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I spent a very long time working in the Philippines between 2010 and 2012 and it was some of the most memorable years of my life.
Then, the country was still a hidden gem and nobody knew it was such a beautiful paradise. I remember spending the weekends in some of the best islands in the Philippines, Palawan and Boracay, and seeing only local Filipinos, proud and happy to live in such beautiful places. The beaches of the Philippines were so stunning and the world had yet to hear about them.
With the help of some bloggers, the tourism office investment and the naturally beautiful country, all of a sudden, the Philippines became the next best kept secret and and tourists started to flock in. It helps that the locals are some of the friendliest people you will meet and that the country is as affordable as the Southeast Asian backpackers darling, Thailand, if not more.
With over 7,000 islands you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the best beaches in the Philippines. There are island beaches, party beaches, remote beaches, white sand beaches, private beaches and more.
Trust me, the Philippines has the most beautiful beaches in Southeast Asia and the below are only a selection, there are far more that could fill pages of books. No matter how many you have seen, the beaches of the Philippines are going to blow you away. Take it from someone who is an expert and a lover of the idyllic South Pacific islands.
And if you like your beach with a side of luxury, check my list of the best luxury hotels in the Philippines, they are all by the beach, some of the private or of difficult access, and are the definition of paradise.
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Paliton Beach on Siquijor is one of the nicest beaches on the island, famous for its white sand and rows of palm trees. Depending on when you go, it’s great for snorkeling too.
The water is a nice crystal blue, and since Siquijor is one of the lesser-visited islands due to its reputation among the locals for witchcraft, it’s never all that crowded. Check the tides before you go and try to go during high tide for the best snorkeling experience.
Location: Near San Juan in Siquijor
How to get there: This is an easy walk or motorbike ride from San Juan in Siquijor, which is the area where most tourists hang out. The whole island only takes a few hours to drive around, so regardless of where you are, you can reach this beach. To get to Siquijor, take the ferry over from Dumaguete in Negros, which departs every hour or so throughout the day.
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: There’s a resort and a restaurant nearby where you’re expected to pay an entrance fee, and can use the facilities.
Read more: Find out more about this lesser explored island in the Philippines in this guide to Siquijor’s best tourist spots by Be My Travel Muse
Tubod Beach and Marine Sanctuary is the most famous marine sanctuary on the island of Siquijor and it’s popular for scuba diving and snorkeling. If you don’t do any of those things, you can still enjoy the beauty of the beach, of course. White sand beach, crystal clear blue waters and palm trees, the perfect place to relax and the ultimate island getaway.
Location: San Juan in Siquijor
How to get there: Motorbike! It’s the best way to explore the island and get around. Alternatively, you can get a tricycle ride to the beach.
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: There is a resort on the beach that offers food and drinks. You can also use the toilet there.
Read more: Find out more about it on Owl over the World
Pass Island is one of the Philippines’ best kept secrets. It’s pure paradise. It’s everything you would ever imagine a tropical island to be and more.
A pure white sand beach surrounds a rugged, circular island that’s fringed with green palm trees. The water that laps at the sand is perfectly clear and the coral reef that is found just off the shore is pristine. The only thing to do on the beach at Pass Island is to simply relax into the soft, white silica and forget the world that is far away. It’s also one of the best places to watch the sunrise in the Philippines, and the sunset actually.
Location: Pass Island in Busuanga
How to get there: Travel north from Coron Town to Concepcion, and from here hire a boat to take you to Pass Island. It’s one hour from the main island of Busuanga to paradise.
Best for: Both sunset and sunrise
Facilities: Shade, a small bar selling ice cold beers and soft drinks, a volleyball net and basketball court. A few bamboo bungalows are available for hire overnight.
Read more: Find out more about Pass Island on Travel Tramp
Ocam Ocam beach is a peaceful white sand beach located on the northern part of the island of Busuanga in the Palawan province of the Philippines. This is one of the most secluded beaches in the Philippine as it does not have paved road access. You can either get there using a motorbike through a dirt road or rent one of the island boats to take you to Ocam Ocam for the day directly from Coron Town.
The island boat version is definitely the easier way but it is more expensive. The boat ride to the beach is beautiful in itself (as is the jungle trek on a motorcycle I’ve heard).
Location: Busuanga, Palawan
How to get there: By motorbike or by boat
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: Limited as access is difficult
Read more: Find out more about Ocam Ocam and why Palawan is a great destination for families on Just Go Places
Beyond the famous “White Beach” of Boracay Island in the Philippines, also known as Stations 1, 2, and 3 respectively, is a less traversed beach named, Angol.
The sands are equally as white, and the waters even more pristine than its, already beautiful, counterparts (the above mentioned Stations). What’s missing are the endless large resort hotels, bars playing loud music, and vendors that sweep the beaches selling their wares.
Best part, it’s walking distance to the all the stations – whenever you’re ready to join the rest of civilization. Angol Beach in Boracay Island, Philippines, is on the top of my list for best beaches in Southeast Asia.
