The Philippines is home to perhaps the best beaches and most beautiful islands in the world. With over 7,000 islands to choose from, each one has its own unique stunning landscape and diverse geographical location. Take an excursion through fabulous colourful coral gardens and laze on pristine beaches with a tropical fruit juice in hand. Choosing your favourite beach in the Philippines is like trying to pick the best colourful flower. This guide to the best beaches in the Philippines will help you decide which one you should visit to get your tan on!
1. White Beach, Boracay
After 6 months of rehabilitation, Boracay finally re-opened its doors to the public. Boracay is probably one of the most popular beaches in the whole world. The fine white powdered sand feels like walking in warm powdered flour. You can even walk 100 meters from the beach shore into the ocean and it is still just waist deep. The natural beauty of this island is astounding, with brilliant turquoise and azure waters alternating with palm trees, it is truly a sight to behold.
How to get here: From Manila, you can choose to travel to Boracay via Caticlan Airport (which is the nearest to Boracay) or Kalibo Airport (from which it will take you 2 hours to reach Boracay). Once in the Caticlan jetty port, you will be asked for a print-out of your accommodation and you can buy your ferry tickets in the port. Once you arrive in Boracay, you’ll see a line of tricycles, and it’s up to you if you want to hop on one or take a private transportation.
2. Puka Beach, Boracay
If you want to get away from the mainstream beach of Boracay, this is a good place to stop and relax. An Instagram-worthy beach with pristine water and the sand which is a bit rocky and full of crushed seashells, justifies the name ‘Puka’. Though the blue-turquoise water is inviting for a swim, please take note that, the water is usually not as calm as the water at White Beach.
How to get here: From the city center of Boracay stations 1,2 and 3 take a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at Puka beach. One-way fare is 20 pesos per person or 200 pesos for a private trip.
3. White Island, Camiguin
Lying just about 1.5km from the coast of Mambajao (the capital of Camiguin Province), White island of Camiguin is the most popular tourist spot in the province. Enjoy the long stretch of the boomerang-shaped white sandbar, surrounded by sea grass and majestically shrouded by a backdrop of twin peaks: Mt. Hibok-Hibok and Mt. Vulcan. This gem is a literal naked island – no houses, no trees and no cottages to shade you from the sun. You’ll get tanned here for sure!
How to get here: There is no direct flight from Manila to Camiguin; however, you can fly from Cagayan de Oro or Cebu to Camiguin Airport. From Cagayan de Oro take the shuttle to Agora Terminal then ride the bus bound to Balingoan Pier. Board a ferry to Benoni Wharf in Camiguin, then hail a tricycle or multicab to the jump-off point in Baranggay Yumbing. From here, White island is just 10-20 minutes away.
4. Nacpan Beach, Palawan
You will definitely love this place! How about some golden-brown powdery sand? Yes! You’ll find plenty of it in Nacpan Beach. It is just flawless, with no boats in sight, decent waves, clear blue water to play in and delicious food in the mini-restos. Travelers usually spend a night or two here escaping the busy crowd of the town of El Nido.
How to get here: From El Nido town, you can rent a motorbike and open your Google Maps or Waze on your phone to get there. Renting a private tricycle is also possible. Another option is to participate in Tour E from El Nido, which includes a visit to Nacpan Beach. Travel time is around 45minutes to 1 hour.
5. White Beach, Puerto Galera
Endowed with a stunning and colorful coral reef, and a long stretch of white sand, White Beach in Puerto Galera is a haven for those who want to experience an amazing beach without having to take a plane ride from Manila. This place is very popular for its exquisite diving and snorkeling sites which are often included in the list of top diving sites in the Philippines.
How to get here: From Manila take a bus bound for Batangas Pier in LRT Buendia and alight in Batangas Pier. Upon reaching the pier, buy your tickets near the docking area and board the small boat to ferry you over to Puerto Galera.
6. Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
Chill out on the blissfully empty beach of Kalanggaman with its famed long white fine sand bar, swaying palm trees, and the dramatic azure waters which are so clear they’ll bring you to tears. It is a stunning, beautiful and eye-catching paradise in the middle of the sea. The government built basic facilities to cater to the needs of the tourists, and policemen are always on duty for your safety. This place is simply stunning!
How to get here: There are many ways to get to this slice of paradise. The cheapest and the best way to get here is via Malapascua Island of Cebu. From Malapascua Island you can join a day-tour to Kalanggaman Island via a small ferry. The travel time is around 2 hours.
7. Malapascua Island, Cebu
When someone hears the word ‘Malapascua’, often the first thing that comes to their mind is diving with the elusive Thresher sharks. This small island off the north coast of Cebu is not only known for being one of the top diving spots in the Philippines but also for the colorful reefs, shipwrecks, and for the clarity of the waters. The locals have dubbed it as “A place like Boracay 20 years ago.”
How to get here: From Cebu City, take taxi going to Cebu North Terminal, and ride a bus going to Maya Port for a 4-hour ride. Once you have arrived in Maya Port transfer to a public boat bound for Malapascua Island.
8. Apo Island, Dumaguete
Declared as a marine sanctuary, Apo island is regarded as one of the most successful examples of a community-based sanctuary. As measures have been put into place to protect the island, you can only enter with a local guide. The gardens of coral are colorful and at their finest. Sea turtles are thriving well here, and there is everything to love about a day or two on this island. The beauty of this place is beyond words.
