Philippines: The Top Beaches

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.


el nido

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.


Getting off the boat for a short stop at the tiny, inhabited island of Bulog Dos in Coron, I immediately blurted out that it would be a perfect site for a beach wedding upon seeing an abandoned, huge hut.  Definitely, there will be no gate crashers!  I had a hard time choosing this over its neighboring Banana Island but I chose Bulog Island to be in the list because of its small size, double beach of fine white sand and a sand bar that connects it to a neighboring island.


long beach2
Hailed as the next major beach destination in the Philippines, Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan has an incredible 14 kilometers of unadulterated beach, reputed to be the country’s longest.  Lately, land prices have risen five times in value as the area gears up for development. An air strip is already being constructed as San Vicente is currently a grueling 4 hours drive away (some on unpaved roads) from Palawan’s capital city of Puerto Princesa and 2 hours away from the world famous El Nido. Although the beach is not as white as the other beaches on this list, it is included mainly because it is still naturally pure as we encountered dragonflies and dolphins when we were hiking some seven kilometers of the overwhelmingly long beach. And I am not finished yet :  we had the entire stretch of Long Beach to ourselves!  Talk about a really remote beach.


Just an hour away from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental is the island province of Siquijor. Known for its witchcraft, magic and sorcery tales the island surprises every first time visitor. Coco Grove Resort owns approximately 800 meters of the finest stretch of white sand beach in the island. Be careful though as eager sea urchins wait to prick your feet as the beach guards do not clean them away to preserve the abundant aquatic life surrounding the island.  Diving is also excellent. To top everything else, the unbelievable sunset is the best and most fiery I have experienced ever!


Bohol boasts of unique attractions like the world-famous Chocolate Hills and the smallest primate in the world, the Philippine tarsier. Dumaluan Beach is located south of Panglao Island in Bohol.  A great stretch of the beach is fronting one of the exclusive resorts in the island, Bohol Beach Club.  A better alternative than the crowded Alona Beach 2.5 kilometers away, Dumaluan Beach is also a great spot for romantic sunsets.


Caramoan Peninsula is composed of gorgeous islands scattered around its bay.  Lahos Island is one of them and it is one of the islands used for the Survivor series shoots. In fact, Survivor has inked a contract with the local government to use the islands for 10 years calling Caramoan the Home of the Survivor.  Lahos Island’s short beach area is actually double sided and is accented by limestone formations at its ends. It is quite a trip to Caramoan. From Naga City in Camarines Sur, you can take a 1.5 hour ride to the port of Sabang.  From the port of Sabang, you need to take a 2-hour boat ride to the port of Guijalo.  From Guijalo you need to take a 20-min land trip  to get to the other side of the peninsula that is a short boat ride to the different islands of Caramoan.


The northern part of Cebu island, the most visited island in the Philippines, has a number of great beach holiday choices.  One of them is Malapascua Island which can be reached from Cebu City in 4 hours.  Although the island is more famous for its world-class diving, the white sand beaches lining its shores are equally amazing especially the other side of the island where there are no resorts. 





PukaNot 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.


Taking almost the same north bound route of the 4-hour land travel from Cebu City to Malapascua, taking a left detour will lead you to Hagnaya Port. From there, Bantayan Island is a short boat ride away.  Compared to its neighboring island, Malapascua, a diving haven, Bantayan is larger and has more mainstream beaches with wider shores.


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.





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.







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.






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.






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!





bora2 bora

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.



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.


Sabitang Laya has probably the best beach in the Caramoan Peninsula.  The island is triangular in shape with two sides forming a V-shaped beach meeting at a unique formation of black limestone.We missed this island during a recent visit to Caramoan. You just have to get the right timing that the island is open to public and not used by Survivor shooting (yes Survivor’s the culprit again!).  Survivor has rented the Caramoan islands for 10 years but during shooting breaks the islands are opened to the public.


