Best beaches in the Philippines

I’m a beach person and lucky to live in the Philippines, a southeast Asian country with about 7600 islands and countless beaches. Although the Philippines has long been known to be a tropical paradise, with some islands catering specifically to summer vacationers, there are still beach destinations in the country that remains to be (re)-discovered.

Included in this list of best beaches in the Philippines are some of these ‘new discoveries’ as well as mainstream beach destinations, for everybody who are in love with the sand and the sea.

Photo credits are given to Hali Navarro, photographer and co-blogger in .

 

Here are the best beaches in the Philippines to visit in 2017

 

boracay - white beach

I know it sounds cliché to include Boracay, since this has always been in the list of best beaches in the world by CNN, TripAdvisor and other websites. A bit controversial too, since Boracay has also garnered its share of criticisms, especially from locals for being ‘too commercialized.’ However, there’s no denying that the beaches in Boracay are great, with its clear sea and very fine sand. This applies to White Beach in particular, as well as other quieter beaches in the area such as Puka Beach.

I think the key to enjoying Boracay is in leveling your expectation – that is, know that Boracay is mainly a party island. Boracay is perfect for those who’re looking for a place with a wide array of options: accommodations from budget to luxury hotels, various bars and restaurants and activities such as snorkeling, helmet diving, parasailing, wind surfing and many more.

 

Most writers would go for El Nido in Palawan (or Coron for that matter) when collating a list of best beaches in the Philippines, especially since El Nido is the poster child of the Philippine Tourism Board. However, I feel that El Nido’s main attractions are its lagoons and limestone karsts. While I definitely liked the twin beaches of Nacpan, I still wouldn’t include it in a ‘best of’ list.

Instead, I’m including Balabac islands in the south of Palawan, specifically Candaraman Island. Candaraman Island is unspoilt; there are no commercial establishments in the area, and few residents in the island. It has a wide stretch of clear beach, with smooth sand and, if you’re lucky to find it, an alley of starfishes.

A word of caution: Occasionally there are travel advisories to the south of Palawan for security reasons. I didn’t encounter any threat when I visited with friends on summer of 2016 but feel that I should still give a heads up to those who’re interested to see this virgin beach in the Philippines.

 

calayan - sibang cove

Another beach destination in the north of the Philippines. Calayan Island is difficult to reach; from the mainland Luzon it’s about 6 hours of boat ride away and it’s often sieged by typhoons, making sea travel unpredictable. However, the beach in Calayan Island is definitely worth the trouble.

Sibang Cove is a wide stretch of beach in Calayan Island, with soft sand and huge waves. Due to the difficulty in going to Calayan Island, this beach remains off the beaten path. Beach goers consist mainly of local residents and their families. It’s the perfect beach destination for those who are soul searching or want to relax on a beach camping experience.

 

Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley

palaui - cape engano

Palaui Island is another beautiful beach in Cagayan Valley. It’s easier to reach compared to Calayan Island, and the reward is just as worthwhile.

I’ve been to Palaui a few years ago, and all I could remember was the beautiful aquamarine water in Anguib Beach. The sand isn’t as fine as the other beaches mentioned here, but the color and clarity of the water make up for this lack. There’s a resort in Anguib Beach and a place for camping tents.

Another beach in Palaui Island worth visiting is the one below the old lighthouse of Cape Engaño.

 

jomalig - salibungot beach

I visited Jomalig Island back in 2015 to join as a volunteer for an outreach program for a community of children there. I didn’t expect to be amazed by beach in Jomalig, and even now it’s perhaps one of the few instances where I was ‘wowed.’

Salibungot Beach in Jomalig Island is different in that the color of its sand is a shade of orange, often described as golden. It’s soft too, enough to sink the feet when walking. The sea is turquoise green, so clear it looks shallow even when several feet deep. The beach is surrounded by pine trees.

Today, resorts have been made available to tourists for a more comfortable stay in Jomalig Island.

