My List of Best Beaches in the Philippines

updated last 3/28/2013
 
How's your summer so far? I hope you already have some good tan lines to showcase. 
In case you still don't have that sunkissed skin, then pack your things, drag your friends with you, choose among the best beaches in the Philippines - and go!

the water split for me, Im one with the sea!
#PHL360

Again, to each his own. What's outstanding for me could be ordinary to you, and vice versa. I've only listed the top 10 for I think these beaches really have the most stunning view, finest sand, clearest water, and smoothest sea bed. Sorry but the beaches of Camiguin, Caramoan, Palaui, Guimaras, Zamboanga, and Zambales aren't included in my list.

Anyway so based on my own experience, the amusement level, the wow factor, the quality of the sand, and everything else - here's the list of my best beaches in the Philippines (as of March 28, 2013).



10. El Nido, Palawan


This beach area fronts most of the resorts and restaurants in El Nido. The water is nice and is definitely above any other beaches in the country. Wow factor is high specially when I consider the stunning limestone formations as its background. There are 2 other beaches in El Nido that is worth visiting: namely Marimegmeg and Nacpan.


9. Blue Lagoon, Ilocos Norte


I cant agree more why this is called Blue Lagoon or Maira-ira of the locals in Pagudpud. The water is really crystal clear and blueish. I love how simple this beach is. The sand may not be very fine, but it is white. Wow factor is still high.  Since it's located on the upper left most island in the country, this beach doesn't get very crowded, well except on Holy Week.


8. Sumilon, Cebu


To be honest, I only went to Sumilon just to experience this so called glamorous camping. I can't describe how amazed I was when we approached the island of Sumilon. I was breathless. The sandbar is unbelievably beautiful. It was another "I'm a proud Pinay" moment.


7. Malcapuya, Coron, Palawan


If I would choose just 1 beach for the entire province of Palawan, then this would be Malcapuya in Coron. The sand is so pristine. The water is so clear and clean. And as a big bonus, the underwater kingdom is awesome as well. I wont mind spending my summer here, every year!


6. Malamawi Beach, Basilan



This beach is I think the most unspoiled among the beaches I've been to. Only the locals and the adventurous ones can ever reach this place and see the serene beach of Malamawi. Every risk has a reward, and Malamawi Beach just didn't disappoint as it boasts its white and fine sand + clear water. I almost forgot that I was in the terror town of Basilan. ^_^


5. Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro


For me, a great beach must have a white sand, fine seabed, clear water, and a rich underwater kingdom. Apo Reef seems to be very blessed to have all of these. The 40-min airplane ride to San Jose Mindoro, then a 2-hour bus ride to Sablayan, and another 2-hour boat ride to Apo Reef could be exhausting - but I assure you it's all worth your ride. This could have been in a higher spot if not for some garbage around the island and a lot of sea mosquitoes at night time.


4. Dako Island, Siargao, Surigao Del Norte


All this time I thought Siargao's beaches are only made for surfers. I was wrong! Im very delighted to see this paradise island after a 45-min boat ride away from the mainland and the surfers' haven Cloud Nine. I love the purity of sand, the water, and the simplicity of the place. I so love the beach that Im willing to bathe under the striking sunrays for the entire day. Actually, Dako Island could have ranked 2nd in my top beaches list only if I wasn't biased. Haha!


3. Panglao, Bohol


Forgive me Im biased. Bohol will always be a personal favorite. As of 2012, I've already visited Bohol thrice, and every single visit just made me love Bohol more. Who wouldn't be attracted to see a place with a wonder of nature, historic site, river cruise, rare animal, organic food, great beach, and superb underwater world! Bohol is simply a complete family getaway.


2. Boracay, Aklan

My P5,000 Boracay Trip
including airfare and 3 water activities

Surprise, Boracay ranks 2nd in my list! As much as I wanted the hard-to-reach places and back-to-basic setups, I also wanted a beach that's very accessible and convenient. Given the white sand and the very picturesque beach - Boracay is constantly offering new activities to try, from reef walking, parasailing, cliff diving, zorb, and a lot more. I've been to Boracay thrice and it never failed to show me why it's still the Philippine's premiere tourist attraction. The best part why I love Boracay- the pride that it brings me whenever I see tourists from all around the world cross the oceans just to reach this little gem (of course, more visitors = more jobs).


