Our Top 12 Philippine Sandbars

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.

Our 15 Favorite Philippine Beaches

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.

Islands of the Giants

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.

Island-Hopping at Leyte

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.

Bohol: A Retrospect

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.

Remembering Caramoan

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.

Sunrise, Sunset… Over the Years

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 →

Remembering Coron

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 →

El Nido: A Virtual Tour

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 →

Our Best Off the Beaten Path Beaches

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 →

Boracay’s White Beach and Bulabog Beach

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 →

Salagdoong Beach: Retracing Our Steps

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 →

Punta Villa: A Hidden Eden

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 →

Dinagat: Caraga’s Unpolished Gem

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 →

Pangabangan Island’s Blue Lagoon

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 →

Enchanting, Enigmatic Lake Bababu

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 →

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