Want to know more about the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines? There are several things to keep in mind. Firstly, there’s no shortage of beaches here. Consisting of more than 7,000 islands, this country in Southeast Asia is home to stunning stretches of sand and balmy, crystal-clear waters. Secondly, the Philippines has one of the world’s longest white-sand coastlines. And this is a major reason for the abundance of gorgeous beaches. Lastly, there’s a staggering array of beaches to choose from no matter what type of activity you have in mind. Whether you’re planning an exciting surfing adventure, fun with the kids in the sea, or lazy days in the sun, chances are you’ll find the perfect place for a memorable beach getaway. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 most beautiful beaches in the Philippines.
1. White Beach, Boracay – With its breathtaking aquamarine waters and 5km stretch of powdered-sugar sand, White Beach hits the sweet spot when it comes to seaside getaways. It enjoyed a reputation as Boracay‘s party place until the Philippine government shut the island down for 6 months in 2018 to address environmental issues caused by rampant tourism. The New White Beach—and the rest of the island—might be more laid-back after Boracay reopened, but that doesn’t mean it’s become boring. You can swim to your heart’s content in the crystal-clear water, go paddle-boarding, or take in a romantic sunset aboard a paraw (outrigger sailboat). Craving a bit of nightlife? Though drinking alcohol on the beach is now a no-no, there are still bars aplenty where you can get your party fix. When it comes to accommodations, you can choose from upscale hotels, mid-scale resorts, and budget-friendly hostels.
2. Magpupungko Beach, Siargao – Surigao del Norte province’s Siargao Island enjoys worldwide fame for its amazing surfing spots—Cloud 9, for instance—but it’s home to many other attractions as well. One that’s a definite must-see is Magpupungko Beach. Located in the town of Pilar, this stretch of cream-colored sand is a stunning sight to behold. Every time the tide goes out, it leaves brilliant emerald pockets of water, kind of like natural infinity pools amid imposing boulders. A canonball jump into the deepest tidal pool, roughly 18 feet, will give you a heady adrenaline rush. Meanwhile, calmer types can just slip into one of the shallower pools and watch the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing in the distance.
3. Kalanggaman Island, Palompon – Waving palm trees, crystalline waters, and bone-white sand are the hallmarks of picturesque Kalanggaman Island. Situated in the municipality of Palompon in Leyte Province, it’s rapidly gaining global popularity as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. During low tide, the island’s top attractions make their appearance: long, gorgeous sandbars extending Kalanggaman’s length from east to west. It’s a great place to relax. You can lounge in the sun, swim in the calm water, or go biking, snorkeling, or kayaking. If you plan to stay the night, you can bring or rent a tent or book a tiny triangular shelter called a tipi hut since there are no fancy resorts here. Also, be sure to make an advance reservation with the Palompon Eco-Tourism Office because they allow only 500 visitors to the island per day.
4. Pink Beach, Great Santa Cruz Island – National Geographic magazine named Pink Beach as one of the 21 best beaches in the world in 2017, and it’s easy to see why it takes its place among the 10 most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. Pink Beach’s rosy hue comes from bits of bright red organ pipe coral—crushed into billions of tiny pieces by erosion—mixed with grainy white sand. The beach serves as a nesting ground for sea turtles while its waters teem with a diverse array of marine life—perfect for snorkeling. Pink Beach is found on Great Santa Cruz Island (Santa Cruze Grande), a protected area off Zamboanga City in Mindanao. Overnight stays aren’t allowed here, but there are cottages you can rent on day trips to shade you from the sun. Daily visitor numbers are also regulated, so it’s important to make arrangements with the Zamboanga City Tourism Office before visiting.
5. Blue Lagoon Beach, Pagudpud – With its vivid blue waters and white shoreline, Blue Lagoon in the province of Ilocos Norte deserves its nickname “Boracay of the North.” Also known as Maira-ira Beach, the lagoon lies in the municipality of Pagudpud, roughly 560 km north of Manila—about a nine-hour drive. During early summer, it’s a popular place for families since the water is calm and safe for swimming, paddle-boarding, and snorkeling. But when the northeast monsoon season arrives in November, the northern winds bring waves that transform Blue Lagoon into a surfer’s paradise. No matter what time of the year you decide to visit, you’ll find plenty of lodging options. There are some beautiful resorts here, as well as homestays where you can live like a local.
