16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay |
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16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay

by Jillian CariolaPublished: March 1, 2017Updated: January 26, 2018

Tired of battling the crowds of Boracay? Thank your lucky stars for these 16 great alternatives.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines

In a tropical country such as the Philippines, summer cannot be complete without a visit to some of the most famous beach getaways of the country. Boracay is a constant front runner in many a beach bummer’s list, and rightfully so: its white sand, clear waters, and overall pleasant atmosphere are so inviting, it has won the hearts of travelers across the globe. In fact, international luxury and travel lifestyle magazine Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards declared Boracay as the best island in the world.

However, due to its massive popularity among Filipino travelers and foreign nationals, some people feel it has become too crowded and too developed, prompting some to seek solace in other sandy shores. Sure enough, a quick Google search will prove that many have indeed found their own version of this Visayan paradise. In no particular order, here are 16 Philippine beaches and islands that could give Boracay a run for its money in their ability to display their natural beauty, offer exciting adventures, and generally provide visitors with a relaxing getaway.


Calaguas, Camarines Norte

Comprising over 20 islands and islets, the Calaguas Group of Islands has more than its fair share of white beaches and green rolling hills, attracting all sorts of adventurers. Mahabang Buhangin in Tinaga Island is the most visited of all the beaches, and camping is currently the only form of overnight accommodation, though with its continued popularity, that may change soon. A hike up a hill via a predetermined trail leads you to a peak offering a magnificent vantage point of all the surrounding islands, proving to be perfect for panoramic shots or for selfies. Kayaking is another popular activity for those who want to stay afloat with minimal effort, though the inviting blue water might prove too hard to resist.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Calaguas Camarines Norte
Calaguas, Camarines Norte. Photo by Charizsa Timkang via Flickr Creative Commons


Gigantes Island, Iloilo

Whether you call it Gigantes Island, Isla de Gigantes, or the Island of Giants, one thing is for sure: anyone who comes to Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur will walk away with memories of a truly laid-back escape. Days are easy to fill with activities such as of soaking up the sun on the white beaches, eating fresh seafood, rock scrambling, and exploring what hides inside those mystical caves. Island-hopping will take you to the inviting shores of Cabugao Gamay Island, Antonia Beach, and the Pawikan Cave.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Gigantes Island Iloilo
Gigantes Island, Iloilo. Photo by 2il org via Flickr Creative Commons


Bantayan Island, Cebu

Bantayan Island is another beach where the blue waters seemingly blend with the sky, contrasting sharply with the whiteness of the powder-like sand on the shore. Frolic on the beach for hours if you must, but you should know that splashing around and getting the perfect tan are not the only things you can do in such a diverse beach. You can visit to the Ogtong Cave and its natural pool or pay homage to the Saint Peter and Paul Church, but as in many beaches, island hopping is one of the go-to activities. Accommodations vary from budget-friendly to luxury, suiting all tastes. Of course, for the ultimate tight-fisted traveler, camping is more than welcome.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Bantayan Island Cebu
Bantayan Island, Cebu. Photo via Shutterstock


Kalanggaman Island, Leyte

Considered as an “island paradise” in Leyte, Kalanggaman is famous for the immaculate sandbars extending from both sides, the fine, white sand blanketing its entirety, and the blue waters surrounding it. Aside from swimming and sunbathing, activities on the island also include kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba-diving. Although no privately owned accommodations can be found on it, overnight camping is allowed, though the local tourism office limits guests to only 500 a day to maintain the island’s pristine condition.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Kalanggaman Island Leyte
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte. Photo via Shutterstock


Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor

Public beaches often end up spoiled and unkempt even after a day of catering to visitors, but thanks to the Provincial Tourism Office of Siquijor, Salagdoong Beach is able to keep its natural beauty. Good thing, too, as this beach is one of the best in the island with its clear, aquamarine water rich with marine life, and lush trees that provide respite from the heat. The island, though generally raw, is not completely without development; platforms have been built around 30 feet above water to provide another form of entertainment to adrenaline junkies: cliff diving.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Salagdoong Beach Siquijor
Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor. Photo by RM Bulseco via Flickr Creative Commons


