Aside from the thick forest and mountain range, Philippines is famous for its beautiful islands and beaches. Being an archipelago consisting of more than 7000 closely scattered islands, our tropical country is becoming one of the famous destination for beach goers because of its luxury feel and bliss at a very affordable cost as compare to other beaches in the world. So if you are thinking of spending a perfect beach holidays, I have listed some of the most famous islands and coves of white, gray and gold, fine and pebbled that I have experienced and trailed during my past trips.
To start of, I will take you to the famous of all which was enlisted as one of the most beautiful beach in the world, the island of Boracay. Located in Aklan in the Visayas region, this island becomes the beach bummers’s capital. It became popular not just because of its powdery white sand but by the numerous activities it offer to all the visitors and tourists. I can consider this place as the island that never sleeps. At daytime time, aside from swimming, you can try different fun water activities that will surely bring out the total beach spirit in you like snorkeling, reef walk, banana boat ride and skimboarding. You can also try exploring the beach with a backdrop of sunset through their colorful sailboat called “paraw”. If you think that would be all, well it is not over yet. Night in Boracay is not spent by just sleeping but by drinking and partying. There are rows of bars along the beach that offers variety of cocktails and beers accompanied by great music and dance. Be also amazed by some firedancers with their truly engaging performances along the shore.
If you are considering your budget and distance, and would still like to experience something like Boracay, I recommend Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro. This neighbor province of Batangas is famous not even for those Filipinos in the metro but also for foreign tourists. Some even settled there for good. Aside from white beach and water activities, you can also spend some time trekking or visit some water falls like Tamaraw and Aninuan. Puerto galera is also perfect for diving and snorkeling.
If you get tired of the noizy and crazy nightlife in Puerto Galera, and still want to experience more, Apo Island (Apo Reef Natural Park)is a must-see. Its a two-hour boat ride from Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro. But before you get there you need to travel a RORO from Batangas Port to Abra de Ilog then more that an hour bus ride going Sablayan. Its really a long travel but the scenery is perfect as you cross along riverbeds and mountains. Apo Reef is a protected area and is under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apo Reef is the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world and the largest one in the Philippines. But not just that, it holds the record of being the largest atoll like reef in the Philippines, making it one of the best diving spot in the world. My experience in this island was really incomparable. The place is quite and reserve. The view of the entire island can be best enjoyed when you climb the modern lighthouse which will give you a 360 degree view of the Sulu Sea and the neigboring islands of Palawan.
Two hours away from Manila, is the lake shore town of Talisay, Batangas, the jump off point to the smallest active volcano in the world. It is truly distinct because it holds the record for having the largest island, inside a lake, which is on an island, which is inside a lake, which is on an island. Taal Lake is famous not just because of its volcano, but also of fresh fish like tilapia, maliputo and tawilis.
If you are heading North, why not drop by at the coves of Zambales. This is becoming a hot spot for beach goers and campers. There are three famous coves that you can visit in Pundaquit. They are Anawangin, Nagsasa and Capones.
Anawangin is the most famous amongst all the coves. The shore is a mixture of white sand and volcanic ash from Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in the early 90’s. The shore is separated by a lagoon and the sea. A wooden bridge connects the main shore to the forest of pine trees where campers usually pitch their tent. You can also trek at the nearby hill to see the whole Anawagin Cove.
If you want to stay away from the flocks of people in Anawangin, Nagsasa Cove is the place to go. The place is almost the same with Anawangin but it is quite far. There is also a lagoon that flows all the way to the sea. You can just tie a hammock there and sleep in peace and bliss. A trek to the hill will give you a perfect view of the sunset as if it drifts from the sky making the water sparkles in gold.
Before heading home you can ask the boatman to drop by Capones Island. This is where you can find and take a tour in the old Spanish lighthouse called Faro de Punta Capones.
Lingayen Gulf and Patar White Beach in Bolinao are just two of the nice beach spots in Pangasinan, aside from Hundred Islands National Park. Just behind the provincial capitol, after knowing bits of history of the World War 2 in their mini museum of war artifacts, you can head directly to the Lingayen Gulf, the grayish shore and nipa huts serve as a perfect hangout to unwind for free.
But the best beach in Pangasinan is yet to come. Wait until you see Patar White Beach in Bolinao. This jaw-dropping sunset is truly magical or a genuine work of nature as I must say. The place is not yet developed making our stay simple and laid-back. No loud music, only waves. No screaming fool, only whistles from the leaves of trees. I’ve been to this place 3 times and still hoping to go back. I find this beach as my perfect hideout whenever I’m tired and stressed from the hassles of city life. In Patar, you can also visit the lighthouse, the Rock View, and lagoons inside the cave.
If you been dreaming of seeing Batanes but cannot afford yet and are adventurous enough and willing to endure a butt and back pains during a long travel, (When I say long, it means spending the whole night inside the bus and wake up in the morning for another land travel of more than 3 hours to be followed by a boat ride) Palaui Island in Cagayan is the place for you. Siwangag Cove, on the other side of island is the place where you can find the boomerang-shaped pebbled shore and the trails and stairways up to the Cape Engaño Lighthouse. This is where you can perfectly witness how South China Sea and Pacific Ocean meets and hugs each other. Just nearby is the Dos Hermanas Islands.
So there, hope you had fun and somehow I was able to make you think and plan your next beach holiday.