Not only are the Filipino people extremely warm and hospitable, but they live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it's affordable to visit too!
I spent the first and last night of my trip in Manila, The Philippines' capital. While it was good to get a feel for the urban side of the Philippines, the islands are the real attraction! A night in Puerto Princesa, the main city on Palawan island, deserves a look too; you will probably go there first anyway en route to El Nido. El Nido is a 4-5 hour van ride from Puerto Princesa and it's well worth the long drive.
Checking out the magnificent beaches is half the fun and joining an island hopping tour is the other half! All of the agencies and the locals pretty much know about and operate the same tours. Tour A was fantastic and I heard that Tour C is also good, but Tour C often gets cancelled due to high winds and tumultuous weather. Tour A includes snorkeling in a big and small (both magnificently beautiful) lagoon and gives you the opportunity to see some amazingly interesting and colorful marine life. You also get a freshly-cooked lunch on a small island, where our tour saw a komodo dragon! Finally, you get dropped off at a location that seems more surreal and appropriate for a postcard than for humans to actually be there. The beautiful sand and clear blue water will tantalize your senses and give you the urge to jump into a hammock, letting the cool wind blow through your hair while sipping on a fresh coconut (both of which you can do because the island has hammocks and coconuts). The name of that beach is 10 Commandos Beach, so make sure not to miss it! The best part of all of this is that the entire day of island hopping will cost you a mere $40 USD. Yes, you heard correctly $40 USD!
The third half of the fun (yes, there can be more than two halves when referring to fun) comes in the form of the atmosphere. The backpacker scene in El Nido is fantastic, with lots of friendly people from all over the world mixing in with the locals to create great vibes! There are also lots of small guesthouses run by families, and just a really warm atmosphere encompassing the entire place. Many Western establishments have popped up and you can find good pasta and pizza with the blink of an eye! Needless to say, I highly recommend visiting El Nido, AT LEAST for a few nights...I can promise you one thing...you won't want to leave.