The Philippines' secluded beaches, bottle-green forests and glittering seas aren't just for flop and drop holidays. This sun seeker's nirvana is also heavy on the fun and adventure.
There are no less than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and Boracay is a crowd pleaser. The popular island certainly isn't short on beach parties or stretches of powdery sand dotted with resorts that can cater to your every whim. You can let loose here or do nothing at all, though you'll be doing the Philippines injustice if you only manage to tick off the cocktail menu.
For a dose of eye candy, Palawan is a paradise graced with piercing aqua inlets, crystal clear coves and technicolour underwater worlds. No filter required. After all, it wasn't named the best island in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers for no reason.
El Nido, Miniloc Lake and Barracuda Lake are just three of many striking locations where you can live out your mermaid (or merman) dreams. Of course, you can also glide from location to location by way of kayak, boat, paddle board or flippers.
Palawan is also home to a recent UNESCO inclusion, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. A paddle through this 8.2-kilometre underground river will get you up close with the intricacies of ancient rock formations and ecosystem.
Find out why it's better in Bohol
Here's how to spend 24 hours in Cebu
Relax and unwind at Bluewater Maribago's beachside oasis
It really is more fun in the Philippines - step it up!
The Visayas is another group of islands whose underwater treasures rival land-based beauty. Cebu is the launch pad for spectacular scuba diving. Opportunities abound, especially at Malapascua. Here, iridescent blue seas reveal a menagerie of marine life. Think big. Fish encounters include giant manta rays (up to six metres wide), thresher sharks and whitetip sharks. Hammerhead sharks are also seen on the odd occasion!
But if you'd rather hover on the surface, but still want to get up close with the (gentle) giants of the ocean, head to Donsol. It's one of the few places in the world where whale shark sightings are almost guaranteed during the season which stretches from November to June. Even if you're not a keen swimmer, life vests and personal guides can ensure you don't miss out on the phenomenal experience.
If you want to swap your snorkel for a carabiner, turn up the adrenalin up a notch on Bohol. This emerald green isle is a juxtaposition of peaceful settings and heart-racing thrills.
The Philippines is considered one of the biggest zip-line capitals of the world, and the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park puts a spin on the phenomenon. Peddle across a 550-metre round-trip zip-line on a custom-made bike for 360-degree views of the Chocolate Hills.
Don't take off that harness just yet, though. Back in Cebu, Montaneza Falls or Moalboal is where you can really get the adrenalin pumping. Scramble rocks, rappel or dive off cliffs as part of a unique canyoning excursion.
If you're looking for the kind of affordable holiday that Bali or Phuket can offer, but with fewer crowds and greater thrills, consider the sun-drenched spoils of the Philippines.