Philippines best beaches
This tiny gem of an island is the Manileno’s beach of choice and, alongside Palawan, the country’s top tourist draw. It’s landed on many a best beaches list and, as a result, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. The main attraction is White Beach, a three-mile stretch of soft sand overlooking an ocean dotted with romantic paraws, or outrigger sailboats. After picture-perfect sunsets, some live music breaks out and performers spin and twirl batons ablaze with fire. Life on the island is one big party so, at times, it can get busy. But, in comparison with Koh Samui, it’s relatively relaxed.
El Nido is often in the spotlight but neighbouring municipality Coron in Palawan has equally awe-inspiring white sand beaches and volcanic limestone cliffs that hunker over lagoons. The photos you see on postcards of darting cliffs encasing the Twin Lagoons are actually of Coron and not of El Nido.
This is a good base from where to island-hop around the Calamian Group of Islands’ beautiful beaches, lakes and lagoons. Stop at Kayangan, the country’s cleanest lake encircled by huge granite rock formations; Twin Lagoons, where access to the second lagoon is through a small crevice underneath a rock; Maquinit, one of the few saltwater hot springs in the world; snorkelling site Siete Pecados; and Coron Town. Stay at Club Paradise, an island-resort surrounded by limestone karst scenery and tropical jungle.
This long and narrow island is at the heart of the Visayan Islands and plays a central role in the region’s economy. It’s no surprise then that it is easy to get to, with dozens of daily domestic flights from Manila and several flights from Asian hubs that fly directly into the capital, Cebu City. Just off the coast are a number of upscale, family-focused hotels. The beaches here are rather underwhelming, so best hire a boat to take you out to the islands in the Bohol Strait, where powder-white sand and coconut trees decorate the beaches. If you’re feeling adventurous, travel four hours by car to the port of Maya, where small boats make the 10-minute journey to Malapascua Island, which abounds with beautiful sandy bays, including dazzlingly white Bounty Beach and, for divers, thresher sharks.
The teardrop-shaped island is considered the country’s best surf spot, but there’s more to the island than world-famous surf breaks. If you’re not a keen surfer, give the right-breaking reef wave Cloud 9 a miss and book an island-hopping excursion instead. Stops include Dako, a large island where coconut palms back a crescent of white sand on its southernmost tip; Guyam Island, a small uninhibited islet which you can have all to yourself for the day; and Naked Island, a stunning expanse of white sand that’s devoid of any vegetation save for a few baby palm trees. Base yourself at Dedon Island (dedonisland.com), a private resort made up of nine Filipino-style villas decorated with covetable hand-woven rattan furniture.