Best Beaches in the Philippines – Ask a Local

Best Beaches in the Philippines

As someone who grew up in the Philippines, I’ve been taught in school from a young age how the country is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. I never really appreciated it until I got to witness firsthand how beautiful the beaches are.

As an archipelago with 7,107 islands, there is definitely no shortage of gorgeous beaches in the Philippines! Almost all these islands boast pristine shores and friendly people. 

If you’re planning to visit the Philippines and don’t know which beach to include in your itinerary, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll share with you some of the best beaches in the Philippines that I suggest you should see.

The beaches included in this list have been selected because of their natural allure and idyllic surroundings. Some beaches constantly appear on reputable lists of the world’s best beaches, while others are underrated spots that are just as beautiful. 

To help you plan your itinerary, the list is geographically divided into the three major islands in the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. They are then further broken down into provinces. 

Summary of the Best Beaches in the PhilippinesLuzonIlocos NorteSaud Beach, PagudpudCamarines SurCaramoanPalawanCoron, PalawanBanol BeachMalcapuya BeachVisayasAklanBoracay IslandWhite BeachPuka BeachIloiloGigantes IslandsAntonia BeachCebuBantayan IslandKota BeachSandira Beach (Paradise Beach)OslobBoholPanglao IslandAlona BeachDanao BeachMindanaoZamboangaGreat Santa Cruz IslandPink BeachSurigao del NorteSiargaoAlegria Beach

Luzon

Ilocos Norte

Saud Beach, Pagudpud

Saud Beach, Pagudpud

Pagudpud is a town in the northern part of the Ilocos region. This coastal town is known for its iconic windmills, lighthouses, and the famous Saud Beach.

Although the beach is popular among beachgoers, it still offers a tranquil environment, where you can enjoy its calm blue waters and 2-kilometer stretch of powdery white sand dotted by coconut trees. Aside from its scenic shores, Saud Beach also offers spectacular sunset views.

If you’re into surfing, you’ll also enjoy this open sea and strong winds. Surfers usually come here from July to September for great waves. Generally, though, the best time to visit is from November to May. 

Camarines Sur

Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur

Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur

Looking for a beach as beautiful as Boracay without the touristy crowds? Then Caramoan is the place to be. 

This less overrated version of Boracay Island has been dubbed as the “Emerging Paradise of the Pacific”. In fact, 2 seasons of the hit reality TV show “Survivor” were filmed here. This is why it has also earned quite a reputation as a castaway’s paradise. 

These islands feature 10 islets, limestone forests with a variety of flora and fauna, white-sand beaches, and caves. Its crystal blue waters also have vibrant marine life.

Several activities and water sports are available in Caramoan, too. Some of these are kayaking, snorkeling, diving, and even hiking.

Palawan

Coron, Palawan

Coron, Palawan

Coron is one of my favorite beach destinations in the entire Philippines. Although it’s gained a bit of attention in the past decade (especially when it became part of the natural category of the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List), I continue to hope it doesn’t get overrated like Boracay. 

This tropical paradise has limestone karst cliffs, transparent waters, shallow-water coral reefs, and a bunch of islets and inlets. If you’re in this area, I highly suggest you book an island-hopping tour! 

Diving enthusiasts, especially those who are into wreck-diving, will absolutely adore Coron. The island is famous for its World War II Japanese shipwrecks, making it a great spot for scuba diving.

Below are two of the best beaches in Coron:

Malcapuya Beach, Coron

Malcapuya Beach is a 1.5-kilometer stretch of immaculate white sand fringed by palm trees. Its colorful marine life makes it a great spot for snorkeling and diving. 

Banol Beach (Banul Beach), Coron

Banol Beach, sometimes spelled Banul Beach, is one of the most picturesque areas in Coron. Its sugary white sands dotted with nipa huts look perfect against its blue-green waters. January to mid-June and October to December are the best times to visit Banol Beach. These months are when the waves are calmer, thus ideal for island-hopping.

Visayas

Aklan

Boracay Island, Aklan

Boracay Island, Aklan

Boracay is undeniably one of the most popular beaches in the entire country. Regularly listed as one of the best beach destinations in Southeast Asia, Boracay Island lures tourists from all over the world into its fine sands and inviting waters. 

Its white-sand shores are surrounded by luxury resorts, boutique hotels, cozy apartments, chic inns, budget hostels, and a plethora of dining and shopping options.

My two favorite Boracay Island beaches are:

White Beach, Boracay

White Beach, Boracay

When someone thinks of Boracay, the image that comes to mind is usually that of White Beach. That is because it’s the main attraction of the island.

Its 4-kilometer stretch of sugary white sands stays cool despite the hot weather. The waters of White Beach are perfect for swimming, too, since the water is mostly flat and does not have strong currents. 

Being the longest beach on Boracay Island, it is divided into 3 stations: the posh Station 1, the buzzing Station 2, and the serene Station 3.

