15 Philippine Beaches You Must Visit
My country, the Philippines, is famous for its beaches. As an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands of varying sizes and shapes, it boasts a very long coastline peppered with over 36,000 beaches of different characteristics. All of them are unique and have their own charm, and some might be better than others, depending on what you enjoy doing.
For example, if you’re like me who prefers relaxing while listening to the waves as opposed to riding them, you’re going to love the beaches found in world-famous Boracay, not-as-famous Bantayan Island in Cebu, or even underrated Sipalay in Negros Occidental. There’s a beach here for every kind of traveler, and you should check them out.
The Best Philippines Beaches Today
No two beaches in the Philippines are the same—there’s always something unique in every beach you visit. Here’s a list of must-visit beaches in the country that you should experience at least once in your lifetime:
White Beach, Boracay
Boracay’s main attraction, the White Beach, stands as one of the finest in the Philippines. Its pristine, powdery sand, crystal-blue waters, and stunning sunsets are something to watch out for. While it’s not as quiet as it used to be now because of the influx of visitors, his bustling activity just shows how popular White Beach is among tourists and locals alike.
White Beach offers something for every kind of tourist. For example, adventurous souls can engage in activities like paddleboarding, kite surfing, snorkeling, and even scuba diving. For a more unique experience, you can try Paraw Sailing, which uses a special type of boat.
If you’re with family or friends, there’s also banana boating, fly fishing, and helmet diving. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a more relaxed experience, you can simply take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the breathtaking view as the sun goes down and night sets in.
Near the beach in Boracay, you’ll find lodgings and dining options to suit different tastes. The beach is divided into three stations: Station 1, Station 2, and Station 3.
If you’re after luxurious accommodations, head to Station 1. This area boasts some of the most stunning hotels with their own pools and relaxation areas. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to relax near the beachfront but away from the crowds.
For those craving action and wanting to be where the action is, Station 2 is your spot. This area boasts the highest concentration of hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas, making it the hub of activity on the island.
Lastly, if you like peace and quiet, you’ll like Station 3—the farthest area from the beach. This area is not as developed as Stations 1 and 2 yet, but it offers more serene lodgings for those who want a more secluded place to stay.
Nacpan Beach, El Nido
Located 17 kilometers away from El Nido, Palawan, Nacpan Beach is a stunning stretch of coastline spanning four kilometers in length. It’s a beautiful beach characterized by golden or cream-colored sands, palm trees lining the coast, and clear turquoise waters.
Unlike other popular beaches in the Philippines, Nacpan is less known and is less crowded as a result. This makes it a good option for those who want a more secluded beach experience—far away from the bars.
While Nacpan Beach offers activities like ATV riding, be aware that it isn’t as developed as other beaches in the country, so don’t expect too much in terms of amenities.
Nevertheless, Nacpan is still one of the most sought-after getaways for travelers with a bit of time to spare—particularly those who are out on vacation. The sunsets here, in particular, are absolutely gorgeous! For me, this place is paradise.
Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan
Long Beach offers a laid-back feel that is perfect for those who just want to slow down and disconnect from the world. If you want to enjoy quiet beaches, jogging in the morning, watching the sunset go down into the sea, or if you just want to have a good time basking under the sun without the stress of the city, this is the perfect beach for you.
By the way, this beach didn’t get its name for nothing. Long Beach, located in San Vicente, Palawan, is a stretch of powdery white sand about 14.7 kilometers long. It’s three times as long as White Beach and is more than four times the length of Nacpan. We even found ourselves taking all sorts of photos here, from panoramic and portraits, to selfies by the shoreline.
However, in order to enjoy everything that Long Beach has to offer, I highly recommend staying for at least two nights. This is because the beach is divided into three main areas, each with its own vibe. There are some beachfront resorts, vacation rentals, and cheap lodging, for example. You can even go camping in some areas if you prefer.
Another good thing I liked about Long Beach is that it’s very close to public transportation. When you’re done taking in all of its beauty, you can simply use it as a base for your island-hopping adventures. San Vicente is not as developed as some places on this list, but there are plenty of places to visit. The local food is especially worth a try!
Cloud 9, Siargao
Known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” Siargao is home to beaches with huge waves. In fact, one of these beaches, the aptly named Cloud 9, is where most surfers from all over flock to the island. This is because of the titular barrelling waves that surfers find thrilling to ride.
While the waves here are best for experienced surfers, beginners are still welcome to enjoy the sand and sea.