How to get here: From Manila, take a plane ride going to Dumaguete City. From the airport you can take a taxi going to the bus terminal. Jump on any southbound bus going to Zamboanguita and alight in Malatapay port. Take a boat going to Apo island – it takes a 30-minute bumpy boat ride to reach the island.
9. Paliton Beach, Siquijor
Nothing but the pureness of nature here, on this unspoiled beach. The picturesque white sand is lined with palm trees alongside its turquoise water. There is no question about the hidden beauty of Siquijor – it is wild, sparsely populated, and full of stunning beaches and cascading waterfalls. This island, without a doubt, is becoming more and more popular with travelers.
How to get here: From Manila, take an airplane to Dumaguete City, and then take a tricycle to Dumaguete Sea Port. Board a ferry to Siquijor island, travel time is 1 hour. If you are coming from Cebu, make your way to the Cebu South Terminal and hop on a bus bound for Liloan; travel time is 4-5 hours. Once in the port, board the ferry going to Sibulan. From there, ride a jeepney to Dumageute port, and then board the ferry bound for Siquijor.
10. Alona Beach, Bohol
Bohol is not only known for its tarsiers (the world’s smallest primates) and the Chocolate Hills but also for the crystal-clear waters and smooth, powdery sand of Alona Beach. The superb stretch of sand here is backed with swaying palm trees and fancy restaurants that will charm you to stay and watch the sunset.
How to get here: From Tagbilaran, Bohol take a tricycle or rent a motorbike to get to the beach travel time is 30-45minutes.
11. Siargao, Surigao del Norte
Known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” Siargao is a quiet, laid back island with azure waters, beautiful lagoons, and pristine brown-to-white sand. You can find magnificent waves for surfing, and stunning beautiful islets surrounding the main island. If you’ve been dreaming of a tropical island paradise, this is the answer; and it will certainly live up to your expectations. It has many beaches and islets to explore and every little spot you discover here will charm you. Almost every beach within the island is accessible through renting a motorbike, which is the best and cheapest way to explore the area.
How to get here: You can take an airplane from either Manila or Cebu to Siargao island. Once you have arrived, there are vans and tricycles outside the airport that transport passengers to the town of General Luna, where the majority of travelers stay. Ferries are also available in Cebu Port and usually depart at 7pm; they arrive at Surigao City in the morning then take the next ferry to Dapa, Siargao island.
12. Matinloc Beach, El Nido
One of the most talked about islands in the whole world is Palawan, particularly due to the presence of beautiful El Nido. The lush scenery, jagged carved limestones and islands with white-powdered beaches, backed by the shade of palm trees is something you’ll want to Instagram. El Nido has many perfect white beaches, but this beach is otherworldly beautiful. This underrated island which is typically visited only as a stop for lunch is simply gorgeous. Surrounded by azure water and limestones with beautifully decorated vegetation will fuel your imagination.
How to get here: This beach is part of Tour C, as well as the combination of Tour A & C, which you can purchase from a number of tour agencies in El Nido.
13. Laiya, Batangas
Another hidden gem lurking just 4 hours away from Manila, Batangas is often the go-to beach for Filipinos. This is not just because it is near the Metro Manila, but also because of its sublime strip of brown sand and world-class diving spots. Laiya Beach is known for its gorgeous strand of brown fine sand that stretches wide, its turquoise waters, and for its superb marine life.
How to get here: The cheapest and fastest way to get here is via San Juan. From Manila, take the ALPS Bus in Araneta Center Cubao, Quezon City to San Juan, Batangas (the travel time is around 2 hours) and tell the driver to drop you off at the Municipal Hall. Once in San Juan, board a jeepney with a sign that reads Laiya or Hugom.
14. Subic Laki, Sorsogon
Step out of the mainstream beaches and indulge yourself with the fertile shores and turquoise waters gently crashing onto pink sand in Subic Laki Sorsogon. This hidden gem, away from the modern beaches, is simply as gorgeous as it gets. Though the beach is quite difficult to reach, you will be rewarded with a scenic post-card worthy getaway.
How to get here: From Manila, you can take either a bus (10-14 hours) or plane (1 hour) to Legazpi City and head down to the central bus terminal near Gaisano Pacific Mall. Take the van (2 hours) bound for the town of Bulan, Sorsogon and alight at Trece. From Trece, take a jeepney to Matnog and tell the driver to drop you off at the Municipaity Hall. Head straight to the Matnog Tourism Office and hire a boatman for your island-hopping excursion.
15. Nagsasa Beach, Zambales
If you want to have some alone time or recover from the stress of work, you will want to consider visiting Nagsasa Beach, Zambales. Usually visited by locals for a short break from the city life. This gem of a place requires you to be off the grid; no phone signal whatsoever. The chill beach vibes, the glistening sun and the white-sand coastline are all you need here. On top of that, you can do a bit of hiking, as there is an access path for trekking up the nearest hill, which is quite steep, but the viewpoint is very captivating.
How to get here: From Manila catch a Victory Liner bus in Pasay bound for Iba or Santa Cruz, Zambales and get off at San Antonio Public Market. Then, take a tricycle to Pundaquit and from there, rent a boat bound for Nagsasa Cove.
We hope this has sent your wanderlust into overdrive and a trip to The Philippines is on your horizon. For all the best places to stay, check out these awesome Filipino hostels.
About the author:
Rafael Loreto is a Manila-based freelance travel journalist and photographer and currently exploring and expanding his horizons through the lens of his camera and teaching people about the best in budget travel without compromising its quality. Follow his adventures on his blog rarelygohome.com and Instagram