends, downing a few before hitting the island clubs.

Island Izakaya, Main Road, Ambulong, Station 2, Boracay (opposite Paradise Garden), tel +63 939 100 1693 or find them on Facebook @islandizakaya

Momo Skewer Salmon Donburi

For drag show fun and good food

Rainbow Café Café and Lounge 7

RESERVE A TABLE on Drag Nights — Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays — and catch the local queens put on an impressive show. With a cover of just Php100 topped up on your bill, the place is proving highly popular.

When I have guests who are jonesing for a different kind of night out, I take them to Rainbow for some good, clean fun. And even better, the food is superb, underrated, and extremely reasonable at about Php300 to Php650 for a main dish. My friends and I often order Chinese pork belly or chicken adobo paella, a Filipino twist to a Spanish staple. During nights out with friends, order the Rainbow nachos to share over buckets of beer.

Chicken adobo paella, Rainbow nachos, our local insider Zo with the queens of Rainbow Café

Rainbow Café, Inside Nigi Nigi Too, Station 2, tel +63 969 100 7941 or find them on Facebook

Dos Mestizos 8

For fancy date nights

DOS MESTIZOS IS best for authentic and delicious Spanish food. It’s so popular it’s been going on forever. I’ve booked tables there for birthdays, special events, and fancy occasions (their Halloween and Christmas Eve parties are the bomb!). Of course, constant favorites are their paellas (whether negra or Valenciana), selection of tapas ( gambas and calamares rellenos top our list), and the star of the table, their crisp-to-perfection cochinillo, or young roast pig.

While the prices can get steep at about Php600 to Php1,000 per head, each flavorful bite is worth it. With pitchers of sangria on the side, my friends and I can spend hours at Dos Mes chatting up a storm.

Dos Mestizos, Main Road across Seawind Resort, Station 1., tel +36 288 5786 or find them on Facebook @dosmestizosph

Calamares rellenos; the busy, open kitchen you can see from your table; and a musttry, paella negra


Italiana 9

For an Italian holidate

Aria Cucina

FOR ITALIAN PERFECTION, Aria Cucina Italiana is a constant. Whether grabbing pizzas to go or wanting to chill beachside for some pasta, this Boracay usual is a go-to haunt.

There’s a reason why Aria has kept its spot as the top-rated Italian resto on the island for a good 20 years now: They offer consistent quality, impeccable flavors, and worthy price tags. A pizza for sharing goes for about Php600, while mains start from Php490). My favorite pizza is gorgonzola and the quattro stagioni with four different kinds of toppings — aria, boscaiola, Napoli, and frutti di mar — great if you can’t decide on which pizza to get. I also head over for soothing minestrone or zuppa di pesce on rainy island days or need extra carbs (try their spaghetti pomodoro) to fuel any island activities. It’s easy to gather the island crew at Aria because everyone leaves with happy tummies.

Aria Cucina Italiana, D’Mall beachfront, Station 2, tel +36 288 5573 or find them on Facebook @AriaCucinaItaliana

Delicious chicken inasal, and a bowl of kansi at this local spot inside D’Mall

For grilled island grub Island

Chicken Inasal 10

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE the beach that can get you craving for grilled grub, so for perfectly-charred chicken fixes, we head to Island Chicken Inasal.

On the menu are Visayan specials from Panay and nearby Negros provinces. Try their paa or pecho, which is juicy, the kansi which has a great balance of sour and zest, and the delicious fresh ensaladas. Chicken meals are from Php185 and a sharing size of kansi, only Php480. I always recommend this no-frills trusty restaurant for ultimate tropical feels and to get that island picnic vibe on.

Island Chicken Inasal, inside D’Mall, Station 2. Call +63918 691 4181 or find them on Facebook @boracayislandchickeninasal

Spaghetti Pomodoro, Zuppa di Pesce, and Aria right on the beach


Whether you love staying in a leisure hotel complex or a boutique resort by the beach, these featured hotels and resorts make for a great stay on the island


Danaru Spa Boracay

Best for the ultimate island spa experience

Perfect setting

FOR THE COMPLETE tropical island spa experience, step into Danaru Spa Boracay, set in a 2000sqm zen garden with a lagoon and a fountain. The spa has 13 thatched roof cottages, a mix of Balinese and Filipino style. At night, the space is aglow with lights on trees and around the garden.

Find your happy

Choose from a 60-minute, 90-minute to 120-minute massage treatment. On the menu are the Tighaw full body massage, an aromatherapy massage using virgin coconut oil and a combination of lavender, sweet orange, peppermint and lemon grass essential oils, guaranteed to send you to massage heaven; the Kalinga stone massage aimed at relieving strained muscles and injured soft tissues, using jojoba oil, which helps moisturise and soften the skin. Also available is a body scrub treatment using honey, kalamansi (Philippine lime) and Aloe.

Danaru Spa uses high quality jojoba oil, considered one of the best massage oils because of its organic qualities. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed, replenished, and conditioned — without the oily feeling!

Exceptional service

What sets Danaru Spa apart is the total experience offered in this island spa destination. Soon as you walk into the spa grounds, a sense of tranquility descends on you. All the massage therapists are experienced, highly-trained, and have the Filipino flair of making you feel at ease. Each one is an expert in what they do, and will make sure that you will get the highest level of service. Treatments are done in Danaru’s cottage which has a private shower, immaculate bed and bedlinen for total comfort, and a wide array of essential oils to choose from.

Truly, a visit to the island paradise of Boracay won’t be complete without dropping by this little paradise of tranquility and relaxation!

Danaru Spa is at Danaru B/D, Zone 5, Bolabog, Boracay. Call +63939 823 1431, find them on Facebook and Instagram @DanaruSpaBoracayPH

Clockwise from left: the garden pathways lead to the spa rooms, the glorious outdoor space of Danaru Spa, and the lagoon and garden area

international-standard amenities such as a 40-inch LED TV, safety deposit box, hairdryer, vanity kit, and complimentary toiletries. What’s more, guests get to enjoy stunning views of the pool below through the floor-to-ceiling windows.


