The idyllic Calamian islands sit at the northern tip of Palawan Province in the Philippines. Only an hour's flight, yet a world away from Manila, these islands have a fascinating history and, sitting at the convergence of the Sulu and South China seas, host an incredible abundance of marine life.
The main island, Busuanga, has a small domestic airline terminal. Across the island on its southern tip is the town of Coron, with a colourful harbour where fishing and tour boats are moored. Aside from the large central market featuring the freshest seafood selections and a sprinkling of shops, guesthouses and restaurants, there is little to see in this tranquil town nestled at the base of lush green hills. Boat tours around the islands are a popular pastime. The nearby Calauit Island is home to an odd sight: sharing the island with native Palawan creatures are a number of African species including giraffes, zebras, impalas and gazelles running free through its lowland forests. Said to be a leftover pet project from the indulgent Ferdinand Marcos era, it is now a protected wildlife reserve run by the government. Coron Island features a clear and pristine inland lake, while other islands dotting the area have splendid white sand beaches and lush jungles with streams and hot springs.