1. Calaguas, Camarines Norte


Each island has its own beauty but there's really one beach that stands out among the others. 3 years ago, I had the privilege to see Calaguas for the first time. It was an untouched beauty. Wow factor is extremely high. The sand is creamy, the water is so clear and swim-able (meaning i dont have to go far just to be in a 7-feet deep area), and the whole place is peaceful. The water is so irresistible that i didn't mind having sunburns! It's a priceless moment to have this beach all by ourselves- the sand served as our ground sheet and the stars as our light. I can still remember the way I felt when it's time to go home. It's just hard to leave (and Im not even a fan of exaggerations and drama lines).

To date, I've returned to Calaguas twice but the experience I felt the 1st time will be forever unmatched. Let's just say development or fame has a price.



Im looking forward to try some Mediterranean Cruises someday but since Im still jobless then an El Nido trip would be a cheap alternative! Im positive this beach would make it to my list.
Care to share your best beaches in the Philippines?

Stingless Jellyfish Lake in Bucas Grande

Like what I've said in my previous blog entry, I went all the way to Siargao to swim in the Stingless Jellyfish Lake in Bucas Grande. Oh yes, these stingless jellyfish can alse be seen here in the Philippines, not just in Palau.

stingless jellyfish and our extremely close encounter


Donnie and I we're still overwhelmed with the paradise beaches in Siargao, but our hearts knew we're up to greater things on that trip. Naks, may ganun. The highlight of this trip would be our island hopping in Sohoton, Bucas Grande. To give you an idea, here's a map of Bucas Grande Island and Siargao Island. Both are parts of the province Surigao Del Norte.

Bucas Grande and Siargao attraction map
violet arrows indicate the spots we visited


To make it more awesome, a co-blogger and a local of Socorro - Mr. Edelito Sangco of Island Vacations, sponsored our Bucas Grande island hopping tour, the food all throughout our stay, a night accommodation in his budget yet quality inn, and of course the priceless hospitality (and generosity) of him and his family. I can't thank this man enough. Donnie would willingly perform a dance craze for that delicious Lobster dinner again. Thank you po sir Ed.

sir Ed with the ladies of Mindanao
nice meeting all of you!

Normally, Bucas Grande island hopping rate would range from P3,000 and up if you're coming from Surigao City or Hayanggabon, P1,500 if you're coming from Socorro town. The boat can accommodate 10 people or more.

It was a rainy morning but everyone had high hopes that the weather will cooperate. Thank goodness it did. We saw nothing but jaw-dropping sights, at its finest colors.

we just got started and I was already breathless
sir Ed mentioned it was just a normal sight in Bucas Grande

Indeed it was. And I died of envy. For a moment I imagined how lucky the locals of Siargao are.
For our first spot, sir Ed lead us to Bolitas Cave. The way to get inside is already the adventure. The cave opening is small, some stalactites and stalagmites might hurt your head and body, and of course there's not much air and light inside the cave. Intense! Donnie and I were challenged to do it. Deadma na madumihan at masugatan.

Sohoton Cave, an effortless cave to see

It would only take 5-10 mins crawl inside Bolitas Cave, but it was really challenging. Donnie and I were fulfilled to see these stalactites and stalagmites up close.

i crawled, bruised myself, and kissed the dust - just to pass thru this small opening
weird looking shapes eh? ^-^

Then we proceeded to the next target destination.

on our way to Tourism office

We registered ourselves and pay necessary fees, na hindi ko alam kung magkano dahil hindi ako ang nagbayad. We transferred to a smaller boat and the 2 assigned guides accompanied us to our tour.

crystal clear water and limestones - ordinary views in Bucas Grande

calm and serene

we passed thru caves and the guide told us some info about each place
di ko talaga narinig, fyi mahina ang pandinig ko

Then there's this spot where the guides would ask the guests who's willing to jump off the cliff. Di naman kataasan so it's immediately a go for me. Im surprised with Donnie because he did that too. Note: hindi sya marunong lumangoy pero tumalon sya without a lifevest.

technique in jumping: dont over-think. just jump.

me: wow, ang tapang mo ha. kung di ako marunong lumangoy, di ako tatalon dyan.
donnie: tumalon din dito si Angel Locsin kaya ayoko patalo sa kanya!
me: gaga, swimmer si angel locsin ikaw hindi. toinks!