Just a few steps from the famous White Beach, Hue’s ideal location between Station 2 and 3 puts you at the center of the island’s hub of activities. The resort’s layout is open plan, making it convenient to explore what the resort has to offer. At the heart of the hotel is its picturesque swimming pool. Laze beneath the skies in one of the lounge beds, get a drink from Pool Bar, or dive in the water to cool off. The hotel also has a fitness center and a Hair Salon and Nail Spa. Hue’s LA-UD Restaurant serves delicious Filipino and international dishes.

Good to know

Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay

What’s it like?


CAZA Architects, Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay makes a bold statement with its unique paisley-shaped design structure. Most of the resort’s 127 rooms opens out onto a corridor facing the hotel’s swimming pool on the ground floor. It’s pretty much how a riad in Morocco is designed, facing inward towards a central and open, interior courtyard. The center of the hotel is open, allowing natural light to stream in. The hotel’s ground floor is IG-worthy, with lots of places to lounge in and fun activities to choose from. Aside from the pool, there’s the Turf Lounge with its colorful bean bags, a giant chess board, and foosball table; and Station X Food Hall, the hotel’s take on an elevated food court offering multi-cultural dishes.


Take your pick from a deluxe, suite or family room; each one spacious and beautifully-designed, offering

Clockwise from topmost: The Suite room; Spectrum Suite; and Deluxe room. Below, left to right: The many dining areas and fun activities you can enjoy in Station X

The resort’s Station X brings together a mix of restaurants, bars, and curated boutiques and other retail outlets, highlighting all the best that Boracay has to offer. It’s definitely a must-visit when on the island. It’s also worth noting that the hotel is big on ecofriendly features, from LED lighting, low-E glass panels on windows, and a water treatment plant that repurposes 25% of treated wastewater for toilet flushing. Guests have access to a water refilling station to refill their water bottles, thus reducing plastic waste.

How much?

An overnight stay starts from Php10,000. Get in touch with Hue Boracay directly to get the best deals and latest promos.

A SPA TREAT AND BORACAY WHERE TO STAY BORACAY TRAVEL SUPPLEMENT Hue Hotels and Resorts Boracay, www.boracay., tel +63 919 456 2596 or +63 927 640 9036. Visit @hueboracay on Facebook and Instagram
A uniquely designed hotel, with some of the best amenities on the island

Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel

safety deposit box, WiFi, TV, mini bar, and hot and cold shower.


What’s it like?

LOCATED ALONG BORACAY’S world-famous White Beach in Station 2 is Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel, a three-storey property with a charming and homey ambience. Enjoy the luxury of waking up to blue azure seas or grab a bite to eat right by the shore. Tables and chairs are right on the beach front, giving you the best access to the sea and tall palm trees just a few yards away. A great big sunburst adorns the ceiling, a nod to the hotel’s name and a reminder your holiday has begun.


Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel has 77 modern rooms, all designed to provide you with a comfortable stay. Each room has a comfy bed, air conditioning, in-room

Lounge by the beach chair or take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool — not only is it the best spot after a fun day of island hopping or water activities but also a great spot for taking your Instagram photos. Enjoy a refreshing tropical shake, cocktail or light snacks at the pool bar or head to Beach Café, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. It’s located right along the beach so you get to enjoy your food with the best beach views. D’Mall with its row of stalls for shopping and restaurants is just a two-minute walk.

How much?

A Deluxe Room starts from Php4,125. For the best deals and the latest promos, book directly on the hotel website.

A SPA TREAT AND BORACAY WHERE TO STAY BORACAY TRAVEL SUPPLEMENT Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel,, tel +63 27759 9888 loc 1878, mobile +63 969 295 5389 Email, visit their Facebook @lesoleildeboracayhotel
Clockwise from top: the hotel’s pool area, Premier Seaview Room, Beach Café, and Superior Deluxe Room
With its modern, crisp ensuite bedrooms and an enviable beach location, this vibrant hotel in Boracay’s Station 2 has sun-soaked appeal
This photo by ReyRey Ochavez
AirTrav’s seaplane landing on water at Flower Island Resort, Taytay, Palawan
From Coron to remote luxury private island resorts, AirTrav is the
Around the Islands by Private Seaplane

FORGET THE AIRPORT queues, fly private on AirTrav’s Cessna Grand Caravan Ex Amphibian, taking off from Manila on wheels and landing on the island of your dreams on floats, right on the beach.

It’s a James Bond way to arrive, with the seaplane landing gently on water, and delivering you straight to your private island resort deck, where resort staff are ready to welcome you.

The whole trip is seamless, no airport queues, no waiting, no check ins, no stranger travelling next to you.

It’s your own private flying taxi, which in a country with 7,461 islands — many not accessible by commercial aircraft — has a lot of appeal. When the pandemic hit, private flights came on its own, seen as a “safer way” to travel.

At the height of COVID -19 in 2021, BBC reported 3.3 million private flights, a 7% increase from the previous year and this increase is widely seen to continue.

Some commuter airlines in the Philippines jumped on the bandwagon, starting “bubble travels,” chartered flights exclusively for families and groups headed to private island resorts.

Today, with COVID -19 almost behind us, AirTrav, a new entrant in the market having started only in 2018, is leading the way in private seaplane travel, with license to fly scheduled flights to Boracay, Puerto Galera, Coron, and El Nido. It is the only seaplane flying to ultimate gold-list island destinations in the Philippines such as the US$2,650-a night Banwa Private Island Resort and

Landing on the waters by the jetty of Two Seasons Coron Island Resort, Malaroyroy Peninsula in Bulalacao Island, Coron, Palawan

STYLISH ARRIVAL: Clockwise from bottom right, selfie on arrival; from the seaplane to the jetty and straight to your resort; Flower Island Resort, one of AirTRav’s resort partners; and enjoying the view from 10,000 feet

Ariara Island available for a seven night booking from about $25,000.

“The idea when AirTrav started,” according to AirTrav business development director Audrey Ngui, “was to see if there was a way to travel from one island to another, hassle free. Some commercial flights were not available direct to resort destinations.” This meant, people who could pay top cash for luxury resorts still have to go the circuitous way to get there.

Travel to AirTrav’s resort partner, Banwa Private Island Resort in the Sulu Sea by commercial aircraft, for instance, could take almost half a day, taking in the combined time it takes to fly and go on van and boat transfers. Factor in long airport queues, and checkins and you’ve got the picture. The private seaplane

option on AirTrav gets you to the same destination in only two hours, with the aircraft delivering you on the doorstep.