Still, its huge waves are not the only reason to visit Cloud 9. If you come here in September, you can watch the Siargao Cup—an international surfing competition where pro surfers defy the odds to win prizes reaching up to $75,000 in total.
If you’ve had your fill of surfing or need a break from the waves—or if, like me, you appreciate slowing down occasionally—you can simply sit on Cloud 9’s viewing deck and enjoy the breeze. Or eat at nearby resorts and cafes. You can also go island hopping at Siargao and visit the “untouched” beaches scattered across Siargao’s 49 islands. However, if you’re in the mood for adventure, consider spelunking at Tayangban Cave.
Saud Beach, Pagudpud
Hailed as one of the best beaches in Luzon, the northern portion of the Philippines’ archipelago, Saud Beach is a great choice for those who want to enjoy clear waters and a relaxing breeze. It features light-colored sand and crystalline blue water, is home to a number of accommodations, and is much closer to the main road compared to other beaches.
This means you’re free to travel to other parts of Luzon after you’ve had your fill of the area!
Saud Beach caters to travelers seeking tranquility. You can go snorkeling to discover the underwater rocks and corals, take a refreshing swim in the pristine waters to relieve stress, or simply stroll along the shore, feeling the sand between your toes. For a comfy spot, you can rent a cottage and savor the gentle breeze. You can also engage in a fun game of beach volleyball if you’re into beach sports.
Still, Saud Beach is quite far from Manila by car. I recommend that you ride a plane to Laoag to shorten the travel time. You can then travel by land to Pagudpud. It will take you a lot of time or effort to get there, but the experience is totally worth it.
Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol
Located on Panglao Island in Bohol province, Alona Beach is a stretch of white sand about 1.5 kilometers long. It’s known to be one of the best diving destinations in the world and is situated near a house reef. Here, you can see corals and colorful sea fauna thriving under its waters, even without wearing special diving equipment.
This place is perfect for those who want to look at fishes and marine life in their natural habitat.
For example, you can ride boats to go around and look at the underwater life from above. You can even go down into the water to watch them up close and personal. Don’t worry about any sharks, though, as they’re not found in the area.
Aside from diving or snorkeling, you can go island hopping and visit nearby Balicasag to see some sea turtles. There’s also the snake-shaped Pungtud Island sandbar.
White Island, Camiguin
Camiguin’s White Island is a must-visit destination for tourists who want to see the finest white sand beaches in the Philippines. This small island is composed of powdery white sands, and its shoreline changes shape depending on the tide. With its bare landscape, it’s the perfect spot to soak up the sun and achieve that tan you’ve always wanted.
White Island is located about 1.8km away from Mambajao and can only be accessed via a 10-minute boat ride. Once you’re there, you are treated to a magnificent view of nearby Mt. Vulcan and Mt. Hibok-Hibok. If you go around the island, you will also find corals that are home to a variety of fish.
Sugar Beach, Sipalay, Negros Occidental
Sipalay is home to many beaches, but for me, Sugar Beach tops all of them in terms of pricing and overall value. Located in Sipalay in Negros Occidental province, this beach is a long strip of golden brown sand that can only be accessed by crossing a river via a boat. The resorts here are super cheap, too.
However, my favorite part is definitely the fact that you can buy fresh catch from local fishermen and then ask them to cook the seafood for you for a fee. All in all, what Sugar Beach lacks in powdery white sands, it makes up with a very relaxing environment, easy access to fresh seafood, and breathtaking sunsets.
Best of all, Sugar Beach is not as crowded as other beaches in the Visayas (read: they’re all in Boracay). This place is so therapeutic that you won’t be surprised to discover some tourists stay here for weeks on end.
Apo Island, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Apo Island is a world-renowned marine reserve located in Dauin Town. It is home to beautiful corals, which host an abundance of fish and other marine life in the area. Thanks to the marine biodiversity it houses under its shores and rock formations, Apo Island has been heralded as one of the best diving locations in the world.
The island is also home to a turtle sanctuary. They are docile and are used to having people watching them, so don’t worry about coming close. You can swim with them, too! Just make sure to stay a comfortable distance and avoid touching them, as that is prohibited.
In addition to its incredible marine life, Apo Island has more to offer. You’ll also find white sand beaches, pristine waters, and a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere. The island also has hotels and accommodations where you can spend the night if you need to. It’s also near Dumaguete City, which is surrounded by other tourist destinations.
