aerial view el nido palawan philippines

Guide to the Best Beaches in the Philippines

I’ve been to some of the world’s most popular beach destinations but still, nothing compares to the beauty of beaches in the Philippines. It is easy to stumble upon a nice stretch of uninhabited and unspoilt beach in the country if you venture a little further from the mainland. With over 7600 islands, most exotic and uninhabited, it is no wonder that some of the Philippines’ beaches consistently top the list of the world’s best.

Whether you are looking for a luxurious family island getaway or a romantic holiday with your loved one, whether you are traveling solo on a budget or with friends, this article will inspire you to find the best beach for you.

For Families and groups:

1. Boracay

Boracay is the most popular beach in the country, no doubt about that. It has become some sort of a meter stick when it comes to rating the other beaches. “Does it even come close to Boracay in terms of sand quality, whiteness etc.?”

Boracay is perfect for families even with small kids and big groups. The water is shallow and very clear which is perfect for kids. The sand is so soft and powdery white that it is almost blinding.

There are numerous options for family accommodations (plenty of hotels, resorts, hostels, apartments and bed and breakfasts), restaurants and activities. After its rehabilitation, Boracay is once again back to its former glory and beauty and hopefully, with the current conservation efforts, the whole island will be preserved and maintained.

vintas in boracay during sunset

2. Siquijor Island

Siquijor is easy to get to from Dumaguete by boat. Travel time is only 1.5 hours so if you are coming from Manila or Cebu, you’ll have to fly to Dumaguete first. This mystic island is a real gem in itself. It has pockets of beautiful white sandy beaches, waterfalls and forests. The most popular beach destination on the island is Salagdoong beach and if your kids are big enough to take on the cliff-jumping challenge, then the whole family will have tons of fun.

3. Pagudpud Beach, Ilocos Norte

Located in the Northern Philippines, Pagudpud beach is easier to get to by plane to Laoag and a shorter road trip compared to a grueling 10-12 hours on a bus from Manila. There are two areas to choose from, Saud or the Blue Lagoon. There are plenty of family resorts to choose from all of which offer fun options for kids of different ages. The trek to Kabigan falls is also easy which is ideal for kids if you want a side trip.

4. Samal Island

Just 15 minutes boat ride from Davao City, Samal Island is perfect for families and big groups. The beautiful white sandy shores are ideal for beach bumming and snorkeling sites are also nearby. There are numerous resorts and hotels that offer rooms for families and big groups. If you want to splurge, you can opt to stay in the Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

For Couples:

1. Palawan

Palawan has graced numerous travel magazines’ headlines as one of the best islands in the world. Rightly so because this province is blessed with numerous exquisite white sandy coves dotted with karst limestone cliffs that rival that of Halong Bay.

Palawan offers luxury options for couples on honeymoon and there’s just plenty of secret beaches to choose from. El Nido and Coron both have pristine white coves with luxury accommodation options. If you want an off-the-beaten type of destination, then go to Balabac in the South or the twin beach Nacpan and Calitang. These gorgeous beaches will take your breath away.

balabac palawan

2. Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island is located in the North of Cebu and it is not easy to get to. Travel time from Cebu city to the island can take 6-7 hours. This is the reason why it cannot be ideal for families with kids. Bantayan Island is surrounded by turquoise waters and white fine sands. I recently went there and it was awesome. I stayed far from the touristy area and I explored the island with my partner and we found paradise beach. Paradise beach is way more beautiful than the touristy sugar beach and Virgin Island.

3. Gigantes Islands, Iloilo

This island paradise is rich in secluded beaches, lagoons, caves and off-the-beaten adventure zones. If you love seafood, Gigantes Islands is the perfect place for a seafood feast. You and your partner can relax in the Tangke Lagoon and hop from one island to the next. The most stunning islands are Bantigue, Antonia beach, Puting-buhangin Gamay and Cabugao Gamay. If you want more adventure, Pawikan cave is waiting for you.

4. Siargao Island

The best surfing spot in the country is also perfect for the beach and nature-loving couples. You don’t need to be a surfer to fall in love with Siargao. Seriously, this paradise is stunning. Some of the best beaches to visit are Naked and Daku Islands. Guyam Island and General Luna are also gorgeous and if you feel like being adventurous, Bucas Grande and Sohoton Caves are a must-try.

drone shot cloud 9 siargao

For Camping

1. Calaguas Islands

Imagine Boracay without the commercial establishments and the crowd and you’ll get Calaguas’ Tinaga Island. Calaguas is a group of islands in the South of mainland Luzon in Camarines Norte and the long white beach is in Tinaga Island. It is not easy to get to but this is the very reason why it is so beautiful and pristine up to now. Camping is the most preferred way of staying on the island as there are still no hotels and resorts apart from a few wooden cottages.

2. Caramoan Islands

The twin of Calaguas, it is impossible to mention Calaguas without mentioning Caramoan. They always have to go together. Caramoan is located in Camarines Sur and has been the site for the long-running TV program Survivors. Caramoan is a little bit wilder than Calaguas. There are limestone cliffs on the islands while Calaguas has nothing but a long and wide stretch of white sands…Just like Calaguas though, Caramoan is a favorite among campers and adventure-seekers. Matukad Island is the most popular among the many islands in the Caramoan group.


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3. Zambales

The close proximity to Manila makes Zambales an ideal getaway for local tourists, especially at the weekends. Zambales is rich in beautiful coves that are ideal for camping and beach-bumming. Some of the most popular beaches in Zambales are Nagsasa and Anawangin Coves, Potipot Island, Magalawa Island, and Subic. If you have the money, Subic is the place to be but if you just love to camp under the stars on the soft sands, camping is highly rewarding.

4. Camiguin Island

Perfect for budget travelers and backpackers, Camiguin may be located in the Southern Philippines – Mindanao to be exact, but this should not stop you from going to this gem. It is a volcanic island rich in natural resources. It is not at all crowded and it is beautiful. The best beach is actually a sandbar locally called White Island but you can also venture further into the Giant Clams Sanctuary or island-hop to Mantigue Island.


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Other places to visit for the more adventurous are the Sunken Cemetery, Mt. Hibok-Hibok hot spring, Tuasan and Katibawasan waterfalls, and Sto. Nino cold spring.

Images courtesy of Unsplash. 

Have you been to any of the beautiful beaches in the Philippines? What’s your favorite?


Darlene is currently on the road again and traveling full-time after being an expat/overseas Filipino worker in Qatar. She's rediscovering what it means to travel solo and in her 30s while working on her blogs.