Seriously, Im really proud of him. Matapang ang may life insurance neng?
Moving on, we went back to the tourism office. It's finally time for my much awaited part of the tour - stingless jellyfish time! Each person is assigned to a boatman. We will only be using paddle boats this time, no motor boats allowed for the stingless jellyfish lake. One more thing, we were instructed to remove our life vests. Later on I found out that guests are not allowed to swim in the lake anymore.

way to the kingdom of stingless jellyfish

in the boat with me were sir Ed and his son
thanks Nath for the shot

Sir Ed talked to the boatmen to allow me to jump off the boat. I begged to them as well. This experience wouldn't be complete if I could only see them above the water. Finally, the boatmen agreed. Sid Ed's son and I jumped off the boat in no time. Excited mode!

it's just very amazing that there are friendly and stingless jellyfish here in the Philippines

this experience is nothing but surreal
another item down in my To Do List

According to sir Ed, from April-June is the best time when you can find these stingless jellyfish. On rainy season, they are rare to be find. Please ask him first, or other locals if you're planning to go. This jellyfish attraction is only seasonal.

Our group had lunch in one of the beaches. I didn't bother to ask the name of the beach, gutom na ko. Lunch c/o sir Ed and his family.

After our lunch and siesta, we headed to the high end resort Club Tara. It seemed that his Korean-owned resort is already part of the standard itinerary in Bucas Grande. Entrance is free of charge for day tour guests. A room costs P10,000 per night for Filipinos, and P15,000 a night for foreigners.

watch guard spots

Club Tara

isolated resort in Bucas Grande

This resort is isolated, and it has no shore. Guests can do kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling all day. Easy access to the crystal clear water. On the other hand, the place didn't look very outstanding. There's a pool but it was unmaintained. Im not convinced to spend P10,000 for a night here.

accommodations in Club Tara, up-close

I really wanted to do more snorkeling but we're already out of route. Sayang naman. Nevertheless, I cant complain even a bit. The good heavens granted us good weather, calm waves, and the opportunity to see His outstanding creations.

This Siargao trip is surely one of the best trips I've done this year. Donnie and I we're already satisfied that we didn't mind skipping Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig. Very out of way and time consuming. Maybe next time, when I come back. I just need to score some cheap airfare to Siargao or Surigao. If not, some good thailand flights will surely delight me as well!


By the way, wanna hear my not-so-good English and fake American accent? Here's my podcast interview c/o Mr. Soloflighted. Link ---> http://soloflighted.com/podcast-interview-with-chyng-of-chyngreyes-com/

Siargao's Paradise Beaches and Cloud 9

Like everyone else, I first thought that Siargao is only the conyo version of Surigao. ^_^
Good thing I was enlightened that Siargao Island is really a part of the province Surigao Del Norte.


So what's to see in the island of Siargao?

the paradise beaches in Dako, Naked, and Guyam Islands

the world-class surfing spot in Cloud 9

and the stingless jellyfish in Bucas Grande
this alone already convinced me to go!


I asked my kaladkarin travel blogger friend Donnie to join me and explore his very first Mindanao destination. Since the direct flights to Siargao from Manila is super expensive, and Surigao flights are very rare on sale, we booked Manila-Butuan flights instead. This means a 1.5-hour plane ride to Butuan, a 3-hour bus ride to Surigao City, a 2-hour boat ride to Dapa, and a 40-min habal-habal ride to General Luna. Joy ride!

finally reaching Siargao
the luxury of being jobless, we have all the time to travel

Upon arriving in General Luna, we immediately started our island hopping activity. The 3 most famous and nearest islands are the target. The standard rate is P1,500 for the boat rental.