Seamless Service From Start to Finish Manila-based AirTrav has a hangar in Andrews Avenue, Pasay City, where all flights depart. The advantage of a private flight is that you don’t need to go to an airport terminal building. AirTrav’s van — available on request — can pick you up at home and drive you straight to the tarmac, where your seaplane awaits. A blue lights police escort accompanies you from the hangar gate to the tarmac, making you feel like a rock and roll celeb. From the van or your car, you get on the seaplane, ready for the joy of flying private.

Photo by ReyRey Ochavez
Photo by ReyRey Ochavez

“Flying taxi”

AirTrav’s single-engine Cessna Grand Caravan Ex Amphibian used for the flight is often described as a “beast” or a “multi-purpose powerhouse” of an aircraft because of its ability to adapt to any situation, able to land on water, grass, or rugged surfaces. It is dependable and efficient.

The 8-seater aircraft’s interior is comfortable, with seats configured so everyone gets a window seat. The flight is low lying, taking off and ascending to 10,000 feet, giving an amazing bird’s eye view of the city and islands. InFlight’s chief contributing photographer and assistant drone photographer were able to get an amazing view of white-fringed islands as AirTrav circled Flower Island resort in Palawan, one of the airline’s partner resorts, prior to landing.

The High Life Destinations

AirTrav’s partner resorts in Coron, Palawan are Club Paradise, El Rio Y Mar, Marina del Sol, Paolyn, Sunlight Eco, and Two Seasons. In El Nido, Palawan it flies to Lihim Resort and El Nido Resorts’ Pangulasian Island. In Taytay, Palawan, the airline flies to Flower Island.

In Boracay, partner resorts include Discovery Shores, Crimson Boracay, and One Hagdan, with designated landing stations, depending on weather conditions, at Bulabog Beach or Station 3.

Arriving in style direct at your resort 30 | INFLIGHT TRAVELLER | JUNE–JULY–AUGUST 2023 COVER STORY
Clockwise from top, this spread: AirTrav’s multi-purpose powerhouse of an aircraft, and plush seats onboard
Photo by ReyRey Ochavez

In Puerto Galera, partner resorts are Arkipelago and El Galleon with a designated landing station at Muelle Port where passengers can embark and disembark.

What’s the Bill Like?

An AirTrav Gold Premium Experience to Boracay for up to six passengers will set you back from Php250,488 or roughly P40k per passenger, round trip. An AirTrav VIP experience costs from Php333,984, round trip. What’s the difference? Ngui explains that AirTrav Gold allows passengers to book on a per seat basis for six people only. Airtrav VIP is for chartered flights for passengers less than 6, destined for any destination.

The Verdict

Private flights will continue to be fuelled by the rich as well as travellers wanting a special trip of a lifetime, or thrill seekers and adventure travellers wanting the next big thing. Business travellers who’ve tried their first private flight will want to continue travelling in hassle free style.

AirTrav, is at Metro Asia Hangar, Lima Gate, General Aviation Area, Andrews Avenue, Pasay City, Philippines, Tel +63 917 623 9665, email, look up on Facebook and Instagram 32 | INFLIGHT TRAVELLER | JUNE–JULY–AUGUST 2023 COVER STORY

No airport queues on arrival, only clear blue waters and your holiday waiting for you. If you feel like it, you can jump right into the water



It’s the holy grail of travellers — the perfect icing-sugar sand beach with clear, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. Our insiders pick some of the best



ITS NAME ALONE is magical and mysterious. Entalula beach is a picturesque destination, with over 250 meters of fine white sand lined by coconut trees, and waters the color of turquoise and emerald. The beach is great for swimming, and is a favorite place for picnic lunches and sports like volleyball, badminton and introductory rock-climbing. Dive sites are located in the west south side of the island


LOCATED ON THE northeast coast of San Fernando, El Nido is the quiet, hidden Bulang Beach. It is situated some 55 minutes away from El Nido town and offers little to no phone and internet reception, giving you that solitude and digital detox that you desire. Visit from November to March and watch the beach come alive with kitesurfers, while enjoying the views of far off Linapacan island.


FOUND ON MATINLOC Island, Secret Beach is a sinkhole which you enter by snorkeling into a small opening through a limestone wall. At the corner of the sinkhole is a 10-meter white sand beach, the island’s secret beach. At noon, the sun streams in through the opening, allowing a play of light and shadow against the beautiful rock formations.The beach floor drops abruptly. There are four dive sites around the island with the one at the south tip of Matinloc being the deepest at 39 meters (124 feet). Best to visit when the sea is calm. Secret Beach is a famous tour destination in El Nido so expect to see a number of tourists stopping by.

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Photo courtesy of El Nido Resorts
Entalula Beach


PANGULASIAN ISLAND is El Nido Resorts' private “eco-luxury island” in Bacuit Bay. It has a 750-meter stretch of pristine whitesand beach, crystal clear Philippine tropical waters, a marine sanctuary at its doorstep, and enviable views of the sunrise and sunset. A trail located in the middle of the island is a good place for birdwatching, especially during early mornings and late afternoons. The trail ends at the peak of the island and provides a magnificent 360-degree view of Bacuit Bay and nearby islands. On the eastern part of the island, there's a 50-meter whitesand beach, a perfect spot to spend the day, away from other resort guests

Pangulasian Resort ( has 42 deluxe contemporary Filipino cottages and villas, all built to take advantage of the stunning beach views. The Beach Villa, which has immediate access to the pristine beach, costs from about Php54,000 a night and can accommodate three people. You have to be a guest at the resort to gain access to the island.


THE 120-METER beach on Dilumacad island or Helicopter island is a favorite stopover for snorkeling, swimming and picnic lunches. But on some days, you might just be lucky and find you have the island all to yourself. For divers, there is an underwater tunnel at the northern side of the island and a fringing reef on the southern side. If you’re with small children, make sure to keep an eye on them as the sea floor drops abruptly. Both ends of the beach have snorkeling spots .


FURTHER OUT of Bacuit Bay is Tapiutan (pronounced tap-wee-tan) Island, majestic for its vertical limestone walls and rich marine life. Located here is Star Beach, a white, sandy beach named after its resident star fishes. The beach is excellent for snorkelling. Talisay Beach, also located here, is about 50m long and is a heart spot for snorkelling.


