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If you’re looking for a destination full of tropical allure, blissful beaches and bustling cities, the Philippines has all of this and more. Made up of a staggering 7,641 plus islands, only 2000 of which are inhabited, The Philippines is a country broken down into the Luzon Group, Visayas Group and Mindanao Group. Each group boasts fabulous beaches, likened to the tropical paradise of the Maldives, and here are a few of my top recommendations.
Great Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Island, in Zamboanga, is home to the Pink Beach, a stunning stretch of pink sands that have been turned a fairy-tale shade thanks to the crushed red Organ Pipe Coral that has washed ashore over the years. Visitors to the island may also want to check out the National Museum Fort Pilar Branch, which features some fascinating geological and archaeological artifacts.
The beaches on Cebu are simply stunning. With dazzling white sand and translucent waters, they have everything you could wish for. Dalaguete Beach and Bounty Beach are two of the best and if you fancy trying something different, head inland to the Kawasan Falls, where you can swim or try your hand at canyoning. Cebu is also well known for its sumptuous seafood, so be sure to sample it.
Guimaras Island has some of the best beaches in the Western Visayas, as well as a selection of budget-friendly resorts. Guisi Beach offers the bluest of seas, centuries-old lighthouses and fascinating rock formations to explore. You’ll also find a few low-key hotels and food stalls, but it’s wise to bring a picnic.
Bohol has some of the best beaches on Panglao Island and if you’re looking for long stretches of white sand, Momo Beach and Batya Beach are hard to beat. Other attractions include the Hinagdanan Cave, which features an underwater lagoon and fascinating stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Known as the ‘beach capital’ of the Philippines, Borocay truly is a paradise location. Aklan is a stand-out choice, ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling and there’s also a vast selection of great seafood restaurants. Read this great guide for more information about Borocay, or visitors can head to the Department of Tourism Borocay Field Office, located in Balabag, on arrival.
Luzon is the Philippines’ largest island and home to the capital, Manilla, which has numerous historic and commercial attractions including a large aquarium, Manila Ocean Park. For peace and quiet, Tambobong Beach, in Pangasinan, has that deserted feel; ideal if you want a relaxing few hours. From here, you can take a walk along the coastline or a boat ride to Snake Island. Nearby Cabucangan Cove, with its rust-orange cliffs, is worth a look too.
Mindoro is the Philippines’ seventh largest island, so is a treasure trove of choice when it comes to beaches. The beach of Buktot, in Mansalay, is particularly delightful. There’s a wide beachfront and little else in this unspoilt haven, so take supplies with you to enjoy sublime solitude, beautiful rock formations and turquoise waters.
Casapsapan Beach, in the Central Luzon Island of Aurora, offers a swathe of soft sands, far away from the crowds of the more popular beaches. It’s the ideal place to surf, snorkel and relax. Disaclarin Bay is another superb choice and can be reached via boat. Once there, you’ll find great beaches, caves, pools and reefs, as well as the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin.
Divers flock to Palawan’s Banol Beach, located in Coron, to the north of the island. With dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches and an abundance of sea life, this is the spot for underwater exploration or complete relaxation.
I hope this has given you some inspiration. There are thousands more beaches to explore in the Philippines, so get off the beaten track and take the road less travelled to discover your own hidden gems.