Inside Eliana Gil Rodriguez’s Escape to a “Pristine Paradise” in the Philippines

Eliana Gil Rodriguez has had a busy year. In July, the model and former American Apparel wunderkind launched her namesake line of elevated basics (think baby tees, bike shorts, and super-stretchy unitards). Which is why when it came time to celebrate her 29th birthday this past December, she and her boyfriend, The Weeknd’s Patrick Greenaway, eschewed a blowout bash in their Hollywood Hills apartment for a thatched-roof, beachside cabana with subpar cell service.

“We really wanted to relax and do something cut-off,” explains Rodriguez of their choice to land on El Nido’s Miniloc Island—an hour-and-20-minute plane ride from Manila, the Philippines capital where the designer had just hosted her first-ever pop-up. Armed with her own itty-bitty tanks, a vintage Chanel one-piece, and an Olympus point-and-shoot, the Angeleno found a “pristine protected paradise.” (Not a piece of single-use plastic was seen during their weeklong stay, she notes.)

There, the duo snorkeled above vibrant coral reefs, hiked through the rainforest, and kayaked to nearby lagoons and islands—all the while making sure to squeeze in daily massages. “It was very Swiss Family Robinson,” she says with a laugh. “Everything felt shipwrecked—in a good way.”