12 Friday, 4 September 2009 London Lite Copyright 2008 Film and Entertainment VIP Medienfords 4 GmbH & Co. KG. All Rights Reserved. Packaging Design 2009 Alliance Atlantis Releasing Limited T/A Momentum Pictures. All Rights Reserved. *TITLE AND PRICE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY, WHILE STOCKS LAST. PRICE MAY VARY ONLINE. M ANY years ago, novelist Alex Garland set out on a mission to find paradise. And he did -- he just didnt tell anybody where it was. The writers best-selling novel and movie, The Beach, was based on the premise that intrepid travellers passed on a map to a secret beach in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. But Garland recently revealed that Thailand wasnt the inspiration for the story -- it was actually an archipelago off the northernmost tip of Palawan Island in the Philippines. Palawan is the second- largest province of the Philippines, stretch- ing from Mindoro in the north-east to Borneo in the south-west. Arriving in the Philippine capital Manila while on a round-the-world trip, I received my very own secret map in the form of travellers tales leading me to Palawan. People spoke in whispers about true para- dise and heaven on Earth. I was con- vinced and hopped on the next plane to Puerto Princesa (philippineairlines.com fly daily from Manila to Puerto Princesa), capital of Palawan and gateway to my search for the real Beach. PuertoPrincesa I chEcKEd into the Banwa guesthouse (dorm bed, 3.50; private room with bath- room, 10), an oasis in Puerto Princesa. The big draw here is the opportunity to swim with whale sharks. The first time I dived into a dark abyss in the ocean and glimpsed a fin was probably the most heart- stopping experience of my life. But the shark swam gracefully by, its skin speckled with yellow spots and stripes, catching rays of sunlight. You can pay a local fisherman 20 per person per day for a boat which carries up to eight people. After my shark experience, I spent a couple of days hanging out at the wild White Beach, soaking up the sunshine and paddling in the shallows. And yes, the sand did indeed live up to its name -- pure white and as soft as caster sugar. no wonder travellers have by jenny mcquaile Fan: Mel B and Stephen Belafonte Celebrity hotspot Cartagena, Colombia Belgium Beer Weekend, Brussels, 46 sept BELGIUM takes its beer seriously (where else do you find titles such as the Knighthood Of The Brewers Mash Staff?) and produces some of the tastiest -- not to mention most potent -- beers known to man. The weekend event showcases 40 brewers wares. weekenddelabiere.de OktOBerfest, munich, germany, 19 sept4 Oct ThE worlds biggest and most famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest attracts six million visitors and is spread over 15 days. As well as a range of strong German beers served in giant tankards, the festival is a place to consume large quantities of yummy food. oktoberfest.de tasmanian Beer festival, australia, 14 nOv KNOWN as the hobart Beerfest, this event combines two of Australians favourite liquids -- beer and water. Situated on hobarts waterfront, this festival attracts 10,000 visitors who come to drink global beers and ciders. tasmanianbeerfest. com.au great British Beer festival, lOndOn, 15 aug 2010 hELd at Earls court, this is billed as Britains largest beer festival and has 450 brews to sample. Experience golden ales, fruit beers, stouts, bitters, international lagers, cider and perry. The festival also has traditional pub games, live music and food. camra.org.uk kelly armstrong Here for the beer: Munich 4 best... beer festivals Philippin heck,Ive foundmy paradise WhO Mel B and husband Stephen Belafonte sipped champagne here. Why gO Its time to explore Colombias hidden gems. the viBe Dual personalities -- a city where peaceful Caribbean waters meet chaotic clubbing. Best fOr Walking along cobbled streets, cathedral-hopping at sundown, sampling exotic dishes in fusion restaurants. Where tO stay Formerly the home of a Carmelite order, the Charleston Santa Teresa (+ 575-664- 94-94) boasts a courtyard and roof- top pool. Rooms from 210 a night. Where tO eat La Vitrola (+ 575- 660-07-11) combines a Forties Cuban atmosphere with Nueva Colombiana cuisine. Try the carpaccio de mero -- grouper with lime. Mains from 12. What tO dO For an overview of the city by night, complete with national liquor, traditional dance and a local nightclub, take a rumba chivas bus tour. Tickets available from 7.50. sOmething different Watch the countrys annual beauty contest in November (srtacolombia. org/index2.php). tOp tip Beware of aggressive vendors who do anything for a sale. hOW tO get there Air France flies round-trip from Heathrow to Cartagena for 682.57 (opodo.co.uk). mOre infO cartagenainfo.net JennIFer Barton Yourtime index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html