Whilst festivals in other parts of the world have a sole emphasis on getting drunk and making a mess, this festival has an emphasis on thinking about Mother Nature and authentic enjoyment. With the soulful music, gleaming blue skies and an intense focus on giving back to the community, this festival is unique to the Philippines and is a remarkable hidden gem.
There is much to say about this Nixon-style war on drugs. But what about Dutertenomics? Indeed, much of the discourse has been overshadowed by the slew of state-sponsored killings. By focusing too hard on the reactions coming from the drug war, it can be difficult to realise the counter-narratives surrounding other policy areas.
Boracay is one of the most popular beach destinations in the Philippines. Located just a few kilometres from the Western Visayas region, this island is a dreamy paradise, one which isn't short of eager visitors each year. But don't be put off by its popularity; travel smart and you won't have to pay premium prices.
I was half way across the world from my family in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc two years ago. As a Filipina citizen it was hard to see the footage; to hear my family talk about the devastation and the people they couldn't get in touch with. In some ways it was even harder knowing what was going to happen next.
Just days after the storm hit, I was there on the ground visiting affected people with our emergency response teams. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was to witness - the warm, festering smells; the brown, damp rubble strewn as far as the eye could see; the body bags lying in the streets and the desperation in peoples' faces.