Manila skies

Head for a Pacific paradise off the tourist radar.

Head for a Pacific paradise off the tourist radar.

Where is it?

Consisting of over 7000 tropical islands, the Philippines is a relatively overlooked oasis compared to its Southeast Asian cousins Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. However, its capital, Manila, is a shopping mecca, and you can enjoy the full luxury resort experience on the surrounding islands.

Things to do … for romantics

While it may be tempting to stay holed up in your deluxe villa (see Where to Stay), Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa on Marinduque has plenty of other romantic activities. Have a private movie screening either inside or outdoors, order a picnic lunch to share in a secluded spot, or book one of the private cruises on offer. In the evenings, enjoy a post-dinner cocktail in the Piano Lounge before heading back to your villa for a candlelit soak in your petal-filled bathtub.

Schedule in a Manila stopover and enjoy a spectacular sunset or two. Good viewing spots include Rizal Park, Roxas Boulevard or aboard a sunset dinner cruise on Manila Bay run by Sun Cruises (

… for active couples

The warm, calm waters surrounding the Marinduque province are ideal for kayaking, or take a jet ski for a spin. Another highlight is a speedboat ride to the nearby island of Dos Hermanos, where you can snorkel among rainbow-coloured marine life. Bellarocca Island is also home to a complex system of caves, cliffs, waterfalls and walking tracks for you and hubby to explore.

Where to stay

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa ( can be reached by helicopter, yacht or scenic flight from Manila. Deluxe Rooms are $670* per night, but honeymooners can't go past the private Garden and Cliff Villas (from $1580 a night), with your own infinity pool, jacuzzi and sun deck.

For your Manila stay, try The Peninsula in Makati (, which offers old-world glamour with sweeping views - and walk-in closets to store all of your shopping! Suites start from $420.

How to get there

Philippine Airlines ( operates regular flights, about eight hours long, direct to Manila from Sydney or Melbourne. Domestic airline Zest Air ( flies from Manila to Marinduque four times a week. Note that domestic carriers only allow you 10 kilos of baggage, so unless you travel light, arrange to have your loot stored in Manila.

Want more? The Autumn 2012 issue of Cosmo Bride has some great suggestions for a loved-up getaway - get your copy now.