 

Additions to the list

Note: These are the ones I haven’t personally been too. I’ve included these in this list of best beaches in the Philippines because these are often cited in magazines and even praised by personal friends and travel acquaintances and these are also in my bucket list.

 

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island is one of the up-and-coming beach destinations in the country. In the recent years, it has been ignored by tourists who favored mainstream destinations but is now slowly gaining popularity after being used as a setting for a local film.

Bantayan Island has very fine, white sand and of course clear sea perfect for dipping. Like Boracay, there isn’t just one but many beaches in this island in Cebu.

 

Panglao, Bohol

There are several beaches in Panglao, but the most famous is Alona Beach. It’s an established beach haven stretching 800 meters long. As one of the most visited places in Bohol, it features various resorts and dining restaurants for all kinds of travelers.

Alona Beach in Panglao is not only for beach bummers but also for those into diving. It is said that the underwater scenery has exceptional coral formations and large number of fishes to satisfy those who’re looking for more aquatic experience.

Have you been to any in this list of best beaches in the Philippines? Which one are you planning to visit in 2017?

 

About the author: Katherine Cortes from Tara Lets Anywhere. A Filipino couple traveling with a DSLR named Amelia and a GoPro named Obakemono. – Kat and Hali

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

93 Comments

  1. I am pretty sure if I ever go there, I will never leave. The water is beautiful. I can’t imagine how peaceful it was. Beautiful pictures!!

  2. I was in your country a few months ago for a convention but only had time to visit Boracay and it was beautifu. I love all of your photos, many are places I would like to visit when I am able to return. Will send you a note and you can tell us what to do and what to see in September.

    1. Thank you John, but this is a guest post written by Katherine. You can send her the note by following the link in the post towards her website, I am sure she will help you with suggestions on how to best spend your time in her country. 🙂

  3. We have a friend who is from Philippines and always recommended us to plan a trip in these magical places. We’d like to go to Boracay and discover its beautiful sand and of course its parties! Plus we can do snorkeling, great 🙂

  4. 7600 islands?!? :O I had no idea there was that many in the Philippines, that’s crazy! These photos are beautiful. I’ve never been to the country myself but would love to visit some day, especially after reading this.

  5. I am hoping to go to the philippines next winter. It certainly looks so beautiful. I would love to visit a few of these beaches on my trip as they just look stunning. Can’t wait to visit 🙂

  6. I feel so blessed that I was born here in the Philippines, and I could enjoy first-hand of these beautiful sights. Not everyone are being blessed with beaches and natural resources (and most are free!). I hope that we continue to promote its natural beauty, maintain it till the next generations.

  7. Lovely pictures, they are all like paradises! I would love to visit, sometimes we think that’s only available in Cancun but this is definitively as nice as that x

  8. These beaches look like paradise. You pictures look absolutely spectacular. Thank you for sharing. I especially like the look of the beach at Calayan Island. Just gorgeous!

  9. I have been longing to visit the Philippines for a few years now. I am planning a trip in early 2018 and so I’d like to thank you for giving me lots of viable options for my little beach break in the trip. Great stuff!

  10. I have never been to the Philippines, but after looking at your photos and reading your blog, this is totally enticing me to make a trip out there! This blog is a great start for planning my trip – because I love to be at the beach! Totally useful and bookmarking 🙂

  11. I totally agree! Philippines still has the best beaches in the world, among other beautiful bodies of water.
    I always recommend our country to travelers we meet. 🙂

  12. I’ve been looking for an affordable match for the beautiful blue water and white sands of Bora Bora – I can’t wait to visit Philippines to see how close it is to the Bora Bora dream – your list of beaches look amazing thank you for sharing! I still have to figure out how close these beaches are to each other and how many one can cover in a week 😛

  13. Coming from an island as well, with beaches also praised by many websites and magazines, I appreciate the fact of seeing authentic additions to this list. I have resd a lot of things about Boracay and El Nido, but your list seems perfect for everyone who wants to discover Phillipines one shore at a time.

