We know—it’s chilly and it’s always raining in the afternoon. We didn’t forget we’re in the middle of November.
But this—NOW—is the best time to start planning your summer trips because tickets are most likely cheaper (we checked). This early though we want to apologize for this incomplete list (El Nido, for one, is glaringly absent—we promise to go there in the very near future). Be that as it may, all these are worth spending some of your Christmas bonuses for. Here’s to a splashing cool summer for all of us!
Coron has a heady mix of white sand beaches and rich marine life that’s going to be the subject of many sweet dreams long after you’ve headed back to your four-sided office cubicle. We wish we could live here. Then again, we’re yet to set foot in (and wade in the waters of) El Nido.
A Korean we shared the boat with stops for a vanity break at Atwayan Beach, our pit stop for our island hopping.
BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU
Bantayan’s stretch of white sand isn’t exactly the best in the country, but its vibe is a cross between Calaguas and Boracay. It’s quiet (very quiet) all year save for Holy Week, but it has a wide selection of accommodations for every traveler (from tents to sprawling resorts) and, most of all, restaurants that serve great, affordable food. We also love that it has a picturesque cathedral and a long, tree-lined road best for joyrides on a motorbike. Now who said there ain’t anything to do in Bantayan?
ALONA BEACH, PANGLAO, BOHOL
Alona, the most touristy of Panglao Island’s beaches, is sadly just a shorter version of Boracay (island hopping trip offers every few steps, check; souvenir items left and right, check; rather pricey, so-so food, check). Unlike Boracay, however, the beach here is rather badly affected by the Habagat winds in the off season (between June and October), threatening to spill over the line of establishments in particularly bad weather. It’s not exactly our favorite, since it’s also where boats dock, but it’s also worth a day trip in the summer, when the beach is a bit more inviting.
Alona Beach is the jump-off point for island hopping, dolphin watching, and scuba diving activities in Bohol. Then again, it doesn’t mean you can’t just laze on the beach during the summer and people-watch. Massages by the beach are also very popular.
DUMALUAN BEACH, PANGLAO, BOHOL
We only ever saw Dumaluan from a resort we had visited to scout for island hopping trips. We went in September, which was still off season, but the beach looked a lot tamer than Alona, which is located on the other side. This one seems to be the better choice for swimming.
BALICASAG ISLAND, BOHOL
There’s white sand and nice little stones on the shore of Balicasag, a tiny island you can circle in about an hour. Its best feature though, is not the sand, but the thriving marine life underneath the waters around it. Our rather death-defying (for us) boat ride was worth it.
VIRGIN ISLAND, BOHOL
Our happiest accident so far. And with rather quirky uni vendors to boot.
We haven’t really explored Boracay as much as we’d like (update, Aug 2013 —we already did), but the little we experienced of White Beach made us understand why a lot of people are crazy about this little island. If Manila is the misunderstood city you keep coming back to, Boracay is its apt counterpart. And did you know you can choose not to take the expensive plane to get there?
MALALISON ISLAND, ANTIQUE
Yeah, there’s a beach in Antique. And a dive site. And a couple more islands. And fresh coconuts for P7 each (don’t even bother converting that to US dollars).
MALIPANO ISLAND, SAMAL
This is a privately owned island (it belongs to Pearl Farm Beach Resort, home to Samal’s most exquisite beds and suites).
We were fortunate to have stayed here a night, shuttling between Malipano just five minutes across (according to our boat driver, resort employees can swim from one island to the next, maybe when they’re bored). This island has the most lavish, tastefully designed all-Filipino suites we’ve ever seen (three floors all to your group, can sleep nine people, with a private beach, and furniture, bed pieces, and everything else done on teak, abaca, rattan, and so much more).
And they have five peacocks roaming around—not that it matters though. You can kayak, jet ski, or wakeboard here (for a fee, of course).
PAGUDPUD, ILOCOS NORTE
Pagudpud‘s location is both a boon and a bane: it’s still relatively quiet most times even at its most crowded state, but head to either Saud Beach or Blue Lagoon in the off season and chances are, the sun’s going to be a no-show.
CALAGUAS, CAMARINES NORTE
The most far-off beach we’ve been to (on separate occasions, only one day apart), Calaguas is a paradise we hope would stay as clean, peaceful, and idyllic as we have experienced it.
HONDA BAY, PALAWAN
By Palawan standards, Honda Bay (a network of islands within five to ten minutes of one another) isn’t exactly earthshakingly beautiful, but our best memory from this was the big net of humongous, freshly caught rock lobsters we got for P100 apiece at Pandan Island. So far, no beachside meal has topped this one yet.
Got any great beaches you want to add on the list? Share below on the comment box and link to your blog post if you want! :)