LOCATED IN CORONG CORONG, some 20-30 minutes away from El Nido town by tricycle is Maremegmeg Beach. It’s quite developed with several resorts, restaurants and bars on the beach strip. It has a nice long stretch of sandy beach, about 900m long, with a seabed that slopes gradually. Locals and tourists, however, come here not just for the beach, but the best sunsets view in El Nido. The main beach has an unobstructed view of Bacuit Bay, and if this is not enough, there is a zipline set up from the top of the island, ending on Depeldet island.

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Photo by Jocas A. See Sunset at Maremegmeg Beach


THE STAR OF IMORIGUE ISLAND is what's underwater rather than on shore. Imorigue is the only karst island on the eastern side of El Nido, surrounded by spectacular diving and snorkeling sites. Expect impressive corals and schools of tropical fish. If you don't want to snorkel or dive, there's a 20-meter stretch of beach on the island called Bacuit beach where you can laze about and swim.


SITUATED ON THE NORTHWESTERN side of El Nido, about an hour's boat ride from El Nido town, are the twin beaches of Nacpan and Calitang. The two white-sand beaches, separated by a hill, are ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Nacpan is a 5-kilometer stretch of white-sand beach with an undercurrent to be mindful of, while Calitang is smaller, like a little cove, with gentler waves. Lots of boats dock on Calitang's side because it's close to a fishing village. Most people who visit are day trippers, who arrive by habal-habal or bike or van from the main town.

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Island Pangulasian Island photo courtesy of El Nido Resorts


FROM THE WATERS, Pinagbuyutan island is enchanting to look at. Tall vertical cliffs and white-sand beach dotted with coconut trees. It’s something fresh off a postcard! The beach has shallow waters, extending several meters from the shore, perfect for a leisurely dip. Surrounding the island are colorful reefs, offering amazing diving and snorkeling.


NOT TO BE CONFUSED with Secret Beach, Hidden Beach is a favorite stopover for those doing an island hopping tour. The beach can’t be seen from the ocean as it is surrounded by limestone rock formations, hence its name. Instead, you will have to swim for 5-10 minutes to get to the clearing of shallow, knee-deep water, which will lead you to a gorgeous white sand beach.


THIS IS A RATHER HUGE BEACH, stretching to about 200-300 meters with fine white sand, crystal clear waters, gradually sloping sandy seabed, safe for small children to wade in. About five meters on the left hand side of the beach is a snorkeling area where you can spot corals and schools of small fish. Locals on the island sell refreshments like fresh coconuts and fruit shakes to island hopping guests. You can swim and lounge or even join the locals in a game of volleyball while here!


LOCATED IN SIBALTAN VILLAGE, Maosonon is a small privately-owned uninhabited island (except for the caretaker’s family) with 500 meters of pristine whitesand beach. There are small makeshift huts on the beach

where you can take shelter from the sun. No electricity, no resorts or any other structure means you get bare, idyllic beauty that will definitely spell out paradise.


THE SANDBAR, a 25-meter-long private beach at the back of Lagen Island Resort in El Nido and 45 minutes away from El Nido town, is a great place for a romantic dinner under the stars. It's also a favorite location for island weddings and has been witness to many marriage proposals. Lagen Island Resort usually arranges lunch and dinner picnics on this private beach for its guests. But you don't have to be a resort guest to enjoy the Sandbar. Just make sure you give the resort advance notice if you intend to visit.

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Top left: Pinagbuyutan Island. Right: Lagen Island’s famous Sandbar from a distance
Pinagbuyutan Island photo by Jocas A. See; Sandbar photo courtesy of El Nido Resorts


CADLAO ISLAND, about a 25-minute boat ride from El Nido town, is known locally as a ‘‘mini-Tahiti.’’ It has six beaches — Sandigan, Paradise, Sunset, Natnat, Subang, and Kalarangan — all fine, creamy white sand beaches with a gradually sloping sea floor and crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkeling and swimming. It is also home to Cadlao Lagoon or Ubugon Cove, which has the highest limestone peak in El Nido at 609 meters above sea level. Before entering the lagoon you'll find a coral garden teeming with schools of colorful fish.


LOCATED NEAR PANGULASIAN ISLAND, Vigan island is referred to as ‘’Snake Island’’ because of its fine natural sandspit sandbar the shape of

a snake. The 130-meter long sandspit is clearly visible only when the tide is low. Enjoy swimming around the island as there are shallow swimming areas on both sides. It's a favorite destination in El Nido so expect to see tourists around.

Our thanks to insiders Marte Abueg, Ferdz Decena, and Arvin Acosta for information on the various beaches. For more information, call El Nido Tourism at +63919 002 1339 or find them on Facebook El Nido Tourism.


HOW TO GET THERE. Book your AirSWIFT flight directly to El Nido, Palawan via

From Lio Airport, it’s about a 30–45 minute drive to El Nido town. Tricycles are the most common means of transportation but can be pricey since most locations in El Nido are spread out. It’s best to rent a bike in El Nido town for Php500 for a whole day’s use. There are many boat operators and tour guides that offer island hopping tours, but it’s always best to ask your hotel for recommendations. Kraken El Nido offers special tours onboard the famous Kraken boat. Find them on Facebook @KrakenElNido or call +63 916 207 3075

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The 130-meter long Snake Island Snake Island photo by Jocas
A. See
LAGÙN HOTEL Lagùn Hotel, Balinsasayaw Road, Brgy. Maligaya, El Nido, Palawan. Tel: +63 917 156 1507 A Warm Welcome. A Sensational Stay.


What not to miss on the menu

THE VIEW — sandy shore, clear blue sea, and El Nido’s iconic limestone karst cliffs jutting out of the water — is mesmerising and as good a reason to book a table in this Greek restaurant as the food. White tables, bistro chairs, and wicker pendant lights in an open air, beachfront setting add to the charm. You could even imagine you’re by the Med, except we doubt you’d wish you’re elsewhere.

Definitely the souvlaki, skewers of meat and vegetables cooked to perfection on a lava stone grill and basted with their signature sauce. It’s a consistent bestseller. The smell of charcoal smoke and herbs wafting in the air says it all. Also highly recommended is the Seafood Platter, good for two, served with Greek salad and baked potatoes. Café Athena’s kitchen serves up magic with the freshest ingredients — grilled tuna steak, squid, and prawns. For drinks, try the bestselling detox drink made of apple, celery, cucumber and malunggay; immune booster drink; ginger zinger; and vitamin C made of pineapple, calamansi, and orange.

