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5 Must-Visit Beaches in Mindanao

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Dako Island photo by Kermit Surf
Dako Island photo by Kermit Surf

5 Beaches in Mindanao You Must Visit Before You Die

The Philippines is geographically divided into 3 major divisions – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon is the largest Philippine island followed by Mindanao. Mindanao is the only part of the Philippines where there is significantly noticeable population of Muslims particularly in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. Here are some interesting facts about Mindanao – the Land of Promise.

Buenavista Island Resort in Samal
Buenavista Island Resort in Samal

Occupying the second largest chunk in the Philippine Archipelago, Mindanao is a beach haven itself wherein most of its fine beaches are untouched by commercialism. Time to whip out your bucket list and add these pristine beaches:


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1. San Jose, Dinagat Islands

Formerly a part of Surigao del Norte, and accessible via a ferry boat from Surigao City, is abundant with towering karsts, white beaches, and other natural wonders. In fact, the topography has a close resemblance to El Nido, though off the beaten path. A full day would not be enough to explore these natural attractions.

Lake Bababu in Basilisa Dinagat Islands by Calixto Ong II via Dinagat Province Tourism Council FB Page
Lake Bababu in Basilisa Dinagat Islands by Calixto Ong II via Dinagat Province Tourism Council FB Page

Dinagat Island is called “The Mystical Island Province of Love”. It is blessed with untouched natural wonders from pristine white sand beaches to unrevealed caves and coves, marvelous bonsai forests to stunning group of islands and islet. These gifts of nature are treasures that the people of Dinagat Islands are taking care of. Their love for the Islands developed protecting and preserving its natural wonders. Some of these wonders are until now still undisclosed.

2. Dako Island in Siargao

The name of the island was derived from the Visayan name for “Big”. The island was named so because it is the biggest among the three island destinations (Naked, Dako and Guyam). Daku Island is the fairest of them all. This unheard of island has powdery white sand hugged by gorgeous aquamarine waters. Unlike Naked Island, Daku is dotted with coconut trees.

Dako Island photo by Kermit Surf
Dako Island photo by Kermit Surf

A classic tropical island protected within its surrounding by coral reefs with dozens of coconut palms dressed in the center circle of the island. Off to the right, well within the massive coastal reef, lies a shining white sand bar, (Pansukian, or Naked island) some 200 meters long. The tide of Siargao is diurnal with tidal curves typically present, especially on the east coast of the island.

The Island’s Pacific-facing reefs are situated on the edge of the Philippine Trench, and the extremely deep offshore waters assure the ocean swells have undiluted power when they encounter the many coral and rock reefs. Siargao has excellent surfing conditions, particularly during the southwest “habagat” monsoon from August to November, when the prevailing wind is offshore. But Siargao is not all about surfing.

It’s also well known for game fishing. In fact, a game fishing event is held every summer. The coast abounds with tuna, mackerel, marlin, and even crabs, squids, octopus, and sting rays.

3. Dakak Beach Resort, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte

Nestled on the tip of Northern Zamboanga, Dakak faces the Sulu Sea in the west and is surrounded by mountains on its east side. North of Dakak are Negros, Cebu and Bohol. To its south is the Mindanao mainland with Borneo and Sarawak beyond the Celebes Sea. Conveniently encircled by these large islands, Dakak tactfully evades the typhoon belt, making it the perfect all-season destination.

Dakak Beach Resort photo by Dakak Beach FB
Dakak Beach Resort photo by Dakak Beach FB

Dakak Park and Beach Resort, a 750 meter private beach, is the closes place to paradise one could ever experience, with its beauty and serenity. Dakak started operation on 1988, was conveniently positioned in the southern part of the Philippines and surrounded by mountains in its west. Situated at Taguilon, Dapitan City, and Zamboanga Del Norte. Dakak is situated on the tranquil Dakak Beach facing the turquoise Sulu Sea.

Dakak Park and Beach Resort is without a doubt one of the closest regions in the southern edge of Mindanao which offers breathtaking vacation bliss with its outstanding, pure splendour and tranquility. Dakak is deemed as one of the perfect all-season escapade for travellers primarily for those who have the fad for the rich, awe-inspiring beauty of the underwater realm. Furthermore, Dakak incessantly aims to realize its mission in promoting “an abundance of recreational activities, entertainment, warm Filipino hospitality and an environment-friendly ambiance.”

4. Sta. Cruz Islands, Zamboanga City

Santa Cruz Island is a small inhabited island in Zamboanga City in the southern region of the Philippines that is famous for its pink coralline sand. The island, located 4 km (2.49 mi) south of downtown at the Santa Cruz Bank in the Basilan Strait, boasts the only pink sand beach in the Philippines.

Sta Cruz Island photo by YangCheng Sojor Torres via Facebook
Sta Cruz Island photo by YangCheng Sojor Torres via Facebook

The sand is pinkish because of crushed red organ pipe corals mixed with the white sand; though you have to get close to appreciate it. For a beach just less than 30 minutes from the city, the Great Sta. Cruz Island looks untamed and idyllic. Some spots are powder-fine, too – great for walking barefoot. As with Gumasa, you can also buy cheap and fresh seafood in the island. Also near Sta. Cruz Island is Small Sta. Cruz Island, which has a sandbar that is sometimes visible even at high tide.

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island
Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island

Although, the island has lost is popularity since the 1970s and early 1980s when it was frequented by German and Italian tourists. The degradation in the peace and order situation in the area has swayed potential visitors decreasing its popularity.

5. Isla Reta Beach Resort, Samal Island

Located in the heart of Talicud Island in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte, it is just an hour ferry drive from Davao City. Isla Reta is the most accessible beach in Talicud Island. It’s located right beside the Santa Cruz Pier, the main seaport at the northern tip of island. Just go to Sta. Ana Wharf and get on board their Isla Reta Boat. The boat usually departs at 9:00 AM so better be early. There are other boats that you can ride if you didn’t catch the Isla Reta Boat but be warned that there are only a few journeys to Talicud Island so I suggest you go to the wharf early. The fare is 80 pesos per person on a one way trip.

Talicud Island
Talicud Island

Isla Reta offers a stretch of pristine white sand beach with crystal blue water. It is a perfect place to unwind and relax on weekends. Internet signal is poor so you’ll have more time to enjoy and forget about technology while staying at Isla Reta. Talisay trees shade the clean and well-maintained beach front where wooden tables and benches are placed.

It is also a divers’ paradise, knowing for its protected coral garden and fish sanctuaries. It provides unlimited views underneath the water. Grab your goggles or your snorkeling gear to leisurely wander to the vast sea treasure. But beware for the marine protectors are strictly observing ordinances.

Isla Reta offers sumptuous meals to satisfy your palates, delightful fresh seafood and other mouthwatering delicacies that will fill your tummies. It is guaranteed that those have quite expensive charges. But if you have a plan to come and you are on a budget, just pack your own food or use their ample facilities to cook your food.

After an extravagant banquet, why not take a walk along the seashore. The resort has its extended place like lagoon wherein you can plunge to the crystal water and to escape from the crowded beach. If you are lucky enough, you can spot the different amazing sea animals such as fishes, jellyfish, starfish, sea urchins and even regent popping corals when it is in low tide.

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