hilippines beaches is one of the world class beaches in the world, it is often in many prestigious travel magazine masquerading the beauty of the island.
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With more than 7000 islands to visit, here are the most beautiful beach destinations in the country.
The area around the town of El Nido in Palawan is a mini archipelago of about 45 islands dotted around Bacuit Bay. The Bacuit Archipelago has arguably the best beaches in the Philippines. It’s also known for its towering karst limestone cliffs. There are scores of beautiful white sand beaches, both on the mainland and on the offshore islands. You'll need to hire a banca boat to reach and explore the various islands.
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Boracay, although a tiny island, is the Philippines’ top tourist draw. It’s famous for White Beach, a great stretch of sand around which a little town has grown, consisting of resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. However, there are other beaches here to explore, like Diniwid Beach and Puka Beach.
Boracay was closed for six months in 2018 for a clean-up as it had suffered great stress to its environment from the tourism influx. It was re-opened in October 2018, and leisure travellers are allowed again following Covid-19 pandemic curbs.
Note that there are some new restrictions in place to protect Boracay's environment. For example, tourists must book accredited hotels whose sewage systems are approved by the government, and alcohol, deck chairs, and umbrellas are currently not allowed on the beach. There are still a ton of water activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, helmet diving, jet-skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing.
Mactan Island is the main tourism hub of Cebu City, the capital of the Visayan region. It sits just off the coast of Cebu, connected to the mainland by three bridges. The Mactan-Cebu International Airport is located right on the island, so if you’re flying in, reaching your resort by road will be very convenient.
Mactan’s beaches are not really special compared to other beach attractions in the Philippines, but it makes up for it with amazing facilities at the hotels and resorts. The best of these resorts is the Shangri-La Mactan Resort.
This island is historically significant as the site of the Battle of Mactan in 1521, in which the local king, Lapu Lapu, killed Ferdinand Magellan, the emissary of the Spanish colonizers.
Malapascua Island is another island beach gem of Cebu, lying off the northern tip of the mainland. The island’s southern part has hotels on gorgeous sandy beaches.
Malapascua is famous for its world-class diving, most of all for the chance to spot thresher sharks, which congregate at Monad Shoal. Manta rays can also be sighted here.
Amanpulo Resort on Pamalican Island is an ultra high-end luxury resort that’s one of the most expensive destinations in the Philippines. Prices range from US$1450 per night for a hillside casita to upwards of US$7,000 for a four-bedroom villa. The entire island in the middle of the Sulu Sea is dedicated to Amanpulo Resort.
The island features powdery white sand beaches and beautiful turquoise waters, while resort facilities include a spa, gym, yoga studio, dive centre and tennis courts.
This beach town is a surfing mecca located on the west coast of North Luzon. Most travellers here stay in the Urbiztondo barangay, or village, but those who seek solitude instead of the surf can head to the smaller village of Montemar 1km to the north. Restaurants and services are concentrated in Urbiztondo, but tourists in Montemar can travel easily between both barangays via tricycles at P50 per ride.
Baler on the east coast of Luzon is another surfing hotspot, as well as being one of the rare beach locations in the Philippines that face the Pacific Ocean. The town was famously featured in the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now.
As in San Juan, most travellers to Baler are there to surf, but there is a place for non-surfing visitors at the Costa Pacifica Baler, a large, upmarket resort for those who’re simply there to enjoy the beautiful coastline.
Puerto Galera is a resort town facing a gorgeous collection of bays and islands on the northern tip of Mindoro. It’s an attractive beach destination for those who don’t want to travel too far from the Manila hub – it’s only a 20-minute sea plane ride via Air Juan from Manila, and one to 1½ hours by ferries from Batangas in Luzon.
There are many beaches around Puerto Galera which vary widely in crowdedness and classiness, so choose carefully. The popular White Beach gets crowded during high season. Lonely Planet recommends Aninuan and Talipanan as quieter and classier beaches to the west of White Beach. To the east of Puerto Galera there are the beaches of Sabang, Small La Laguna, and Big La Laguna. To the south are Tabinay and Dulangan.
Dimakya, a small island to the north of Busuanga in the Calamian group of islands, is where probably the best beach in this area is found. The comfortable Club Paradise resort lies on the western side of Dimakya, where a magnificent beach runs along the shore.
Besides lazing by the beach, this area offers good coral-reef diving and snorkeling. Dimakya will also delight wildlife lovers; monitor lizards wander among the bungalows at Club Paradise and the island is home to a large and noisy fruit bat population. If you go diving off the northeast coast of Busuanga, you might see the endangered dugong, a gentle herbivorous marine mammal.
The blinding white sand beaches on Bantayan Island are among Cebu’s best. The island has a relaxed, easygoing vibe, and most travellers base themselves in the peaceful town of Santa Fe on the southern coast.
Note that there are no nice diving sites around Bantayan and snorkelling is pretty limited, but there is plenty to explore, including the gorgeous Paradise Beach and the nearby Hilantagaan and Virgin islands.
Panglao in Bohol is known for Alona Beach, a busy resort renowned for its nightlife that’s popular with both international tourists as well as Filipinos who cruise in for weekend vacations.
For those who prefer a quieter vacation, Danao Beach is far less noisy and provides an idyllic tropical setting complete with fine white sand and coconut palms
Panglao experienced some damage from Typhoon Odette in December 2021, but tourism appears to have bounced back on Alona Beach.
Water activities are among the main attractions here – there’s very good diving and snorkeling around Alona Beach, as well as at the underwater paradise of Balicasag Island, which can be reached via a short boat ride. You can also book dolphin-watching tours from most resorts and dive centres.
Siquijor is a tiny, rural island province off the southern tip of Negros that’s known for its mountain-dwelling mangkukulan healers who practise mystical, shamanistic traditions of treating ailments with herbal remedies and spells. Aside from the magic and mystery, however, the island’s main attractions are its beaches.
Siargao is the premier surfing area in not just the Philippines but the whole of Southeast Asia, famous especially for its Cloud Nine surfing break on the southern coast, around which a resort village has grown, expanding into nearby General Luna as well.
Most tourists come here for the surfing, but there are some nice, small beaches at Cloud Nine; non-surfers can also take banca boats to explore more beaches on the small islands to the south, including Guyam and Daco. Many parts of Siargao were heavily damaged by Typhoon Odette in December 2021, so you might still see damaged buildings and reconstruction going on around the island.
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