25 Island Destinations in the Philippines for Your Bucket List

Beach in Babuyan Group of Islands
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Must-Visit Island Destinations in the Philippines

The Philippines is composed of more than 7,107 islands, not to mention the additional 534 islands that were reportedly mapped in early 2016. Out of this number, 2,000 are inhabited by people. It is also interesting to note that places and culture in each island destination are unique in their own way, but collectively, they form the Philippines as one whole.

Amazing Islands and Beaches in El Nido Palawan
Amazing Islands and Beaches in El Nido Palawan

Yet among the thousands of gems scattered across the Pearl of the Orient Seas, 25 have shown exceptional beauty.

If you plan to explore the Philippines, or if you’re a local traveler and have no idea which island to go to on your next summer vacation, consider these 25 beautiful island destinations:

1. Palaui Island in Cagayan

Island Destinations in the Philippines - White Sand Beach in Palaui Island
White Sand Beach in Palaui Island –
Island Destinations in the Philippines

See Also: Travel Guide: Palaui Island of Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley

Fall in love with one of the northernmost islands in the province of Cagayan.

It directly overlooks the sea, and you will want to stay with its grasslands and fresh, seaside air. Cape Engaño and the concrete lighthouse are located at the northern point of the island, for if you want to see a glimpse of nature at its finest with a view of the horizon and the seas.

2. Boracay Island in Aklan

Boracay View (Photo by CEB)
Boracay View (Photo by CEB)

Boracay has long been internationally famous. Known for its everlasting tropical white sand beaches, Boracay is a summer paradise that has been featured in numerous travel magazines and blogs like Travel + Leisure and Lonely Planet. This place is always a fun one, and even non-beach fans would love to stay in the classy hotels here.

See Also: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Boracay Island

3. Siargao in Surigao del Norte

Amazing Guyam Island
Amazing Guyam Island

White, sandy beaches, reefs and a relatively cool climate, the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao is the home to the Cloud 9, hollow tubes of waves, similar to the barrel waves, that surfers claim they find only in Siargao. In fact, this is called the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. Come to the beaches, stay for the waves—and maybe learn how to surf.

See also: The Ultimate Siargao Budget Travel Guide

4. Malapascua Island in Cebu

Aerial View of Malapascua Island
Aerial View of Malapascua Island

The island of Malapascua is beautiful above the sea, but if you dive in its waters, you will see that it is even more beautiful, with coral reefs and coral walls galore. There are many dive spots, and there is the famous Bounty Beach to consider, but Monad Shoal has been remarkably crowned as the best one.

See Also: Malapascua Island: Backpacker Weekend

5. Seco Island in Antique

Adventure in Seco Island
Adventure in Seco Island

This island is named this way because its shape roughly resembles an elbow. The island is an entire beach that is more than 40 kilometers offshore of Tibiao, Antique. It is so secluded and the waters are so blue, it will feel as if you’re floating in a dream. Make sure to bring lots of sunscreens here, because the beach is bare.

See Also: Seco Island in Tibiao Antique: A Paradise worth Protecting

6. Busuanga Island in Palawan

Island Hopping in Coron Palawan
Island Hopping in Coron Palawan

The second largest island in the province is Busuanga, directly after mainland Palawan. The former is a part of the Calamian Island Group. Tourists commonly use Busuanga as a jump-off point for exploring the other islands in the group, but its diving spots, where sunken Japanese battle vessels can be found, is another reason why tourists are so drawn to this place.

See Also: Coron Travel Guide for First Timers

7. Panglao Island in Bohol

Tropical beach background from Alona Beach at Panglao Bohol island with beach chairs on the white sand beach with cloudy blue sky and palm trees. Travel Vacation
Tropical beach background from Alona Beach at Panglao Bohol island.

If you are a certified beach bum but you dislike the crowds, try Panglao Island in Bohol. The crystal clear waters of Alona Beach is ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling, and even dolphin watching, but it is lesser known and more secluded compared to El Nido beaches, Boracay, and others.