Malcapuya Island, Palawan

Palawan, itself a Condé Nast “best island” winner in 2015, boasts many magnificent paradise-like retreats including Malcapuya Island, one of the islands one can visited upon availing of the island-hopping tour at Coron in Palawan. Upon docking, guests are greeted by a long stretch of beach covered by powdery white sand and blue water that beckons. Due to its distance from the mainland, it is still rather underdeveloped, although other islands close to it have begun to show signs of commercialization. Malcapuya is owned by the Henann Group of Resorts, which means accommodations more luxurious than simple cottages or nipa huts may soon be on the way.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Malcapuya Island Coron Palawan
Malcapuya Island, Palawan. Photo via Shutterstock



Home to some of the best-tasting mangoes in the country, Guimaras also plays host to several white beaches and unspoiled islets, a delight for those either looking for a side trip to their Ilocos tour or planning to make it their actual destination. If you prefer to stick to the more popular part of the island among tourists, head to the white sand and small pebbles of Nueva Valencia’s Alibuhod Beach, easily accessible from the island’s entry point Jordan Wharf. Alibuhod Beach is also the ideal starting point for the island-hopping tour, which includes the uninhabited Ave Maria Islet, the former sanctuary Turtle Island, and the research center Igang Marine Station.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Guimaras
Guimaras. Photo by 
Mats Sjödin via Wikimedia Commons


Maniwaya Island, Marinduque

For those looking for a yet-to-be-fully-developed getaway that still has the basic necessities of a comfortable stay, Maniwaya Island’s white sandy beach is worth a visit. While many consider the place to be a camper’s haven given the coconut-tree-studded patch of sand reminiscent of Zambales’ Anawangin, short-term accommodations are available for those who would prefer not to rough it. Beneath the cool blue water is sand composed of broken corals, but there is no denying the pristine condition of the beach. Aside from taking a dip, tourists also hop to the vanishing Palad Sand Bar and the Ungab Rock Formation in Mongpong Island.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Maniwaya Island Marinduque
Maniwaya Island. Photo by Arjay Rosales via


Palaui Island, Cagayan

When reality TV show “Survivor” marooned its castaways in Cagayan in 2013, it brought international fame to the practically untouched island of Palaui. In the same year, US network CNN gave the island its 10th spot in their list of World’s 100 Best Beaches, citing its “raw beauty” as its most striking feature. But other than being a sun worshipper’s paradise with white sand, clear water, and a marine reserve, it is also a hiker’s dream destination; the entirety of Palaui is blanketed by lush green vegetation with rugged terrains waiting to be traversed. Commercialization has yet to touch Palaui, so guests who wish to stay overnight can do so only by camping, as the closest accommodations are back in Sta. Ana.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Palaui Island Cagayan
Palaui Island, Cagayan. Photo by Tessa Pagdanganan via Flickr Creative Commons


Matukad Island, Camarines Sur

Truly an island that has it all, Caramoan is yet another Philippine destination that “Survivor” put on the map when they shot the “Fans vs. Favorites” season within the province’s beaches, gigantic rocks, and mysterious lagoons. In Matukad Island, beach goers are sure to enjoy the clear waters and powdery white sand, while more daring travelers can take on a steep rock cliff that conceals a lagoon said to be enchanted because of a legendary and elusive milkfish that looks after it. If you want to be truly adventurous, do as the Survivors did and set up camp for an overnight stay.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Matukad Island Caramoan Camarines Sur
Caramoan, Camarines Sur. Photo via Shutterstock


