The Philippines is home to some of the most amazing beach destinations in the world. International travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler named Boracay — with its white sands, azure blue waters and pulsating nightlife — the world’s best island. Unfortunately for those who hoped to visit the island this year, the government has ordered a temporary closure of the island’s tourism activities to address environmental issues.
However, it certainly isn’t the end of the road for adventure seekers. With the Philippines archipelago comprising more than 7,600 islands, there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches to visit. In fact, in second and third place behind Boracay on the Condé Nast list of world’s best island destinations are two other Philippine gems, Cebu and Palawan.
GN Focus brings you a few equally exciting beach destinations in the Philippines, blessed with their own distinct beauty and charm.
Sumilon Island, Cebu
Sumilon Island in the Philippines offers some of the world’s most beautiful diving sites. iStock
If you love diving, Sumilon Island in the town of Oslob, Cebu, has one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. Offering clear blue waters and pristine white sands, the island is also famous for its whale shark sightings.
The diving and sharks aside, Sumilon Island is also popular for its sandbar, which changes shape and shifts location around the island depending on the season.
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
Situated between the islands of Cebu and Leyte, Kalanggaman Island in Palompon municipality attracts beach lovers with its crystal clear waters and powdery white sands.
The island spans only about a kilometre and has magnificent sandbars stretching at the end of the island that when viewed from above resemble wings of a bird in flight. The island got its name from the Cebuano word langgam, which means bird.
Unlike other beach resorts, the island doesn’t get too crowded, with only 500 tourists allowed at any time. Aside from swimming, one can go kayaking and snorkelling to explore the majestic underwater gems.
If budget is not a problem, Amanpulo is a must-visit. A resort on Pamalican island in Palawan, Amanpulo is a gorgeous beach nestled in the Sulu sea. The so-called peace island is one of the world’s most exclusive island resorts with A-list stars such as Brad Pitt, Beyoncé and Tom Cruise among its visitors.
The name Amanpulo, a combination of aman, which in Sanskrit means peace, and pulo, Tagalog for island, literally means peaceful island.
The 250-acre powdery white sand resort has villas and casitas for visitors, each with its own buggy for travel on the island. The dwellings are kept at a certain distance from each other to provide guests the utmost privacy.
Mabua Pebble Beach, Surigao City
Surigao city is widely known as the gateway to the surfing island of Siargao, but visitors need not look far to enjoy a truly unique beach experience. Mabua Pebble Beach, on the northeastern tip of Mindanao, is the city’s pride and joy.
Located in Barangay Mabua, around 30 minutes from the city of Surigao, the beach is made of a myriad of multi-sized smooth pebbles in unique colours that visitors collect as souvenirs.
Samal Island, Davao
Samal, officially the Island Garden City of Samal, is also home to some of the best beaches in the Philippines. Located in the Davao Gulf in Davao del Norte, the island features a selection of beautiful resorts scattered across 116 kilometres of shoreline. There are many ways to enjoy the island — from jet skiing and scuba diving to kayaking.