  14. We were planning to go to the Philippines in 2016, however when it was time to get everything ready flight tickets were too expensive and ended up going to Indonesia (totally worth it) but now I also want to go to the Philippines!!! I think every beach you’ve shown is amazing but Jamoling seems out of an incredible book full of amazing places out of this world! Have you seen the color of that water!!! Thanks for sharing

  15. Huge shout out to your photog, Hali Navarro, for the stunning pictures! All the beaches look so beautiful, we wouldn’t know where to start! I’ve heard about Boracay, but it’s nice to see a list with some options that are less touristy, especially the one you mentioned that offers camping.

  16. I just sent this to my friend since she is headed there for a couple weeks in February! Allllllllll of the beaches look like the perfect place to take a dip or relax. I am planning on going to SEA sometime this year so I will bookmark for later!

  17. It’s so refreshing to read about different beaches in the Philippines besides only Boracay and El Nido. I haven’t been to the Philippines yet but will take note of these beaches for when I do go. Just wondering what the travel advisories warn against in the South of Palawan?

  18. Boracay may be hyped up, but sure does it look like a gorgeous beach. I’d love to visit the Phillipines and its beautiful beaches. No wonder they’re famous,they’re amazing! I wanna go snorkeling there.

  19. I used to edit content for a travel website and became familiar with Boracay, though I unfortunately haven’t been to the Philippines yet. Now I know there are many other beaches which are just as (if not more) stunning! Thanks for sharing your photos, too!

  20. I knew there was a reason I had always wanted to visit the Phillipines and not just because of the culture. I mean the vistas are nothing short of extraordinary. Imagine waking up each day a stones throw from a pure, clean, sandy beach. Pure bliss x

  21. Wow!!! I had no idea that Phillipines had so beautiful beaches! The scenery is amazing, it reminds me of a dreamy tropical paradise. I will add Phillipines to the list of places I want to visit one day.

  22. I love to check out places with less tourists. Sibang Cove sounds like just up my alley with locals and families going there. I’ll come back to this article when I’m planning my trip to the Philippines :D.

  23. All of these beaches look just like paradise! I’m so glad I came across this and will be saving it for later. I hope to get to the Philippines one day in the future to be able to see these beaches for myself 🙂

  24. That water is so gorgeous it almost looks fake! But seriously, you have some beautiful beaches. As a Philippines expert, where would you recommend to go if I only had 2 weeks there? I don’t need all beaches, but a couple would be nice 🙂

  25. I didn’t know that Philippines has so many beautiful beaches. Thanks for sharing all these amazing photos. I wish to visit Philippine someday. You’re one lucky girl to live near such beautiful beach.

  26. How can it be? 7600 islands! I had no idea. Thank-you so much for your post .. we’re traveling to the Philippines a year from now and are definitely looking forward to visiting a few of the beaches!

  27. We haven’t been getting a lot of snow but we have been getting tons of rain. It is gloomy as gloomy can be in Cincinnati and these pictures of the beach are perfect. How absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  28. I need to venture beyond Manila and see some of these beaches. Great list you’ve compiled and beautiful pictures to go along with it. I also like how you’ve named your cameras haha 🙂

  29. The Philippines is known for its lovely beaches and there’s no denying how beautiful they all truly are! I would love to visit all of the places on the list if I could!

  30. Here I go again, wishing to have that dream vacation to Asia. OMG. Those beaches are so pristine. Love that there are no crowds. It is just like your very own private beach. I really, really have to start planning!

  31. I can not even believe the clarity and color of the water in all these photos. I grew up on the coast in australia and this still blows my mind! It’s amazing!

  32. Indonesia and Philippines are blessed with so much natural beauty. I guess even if I visit these countries on a week long trip I wouldn’t be satisfied with all the beaches and gorgeousness! The beaches looks so pristine & secluded!