How much?

Starters start at Php250; main courses from Php350.

Café Athena, Serena St., Brgy. Buena Suerte, Vanilla Beach, El Nido, Palawan, tel +63 967 899 5421, +63 917 324 4544. Open daily from 7am to 11:30pm. Email info. or find them on Facebook and Instagram @cafe.athena

The vibe Clockwise from top left, Café Athena; Seafood platter, souvlaki skewers, fresh salad with cheese, vitamin C drink, ginger zinger, and seafood pasta. Bottom left, dine with a view
If you can’t wait for your Greek vacation fix, this little gem right on the beach serves up souvlaki and magic


SPA. BY THE SEA. AT SUNSET. What else could you ask for? Unwind like you’ve never done before and experience your most relaxing (and dare we say life-changing) massage by the beach with stunning views of El Nido’s Bacuit Bay.

The bestselling treatments:

• Hot Stone Massage. Smooth, flat heated stones are placed on your body to ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues, and bring about total relaxation.

• Signature Massage. A combination of traditional Filipino hilot or massage and Thai massage to reduce headaches and body pain. Available only at The Organic Spa.

• Thai Massage. An ancient massage therapy, backed up by science, to alleviate all aches and pains and promote calmness, while energising the body.

• Full Body Massage with Aloe Vera Sunburn Treatment. Best after long, scorching days under the sun to soothe your skin.

A must-try:

Filipino Traditional Hilot with Banana Leaf. A powerful massage rooted in ancient Filipino wellness tradition. The banana leaf scanning method is done by applying pre-heated banana leaves on your back, pulled gently in an outward sweeping motion to determine which part of your body needs attention. This treatment promotes healing and relieves stress

Revive, rejuvenate, and refresh with a beach massage Find us on Facebook @InFlightTravellerArchipelago Instagram @Inflighttraveller For press releases and features on People + Travel News Section, email
Find The Organic Spa @theorganicspaelnido on Facebook

Hayahay Café


THIS SMALL CAFÉ is located in the trendy Vanilla Beach Complex in El Nido, right before you get to Maremegmeg beach. Tall glass doors open to a buzzing café, filled with tourists and locals. The interior is decorated in a beach-y, island vibe with rattan furniture, traditional abaca mats, basket weave lamps from Cebu, sinamay woven fabrics, tigbaw bamboo shades, and tropical plants. Artwork from local artists based in El Nido adorn the place. Overhead fans keep the place breezy. “We want our feel to be airy and lush with plants, wood, and warm colors contrasting with a bit of both industrial and Filipino design elements,” said Anthony Sabandal, one of the owners of the café.

Hayahay is a Visayan word meaning relaxed, comfortable. And the place manages to create exactly that kind of vibe.

Food and drinks. Hayahay started a few years ago because the owners found very few places on the island serving healthy, fresh food and good coffee. Today, it has become a local favorite for its wide variety of delicious fresh dishes. The cafe offers a wide variety of dishes to satisfy any appetite, with options for vegetarian and meat-eaters alike. Their create-your-own menu for wraps and bowls allow for endless variety in your dishes. Bestsellers are the soba noodles with pan-seared tuna or the adlai salad, a medley of

smoked tofu, crisp pickled cabbage, pillowy adlai (a gluten-free Filipino heritage grain), fresh edamame, all tossed in a citrus soy dressing and drizzled with tamarind glaze. For a healthy breakfast, try Hayahay’s smoothies or Greek yogurt bowls. Hayahay makes its Greek yogurt in-house, and uses local, seasonal fruits for the bowls. The café gets its greens and veggies from local Palawan suppliers, and sources their coffee from a Cebuano roaster that works with Filipino coffee bean farmers. Their specialty pour-overs highlight a seasonal microbatch of beans produced by farmers from the BACOFA Cooperative in Mindanao.

For drinks, don’t miss the pour over coffee, with a rotation of highlighted Filipino coffee roasts from the Davao-based BACOFA Coffee Cooperative to choose from. The pour over is served with a salvaro, a coconut crisp made from sun dried cassava. On a hot day, try the salabat ginger honey lemonade or pea flower iced tea . If you’re ordering the mezze platter, pair it with a bottle of prosecco or pinot grigio.

How much? Dishes start from Php200, drinks from Php100++ and a bottle of wine starts from Php900++.

Service. Hayahay offers true Filipino hospitality. They welcome you like a guest in their home.

Hayahay Café, Unit 64, Vanilla Beach Complex, Brgy. Corong Corong, Sitio Marimegmeg, El Nido, Palawan. On Instagram, follow @hayahaycafe.elnido

Clockwise from top left: Adlai salad with smoked tofu and edamame; a look inside the café, pour over coffee, and papaya salad rolls. Below: Hayahay’s IGworthy interiors

Make this your first stop in El Nido, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, pescetarian, into Keto, or just want something gloriously delicious and nourishing

A bird’s-eye-view of Coron’s famous Twin Lagoon demarcated by limestone cliffs: it is the rendezvous of the warm seawaters from the open sea and the cooler waters from the subterranean river

zoned in





Twin Lagoon, with its crystal clear waters and limestone cliffs, is every traveler’s dream

CORON, LOCATED ON the northern tip of Palawan, is the jump-off point for the world-famous Twin Lagoon. This pair of dazzling turquoise lagoons set against a backdrop of vertical karst walls is every traveler’s dream. The ‘dry’ summer months, around February to March, are the best time to visit to enjoy sunny days and clear, blue waters. Make sure to include Coron on your island itinerary.



How to Get There. For the ultimate luxury and no-fuss travel, book a seat with, which operates regular flights from Manila direct to partner resorts. Other local airlines like Philippine Airlines (www.philippineairlines. com) operate direct flights from Manila to Busuanga. From Busuanga, it’s about an hour by land to Coron Town, the jump-off point to your Coron adventure.

Getting Around. Depending on which part of Coron you’re staying, it’s relatively easy to get around town by tricycle or van. Island hopping tours are also available daily, weather permitting. Boat tours take you to Coron’s many beautiful islands, beaches, and spots like Twin Lagoon.

