10 Stunning Beaches to Visit in the Philippines (UPDATED 2020)
One of the top reasons why tourists from different corners of the globe go to the Philippines is because of the beautiful beaches that can be found in the 7,000 islands in the archipelago. No other country can boast of having multiple islands that have white sand beaches. If you are planning to make a visit to the Philippines to enjoy the beach, these 10 stunning beaches should be among the sand strips that you should go to:
Boracay Island, Aklan
This small island off the coast of Aklan is arguably the most popular of the beaches in the country. Famous for its powdery white sand, it has become a popular destination for locals and foreigners alike due to the opportunity to hang out with new people.
With hundreds of resorts, establishments, and hotels catering to a wide range of tastes and budgets, there are a lot of things you can do in Boracay. You can go scuba diving, book a spa treatment or just lounge on the beach. Most importantly, the nightlife here is vibrant. The island is a bit on the crowded side though especially during the summer and the Philippine holidays.
Featured Activity: Boracay Island Hopping (Book Here)
Looking for a perfect resort to stay in Boracay Island? Search via Agoda to get fantastic hotel deals!
- Laboracay 2018 is Cancelled: Alternative Places to Go
- The Ultimate Boracay Travel Guide
- 25 Pictures That Prove Boracay Island has One Of The Best Beaches in the World
- List of the Best Boracay Luxury Hotels
El Nido, Palawan
In recent surveys and polls, El Nido is starting to catch up on Boracay as the go-to beach for Filipinos. This is for a good reason. The biggest selling point of El Nido is the dynamic marine wildlife and ecosystem in the area, which has been barely affected by the rising tourist arrivals. The local government of El Nido should be really lauded for their commitment to protecting the island’s flora and fauna.
If you are done admiring the beauty of the beach, you can proceed to do other activities. You can visit a secret lagoon or hop on to the other surrounding islands.
Featured El Nido Palawan Activities:
- El Nido Island Hopping Tour A (Book Here)
- El Nido Island Hopping Tour B (Book Here)
- El Nido Island Hopping Tour C (Book Here)
- El Nido Island Hopping Tour D (Book Here)
- El Nido Nacpan and Duli Beach Tour (Book Here)
Samal Island is the rising star in the Philippine beach scene. With a total of 118 kilometers of white and pink sand, you will be hard-pressed to find any complaints among the tourists that visit this island near Davao City.
Turquoise waters and virgin greenery is not the only reason why tourists go here. There are also gorgeous rock formations and shoals on the coast that you can take pictures of. The Shanipaan Shoal, in particular, is an islet off the coast that disappears during the high tide, leaving only a solitary cottage in the sea.
- 12 Fun Things to Do in Samal Island, Davao del Norte
- Samal Island Beach Resorts with the Highest Traveler Ratings
- Ultimate List of the Best Hotels and Resorts in Samal Island
While Siargao is more known as a surfing destination, travelers have observed that it also has great beaches. The moment you get on the beach, you will realize that the gorgeous coast really is just begging to be posted on your Instagram.
Apart from the beaches and the huge waves, other activities that are popular on the island are snorkeling and diving. You can also drop by the largest mangrove forest in this side of the Philippines.
- Siargao Budget Travel Guide
- Travel Guide: Things to Do and See in Siargao Island
- Travel Guide: Island Hopping on Siargao Island
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Pagudpud is Boracay’s lesser-known cousin in the north. What makes Pagudpud different from Boracay, however, is the fact that the former is almost untouched by commercialization. There are no malls, big stores or even ATMs in this municipality. That, however, should not hinder you from enjoying the crystal blue waters of this underrated beach town.
- Pagudpud Budget Travel Guide: Things to do, Where to Stay and How to get there
- Top 10 Beach Resorts in Pagudpud
Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley
Few Filipinos have heard of Palaui Island. Found in the northern province of Cagayan Valley, it is a magnificent display of nature’s best. It has been barely touched by civilization, which means you can properly enjoy the beach’s white sand and rock formations. That said, Palaui is starting to become popular over the years especially after two seasons of the American reality show “Survivor” was shot here.
Palaui Island is also a chance for you to be able to experience nature first hand. Since there are no hotels in the vicinity, you either have to homestay or set up a tent for the night.
Bantayan Island, Cebu
Cebu is the most visited island in the Philippines, especially by those from neighboring Asean countries. This is partly because of the awesome beaches that can be found all over the island. Bantayan, however, rises to the top as it is comparable to how Boracay was a few decades ago.
Bantayan is the perfect place you can go to if you want a place that is accessible without being too crowded. While there are great hotels nearby, it is far enough from urban living that you can relax for a day or two while enjoying the view.
Also See: Travel Guide: Bantayan Island in Cebu
Panglao Island, Bohol
Panglao Island was a virtual unknown to beach lovers all over the world until a few years ago. Due to its proximity to other tourist spots, its beaches are gaining prominence due to its white sand, aquatic attractions, and coral formations.
This island is also a refuge for retirees from other parts of the world. Because of this, it is almost normal to meet a native of Panglao that can speak German, French or Japanese without difficulty.
Featured Activities in Panglao Island:
Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Puerto Galera was, for a time, touted as the biggest competitor to Boracay. While other beach and resort islands have already surpassed it in recent years, it is still the beach of choice for many. This is partly because of the short travel time from Manila.
Also See: Visiting Long Beach in Puerto Galera
Biri Island, Northern Samar
If you are not a fan of white sand beaches, Biri Island will most likely be a good pick for you. Found in the Balicuatro Group in Northern Samar, the coast of this island is mainly made of rock formations that are strangely great for swimmers. Within these formations, there are natural pools that you can dive in. There are even bigger rock formations farther into the sea that are protruding from it.
The Philippines is truly blessed with a few of the best beaches that anyone can wish for in the world. These ten only represent some of the beach gems that can be found in the country.
Originally Published on Mar 24, 2018, and updated February 22, 2020.