When it comes to beaches and island resorts, somehow most of the first few places that come to mind are neighbouring Bali, Phuket, and even some hidden islands in Malaysia. But how about expanding our sights further east?
Yes hi, it is I once again, delivering more travel content to you.
Personally, I love the Philippines not only because of their absolutely flavourful cuisine, but also for their many scenic islands that are almost comparable with the Maldives. And here are some great hidden gems that you might not have even heard of!
You bet I am going to start the list off with none other than Boracay.
If you have never heard of the resort island of Boracay, I’m legitimately speechless, only because it is clearly the ‘It girl’ amongst the go-to beach islands. Boracay’s popularity is known internationally for its number of water sports as well as sandy beaches with blue waters.
From kiteboarding, parasailing, windsurfing, free diving, and even snorkelling, there are endless activities to choose from to fill up your day. The resort island also has its famed Boracay Pub Crawl so live, drink, and be merry at this beach island in the Philippines!
The second runner-up in popularity on the list of holiday destinations to the Philippines is Palawan.
There are caves, beaches, coral reefs, limestone formations, hiking trails, local delicacies, exotic wildlife, and even heritage sites, so there is definitely something new to do, be it your first or nth time to this island.
I’ve already set my sights on Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, especially the Underground River that it has. I mean you get to paddle a boat and look at the stalactites and stalagmites up close! The underground river is a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason.
I guess the only thing you really do have to watch out for are the bats swooping about.
Known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, Siargao is home to some of the best beaches to surf at. Surfing aficionados, you’ll be able to hit up that famous Cloud 9 wave that is touched by the Pacific Ocean swell and winds.
If you’re new to surfing, just kill two birds with one stone by exploring the nearby beaches for more beginner-friendly waves and try out the other water sports while you’re there! If you’re like me, who does not really surf, Siargao still has many bars, restaurants and grills that you can dine at.
Well, you will definitely know where to find me if I’m in Siargao!
The province of Bohol has always been at the top of my list because it features the famous Chocolate Hills — a natural geological formation of more than 1,7000 hills that turns brown in the dry season, hence the name. It is even the third entry on the National Monument Geographic!
Okay, I sound super excited at this point that I run the risk of digressing, so let me redirect you back to the islands.
You can find Panglao Island with its sandy white beaches and cerulean waters here, be sure to check out the available tours because there is much to explore here like the Hinagdanan Cave.
If you’re a fan of luxury resorts, Alona Beach is the place to be where you can find beachfront and glamping resorts, as well as restaurants. There is nothing short of what to do in Bohol, and you might find that there could be too many things to do to fill your itinerary!
5. Samal Island, Davao del Norte
If you’re looking for a vacation that delivers a more resort-style vibe, then Samal Island in Davao del Norte is the one for you. Dubbed as the largest resort city in the Philippines, Samal Island houses more than 30 resorts and over 1000 rooms.
This luxurious island in the Philippines has accommodations ranging from five-star resorts to affordable ones that cater to anyone from people going on honeymoons to backpackers. Aside from the usual water activities, there are also plenty of things to do on the island like exploring the natural pools of Hagimit Falls and catching a glimpse of the nocturnal creatures of Monfort Bat Cave.
I think every beach has its flair and the clear azure waters of the sea is definitely not the only thing that caught my eye about Samal Island!
6. Dauin, south of Dumaguete
The areas south of Dumaguete boast a very rich coastline culture especially in the region of Dauin. This coastal town is famous for its diving and scuba diving, with experienced divers helping novices!
Since Dauin has a large beach geographical coverage, muck and shore diving are some of the popular types of diving. In my experience, Singapore shores are waaay too shallow for these types of diving, so reading about this made me perk up. Imagine the diverse types of marine critters one can find?
Once you’re done with the physical activities, be sure to stop by Dauin Dive Cafe to grab some delicious food and check out the bar while you’re at it.
7. Apo Island, south of Dumaguete
Arguably one of the most beautiful islands of the Philippines, Apo Island is a volcanic island that lies off the coast of the Negros Oriental, just a 30 minutes boat ride from Dauin. With its richness in biodiversity and coral life, the place is protected by marine laws to preserve its rich nature.
But don’t let that daunt you! You’re still able to catch a glimpse of Apo Island’s underwater coral reefs and swim with the turtles and marine life with its snorkelling and diving options.
The world beneath the surface can sometimes be just as beautiful — if not, even more — than that on land.
8. Camotes Islands, Cebu
When we think about the many islands in the Philippines, the Camotes Islands hardly make the top few entries on our list.
Located just east of Cebu Island, the Camotes Islands are super underrated in general — pretty much a hidden gem. With its fine white sands and clear sapphire waters, this place can easily be mistaken for the Maldives because that was my mistake when I first came across pictures of it.
Be sure not to miss out on Santiago White Beach looking like a giant pool during high tide, and providing a vast expanse of white while it’s on low tide. If you happen to stop by Lake Danao Park (which is worth exploring as well), make a visit to Timubo Cave where you’ll get to dip your toes in the cave pool and explore its grotto!
That is, of course, if you’re not claustrophobic.
The Philippines is a collection of thousands of islands clustered together forming a rich landmark of natural marine biodiversity on top of a warm community and culture.
So if you’re looking for something a bit further east that isn’t the usual Bali or Phuket, consider heading to one of these entries some time soon!
Which of these islands of the Philippines will you start with first?
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