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.

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 →

Burubangkaso Island and Catandayagan Falls

As stunningly beautiful as Halea Nature Park is, it wasn’t the only remarkable natural feature on this side of the island of Ticao. Lying to the southwest is a small island featuring a collection of slab-like boulders looking like stack of books tilting to one side and a waterfall cascading down a rugged cliff into... Continue Reading →

Port Barton: Paradise Off the Beaten Path

It wasn’t our original destination on this balmy December week. But after our trip to the Linapacan islands in northern Palawan didn’t push through we found ourselves chilling at this remote, peaceful coastal village of San Vicente town in Palawan. Port Barton may not yet be that popular with local tourists but foreign travelers have... Continue Reading →

The Hundred Islands

The first time we visited this group of 123 limestone islets in Lingayen Gulf it was a disappointment. The major islands were choking with visitors (albeit it was during a weekend holiday), many of them were unkempt and the corals were mostly dead and denuded of fish. But because it was relatively accessible we kept... Continue Reading →

Suguicay: Bulalacao’s Islands Part 2

It was a pleasant Friday morning when our boat sped past the tip of a long wooden pier jutting out from the mangrove beach of Sitio Bangkal in Bulalacao town. We’ve read that our island destination for this morning is the most “developed” among all islands in Bulalacao. Now after two decades of shunning beach... Continue Reading →

Banana Island, Coron

After a nerve-wracking morning boat ride from Coron town in Palawan and an exhilarating stint at Bulog Dos Island, it was time to slow down and take our lunch. Just 10 minutes away by boat from Bulog Dos, Banana Island was our lunch stopover and second island destination for the day. Also known as Dicalabuan... Continue Reading →

Logbon Island: Bayanihan and a Fishing Community

Many of our island-hopping trips in the last few years involved forays into deserted islands or beaches in protected marine sanctuaries with hardly a village or settlement in sight. Our recent island-hopping trip in Romblon Island, however, was different. The first two islands – Cobrador and Alad Islands – all had communities located just behind... Continue Reading →

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