Puka Beach (Yapak Beach), Boracay

Puka Beach

Puka Beach (a.k.a. Yapak Beach) got its name from the abundance of puka shells mixed in its sands. Because of this, the beach has coarser sand compared to White Beach. This 800-meter long beach on the island’s northernmost part is sheltered by a hill with a lush jungle. 

It’s not yet a developed area (which I hope stays that way), but its lack of tourists makes Puka beach so charming. You’ll also be able to spot giant fruit bats flying from the caves nearby if you visit the beach at dusk.

Iloilo

Gigantes Islands (Islas de Gigantes), Iloilo

Gigantes Islands (Islas de Gigantes), Iloilo

Islas de Gigantes, or Gigantes Islands, used to be called Sabuluag. The Spanish colonizers renamed the island chain gigantes (“giant” in Spanish) when they found giant bones in the area. The island is becoming one of Iloilo’s top tourist destinations because of its beautiful Antonia Beach.

Antonia Beach, Gigantes Island

This remote white sand beach features transparent waters, unspoiled shores, marvelous rock formations, and secret lagoons. Antonia Beach also has amazing marine life that can be seen without snorkeling gear. But if you want to rent one, there are also gears available for a small fee.

Cebu

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island is where the popular Filipino comedy-drama movie “Camp Sawi” was shot. The movie, whose story revolved around 5 brokenhearted women who checked in at a breakup boot camp to get over their former lovers, popularized the island. After the success of the film, a lot of local tourists flocked to Bantayan to either get over someone or take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

This island in northwest Cebu is abundant in natural resources and beautiful sceneries — from coconut trees and fine sands slipping through your fingers to saltwater lagoons and mangroves. 

Two of the best Bantayan Island beaches are:

Kota Beach, Bantayan Island

Kota Beach’s charm can be attributed to its crystalline waters, fine white sands, and a sandbar that comes out during low tide.

Sandira Beach (Paradise Beach), Bantayan Island

Sandira Beach is also called Paradise Beach, as it resembles a paradise with exotic plants, palm trees, and temperate weather. This small and clean beach, although popular among locals on weekends and holidays, remains to be a hidden gem.  

Oslob, Cebu

Oslob, Cebu

Oslob is a municipality in the southern part of Cebu that’s famous for its gorgeous sandbar and butandings (whale sharks). Aside from swimming with the gentle-natured butandings, you can also visit Oslob’s majestic falls and historic Spanish ruins.

Bohol

Panglao Island, Bohol

The province of Bohol is known for 2 world-class tourist destinations: the Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island. Bohol is comparable to Boracay because of its white-sand beaches, crystal blue waters, exciting nightlife, and incredible diving sites.

What I like about Bohol is it’s surrounded by other islands that protect it from the Pacific Ocean’s strong waves. Thus, there are no rip tides at all.

Some of the best Panglao beaches are:

Alona Beach, Panglao

Alona Beach, Panglao

Alona Beach is named after a famous Filipina actress in the 1970s, Alona Alegre. This 1.5-kilometer stretch of smooth white sand is located in the southwest part of Bohol. The beach is perfect for swimming since it has no rocks.

Beach activities like parasailing, island-hopping, and banana boat riding are available. Alona Beach also has plenty of beautiful rustic resorts and local cottages.

Danao Beach, Panglao

More relaxed than Alona Beach, Danao Beach is an idyllic tropical getaway, perfect for those who want to relax. Unwind under a palm tree or sunbathe on its fine white sand.

Mindanao

Zamboanga

Great Santa Cruz (Grande Santa Cruz) Island

Grande Santa Cruz, or Great Santa Cruz, is an island in Zamboanga that has a rich biodiversity. Stingless jellyfish, stingrays, and fruit bats inhabit the waters surrounding the island. Great Santa Cruz also has a mangrove forest you can explore through a colorful vinta (a traditional outrigger boat).

Pink Beach, Great Santa Cruz 
Pink Beach, Great Santa Cruz

One of Zamboanga’s most well-known tourist spots is the Pink Beach on Great Santa Cruz Island. The unique color of the sand results from white sand mixed with crushed red organ pipe corals. 

The Pink Beach was included in National Geographic’s list of 2017’s “21 Best Beaches in the World”. Visit this beach from November to April, when typhoons are rare. 

Surigao Del Norte

Siargao, Surigao Del Norte

Siargao, Surigao Del Norte

Known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, Siargao is home to the famous Cloud 9 wave. This popular tube-like wave is notorious for giving surfers a challenge.

Siargao also has stunning beaches, but the island does not have huge hotels and commercial establishments. Its laid-back vibe is what attracted a lot of young professionals in Manila to give up their city jobs in exchange for simpler island life.

Alegria Beach, Siargao
Alegria Beach, Siargao

Perhaps, the most well-known beach on the island is Alegria Beach. This 5-kilometer stretch of white sand is a paradise for beach bums.

General Luna Beach, Siargao

Another popular beach is General Luna. It’s a famous surf spot, where local and international surfing competitions are held.

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