JY Travel and Tours offer Coron island hopping tours, tel+63 920 553 1710, @JYTravelandToursOfficialPage on Facebook.

What to Do There. Swim, kayak, or if your tour guide offers it: with your lifejacket on you form a line and lie down on your back, you grab and hold on to the person’s legs before you (and the next person holds on to your legs and so forth)—the tour guide is at the front of the line pulling you and your companions as you glide through water and float under the outriggers of the bancas.

At the lagoons, the water temperature at the top is warm and cool below, the result of the water from the sea meeting the cooler water from the subterranean river. And when the motorboats’ engines are off, you get this hauntingly beautiful moment when all you can hear is the lagoons’ incredible acoustics, probably what a mermaid song would sound like.

Where to Stay. There’s a lot of accommodation types available around Coron depending on your budget. Check out The Funny Lion ( or Bacau Bay Resort Coron (

For a complete guide on “Top Things to Do in Coron,” visit our digital full screen version at dorniermedia, InFlight Traveller Issue 27.

Christopher Hasenauer is a traveler, hiker, and photography enthusiast. For more of his photos, follow him on IG @christopherhas

A top-down of the wooden walkway meandering and bisecting the karst cliffs from either side of the turquoise lagoons

Asia Grand View

Sleep easy in a low-carbon hotel in Coron, with stunning Coron Bay as your backdrop


LOCATED ONLY 35-MINUTES away from Busuanga Airport, one kilometer from Coron Town, and a few minutes walk to Dicanituan Beach, the 20-room Asia Grand View Hotel is beautifully enveloped by nature with lots of open grounds, views of Coron Bay and nearby Dicanituan Island. The hotel is an eco tourism hotel and bird sanctuary, so expect welcome conservation practices, from use of low-flow faucets, shower heads and low-water use toilets, use of solar water powered deep well main water supply and solar lamps in the garden, low wattage and LED lights, line-drying of laundry, a salt chlorinator for the pool, a canal built for rain catch, a water filtration system to ditch use of plastic bottles, among a long list.

ROOMS. The hotel’s deluxe and superior rooms all have a verandah, with views of the sea or landscaped garden and good-sized swimming pool. The rooms are designed in neutral colors, with wooden floors, ceiling fans and airconditioning, furnished with wooden furniture and cane or rattan chairs, TV, fridge, smoke detector and emergency lights. Each of the rooms is of a good size, clean, and beautifully designed using Filipino art and accents.

AMENITIES. For good food and the best views, dine

Clockwise from top left: Spectacular views at night with Coron Bay as backdrop, stay in this relaxing room, book a fun island hopping activity with the hotel, great service from any of the staff, and yoga with a view

at the Bay View Bar & Restaurant. Asia Grand View offers an excellent range of Asian food and international cuisine. The hotel Roofdeck is the best spot to enjoy Coron’s unforgettable sunset while enjoying your meal and drinks.

The hotel also has a spa, the perfect place to recharge after a day of island hopping. The hotel is near the docking area for boats going on island hopping tours. Maquinit Hot Springs is 3.7 miles away, Mount Tapyas, 0.8 miles, and the public market, 0.9 miles. Get in touch with the front desk to help you arrange tours, diving, water sport activities and trips to explore the Calamianes islands. You can play billiards, table tennis and darts at the hotel, and bike hire is available. Room service is available and there’s free WiFi.

GOOD TO KNOW. From recycling, responsible waste management to energy consumption and the conservation of the local environment, Asia Grand View Hotel makes sure that it continuously develops and follows sustainable practices. What’s more, plants and trees are maintained to provide shelter for local birds including the spot-throated woodpecker, longtailed shrike and the blue-headed Racquet-tail parrot, considered a threatened species. Guests are welcome to spot them while in the resort.

HOW MUCH? Rooms are from Php7,500 a night.

Asia Grand View Hotel, Governor’s Avenue, Jolo, Barangay 5, Coron, tel. +63 917 550 7375, +63 917 550 7373, +63 969 538 5830. Visit, @AsiaGrandViewHotel on Facebook


Mountain View Garden Inn

A sanctuary for the soul, a haven of serenity in Coron


MOUNTAIN VIEW GARDEN INN has some of the best views of Mt. Tapyas, a magnet for trekkers who want to get a glimpse of the whole of Coron from the mountain peak. The inn is also a great place for watching Coron’s sunset and sunrise. Located a few minutes away from bustling Coron Town, Mountain View provides peace and quiet, as well as the convenience of having town amenities such as shops and restaurants within walking distance.

ROOMS. There are 33 rooms in total, catering to solo backpackers, couples, families and groups. Rooms have

Clockwise from top left: Pictureperfect view of the inn above and the pool below; relaxing space with nature as your backdrop; and one of the spacious rooms, perfect for big groups

comfy beds, air conditioning, TV, and private toilet and bath. Mountain View is also popular for corporate retreats and team building activities.

AMENITIES. The inn has a good sized pool, perfect to cool off during the summer heat. There are sun loungers and tables around the pool area. The hotel also arranges island hopping tours and offers holiday tour packages bundled with accommodation.

HOW MUCH? Rooms start from Php2,500 for a solo traveller; Php4,750 for a big group of five people, plated Filipino breakfast included. To get the best seasonal rates, contact the resort directly.

Mountain View Garden Inn is along Tapyas Road, Coron, Palawan. For bookings, call +63 920 553 1710, email or message on Facebook @MountainviewgardeninnCoron

escape to a different side of Coron. SKYLODGE RESORT Unforgettable views, a beautiful terrace, swimming pool, great food, scuba diving and massage… enjoy a natural high at this stunning hilltop hotel! your hilltop hideaway in Coron. Skylodge Resort, Coron Town Proper, Coron, Palawan, tel +63 998 588 5507, +63 917 555 5012. Visit, email to Find them on Facebook @skylodgeresort

From left: interiors done French bistro style; owners Mael and Analy with InFlight Traveller team, and a musttry on the menu, Rib-eye steak with French fries and salad sidings

Amihan Bistro Coron

A taste of France while on the island — from classic boeuf bourguignon to French meatballs pasta, served with excellent French wine


INSPIRED BY PARISIAN family bistros, Amihan Bistro Coron aims to transport you to France through its setting and flavours. Think red checkered tablecloths and French bistro chairs, simple, elegant decoration, and warm lighting to set the perfect mood for lunch or dinner.