  33. Really beautiful beaches. I had not heard of this Balabak islands though El Nido like you said is quite popular. I think I will need at least a month to experience all these properly. Two beaches a week…do you think that would be enough ? 😉

  34. I’ve never been to Philipines and I guess it will take a while before I go there, but for sure the idea of walking on that sand and throwing myself into that water is extremely tantalizing!
    For sure I’ll follow this list because I’m not very interested in too famous beaches

  35. havent been to phili before, one thing is for sure, you brought me to these beaches right now with these posts of yours and i dont want to go back to my country. hahahahah, nice pictures to speak more on the locations. good weather , good sand feeling makes the perfect beach.

  36. These pictures looked like they are photo-shopped, but I know they aren’t! That water is so beautiful. This makes me wish it was summer and that I was on that beach. I absolutely love all the helpful information if I ever make it to the Philippines. Great and informative writing!

  37. Oh wow all of these look absolutely beautiful! I’ve heard and read a lot about Boracay so am quite familiar with that one. But oh my take to Palaui Island right now! Ree love30

  38. Wow the beaches look fascinating. If we ever get to this paradise, we’ll be crying when its time to leave. Is there a suggested order to visiting these beach destinations? Just curious

  39. I love beaches. I always feel so happy when I see the sea! It’s so magical. Every time again. I would love to visit the Philippines one day. So good to know which beaches I have to put on my list. Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley sounds really really awesome. That photo is just so beautiful!
    It’s good to be aware of the travel advisories for the south of Palawan. Good that you mention that. I’ve heard great things about Cebu as well. Nice to see it on your list.

  40. I’m not really a beach person. However every time I see a beach, in a photo or in real life, my heart just stops and then suddenly I want to explore it haha.

  41. I wouldn’t mind going to a place with such blue water. Have only seen it a few times in my life and then I have sadly not had the possibility to actually swim. Philippines is one of those countries that I can accept going to with the anticipation of only enjoying the beaches and to relax. 🙂

  42. I must say that the ‘Pines’ is one of our favorite places in the whole wide world. We have been to a few of those beaches, but are keen to finish and then add some more to your list!!

  43. Calayan Island would be a dream come true for me! I’m not an avid beach lover, but that’s because I don’t enjoy the crowds associated with it. However, that place is off the beaten track, therefore quiet and peaceful. I would love to relax there for at least a couple of days!

  44. I should get to the Philippines at least this year. I have heard a lot about Boracay and El nido. So it is refreshing to see other beaches too. Now I need to make an itinerary and head there soon.

  45. I will be visiting Bohol soon so I’m glad there is a beach from Bohol on your list. I’ll check out Panglao and Alona Beach. Your pictures are amazing, I can’t wait to get there!

  46. These pictures are stunning, the Philippines definitely has some of the beautiful beaches. The crystal clear azure waters and the sandy beaches look like paradise for beach lovers. We love to visit Calayan Island though it isn’t easier to reach. Does these beaches have snorkeling or scuba diving options too?

  47. Our friend told us he had a great time when he visited the Philippines. He did mention that the beaches were really nice and travelling to different islands was fun. We aren’t totally against the popular tourist places as long as they aren’t extremely crowded.

  48. Ah… the Philippines is really something else! We were in Cebu and El Nido last spring and were blown away by the natural beauty. We didn’t check off any beaches on this list but we’ll definitely be going back one day!

  49. Oh, wow! I am truly blown away by those amazing beaches! Never been to the Philippines, but hope to one day make it there. I bet my kiddos would love to play the entire day and any of those amazing sandy beaches.

  50. These is a stunning list Joana! Somehow I had heard only about Boracay and didn’t know a thing about the rest. This shall now be my guide when I make my trip to Philippines – thanks for sharing 🙂

  51. This is definitely a beach-lovers paradise. I love the idea of a beach camping experience at Calayan Island. What a way to start the day if you crawl out of your tent and see that gorgeous scenery of lush green hills, soft sand and blue water.

  52. Woow! That’s a nice addition to already known places. I’m happy you wrote this article cause i’m probably going to a wedding to Philippines in 2018 and hopefully i can visit as many beaches as i can! 😀 I’ve bookmarked this post!!

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