6. Nacpan Beach, El Nido – The province of Palawan has some of the best beaches in the Philippines, and Nacpan Beach is just one of them. It’s about an hour’s ride from El Nido town proper and once you get there, you’ll find 5 km of golden sand and aquamarine water waiting for you. Walk a few meters and you’ll reach its twin, Calitang Beach. A short stroll to the top of a hill will give you amazing views of both beaches. Nacpang Beach is a great place to chill, having just a handful of establishments where you can eat and stay the night. You can book a room in one of the hostels here. Or, for a truly memorable stay, you might want to go glamping in tents that are spacious, airy, and picture-perfect.
7. Banol Beach, Coron – Also in Palawan, but this time in Coron, is Banol Beach. Also called Banul Beach, it’s often on the itinerary of island-hopping jaunts in Coron. Stop for lunch in the shade of the huts on this tiny beach and lounge on the brilliant white sand before heading off to the next island. Or, you could burn off some calories by swimming in the ultra-clear water—water that’s so transparent you can observe the marine life even without a snorkeling mask. If you do decide to go snorkeling, check out the Skeleton Wreck, a sunken Japanese ship from World War II.
8. Morong Beach, Sabtang Island – Set on enigmatic Sabtang Island in Batanes province near the country’s northern tip, Morong Beach deserves its place in the list even though it is one of the most underrated beaches in the Philippines. But it isn’t your typical pretty beach. It’s a raw landscape: rugged, windswept, untamed, unapologetic—and therein lies its beauty. Walk along the pebbly beach, amid the wild scrub and boulders standing like ancient sentinels, and you’ll come across the Ahaw Arch, a limestone formation that’s a favorite among photographers. Sit awhile on the beach and listen to the wind or wade in the shallows of the clear aquamarine water. Afterward, treat yourself to sumptuous native Ivatan dishes at the local eateries.
9. Dahican Beach, Mati – Once a sleepy stretch of coast fringed by coconut trees, Dahican Beach is fast gaining prominence as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. It’s located in Mati, the capital city of Davao Oriental province, about 3.5 hours by car from Davao City. Once you get here, let the sight of Mayo Bay’s crystalline aquamarine waters meeting the beach’s long stretch of ivory sand take your breath away. The rich marine biodiversity attracts nature lovers while water activities such as surfing and skimboarding draw the sporty types. Accommodation choices on Dahican Beach include pleasant resorts, comfortable homestays, and breezy campsites.
10. Lahos Island, Caramoan – Set in the Bicol region in southern Luzon, the Caramoan Peninsula is home to a staggering array of wondrous islands ringed by lofty limestone cliffs. Lahos Island is a must-visit place here, home to one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the Philippines. The reality TV show Survivor used this island—and a few others in the peninsula—as a filming location. Lahos Island’s cozy, intimate beach sits between two huge limestone formations. The sand appears to be golden in the morning and late afternoon but turns blindingly white when the sun is glaring overhead.
Just So You Know…
Holy Week is when it seems like everyone heads to the beach. Christmas, New Year, the Chinese New Year, and the summer months of May and April are also peak beach seasons. If you want to avoid the crowds, plan your beach getaway accordingly.
The rainy season starts in late July or early August and usually lasts through September or October. If you don’t mind monsoon rains and the lack of sunshine, these are some of the best times to score good deals on accommodations.
The Philippines has hundreds of native languages and dialects. While Filipino is the country’s national language, its official languages are Filipino and English. Most Filipinos can understand and speak at least a little English—a great many are fluent—so the language barrier isn’t something to be overly concerned about.
Karaoke is a really popular pastime, so you can expect to find a karaoke machine even in remote areas.
Get Some Culture:
Each May, cities and towns throughout the country celebrate the Flores de Mayo, a month-long festival honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. One of its highlights is the Santacruzan, a processional pageant featuring girls and women in elaborate costumes, representing biblical and traditional figures.
At the Palawan Museum in Puerto Princesa City, you’ll find exhibits showcasing the province’s ethnological and archaeological history. There are also collections featuring anthropological and biological pieces.
Grab A Bite:
Feast on authentic Moroccan dishes at the Kasbah Boracay, a beachfront restaurant and bar. Located in Station 1 on White Beach, it’s the perfect spot for a drink at sunset. Live music that reinforces the island vibe is a regular occurrence here.
Latin America meets the Philippines at CEV: Ceviche & Kinilaw, a restaurant in Siargao that’s much praised for its creative cuisine. Its versions of ceviche and kinilaw—raw fish marinated in vinegar—use the freshest local ingredients.