WHAT NOT TO MISS ON THE MENU. This is the best place for classic French food from boeuf bourguignon, French beef stew made with red wine, the croque monsieur or crunchy ham and cheese sandwich, goat cheese salad, to buckwheat galettes. French owner Mael — who set up the restaurant with foodie wife Analy — found his love of cooking started while learning to cook with his mother. He recommends meatballs with home made fresh pasta (Php490), using his mother’s recipe, the House slow cooked pork confit (Php560), and the home

made pork rillette spread, perfect with drinks before dinner.

For dessert, definitely the delicious crepe suzette flambé with Grand Marnier. For your caffeine fix, the cafe gourmand or tea, served with a side of small desserts including homemade creme brulee. Price per order ranges from Php180-560.

Not to be missed is Amihan’s selection of fine French wine, all meticulously selected to pair perfectly with dishes on the menu. Choose from a glass of house wine Cabernet Sauvignon (Php280) to a bottle of Côtes du Rhône (Php1,750). Or try the red merlot, bordeaux, Carignan, white and pink wine. End the meal with aperitifs or digestives from France, from Pastis, cognac, to calvados.

SERVICE. Delightful, friendly, and attentive. You couldn’t ask for more.

VERDICT. The best French food and experience on the island.

Amihan Bistro, B complex, Real Street, Barangay 3, Coron, Palawan. For reservations, contact Analy or Mael at tel +63 939 406 4618, +63 927 023 5679, email Find them on Facebook @Amihanbistro. Open from Sunday to Friday, closed on Saturday


Bacau Bay Resort Coron

AMENITIES. Amihan Restaurant serves local and international cuisine made with locally-sourced and organic ingredients, while Pugon Café serves delicious classic Italian food. Take a dip in the pool or relax at the Isla Pool Bar or head to the Serena Pier Bar for a sundowner. The resort has its own private jetty, spa, gym, and meeting rooms for corporate clients and private banquets.


THE VIBE HERE is palpably, pleasingly slow. Turn off your devices, kick off your shoes, and lounge by the pool kind of slow. Surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, 1.5 hectares of green and open spaces, the 80room hotel overlooks Coron Bay and outlying islands. Walk past the resort’s main entrance to lush greenery, and a gorgeous shimmering pool tempting you to jump right in. If lounging by the pool is on your itinerary, there are lounge chairs and parasols. The pier bar and mangrove forest are easily popular spots, too. And so are the Isla Pool Bar and Alon Spa.

ROOMS. There are 80 modern rooms, of which 64 are Deluxe Rooms, 15 Premier Suites, and one Presidential Suite — each one with a balcony with views of Coron Bay, and either a king or queen-sized bed, an LED TV, and mini bar.

The Presidential Suite is extraordinary — the biggest at 144 sqm — complete with two bedrooms, a living room, and a veranda — it’s perfect for families or big groups.

HOW MUCH? The Deluxe Room for two is from Php6,500 (about US$115), the Premiere Suite from Php8,125, and the Presidential Suite from Php12,125. Make sure to contact the resort directly for the best deals and their latest promos!

Bacau Bay Resort Coron, Governor’s Drive, Sitio Jolo, Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan. Email reservations, visit www.bacaubayresortcoron. com, tel. +632 7759 9888 local 1876 and mobile +63945 385 7702

Clockwise from top left: Deluxe Room, Premier Suite, and Amihan Restaurant. Below: Pool Area
A tranquil hideaway with magnificent views, a mangrove forest, it’s own private jetty, and just five minutes from Coron Town

Clockwise from topmost: Explore the many islands of Coron. Below: Go kayaking; or simply find the best spots to chill; after a fun day exploring the islands, enjoy a hearty lunch with newfound friends

JY Travel and Tours

Book your next tour with one of Coron’s pioneer tour agencies and experience the best that Coron has to offer


CORON IS WORLD-FAMOUS for its beautiful beaches, World War II wreck diving, and limestone formations — no wonder many call it a tropical paradise. Coming here is not complete without hopping on a boat and touring its many scenic spots, from Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons to Balinsasayaw Reef. The best tour guide to show you around is JY Travel and Tours.

AFFORDABLE, QUALITY TOURS. Plan your trip and book iconic island hopping tours to discover hidden lakes, kayak your way around lagoons, and snorkel through

colorful coral gardens and discover rich marine life. Choose Coron Tour A that includes Kayangan Lake and View Deck, Las Islas de Coral, Sunset Beach, Green Lagoon, Quin Reef, and CYC Beach or Tour B with Baraccuda Lake, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Twin Lagoon, and Reef Garden. Or opt for the Escapade tour and discover the best that Coron has to offer including Malcapuya Island, Banana Island and Bulog Dos Beach. There’s also the Reef and Wrecks tour that will take you through some of the most beautiful coral reefs and historic wrecks that have become home to a rich, diverse marine life. Tour rates start at Php900.

They also offer tour packages beyond Coron: JY Travel and Tours’ El Nido packages from Php3,999 per person, Puerto Princesa packages for as low as Php2,799 per person.

PERSONALIZED TOURING EXPERIENCE. Unlike generic tours that will take you around the same spots, JY Travel and Tours offer a more personal approach to making sure you have the best time! More than mere guests, you’ll be treated like friends when you come aboard the boat. You’ll be treated with utmost priority and with the kind of hospitality Filipinos are known for. Tour guides are local experts when it comes to uncovering the gems of Coron, and you’ll learn more about the islands rather than just tour them.

JY Travel and Tours Coron packages start at Php2,399 per person. They also offer El Nido as well as Puerto Packages. To book, get in touch with them today!

JY Travel and Tours, 19 Real St., Brgy. 3, Coron, Palawan, tel +63 920 553 1710, email, and @JYTravelandToursOfficialPage
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Eastwood Richmonde Hotel

Best for a long weekend stay in the heart of Eastwood City with all its specialty restaurants, brand-name shopping, and leisure facilities

Clockwise from top: Bedroom with king bed, the dining room, and living room area of the Two-Bedroom Suite

First impressions

EXTREMELY WARM GREETING from the doorman and behind the desk concierge. The lobby is spacious with an impressive raindrop crystal chandelier at the center. Hotel staff were all accommodating and not only gave us a run down of the amenities but a guided walkthrough of what the hotel had to offer — from its rooftop pool, to the extensively equipped gym, we were shown how the hotel is perfect for leisure and business travellers alike. The bright and vibrant color scheme of the lobby gave the place a welcoming vibe, with hints of purple, gold, and lime giving that sense of comfort and luxury.