See Also: Ultimate List of Best Hotels and Resorts in Panglao Island, Bohol

8. Apo Island in Negros Oriental

Apo Island Beach Resort by Ola Welin
Apo Island Beach Resort by Ola Welin

The surrounding water of Apo Island is a protected marine reserve. From afar, the island is a sight to behold, with the rock formations and peaceful, deep blue waters. It is 30 kilometers from the mainland and has been an active site for research by marine scientists.

See Also: A Quick Getaway to Apo Island

9. Moalboal in Cebu

Snorkeling in Moalboal by faithmariii
Snorkeling in Moalboal by faithmariii Photo credit: faithmariii via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Not an actual island but part of a larger one, Moalboal is often considered as a coastal resort in mainland Cebu. A part of the municipality is protruding into the ocean, making beaches like Panagsama Beach have spectacular, unobstructed views of the horizon.

See Also: 5 Things To Do Near Le Village Hostel Moalboal To Help You Move On

10. Bantayan Island in Cebu

Beautiful beach on Bantayan island, Cebu
Beautiful beach on Bantayan island, Cebu

Another fantastic municipality to visit in Cebu is Bantayan Island. Originally a peaceful and small fishing village, the island municipality quickly became a famous get away with its pristine beaches and peaceful surroundings. The beach has cream sands, and exploring the other parts of the island is just magical.

Also Read: Travel Guide: Bantayan Island in Cebu

11. Sabtang Island in Batanes

Ahau Ark at Nakabuang Beach in Sabtang Island
Ahau Ark at Nakabuang Beach in Sabtang Island

The northernmost province, Batanes, has been known in the entire world for its unexploited nature. It is a tourist destination not because of a beach or a resort or a mall built there.

Sabtang Island, one of the three inhabited islands in the province, is known for Ivatan stone houses and the lighthouse. There are no commercial establishments here, and even electrical current is a rarity, so this is the closest you could get to nature.

Also Read: 10 Things to Do and See in Sabtang Island, Batanes

12. Camiguin

White Island in Camiguin photo by Stephen Currington
White Island in Camiguin photo by Stephen Currington

Camiguin is the second smallest province in terms of both size and population, coming in next to Batanes. Mount Hibok-Hibok, a protected area, and a declared ASEAN Heritage Park can be found here.

See Also: Camiguin Travel Guide: White Beach, Falls And Amazing Facts about the Island

NEXT: 13-25 – Part 2 – 25 Beautiful Islands in the Philippines

13. Cresta de Gallo in Romblon

Clear Waters of Cresta De Gallo in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Bautista
Clear Waters of Cresta De Gallo in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Bautista

If you fancy a vacation that is akin to having a private island, then you should definitely try going to Cresta de Gallo. This island has a long, white, sandbar and has a marvelous view of the ocean on both sides.

See Also: Cresta de Gallo Island: A Secluded Paradise in Romblon

14. Cobrador Island in Romblon

White Sand Beach at Cobrador Island
White Sand Beach at Cobrador Island

Still in Romblon province is Cobrador Island. While the island has a beach to boast, most of the tourists who go here take a break from the sun to explore the Ilaya Caves, which are home to undisturbed wooden coffins, rock formations, and many chambers.

Also Read: Relax and Unwind at the Serene Beaches of Cobrador Island

15. Carabao Island in Romblon

Poblacion Beach in Carabao Island
Poblacion Beach in Carabao Island

Also known as San Jose or Hambil Island, Carabao is the southernmost province in Romblon. It is situated very close to the more famous Boracay, so the beauty of this one is often overlooked. Carabao boasts hills, rainforests, and peaceful sandy beaches so you will not run out of things to do here.

Also Read: Cruising Romblon – What’s Missing in Carabao Island

16. Tikling Island in Sorsogon

Tikling Island in Matnog
Tikling Island in Matnog

Tikling Island is undeniably one of the most underrated island destinations in the Philippines. One part of the beach is covered by trees and vegetation, and the sand has a pinkish color caused by powdered red corals.

Also Read: Tikling Island in Matnog Sorsogon

17. Guimaras

Alobijod Cove Resort in Guimaras
Alobijod Cove Resort in Guimaras

Another island province that makes it to our list is Guimaras. It is an agricultural province with a laid-back atmosphere. It is considered the “Mango Capital of the Philippines”, and its mangoes are of international quality. If you don’t want to come for the beaches, visit this place in time for the Guimaras Manggahan Festival.

