The month’s guest blogger is Boom Rizal
Boom is an investor, a property consultant, a researcher and a passionate writer.
Find out more about her at www.betterjoys.com or follow her @boomrizal.
For many travellers, the Philippines is all about the 3 S: sun, sand, and seas. The Southeast Asian destination is composed of thousands of islands surrounded by waters. If you’re on a quest for awesome beaches, the Philippines should be on the top of your list. Staying in the metro is another thing, you can wander around the city plus you can choose and experience a resort-themed residential condominium too.
The most popular beaches in the Philippines are found in Palawan and Boracay. In 2013 and 2015, paradise-like Palawan was named the World’s Best Island by Condé Nast Traveler. This year, the crown was handed to Boracay. “This itty-bitty island (10 square miles) in the Western Philippines is as close to the tropical idyll as you’ll find in Southeast Asia, with gentle coastlines and transporting sunsets. Add in a thriving nightlife scene, and you have one of the top tourist spots in the region,” according to the US travel publication.
Do you know that Palawan, Boracay and the rest of archipelago are home to stunning hidden beaches? Here’s a quick list of 8 less known beaches in the Philippines.
1. Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte
In the northern Ilocos region lies Pagudpud, a coastal resort town of less than 22,000 residents. This Ilocos Norte town is starting to gain regular visitors. Unlike more popular beach spots in the Visayas region, this destination is underdeveloped. There are few beach resorts, hotels, and restaurants. The major form of public transportation around town is tricycles, which are motorized pedicabs. The laidback and provincial feel of Pagudpud constitutes its unique charm. And did we forget to mention white sands, unpolluted waters, and dirt-cheap seafood delights?
2. Santa Ana in Cagayan
Northeastern Luzon is blessed with majestic mountains, expansive rice fields, and pristine beaches. If you’re planning your first travel to the Philippines, don’t forget to visit Santa Ana in the Cagayan Valley region. Santa Ana is home to white sand beaches including Anguib, Nangaramoan, Gotan, and Pozo Rovo.
For a total island adventure, take a boat ride to Palaui Island where you can stay overnight in tents. On the island, you will find Cape Engaño Lighthouse, which was built in 1892, and the spectacular view of the adjacent Dos Hermanas Island. Island hop, swim, dive, snorkel, trek or simply relax under the Cagayan skies. You could even trek to some of the island’s waterfalls.
3. Tambobong Beach in Pangasinan
From Cagayan, you can take a bus south to Pangasinan. The province is known for its rice fields, fish sauce, and lowland vegetables. It is also home to one of the best hidden beaches in the Philippines. Tambobong Beach is regarded as an unknown frontier. There are few resorts and most accommodations are open cottages. Why should you visit this beach spot? It’s more peaceful than other beaches in the country. After a morning walk along the coastline, you can take a boat ride to Snake Island, which was named after the sea snake abundance in the place. Then, take a short hike to Cabucangan Cove and marvel at rust-colored rocks surrounded by emerald waters.
4. Casapsapan Beach in Aurora
Central Luzon is not the usual destination for beach goers. This is one reason why you should explore the beautiful Aurora province. The town of Casiguran was discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500s and became an entry point for foreign merchants and conquerors. Today, Casiguran is well-loved by locals for its unspoilt beaches.
Casapsapan Beach is perfect for solo travellers who want a crowd-free vacation. Surf, snorkel or drink chilled beer while Aurora’s powerful waves hypnotize you.
5. Malabrigo Point in Batangas
Batangas in southern Luzon offers the best of both worlds: high-end beach resorts and virgin destinations. You can sail yachts in Nasugbu or enjoy solitude in less known beaches. Malabrigo Point in Lobo a backpacker favorite, is a paradise of pebbles. Relax on the stony shore, swim on the blue waters, and take photos at the Faro de Punta de Malabrigo lighthouse, locally known as “parola.” Don’t forget to try Batangas’ popular soup Bulalo and its aromatic Barako coffee.
6. White and Pink Beaches in Northern Samar
From Luzon, travel to the Visayas region for your next stop: the white and pink beaches of Northern Samar. Eastern Visayas was badly battered by super typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, but many beach spots are now open for tourists. You will find the white sand beach in San Antonio and the pink beach of San Vicente. Start at San Antonio Island where you can enjoy a boat ride on Lagbangan Lake, which is surrounded by mangroves. Adjacent is San Vicente Island where the sand is mixed with crushed corrals, producing a pink hue.
7. Guisi Beach in Guimaras
Western Visayas is nature’s gift to beach lovers. Don’t leave the Philippines without visiting the tiny island province of Guimaras, which is one of the first Spanish settlements in the archipelago. You will notice centuries-old lighthouses and other structures built by Europeans. Guisi Beach is a unique gem of the Visayas province. Both sides of the beach have astonishing rock formations with hidden beach pockets. There are very few accommodations, food stalls, and tourist establishments so make sure you bring snacks. If you want a no-frills beach trip, Guisi is the place for you.
8. Balinghai Beach in Boracay Island
Boracay Island is composed of a number of beach destinations. Some are insanely popular, while others remain off the radar. Your travel guide to Boracay should include the ins and outs of these less-known places. Balinghai Beach, whose name came from the Visayan term for sweet potato tree, is surrounded by pristine waters, beautiful corals, and lush cliffs. You’d need to take a boat from the world-famous White Beach to reach this secluded paradise. Bring a good book with you and savor the simple happiness of a quiet vacation.
The Philippines is a small nation with immense natural beauty. There are mountain ranges, calm lakes, green rice fields, charming coastal towns, and breathtaking beaches. If you’re travelling to Southeast Asia for the first time, start with the popular spots. Your first-time guide to Boracay will provide helpful tips for your planned vacation. Then, explore the less known pockets of paradise in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. You will not run out of spots to discover!