The hotel’s contemporary design is a result of its recent renovation — its first since it opened in 2010. This, together with its prime location within the modern mixed-use community of Eastwood City, add to the hotel’s appeal to the new breed of travelers.

Room. The color palette of the lobby can be seen in the renovated guest rooms as well, with the blend of walnut wood, cushioned headboards, soft printed carpets, and gold chrome accents, giving you an extra homey feel. As you enter and walk down the corridor and enter the one-bedroom suite, you are led to an open plan living room space, perfect for families to hang out, eat and watch TV. There is also a built in desk with a lamp and chair, ideal for those travelling on business and require a comfortable working space. The en-suite bathroom was exceptionally spotless with its shower cubicle, complete with hot and cold water. A unique feature of the bathroom I found was a curtain, which when drawn up overlooks the bedroom. This I found accentuated the size of the bathroom giving it more of an open plan vibe. The bedroom was exceptionally lit and airy with windows going from one wall to another with beautiful surrounding views of Eastwood.

Clockwise from top right: The Superior Queen room, shower cubicle with a glass panel that faces the bedroom, and pantry/ wet bar area of the TwoBedroom Suite

Food. There is a huge selection of food to choose from on the pages of the a la cart menu of Eastwood Café+Bar, the main restaurant of Eastwood Richmonde Hotel — from their all-day brunch, which sees the likes of some classic Filipino breakfast favorites, to their broad specialty starters, entrées, and pub grub items. Their dishes are flavoursome, beautifully presented and a perfect balance of Filipino cuisine and other classic dishes locals will know and love.

Must-trys on the menu include the Cashew Kare Kare, a modern take on the classic Filipino stew with peanut sauce, with US short ribs and cashew and shrimp bisque; the sous vide pulpo with chimichurri sauce; and their in-house

Richmonde salad. Make sure to end with their Chocolate Pavlova!

What’s on the doorstep. The hotel is adjacent to the trendy Eastwood Mall, with direct access at the second floor. The mall is home to brand-name shops, a cinema, amusement centre, restaurants, and a supermarket. The Eastwood Citywalk has a bowling alley, more cinemas, shops and restaurants and is also connected to Eastwood Mall.

Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, 17 Orchard Road Eastwood City, Bagumbayan, Quezon City 1110 Philippines. Visit

Clockwise from top left: The grand lobby of the hotel, outdoor pool area, and front desk


A great-value resort in the heart of Lian, Batangas


AABOUT A TWO and a half hour drive away from Manila, Villa Baldeo Resort in Batangas is your own piece of paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The three-storey resort with a good sized swimming pool and an alfresco dining area is a great getaway, popular with families and groups.

ROOMS. There are four rooms available, all connected if you want to rent the whole space out for a big family reunion, get-together with friends, or even a company outing. Each room is air conditioned with either a spacious queen-sized bed or double deckers, complete with private toilet and bath, toiletries, and complimentary coffee/tea.

AMENITIES. Right in the middle of Villa Baldeo is a good-sized outdoor swimming pool. On the wall is a fun, colorful mural. There’s also a common/dining area where you can hold private events. The second floor verandah offers a full bird’s eye view of the entire place, the perfect selfie spot.

ON THE DOORSTEP. Lian, where the resort is located, is home to a few tourist attractions including Matabungkay Beach, a long coastal beach popular with locals, as well as Mt. Batulao, Fortune Island, and Aquaria Water Park.

Villa Baldeo, Sitio Baldeo, San Diego, Lian, Batangas, tel +63 927 088 6655, email, and @villabaldeoresort on Facebook

Clockwise from top left: Room with double decker beds; pool area with colorful mural; spacious room you can book, perfect for big groups; dining area; and comfy room with queensized beds. Left: Enjoy the farm life


Indulge in a feast of the senses at this relaxing boutique spa in the metro

SPEND A LAZY afternoon, pampering yourself at the Mediterranean-themed Esencia Day Spa, best known for its signature massages, reflexology, premium body scrubs, waxing and nail care. Indulge in their Traditional Filipino Hilot Massage using banana leaves with warm coconut oil. In the old days, this type of traditional hilot was quite commonly used in little Philippine towns and provinces as an alternative form of healing ailments and injury. These days, hilot has gone mainstream and is popular on the spa menu.

Spa owner Les Rabinovich said Esencia Day Spa is a boutique spa offering hotelquality spa services that is distinctly Filipino. “We want to unveil the nurturing and healing touch of our well-trained therapists,” she shared. “At Esencia, our key focus is to make sure every customer’s unique needs are met by a matching treatment.”

Treatments to love. Take your pick from a wide array of therapeutic massages and body treatments. Sink into peaceful slumber with Esencia’s Swedish Massage using soft strokes for muscle relaxation.

There’s also the favorite Ventosa Cupping Therapy that uses heat resistant glasses and candles to draw out accumulated tension from the back, reducing discomfort almost dramatically to promote relief and relaxation. The Esencia Signature Massage combines all types of massages to achieve ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation.

Not to be missed is their Therapeutic Massage with deep massage strokes that deliver pressure to the inner layers of the muscles and connective tissue to ease tightly held tension to relieve chronic pain and restore balance. Other body treatments like body scrub and waxing are also available.

Good to know. Celebrating anything soon? Book a spa party and have the most relaxing, enjoyable time! Choose from top-notch spa party packages: Esencia Bliss, Ultimate Glow, and Tippy Toes — and have the most absolute fun time with family and friends.

Left to right: Esencia Day Spa owner Les Rabinovich, indulge in a relaxing body treatment, inside the spa, and feel at ease with their well-trained therapists
856 1414
049 832 1121.
Esencia Day Spa has two branches: BGC branch is at the 2nd floor of Bellagio Shoppes, Forbes
Town, call
+63917 514 1411 or 02 8839 1809; and
Nuvali branch is at the 2nd floor of Cinema Bldg., Solenad 3, Ayala Malls
Nuvali, call +63977
Alabang branch will open in September 2023. Visit
, email or check
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