Naked Island
Called so because the island is bare. No trees and nipa huts are found in Naked Island. This pristine island is composed of fine white sands and some rocks. Isolated and untouched beauty it is.

approaching the naked island

paradise beach #1 in Siargao

donnie and I enjoying the island all by ourselves

we're so tempted to swim but there isn't a place to change clothes

the blogger in action


Dako Island
This beach made me confused, it's so beautiful that I surely had to re-arrange my rankings for the best beaches in the Philippines.

crystal clear water
so you sailed away.. sume-senti! ^_^

fine and white sand

paradise beach #2 in Siargao

Donnie and I were both so delighted that we immediately changed to our swim outfits. But first, pictorial of course. There are no other tourists but us!

coconut trees = instant coconut juice

my much wanted shaded area

every color, every hue..

We didn't bother to have our lunch as we're more excited to dip into the water.

Dako Island, one of the finest beaches I've been to

patong-patong na sunburn, and i dont care!

and Im wearing this swimsuit again, yay!
i need to exercise, bochog pa din ng tiyan ko. ^_^

This beach currently ranks 4th in my top beaches list. I will create a separate blog entry for that, soon!


Guyam Island
The favorite island for overnight trips. Many locals say this is their favorite. As for Donnie and I, our hearts still belong to Dako Island.

crystal clear water of Guyam Island

huts and open-cottages are available for the overnight stay

paradise beach #3 in Siargao

We had our lunch here and soaked again into the water.
This island hopping activity in Siargao made me more overwhelmed how beautiful the Philippines is. Agree?


Cloud 9
Donnie and I transferred to Cloud 9, the world class surfing spot in the Philippines. We saw more foreigners in this area more than Pinoy tourists. Places like these make me feel proud that tourists all over the world hassle themselves just to reach this little place. Cloud 9 must be really good. And indeed, it was.

almost sunset time

the famous boardwalk at Cloud 9

We were kinda surprised that spectators need to walk in this boardwalk to watch the surfers do some tricks. Ang layo! Here in Luzon surfing spots, the waves, swell, and break points are just some meters away from the shore. Oh well, the newbie in me was just surprised.

the boardwalk and the viewing area

the 9-shaped waves are the playground of these dare devil surfers

Since it was already dark, Donnie and I decided to take our surfing lessons on the next morning. For that night, we stayed at Point 303, one of the cheap yet decent accommodations in Cloud 9 area. The spacious fan room with ensuite bathroom costs us P750. Not bad. For sure there are other cheaper accommodations around, pero tinatamad na kami maghanap ng iba. Toinks!

the morning after, surfing time!

Surfing lessons costs P500/hour, inclusive of the boat rental. It's a bit pricier compared to the lessons in Baler and La Union. With all due respect, I like it more how the surf teachers in Luzon give instructions to newbies.

the rocky shore
the seabed is full of stones as well. ang sakit sa katawan pag hulog sa board.

Despite these, we can't leave Siargao without trying to surf. So here goes.

Donnie's first time ever to surf, woohoo!

And as expected, he got to stand up on his very first try.

donnie: "ito na ba yung tinatawag nilang surfing?"

After he got tired, it's now my turn. Kaloka si kuya instructor, basta ka nalang itutulak ng walang warning man lang. Hehe

surfing in Siargao
super zoom lens needed to take a good shot

Since there are designated surfing areas for newbies and pros, I didn't really feel the waves that form the shape 9. The spot for newbies are not challenging at all. Boring siya. And I hate the rocks in the sea bed. Ang sakit sa paa. With all due respect, I liked Baler more. I struggled for my life everytime I surf. Haha


Overall, it was overwhelming to finally reach Siargao and see the paradise beaches and surf in the world famous Cloud 9. Thanks to Nathalie of My Wandering Soles for assisting us all throughout. See you in Manila, i-tour kita sa 168 Mall and Tutuban. ^_^

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