Apo Reef Natural Park, Occidental Mindoro

What do you do if you cannot travel to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the largest of its kind in the world? Go to the next best thing: the Philippine’s Apo Reef Natural Park, which comes a close second. Located in Sablayan, this atoll-like reef—the largest in the country—is home to over 350 marine species including sharks, rays, and dolphins, making exploring this part of the province a must. When you break surface after touring this underwater wonderland, take a breather on the beach’s fine white sand or spend some time weaving through the mangrove habitat. Camping is the primary form of accommodation, but you can just as well spend the night at nearby Pandan Island Resort, a French-managed lodging.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Apo Reef Natural Park Occidental Mindoro
Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro. Photo via Shutterstock


Panglao Island, Bohol

Bohol may be mainly associated with Chocolate Hills and tarsiers, but its beach scene is just as famous among local and foreign tourists. Alona Beach most closely resembles Boracay, in that most tourist activity happens here. This is where you will find hundreds of big and small accommodation, a wide variety of restaurants, and an overall party scene at night. On the other hand, those who enjoy the solace of swimming in crystal-clear waters might prefer Doljo Beach. Not only is it free of seagrass scattered around most of the island, it is also very close to the spectacular diving sites of Doljo Point and Doljo House Reef.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Panglao Island Bohol
Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol. Photo via Shutterstock


Subic Beach, Sorsogon

While white sand is what most Filipinos look for in a dream sunny getaway, they might change their mind when they see Sorsogon’s Subic Beach in the municipality of Matnog. Mingling with the beach’s white shore are bits of crushed red corals, giving the sand a pinkish tinge from far away. Although overnight accommodations have been sprouting all over the beach over the years, many visitors highly recommend camping to better enjoy the soothing sound of the waters and the sight of fireflies at night.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Subic Beach Matnog Sorsogon
Subic Beach, Matnog, Sorsogon. Photo from


Talicud Island, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte

Talicud Island is one of the islands making up the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS), found southwest of the main island. Closest to Talicud’s main port is the blue water of Isla Reta, where cottages dot the white sands and coconut trees are begging to be decorated with the hammocks of beach goers looking for a lazy retreat. A bit farther via habal-habal are the beaches of Dayang and Babu Santa, where azure waters are just as refreshing and trees are just as plentiful.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Talicud Island Samal Davao del Norte
Talicud Island (Isla Reta), Samal. Photo by Constantine Agustin via Flickr Creative Commons


Malapascua Island, Cebu

Ask anyone in the Philippines where you can swim with sharks and you will hear Cebu’s Malapascua Island mentioned more than once. The white sand of this island is the jump-off point to see thresher sharks, the majestic predatory creatures sought by thrill seekers in the country and around the world. But aside from shark-sighting, Malapascua is also for those who enjoy beach bumming, snorkeling, and even cliff diving. Should you decide to stick around after meeting the threshers, Bounty Beach–chosen as the Philippines’ Best Beach in 2008 through a survey by–is where one would find the island’s top restaurants and resorts.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Malapascua Island Cebu
A thresher shark spotted at Malapascua Island, Cebu. Photo via Shutterstock


Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beach, El Nido, Palawan

If you have ever been to El Nido, or at least researched about it for future travels, you would be aware that most hotels and travel agencies offer the typical tours A, B, C, and D where you get to visit the island’s more popular swimming and snorkeling spots. But a lesser-known Tour E, an inland tour that visits the island’s waterfalls and inland beaches, will take you to a picturesque site where two beaches are divided by a narrow strip of white sand. Slowly gaining popularity among frequent visitors, the Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beach boasts of white sand, coconut trees, a small hill and a stretch of swimmable blue waters. Generally unspoiled, roads to this beach are unpaved and there are hardly any accommodations nearby, making it perfect for a day tour in between your scheduled A-D trips.

16 Philippine beaches that can rival Boracay MyProperty Philippines Nacpan-Calitang Beach El Nido Palawan
Nacpan-Calitang Beach, El Nido, Palawan. Photo via Shutterstock


Main photo via Shutterstock



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