One of the all time great Philippine beaches, White Beach on Boracay Island, though a bit overused and undercared-for in places these days, but the water’s still calm and warm, the sand still superfine and ultracool and the prices still low. More Boracay
The Philippines, ‘The Pearl of the Orient’
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7, 107 islands. Combining all its shores would make it one of the longest coastlines in the world. Bugbog believes that these islands contain more of the world’s great beaches than any other country, and low cost too – but it’s just not that easy to get there!
Although this has been one of the world’s best beach holiday destinations for many years there is still plenty of undiscovered paradise potential among these lush and lovely islands.
The Philippines is a hot and humid tropical country in southeast Asia, populated by attractive, relaxed people and scattered with tropical jungles, hideous cities and glorious beaches considered by many professional travelers to be the world’s top seaside spots.
The country costs little to travel in unless you stay at a fancy beach resort, and that’s not necessary as there are plenty of cheap hotels and down market guest houses available.
Manila, the capital, is polluted, uninteresting and not short of crime, but you’ll probably have to stop over briefly en route to your chosen island paradise. Unless you have a lot of time you’ll fly and possibly boat (banca) too.
Friendly locals; low-cost travel, accommodation and beach life; sand is perhaps the best in the world – soft white coral sand that never heats up; live coral and marine life is also superb and much loved by snorkelers and scuba divers.
The humidity is a killer; Manila is a grimy pain; the Philippines is not as safe as neighbouring Malaysia; pricey planes and bouncy boat rides may be necessary to reach your perfect strand under the palms.
Philippine Beaches organised by region
1 North (on/near Luzon, the mainland).
2 Central (including some of the most famous beach zones such as Cebu and Boracay.
3 distant south Mindanao.
North. On or near Luzon Island, the ‘mainland’ and home to Manila
Hundred Islands National Park, Pangasinan, east Luzon
250 km north of Manila, Pangasinan’s coast of Lingayan Gulf is blessed with great beaches such as Abrak Beach in Bilinao, but some of the Hundred Islands near Alaminos town are even better, isolated, beautiful, irresistible – white powder beaches backed by pine trees and coconut palms with a view over extraordinary mushroom-shaped islets. This is a national geological monument and only the three islands of Quezon, Children’s and Govenor’s have facilities, though plenty of accommodation is available in the towns of Bolinao and Dasol from where tours to the Hundreds can be easily arranged.
Getting there: 5 hours ( 254 km/159 miles) by land from Manila to Alaminos, then take a boat from Lucap Port.
Saud Beach, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, far northeast Luzon
Situated on the north tip of Luzon Island, tranquil Pagudpud (aka Tongotong) offers three wide white beaches; Saud Beach was picked as Asia’s best beach by an Aussie newspaper; the calm, blue Maira-ira Point (also know as Blue Lagoon or Malingay Cove), and Pansian Beach which sees hardly any tourists.
Accommodation, food and drink are affordable, the sea is clear, the sand is as white and fine as Boracay, but there is no party scene there.
To enjoy more of scenic Pagudpud, hike to Nacatnagan Cliff, or drive along the winding Patapat viaduct, the Philippines’ 4th longest bridge for a spectacular coastal landscape.
Best weather: December-April.
Getting there: Take a 45 minute flight or 9-12 hours drive from Manila to Laoag City, then another 1. 5 hours from there by whatever land transport you can find.