I have always loved rankings of world beaches but when no Philippine beach appears on the lists, I would surely get disheartened. How could someone produce the list of the top 10 beaches in the world when in fact they have not seen all! They could have just come up with the title, “The best beaches we have seen so far!” Sometimes, you cannot understand why a beach in filthy Kho Phangan in Thailand is ranked higher than the immaculate beach in Playa del Carmen in Mexico. CNN produced a list of the world’s 50 best beaches and it created overwhelming disapproval when beaches in the Greek Islands, in Bermuda and in the Philippines’ Palawan were missed out. Also, Yahoo Travel featured an article ranking the Philippines’ best beaches and I thought it was not so properly done, placing El Nido at the top without specifically singling out any of El Nido’s famed beaches.
That’s why I came up with my own ranking of the Philippines’ best beaches. This is supposed to be a counter post to the Yahoo Travel article and a counter punch to the CNN article that only had one Philippine beach. In this post I have ranked the Philippine beaches that are so underrated when it comes to world rankings. I have included in the list only the beaches that I have visited so far and those that are not private. At the end of this post, I have also mentioned beaches that could have been included on the list if I have visited them. You can click on the hyperlinks that I have provided for more information and photos on the area or beach included on the list. Here goes the list of the top Philippine beaches that mesmerized me.
16. PINAGBUYUTAN ISLAND, EL NIDO, PALAWAN
Survivor closed this island for months and I missed stepping on its beach when I first visited El Nido. I was extremely disappointed because it was not easy traveling 6 hours by bus to reach the stunning Bacuit Bay only to find out that one of your target island destinations has been shut off to the public. Anyway, this island took my breath away during my first visit even when we were just passing by it. The white sand beach shimmered at the base of the limestone island towering high above everything else in Bacuit Bay. It was indeed a memorable experience to spend some time on this island during my second time in El Nido.
15. BULOG (DOS), CORON, PALAWAN
14. LONG BEACH, SAN VICENTE, PALAWAN
13. SIQUIJOR ISLAND
12. DUMALUAN BEACH, PANGLAO ISLAND, BOHOL
11. LAHOS ISLAND, CARAMOAN, CAMARINES SUR
10. MALAPASCUA, CEBU
9. PUKA BEACH, BORACAY, AKLAN
Not as spectacular as White Beach in Boracay, Puka Beach has fans of its own though. This is a very good alternative when you want to get away from the crowd in White Beach. I have enjoyed solitude on this beach many times. Just a 15-min ride from White Beach, it has no resorts fronting its shores but only tiny souvenir stores and a long-standing restaurant that easily became my favorite base in the area.
8. BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU
7. HELICOPTER ISLAND, EL NIDO, PALAWAN
With scenic views of neighboring Cadlao Island and the rest of the islands around El Nido’s Bacuit Bay, the beach at Helicopter Island is for me the golden beach of El Nido. A regular stopover for one of the 4 El Nido island tour packages, Helicopter Island does not have the usual white sand beach but the clear jade waters are so irresistibly inviting.
6. SECRET BEACH, MATINLOC ISLAND, EL NIDO, PALAWAN
Not a secret anymore to those who have visited it, the beach’s secret remains on where it is hidden. The only way to access the beach is by swimming through a very small opening beneath limestone cliffs that could be dangerous during monsoon season when the sea current is strong as the waves could bump you into sharp rocks when going through the small opening. However, when you get inside, you could probably utter that you have never seen and experienced anything like it before! The short stretch of white sandy cove at one end of the area enclosed by towering karst formations is said to be the inspiration of Alex Garland’s The Beach. Secret Beach in El Nido deserves to be in the top 5 for its uniqueness. It is a beach like no other.
5. ENTALULA ISLAND, EL NIDO, PALAWAN
I have visited Entalula Island only during my second visit to El Nido but the beaches surrounding this island truly took my breath away. Glass-like waters, soft white sand and stunning views of Bacuit Bay were the factors why I rated this beach so high. Some part of the island is private and owned by Ayala Resorts but there are still parts of it that is open to the public so I still included this in the rankings.
4. CALAGUAS, CAMARINES NORTE
Calaguas Island‘s Long Beach is mostly drawing local tourists who want an absolute beach getaway especially during the summer months. The tough two hours trip on mostly choppy seas can easily be shrugged off once you get off the boat and set foot on the amazing beach. There is no electricity, no resorts and no potable or running water. You need to bring your own food and drinks, your own tent and your own sane self. During Holy Week, the beach becomes alive with organizers bringing generators, lights and speakers for that once a year Reggae Night.
3. KALANGGAMAN ISLAND, PALOMPON, LEYTE
One of the islands creating great impressions lately to first time visitors, Kalanggaman has gorgeous waters surrounding it, the clearest I have seen anywhere else. Its stunning main beach and two sand bars are worthy of the one hour journey from either the port of Palompon town in Leyte or Malapascua in Cebu. Palompon is around three hours drive away from Leyte’s capital, Tacloban City and one hour drive away from Ormoc City. Malapascua is 4-hour drive away from Cebu City. An overnight stay here is needed to experience the island spreads its wings like a bird when it reveals its two sand bars located at its eastern and western tips. Kalanggaman got its name from “langgam” which means bird in Cebuano dialect. Like Calaguas Island, there is no running potable water, no electricity and no resorts so the tiny island can give you a perfect natural beach experience. A full moon experience in the island will surely be unforgettable too!
2. WHITE BEACH, BORACAY, AKLAN
Boracay’s White Beach has been consistently making the world’s best beaches list and it has been the standard of a beach in the Philippines. I only gave the number 2 spot because of the massive crowd especially during peak season. It is one thing to enjoy people watching but it is another thing to be annoyed by the noise and commotion of eager tourists. I either escape to Friday’s or Boracay Terraces Resort located at the end of White Beach or hie off to nearby Puka Beach to escape the crowd. I still love White Beach after all these years. What made it almost to the top position in my list are its incredible qualities that also propelled it to the top of the world’s best beaches list: the gentle slope, the amazingly clear turquoise waters and its signature sugar-fine white sand that is probably the finest, softest and whitest I have ever seen.
1. MALCAPUYA ISLAND, CORON, PALAWAN
Topping the list is a beach on an island located one and a half hours away by boat from Coron mainland in Palawan. Malcapuya Island has the best beach in the Philippines for me, for now. Pristine, lovely, unadulterated, tranquil. The underwater scenery is also spectacular. One of the reasons why it maintains its natural beauty is that no boats are allowed to dock on its shores. The docking area is located at a rocky area at the back of the island a few minutes walk to the main beach.
So that’s how I have ranked the Philippine beaches I have visited. What do you think?
The following 4 beaches are surely to be included in the list if I have visited them.