An island nation with over 36,000 kilometres of coastline, it’s no secret that the Philippines is one of the top beach destinations in the world. Peppered with rocky shores, shimmering waters, and endless stretches of white sand, the 7,100-island-strong archipelago is a paradise just waiting to be explored.
Puka Beach, Boracay
Deriving its name from the crushed coral and shells in the sand, Puka Beach on the north coast of Boracay Island is renowned for its serenity and calm and clear waters. With little to no swell and shallow waters that extend tens of metres from the shore, it’s a popular spot for snorkelers, swimmers, and stand-up paddleboarders.
The beach stretches some 800 metres and is set against a backdrop of lush vegetation and dramatic rock formations; it leaves plenty of real estate for you to establish a base for the day. Fringed by a number of stalls selling drinks, snacks, and fresh coconuts, you’ll remain sated, too. As dusk falls, watch the flying foxes complete their pilgrimage across the top of the cliff — quite the sight to behold.
Kalanggaman Island Beach, Leyte
This tiny island paradise lies between Cebu and Leyte in the Philippines. It’s home to a small cluster of coconut palms and a brilliant-white sandbar that reaches into the vibrant blue waters. But, unknown to most tourists, the real gem of Kalanggaman is hidden beneath the waves. The reef drop-off beyond the sandbar is a marine sanctuary brimming with abundant marine life and corals. Strap on a scuba kit to explore it, or stick closer to the shoreline and snorkel the shallow reef.
With no restaurants and only one store on the island, it’s best to pack food and drinks for your day trip. Ultimately, if you want to stay overnight, you can. But the only option is camping which costs PHP 750 (AUD 19.43) for international tourists.
Banyugan Beach, Boracay
Exclusive to guests staying at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, Banyugan Beach makes for the ideal secluded island getaway.
Nestled within a rocky cape on the north of Boracay Island in the Philippines, discover the shell-shaped cove with its impossibly white sands and clear emerald-green water. The ocean beckons, calm, warm, and protected by the surrounding hilly rock faces.
Keen snorkellers can also get their thrills with large shoals of fish found just offshore. Bring your own kit or loan kayaks and snorkelling gear from the hotel.
Alona Beach, Panglao
A small, quiet beach on the southwestern tip of Panglao Island, Alona Beach is fast becoming one of the Philippines’ most favoured travel destinations. It’s easy to get to, and there’s more than enough choice in high-end accommodation nearby.
Fringed with coconut palms and vivid water, the Philippines’ Panglao Island is a famous tourist destination known for its world-class diving sites. Visit the beach at sunset during high tide and watch the sun setting over the horizon.
Bon Bon Beach, Romblon
This long stretch of beach has been made famous by the narrow sandbar reaching into the ocean, almost connecting with the tiny uninhabited island known as Bang-og. Where the bright whites of the sandbar meet with the clear blue waters, nature gets its Picasso on and paints artistic swirls of blue from teal to deep navy.
During low tide, the sandbar is completely exposed, making it possible to walk across to the island and explore the beach. There’s a high chance you will get to enjoy Bon Bon Beach all to yourself, with few tourists making it out to its parent island, Romblon, as it’s notoriously hard to get to.
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Images: PDOT, supplied