A sandbar, technically called a shoal, is a naturally submerged ridge or bank of sand that rises to close to the water surface. It could remain hidden during high tide, therefore constituting an impediment to navigation, but could rise above the water during low tide. Here in the Philippines, many of these sandbars have become picturesque destinations.
With 7,641 islands, the Philippines has plentiful sandy beaches, coves and seaside lagoons. Visiting over 50 provinces of the country has allowed us to relish a good number of these beaches but still left out a considerable number in our bucket list. Compiling lists of this sort almost certainly leaves out quite a number of other outstanding examples but we chose to confine ourselves to the beaches we've personally visited.
It used to go by the names Sabuluag or Salauag after a tree species endemic to these islands. During the Spanish colonial era, coffins containing oversized human bones were reportedly discovered at a cave in one of the islands.
Leyte for us, and specially for Leo, was a place famous for history – the first landing of American forces in the Philippines during World War 2 and the largest naval battle of that conflict, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, both occurring in 1944. We had not considered this heavily forested and mountainous province as a tourist destination until 10 years ago.
When Category 5-super Typhoon Odette (international name Rai) hit the Philippines last Dec. 16-17, it created a wide swath of destruction over the provinces of Surigao del Norte, Dinagat, Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental and Palawan. Many towns in the island province of Bohol suffered catastrophic damage and dozens of deaths.
When it was still largely unknown to local tourists, the Caramoan peninsula was featured in the 2004 edition of an international travel guide book. It was described as a rugged, pristine and beautiful landscape only accessible by boat. Caramoan burst into the scene in 2008 when the French version of the TV series Survivor featured the place. It soon began attracting local and international visitors.
One of our favorite photography subjects during our travels are sunsets and sunrises. The different hues and color intensities produced by the sun and the sky have fascinated us no end. Particularly interesting are those scenes that involve bodies of water. Here are some of our shots over the years. We’ve also included some of... Continue Reading →
As the ferry slowly glided into a channel towards our destination, primeval towers of limestone rising out of aquamarine and turquoise waters greeted our eyes that cold June morning. It was our first visit to Coron in northern Palawan 18 years ago. Soon we were talking to a Danish woman who rented her boat to... Continue Reading →
Here we are at home entering the third week of an enhanced quarantine/lockdown that was extended to include the whole island of Luzon here in the Philippines and with no clear end in sight. We were supposed to be at El Nido, Palawan for island hopping at Linapacan and the Bacuit Archipelago this past weekend.... Continue Reading →
It's the start of the hot and dry season — often referred to as "summer" — in the Philippines, and normally the time to go beach-bumming. Not for those of us in Metro Manila, however. Because of COVID-19 the metropolis is on quarantine status — a "softer" term for lockdown. As a result we cannot... Continue Reading →
Only 7 kilometers long and 0.5 to 2 kilometers wide, Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan has attained a popularity out of all proportion to its size. It was practically unknown until the late 1970s when German travel writer Jens Peter described it as “paradise on earth.” Western backpackers started arriving in the 1980s to bask... Continue Reading →
Years ago we’ve made it a point not to visit the same place twice, especially destinations located far from home. More recently, however, we’ve become more comfortable at retracing past jaunts. Siquijor is one such trip – an expedition primarily to accompany friends who have never been there. We only allotted a day to tour... Continue Reading →
Six years ago, on a 2-day tour around Siquijor by trike, we asked our tour guide and driver to take us to a secluded beach in the northern coast of San Juan town. Paliton Beach was mentioned by only a handful of blogs back then and was almost unknown compared to the popular destinations of... Continue Reading →
The next time we visit Siquijor, we remember thinking 6 years ago, we’d be sure to check out and stay at a beachfront resort in San Juan town. After touring Dumaguete and its surrounding towns for 2 days and 3 nights on the last week of November it was time to revisit Siquijor with friends... Continue Reading →
It was just a footnote in the rare blogs that we encountered about Dinagat more than a year before we made this trip – a destination that did not figure in our island-hopping itinerary more than a year later. But with erstwhile regulars Sundayo Beach and Cabacungan Cove now unexpectedly off-limits to visitors, our boat... Continue Reading →
It has numerous deserted coves, pristine white-sand beaches and verdant islands wrapped in dense jungle foliage and colossal rock formations. It’s the second newest province in the country and possesses an abundance of natural resources including minerals such as nickel but is also one of the nation’s poorest. And despite being adjacent to its eastern... Continue Reading →
Our boat drove that sunny morning along the western coast of Dinagat, making for the islands off the coast of Libjo town. It was the second day of our island-hopping tour and after exploring the beaches, islands and Lake Bababu of Basilisa the day before we were on the move north towards the karst-dominated landscape... Continue Reading →
Before we set foot on Dinagat we already knew that Bitaog Beach is one of the best in the province. During the first day of our island-hopping tour, however, we realized that the island where Bitaog is located – Unib Island more locally known as Lalaking Bukid – is home to at least 4 other... Continue Reading →
As our boat cut its engine and slowly glided inside the tranquil, jewel-like, turquoise waters of Babas Cove our sights turned towards the white sand beach in front of us and the towering karst formations on both sides of the cove. But the gorgeous scene wasn’t our primary destination for visiting this side of Dinagat.... Continue Reading →
Our journey from Masbate City proper to the pier at the coastal town of Dimasalang had been an uneventful one. So far so good. But as we tried to get a boat to take us to Porta Vega Beach Resort we suddenly got stuck between two boat crews fighting over who would take us on... Continue Reading →