Also See: Travel Guide to Guimaras Island

18. Calaguas Islands in Camarines Norte

Mahabang Buhangin Calaguas Island
Mahabang Buhangin Calaguas Island

Fine white sands, a 3-kilometer beach that stretches gracefully into the water, and a peaceful environment are some of the things that the Calaguas group of islands possess. Enjoy the secluded Mabahang Buhangin Beach or go hiking to one of the small hills.

Also See: Travel Guide: Calaguas Islands in Daet Camarines Norte

19. Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga City

Pink Beach in Sta Cruz Island
Pink Beach in Sta Cruz Island

Together with the Little Santa Cruz Island in the region, the Great Santa Cruz Island is a protected area. The coastline is scattered with red organ pipe corals, and the marine life in the waters is bustling.

Also Read: Exploring the Pink Beach of Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga City

20. Nacpan and Calitang Beaches in El Nido, Palawan

Nacpan Beach. El Nido
Nacpan Beach. El Nido

Also called “the Twin Beaches”, Nacpan and Calitang are conjoined beaches located on mainland Palawan. These are located at a convenient 17-kilometer distance from the main town of El Nido, giving it a balance of accessibility and seclusion. The coconut trees, the connecting sandbar, and the blue shallow waters make this beach so picturesque.

Also Read: Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches in El Nido Palawan

21. Caramoan Peninsula in Camarines Sur

Caramoan Islands by CaramoanIslands.com
Caramoan Islands by CaramoanIslands.com

Home to the Caramoan National park, this peninsula is a hilly peninsula and is one of the more unique islands on this list. The rock beach, the limestone formations, sandy beaches, and the smaller subterranean river are some of the things you can see here.

Also Read: Caramoan Travel Guide: Caramoan Peninsula Travel Tips

22. Jomalig Island in Quezon Province

Jomalig Island Quezon
Jomalig Island Quezon

Although it is close to Manila, very few people know and go to Jomalig Island. The trip to this place is quite an ordeal, but once you get there, you will want to stay there forever. The waters are so peaceful and shallow, and a few trees can serve as shade.

Also Read: Jomalig Island Travel Guide: Another Hidden Paradise Found!

23. Samal Island in Davao del Norte

Buenavista Island Resort in Samal
Buenavista Island Resort in Samal

Officially called the Island Garden City of Samal, this beautiful pearl has dozens of beaches, like Canibad Beach and Kaputian Beach. Other sites include the Monfort Bat Sanctuary. Even just walking around to explore the culture is worthwhile.

Also Read: 12 Fun Things to Do in Samal Island, Davao del Norte

24. Hundred Islands in Pangasinan

Travel Guide Hundred Islands in Alaminos Pangasinan
Travel Guide Hundred Islands in Alaminos Pangasinan

Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan is actually composed of, well, hundred islands, but only three are developed for tourism. These are Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island. Despite this, many local boatmen offer island hopping tours that can last up to an hour.

Also Read: Travel Guide: Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos Pangasinan

25. Gigantes Islands in Iloilo

Isla de Gigantes: Cabugao Island
Isla de Gigantes: Cabugao Island

There are two Gigantes Islands: the Norte (North) and the Sur (South). Gigante translates to “giant”. There is a local legend which narrates how the natives discovered giant human bones, thus giving it the name. There are definitely no giants in the island today, but the lighthouse, the masonry walls ruins, and the green environment will surely draw you here.

Also See: 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Iloilo

Special Mention:

Kalanggaman Island in Leyte

Kalanggaman Island Travel Guide
Kalanggaman Island Travel Guide

With its crystal clear waters and a beautiful sandbar, Kalanggaman Island is undoubtedly one of the best islands in the Philippines. If you are dreaming for a perfect beach getaway in a postcard-perfect virgin island, Kalanggaman is definitely the place to go.

Check the Amazing list of Best Hotels and Resorts in some of the Philippines Best Island Destinations. Visit Agoda for discounted hotel rates!

Also Read: Best Island Hopping Destinations in the Philippines / Amazing Islands and Beaches in El Nido Palawan

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