Photo from Henann Resort Alona Beach Bohol
When most people think of the Philippines best beaches, they naturally think of places like Boracay and Palawan. While I agree that Boracay and Palawan showcase some of the best beaches you will ever see, there are plenty of lesser known places that to me, have beaches just as good, if not better. Following are my Top 5 favourite beaches in the Philippines, in no particular order.
1. Talikud Island, Davao City
Located just off the western side and bottom tip of Samal Island, in the Gulf of Davao, you will find Talikud Island. This amazing island is still relatively unspoiled and isn’t overrun with tourists. Unfortunately, there are not many accommodation options to choose from. You certainly won’t find any lavish resorts there either. As a result, most people usually visit Talikud Island as part of an island hopping day trip from Samal Island or even Davao City.
Due to the fact, there are not many tourists, the natural beauty of this place has been preserved and therefore, exudes the typical natural beauty of the Philippines. The main feature is the beach which has beautiful powdery white sand that stretches along the front of the island for several hundred metres. As the beach faces west you also catch some amazing sunsets. This has to be one of the Philippines best beaches. It is well worth a visit if you are in Davao.
2. Caramoan, Bicol Region
Despite the fact that there have been several Survivor Series TV programs shot in Caramoan, it still remains a relatively unknown destination in the Philippines. If you love glorious uninhabited white sand beaches then Caramoan is your place. While it isn’t easy to get to it is well worth it. We stayed at Gota Village Resort which is where the cast and crew of survivor series also stayed. This is one of the very few decent resorts in the area. The resort itself has a beautiful white sand beach with constant shore breaks. It’s a perfect place to chill out and relax.
When in Caramoan, it is fully recommended to do some island hopping. You will discover plenty more beautiful white sand beaches nearby. This includes Tayak beach, which features a lagoon behind it, or the spectacular Matukad Island. Then if you go further out to Cotivas Island you will experience a desert island that is a cliche tropical paradise. It has the most beautiful blue water I have ever seen. With swaying palm trees and white powdery sand, this is a must visit place if you go to Caramoan.
3. Paglibao, Quezon Province
I still cannot believe that this place is within driving distance of Manila! If you are looking for some of the Philippines best beaches, within driving distance of Manila, then Pagbilao is right at the top of the list. Within Pagbilao is an island called Pagbilao Grande Island. On this island, you will find a place called Borawan (it has the white sand beaches of Boracay and the limestone cliffs and karsts of Palawan, hence the name). While the sand might not be quite as white and powdery as Boracay, it is a very close substitute. And the limestone cliffs? Well, what can I say? They definitely rival Palawan.
A short boat ride away on the southwestern tip of Pagbilao Grande Island is Puting Puhangin, also known as Kuwebang Lampas. This is a privately owned beach that is open to the public. This beach is also blessed with amazing white sand and crystal clear water. Set in a small cove, this beach is fairly protected from the elements. The sand on this beach is even better than Borawan!
Then when you head back to the mainland on the boat, you will go past a place called Dampalitan Island. Although this not actually an island, it also has some of the most amazing beach front you will see. As you approach this beach from the water you can actually see the white sand glowing on the horizon! With the usual cluster of palm trees, the scenery is unusually enhanced by pine trees.
If you were to leave Manila very early in the morning, you may be able to do this island hopping adventure in one day. However, you might opt to stay the night in the area. Just be warned accommodation in the immediate vicinity is very limited. If you are the adventurous type, you are able to camp overnight at Borawan.
4. Sipalay, Negros Occidental
I was very fortunate a number of years ago to be working on a project that made Sipalay my second home for the best part of 12 months. As a result of this, I was able to explore the area in depth. One of the first things that struck me when I first visited Sipalay is that there were zero foreigners around. This didn’t really bother me too much. However, I could not believe that a place so beautiful and with so much to offer could hardly have any tourists, be it foreign or local.
Sipalay is located in between Bacolod and Dumaguete on the western coast of the island of Negros. Facing the Sulu Sea and looking westward, the last major Philippine province before the South China Sea is Palawan. And based on this, you can see the similarities in the landscape between Sipalay and Palawan. The best beach in the area is easily in Punta Ballo, a 1 km stretch of white sand that could rival the best Boracay and Palawan can offer.
There are a handful of diving resorts along this beach but other than that, it is fairly desolate and underdeveloped. Then a short boat ride away, there is Balanban Point. This is a small cove only known to locals with beautiful white sand and is totally deserted. Then, of course, there is Sugar Beach which is Sipalay’s more renowned beach. Whichever beach you go to in the Sipalay area, be prepared to be spellbound by some of the Philippines best beaches.
5. Alona Beach, Panglao Island
As I stood on Alona Beach in Bohol back in 2007, I just couldn’t believe there weren’t more tourists there. As far as I was concerned, this beach was just as good if not better than Boracay and surely has to be among the Philippines best beaches. Coral white powdery sand lined with graceful palm trees, beautiful turquoise water, and clear blue skies. How come this place wasn’t crawling with tourists? And how come it wasn’t inundated with resorts? I clearly remember thinking to myself “this could become the next Boracay”.
I don’t claim to be a prophet, but in the 10 years since I first went to Bohol, there has been steady development going on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s controlled. It would be a shame for Alona beach to lose its natural charm and beauty. However, there is always Virgin Island which is a short boat ride away that also has stunning white sand and remains largely undeveloped.
There are so many other points of interest to complement the beach. There is, of course, Chocolate Hills, the Philippine Tarsier, the historical Blood Pact Monument, the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Loboc River cruise. On top of that, you can see dolphins all year round off Virgin Island and during certain times of the year, you can even catch some whale watching. I don’t think it will be long until Bohol becomes a strong rival to Boracay.
TRAVEL TIP: Sample Bohol Itineraries for 3, 4, 5, 6 days tour or more can be found HERE.
Contributed by guest blogger: Derek “Dezza” Ackary from www.deztreks.com.
Derek “Dezza” Ackary is an Australian expat travel blogger who writes exclusively about the Philippines. Dezza has been living in the Philippines since 2003 and has traveled all over the country. Dezza likes to share his knowledge and experiences with the world in order to promote the Philippines as a tourist destination. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.