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Many of those early tourists now return on a regular basis, some staying for months. Others, knowing she is short of money and trying to build, pay in advance of their next trip. She points to one of the cottages - a circular, open plan, African style hut with a cogon grass roof. "One guy paid for that cottage in advance. He still has another year of holiday to go." she says.

Although the resort offers tours to neighboring islands, guests are pretty much on their own. They can read, walk, lie on the beach, doze in hammocks under an umbrella tree, or visit the village across the low hill to the south. The more adventurous can snorkel, hire paddle boats, or trek up a crude path to the summit of the eastern mountain. The view makes the effort worthwhile. From this height Bacuit Bay looks like a living topographical map - islands rising like castles from a flecked and sparkling sea.

Most of her guests are middle aged. Some come from El Nido on day trips, but the majority stay longer. She discourages smoking and drinking, and bans children. "This is a paradise, a place where people can escape from their humdrum lives," she says. "Children are out of place - they are noisy and destructive."

But here, as in other wilderness areas of the Philippines, it is not children who destroy. Lee Ann takes us to the beach. Dead sea weed covers much of the white sand. Off the beach in the shallows more sea weed obscures the bottom. "In December the north east monsoon will get rid of that," she says. "It's the result of illegal logging."

Illegal logging, she explains, is rampant. Entire forests are being destroyed. Deforestation leads to erosion - millions of tons of valuable top soil spreading over the coastal waters, smothering reef life. "It's a serious problem," she says. "No trees . . . no reef; no reef . . . no fish - just sea weed."
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