Hailed as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, the Philippines offers a lot to anyone looking for a splice of tropical escape. This rich and biodiverse country comprises over 7000 islands. It is considered home to the most alluring beaches on the planet.
Thanks to the geographical advantage of the Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia, you’ll find easily accessible islands to vast pristine white sand beaches surrounded by crystal clear waters. Major travel publications consistently included the Philippines’ top destinations as the best places for a summer flight. Additionally, the Philippines is one of the cheapest countries for tourism. If you plan to include the Philippines in your next adventure, here are the top islands you should check out.
1. Coron, Palawan
Coron combines perfect white sand beaches with clear freshwater lakes and lagoons teeming with marine life. Located at the northern tip of Palawan, Coron tops publications’ lists of the world’s most beautiful islands. Its stunning islands, idyllic beaches, and great shipwreck dive sites are just a few of the many reasons Coron is a must-see.
Coron’s main attraction, Kayangan Lake, is one of the cleanest bodies of water in the Philippines. Fresh and saltwater are mixed to provide the coolest and most refreshing swim. The water of Kayangan Lake is so clear that you cannot tell how deep it is until you reach the bottom. It is best known for its several World War II wreck dives, prehistoric limestone karst landscapes, rich coral reefs, and white-sand beaches.
2. Siargao, Surigao Del Norte
The teardrop-shaped Siargao Island at the northeastern tip of Mindanao is best known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. Beautiful islands, white sandy beaches, natural lagoon pools, and beautiful mangrove forests are a few of the many features Siargao can offer.
The once-dormant surf town of Siargao has recently seen a surge in popularity and was named the best island in the world in 2019 by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. It gained fame when surfers from different places discovered its barrel-shaped waves in the famous surfing spot Cloud 9.
3. El Nido, Palawan
Comprised of 45 islands, El Nido’s pristine islands offer a variety of water activities, including breathtaking El Nido Island Hopping Tours, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding. It is one of the most biodiverse archipelagos featuring towering limestone formations and aquamarine lagoons.
The islands here consist of jagged cliffs sporadically covered in lush greenery, dazzling white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. El Nido will be your perfect haven for those who love kayaking, swimming, or snorkeling.
4. Boracay, Aklan
Boracay always tops the list of the best islands in the world. Hailed as the best beach in the world by countless reader polls, its sugar beaches, crystal clear waters, and brilliant sunsets make it a worthwhile stop.
Unlike smaller and more remote islands, Boracay offers some sensational places to stay, from rustic hideaways to stunning spots. The most famous White Beach may be a little crowded for some, but for an experience away from the crowds, check out the island’s lesser-talked-about beaches. Bolabog Beach, located on the quieter side of the coast, is popular with Boracay’s kite surfers.
5. Cebu Islands
Cebu, in the Visayas, is blessed with untouched islands, white sandy beaches, diving sites with colorful underwater ecosystems, and historic and scenic land attractions. Get local by visiting a family-run water sports company that offers parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boating. You can even snorkel on an island-hopping tour and see all the sea urchins live from the ocean floor.
Heading out to Cebu comes with different options. You can choose between North Cebu and South Cebu. In northern Cebu, island hopping is available on Camotes, Bantayan, and Malapascua islands. Heading south, you can travel to Moalboal to experience a sardine run, take an adrenaline-pumping canyoneering tour of Kawasan Falls, or climb Osmeña Peak.
The island has hidden waterfalls, magnificent rivers, private piers with craft markets, local grilled seafood, and many other hidden natural spots. You would need help finding these sceneries, so it is best to hire a local guide to explore all these experiences.
Bohol has both natural and artificial wonders. A must-do here is a countryside tour through the top attractions of Bohol and Panglao Island, including the Chocolate Hills. The Chocolate Hills is celebrated as the third National Geological Monument in the country.
Siquijor is about 34,300 hectares, making it a fairly small island with the main tourist area of San Juan, a long coastline on the island’s southwest side. Rent a motorbike and explore all around the island in a few days. Stopping at waterfalls, swimming holes, and white sandy beaches has never felt so free. Jump off cliffs into clean, clear waters, trek through the jungle and eat until you’re full.
You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the island’s Filipino history by visiting countless Spanish-influenced sites, such as the Church of St. Francis de Assisi and the thought-provoking (and crumbling) Church of San Isidore de Labrador.
8. Hundred Islands of National Park, Pangasinan
The Philippines is famous for island hopping; one of the great places to do it is the Hundred Islands National Park. Located on the western side of Luzon, Pangasinan is a must-see destination in the Philippines, with picturesque islands, beautiful beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, and lush green hills.
One of the most popular attractions is Hundred Islands National Park, a protected area and the first national park in the Philippines. The Pangasinan Hundred Islands Island Hopping Tour takes you to 124 islands and islets off Alaminos in Pangasinan. You may also like to visit Marcos Island and Turtle Islands, where you can dive into caves from 20-30 feet.
9.Calaguas, Camarines Norte
Just a few driving distances from the capital city of Manila, Calaguas is an uninhabited island chain perfect for those looking for a rustic island experience. ”Mahabang Buhangin”, which means ‘long sandy beach’, is the most popular atoll and is known for its two miles of pristine beach. No hotels on these islands exist, so camping under the stars is the only accommodation option. For those who brave the wilderness and lack amenities, visiting this wild, unspoiled island is worth the inconvenience.
10.San Juan, La Union
San Juan is another surfing paradise in La Union Province, Luzon, the largest landmass in the Philippines. Just a few hours’ drive from Metro Manila, and San Juan has become a popular weekend destination for locals seeking a sunny break from the bustling capital. This laid-back city is filled with various quirky cafes and hidden gastronomic gems for those looking for a more relaxing stay.
In addition to all the great surfing spots San Juan offers, visitors can do cliff-hitting jumps at Tangadan Falls. You may also enjoy endless sightseeing of Luna Pebble Beach and visit the amazing quirky sculpture museum with the ancestral house “Bahay na Bato,” which translates to House of Rock.
The Philippines showcases world-famous natural wonders such as underground rivers and rice terraces, limestone formations, pristine white sand beaches, incredible diving sites brimming with biodiversity, colorful Philippine public transportation, unique cuisine, and colorful culture. If you are wondering where to go next this coming holiday season but your budget needs a careful watch, consider this country.