Hot Spots

The It List 2009

by Ondine Cohane

Central Philippines

Kelly Slater is only one of the world-class surfers obsessed with the blessed isolation and huge rolling waves of the Central Philippines. Siargao Island is the area's focal point, with its famous "Cloud Nine," named one of the world's top-ten breaks by the surfing crowd. Though C9 (as locals call it) should only be attempted by professionals, there are countless friendlier breaks nearby, all accessible by boat. Nonsurfers won't be bored: The islands are home to white-sand beaches and lovely islets like Guyam, La Janoza, and Daku. Insiders head straight to the Kalinaw Resort, owned by two French émigrés who came here to get away from it all. The rooms are located in thatched-roof bungalows with beautiful, minimalist interiors. After settling in, we suggest hiring a local fishing boat to help you search for an undiscovered cove, picking up your catch of the day along the way. Divers will find watery homes on the isle of Boracay, which has not only amazing beaches but healthy reefs with aquariumlike conditions and teeming tropical fish. In early 2009 Shangri-La Hotels is opening a resort on the island. All 219 rooms and villas will come with ocean views, the restaurant will be perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, and the spa will take up more than 60,000 square feet. Happily, the company maintains an eco-friendly ethos—setting an honorable example in a region sure to catch the eye of more developers.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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