How to get there: From Manila, fly into Caticlan in Boracay. At the airport take one of the many van transfers for 600 pesos and will take you to a boat and transfer you to the main island.
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: All you’ll find here, is a single vendor with a food cart, selling little fried delectables and cut up fruit to enjoy while taking in some sun. Don’t worry, there is a bar; one of the best on the island for that matter, called “The Red Pirates”. They provide a couple of tables and a few lounge chairs for those who want to hang out near their property (which is a humble hut, by the way) at no cost or purchase.
Read more: Find out more about visiting Boracay with older kids on Dish Our Town
El Nido’s twin beaches, Nacpan and Calitang, are a handful to boast of. Nacpan is known for it’s golden hued sands and the mellow atmosphere, quiet and relatively uninhabited condition.
The island has a lustrous palm tree forest that lines the shores, leaving just enough space to frolic on the beach. Located North of El Nido on the National Highway, this beach is three kilometres long and is often packed during peak season.
Location: El Nido
How to get there: One way of accessing the solitary beach is by renting a motorcycle or tricycle and cycling about 16 kilometres upward of El Nido, and another few down a rugged thoroughfare that opens at the beach. Renting a tricycle might set you back a whopping 1500 pesos for a round trip, while a motorcycle on the day’s rent would be considerably cheaper. Of late, however, a shuttle van has been operating to and from, with a round trip costing around 600 pesos. The last trip it takes is at 6:30 PM from the beach, where the expanse is drenched in solitude.
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: While in Nacpan, do remember to check out some local shacks for their fresh seafood. Be cautioned of the long wait during peak hours though, with very few eateries open in the area, shacks often get overloaded and might take considerable time to prepare your dish!
Where to stay in El Nido: El Nido has a few of the Philippines’ best luxury hotels and is a great destination for a romantic getaway. Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor.
Read more: Find out more about El Nido on the Wanderers Hub.
The Philippines is full of amazing beaches but some of the best are in Palawan. Our favourite spot in Palawan is El Nido. The town had that cool beach town vibe with great nightlife and tons of things to do and see during the day. Some of the best beaches in the Philippines can be visited on a day tour and are aptly called Day Tour A, B, C, and D. If you have time I suggest going on them all. If you only have time for one day trip head off on Tour C which visits one of the best beaches in Asia, Secret Beach.
Location: El Nido
How to get there: The only way to Secret Beach is by boat, there are tours that leave El Nido town that visit Hidden Beach. We visited as part of Tour C and it was the highlight of our day. A boat can only bring you so close to the beach. You have to visit during low tide and jump out of the boat and swim through a hole to access the beach. Sounds sketchy but it’s just a 5-10 second swim through and so worth it
Best for: Best during the day
Facilities: None, you must bring everything to this remote beach
Where to stay in El Nido: El Nido Has a few of Philippines’ best luxury hotels and is a great destination for a romantic getaway. Check out the best hotels for you on HotelsCombined | Agoda | TripAdvisor.
Read more: Want to know more about El Nido? Find out on Getting Stamped
Not far from the famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol is Alona Beach in Panglao Island. Known for its beautiful white sand beach and a serene seascape that will truly captivate you with its limestone cliff and fine white sand.
Alona beach is lined with beach huts and lots of local tour companies ready to take you on any day trip to the nearby area for snorkeling or diving. The resort at one end of the beach is one of the nicest luxury hotels in the Philippines.
Location: Panglao Island
How to get there: From Manila, take a short flight to Tagbilaran, Bohol. Then take a mode of transport (either tricycle, private transport, taxi or Jeep) to Panglao island.
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: The beach is open to the public and there are a few stalls and beach front hotels that offer sun loungers. The Alona beach strip has lots of restaurants, shops, massage salons and scuba diving schools and other water recreational activity centres.
Read more: Find out more about why this is one of the places Ryazan from Everything Zany misses most about the Philippines
The largest beach on the private Dimaquiat Island, Sunset Beach is part of Club Paradise, an eco-friendly all-inclusive resort in Coron, Palawan.
It really has everything you could possibly want from a beach. There’s gorgeous white sand, with stunning shades of blue in every direction. If you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving, there are coral reefs rich marine life right offshore: we saw sea turtles, reef sharks, giant clams, two octopi changing colors as they played a game of chase, and countless colourful fish all around. Don’t be surprised to the occasional monitor lizard resting in the shade of the palm trees nearby. And, as the name suggests it’s also one of the best beaches to watch the sunset in the Philippines.
Location: Dimaquiat Island, Coron
How to get there: By boat from Busuanga
Best for: Sunset
Facilities: Restaurant with restrooms, water sports rental hut, beachside drink service, and an amazing spa nearby.
Read more: Visiting Sunset beach is one of the best things to do in Coron and you can read more about it on Green Global Travel
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