The Philippines has some spectacular beaches with world-class diving and snorkelling. Whether you prefer to relax in the sun with no-one in sight, or party it up on the sand until dawn, there is something for everyone. Here are my top 5 favourite beaches in the Philippines which all offer something a little bit different:
1. Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beach, El Nido, Palawan – the “explorer’s beach” – located about 1 hour away from El Nido in northern Palawan, this remote beach is quiet, undeveloped and absolutely stunning. The main beach of Nacpan stretches for kilometres with beautiful cream white sand and large trees along its fringe. At the southern end of the beach sits the smaller Calitang beach and a little hill that affords spectacular views for those willing to climb and explore. The best way to get there from El Nido is to hire a scooter and make the trip yourself. Otherwise tricycle drivers will charge around P1,000 (US$20).
2. Banana Island, Coron – the “relaxing beach” – a little slice of heaven complete with coconut trees, hammocks, open air bamboo huts, pristine white sand and clear water. Accessed as part of an island hopping trip from Coron, this beach deserves an overnight stay in one of the cheap bungalows for rent on the beach. You can sit on the balcony all afternoon watching the sunset as you drink your fresh coconut juice. When you get tired of your balcony it’s time to move to the hammock. If you can’t relax here you’re just not doing it right.
3. Exotic Island, Port Barton, Palawan – the “romantic beach” – small and intimate, this pristine beach can be accessed as part of an island hopping trip from Port Barton (a small sleepy town halfway between Puerto Princessa and El Nido). Devoid of just about anything man-made, your boat captain will normally stop here for lunch – typically a seafood feast cooked on a portable barbeque. After eating with your hands and enjoying the view, it’s time to nap in the shade and digest. The island is separated from another small island by a little channel which you can walk/swim across depending on the tides. Postcard perfect.
4. Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort, Samal Island, Mindanao – the “family beach” – although not the most spectacular looking beach, this resort is great for a family weekend trip due to its easy accessibility from Davao City via a short boat ride. The resort is reasonably priced and has everything you need in one place: calm private and clean beaches perfect for relaxing, beachside tables and a complete restaurant with live music and entertainment, there’s a bird sanctuary, ping pong tables, massages, and onsite accommodation. There’s also the option to sleep outside (under cover) along the beach on the sunbeds for a reduced fee with clean public toilets and showers. Just be sure to bring your insect repellent and a light blanket – sleeping to the sound of gentle waves is very soothing!
If you’re after something a little more indulgent try staying at the famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort, also located on Samal Island.
5. Puka Beach, Boracay – the “chill-out beach” – when the madness of White Beach in Boracay gets too much and you just feel like escaping for a few hours or so, head to the quieter Puka Beach on the northern tip of the island. Here you’ll find a wider stretch of sand perfect for sunbathing, far less tourists, and just a couple of chill-out beach stalls selling drinks. There are also a couple of handmade bamboo sunbeds and shades available for rent. Just be aware if you go into the water the current is slightly stronger than at White Beach and there are no life guards.
What are your favourite beaches in the Philippines? Let us know in the comments section below!