Paliton Beach, Siquijor
Although Siquijor has a reputation for being a hub for mystical activities and beliefs, it is also known for its magical beaches. One of these beaches is Paliton—a small public beach that outshines all others like it in the area. Here, you can swim, snorkel, or simply get a tan. But no matter what you do, make sure you get a good spot so you can watch the sunset from here. The view alone is worth the trip going here.
Moreover, you can get some drinks from beachside cafes, lay down mats or towels on the sand, and sit down to read a book or listen to Spotify. The place tends to get busy on the weekends as locals enjoy their rest days, but it doesn’t get as populated on weekdays.
Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan
If you’re looking for something more unique in Palawan, Hidden Beach in El Nido is the destination for you. While secluded, this hidden gem is a popular tourist spot because of its natural karst formations towering above and around a patch of white sand.
Despite its name, The Hidden Beach is not as hidden as Secret Beach, as it’s not as difficult to access; you can ride a boat to take you near the beach, then swim, snorkel, and walk to the shore. The place is secluded enough that if there’s nobody else around, you’d feel like you’re on your own beach—nay, your own island. You will also find a variety of colorful fish swimming in the waters leading to the shore.
You can go to Hidden Beach as part of a guided tour, particularly the Tour-C island hopping option you can find in El Nido. There aren’t any stores in the area, so make sure to bring your own food and drinks. Naturally, be extra sure to take your trash with you as you go!
Bounty Beach, Malapascua Island, Cebu
Bounty Beach is located in the southern part of Malapascua Island in Cebu. It has the highest concentration of hotels, restaurants, bars, and other interesting attractions among the beaches on the island and tends to get crowded at certain times during the year. Still, I can guarantee that you will love this place if you don’t mind seeing many people roaming around.
Although Bounty Beach is not as developed as other tourist destinations, this stretch of pale white sand offers many fun activities. For instance, you can go diving, snorkeling, or island hopping. If you’re more adventurous, you can even swim with the rare Thresher Sharks in the area. You can even relieve your fatigue with a massage from the masseuses offering their services along the coastline.
Going to Bounty Beach, or to Malapascua Island for that matter, requires you to ride a boat from the New Maya Port in Cebu.
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
If you’re already on Malapascua Island (think Bounty Beach, for example) or you plan to go there, don’t miss the chance to visit Kalanggaman Island. This beautiful sandbar is less than a two-hour boat ride from Malapascua, making it perfect for day trips.
Kalanggaman Island is a picturesque island and sandbar located a few hours away by boat from Malapascua Island in Cebu. The small island has a distinct sandbar stretching on one end, one that disappears and reappears with the rising and ebbing of the clear waters enveloping the area.
Unlike other sandbars, such as White Island, Kalanggaman has some flora growing in an area that doesn’t get submerged under seawater. This means there are enough shaded areas to protect you from the blazing heat of the sun.
Paradise Beach, Bantayan Island, Cebu
Paradise Beach on Bantayan Island, Cebu, promises a secluded and idyllic beach experience that deserves a spot on this list. And the way it does this is just plain genius: You will come across a small staircase near the end of a massive rock formation along the coast, close to Sandira Beach. This staircase leads to a long stretch of soft, pale-colored sand. The rock wall cleverly hides the beach from the public and gives this place a private feel—as if you’re in a different place, away from the rest of the world.
Paradise Beach is intentionally kept simple, which is one of my favorite aspects of the place. You won’t find restaurants or shops along the shore. There are no recreational facilities, kayak rentals, dive shops, and the like either. There are only a few tables and chairs on one end of the beach (though you can also get some shade under the rock wall). This simplicity allows you to truly savor what makes it a paradise: calm and clear waters, a tranquil environment, and the beauty of nature unspoiled.
Antonia Beach, Gigantes Islands, Iloilo
Antonia Beach is located within the Gigantes Islands, which is located in the municipality of Carles in Iloilo province. This stunning beach features powdery white sands, crystal blue waters, big waves, and interesting limestone formations accentuating the beach. The limestone formations, known for their peculiar look that resembles sandwiches, act as natural wave breakers, making the waters particularly calm. It’s a nice place for families with small children.
The beach is also a good place to enjoy local seafood, like Scallops, as the restaurants serve fresh catch at very affordable prices. In fact, most island hopping tours stop by Antonia’s for lunch before moving to another destination.
What are you waiting for?
And that’s pretty much it for our list of most recommended beaches in the Philippines. We have other beaches we’d like to add here, but we strongly recommend that you visit these beaches first to get a glimpse at the beautiful shores our country has to offer. Happy beach hunting!