A stunning island among Cuyo Islands in Palawan’s north east coast, Pamalican Island has been chosen by Aman Resorts as the site for its only property in the Philippines, Amanpulo Resort.  The island boasts of powdery, white sand beach lining its entire coast!  It is quite a challenge to reach this island as only chartered 19-seater planes can land on the private air strip and only guests of the exclusive resort can set foot in the island with room prices starting from US$1,000 per night.  This island resort is often visited by famous Hollywood and local stars. Naomi Campbell, Mariah Carey, Claudia Schiffer, Tom Cruise, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert de Niro, and Diana Ross were among the past guests.


The island province of Camiguin is one of Mindanao’s paradise island destinations.  The volcanic island boasts of pristine white sand beach, cool waters and untouched jungles.  The island can be reached via Cagayan de Oro City with a short drive to Balingoan where you can take a boat to the island.


Recently featured in Cebu Pacific Air’s SMILE magazine, Calayan Island is a stunning revelation.  Although it is a long journey to the island, the island is worthy of a visit with its clear waters, secluded coves and spectacular cliffs.
Philippine beaches rock, don’t you think so?

70 Responses to “Philippines: The Top Beaches”

  1. July 1, 2012 at 3:59 am

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  2. 2 URL
    July 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Have read a couple of of the articles on your web site now, and I truly like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites blog web site list and will probably be checking back soon. 967115

  3. August 14, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Hello, all is going fine here and ofcourse every one is
    sharing information, that’s actually fine, keep up writing.

  4. April 13, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Bookmarked and added to my bucket list! 🙂 Thank you for this.

  5. April 14, 2014 at 3:22 am

    this is a great list. thanks. 🙂

  6. 7 Lino Gerona
    April 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Beautifil presentation. However please erase from your mind the idea that Cebuano is a dialect. Dialects are variations of a language and are mutually intelligible (see Ethnologue online). Cebuano is not mutually intelligible with Tagalog. Kapampangan, Ilocano , for example. Cebuano as a language does have several dialects.

  7. April 15, 2014 at 6:19 am

    “I have always loved rankings of world beaches but when no Philippine beach appears on the lists, I would surely get disheartened”

    Trust me. This is a good thing. Nice, quiet, pristine beaches abound in the Philippines – and it is because the world doesn’t know about them yet. Its one of the reasons I go to the Philippines so often.

    Don’t become the next Thailand PLEASE!! Keep these secrets for those you meet and deserve to know about them and will respect them 🙂

  8. April 15, 2014 at 8:43 am

    The photo on the left for Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan is actually that of Nacpan-Calitang Beach in El Nido, Palawan. 😉

  9. April 15, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Kulang ng Samal, Kaputian and Talicud Island – they have better white sand beach than boracay. And cheaper too!

  10. 13 Jocelyn Magbanua
    April 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Puka beach, boracay, aklan ☆
    Camiguin island ☆
    Coron, palawan next 🙂

  11. 14 michael caling
    April 16, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I hope you could include beaches up north. Like in Zambales. I’ve been in Magalawa Island and had a great experience there are a lot more others there. 🙂

  12. 15 Surfergirl
    April 16, 2014 at 2:14 am

    You have got to try island hopping in siargao, philippines. It would definitely make your list longer. 😉

  13. 16 Arnold Abigan
    April 16, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Thanks for sharing! These wonderful beaches really ought to be in the top tourist destinations in the planet.

  14. 17 jen alota
    April 16, 2014 at 5:14 am

    No Pagudpud?

  15. 18 Jowahne
    April 16, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Glad that you mentioned the beach in Camiguin. I was stunned by the beauty of that beach. Truly, Philippines have the beauty which we can compete with others.

  16. 19 Rene Pamintuan
    April 16, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Pls check out the Sarangani Province Glan beaches, mostly also white or whiter than those beaches.

  17. April 16, 2014 at 10:24 am

    there’s no place like home…phils. has the best beaches ..

  18. April 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Hi , if you don’t mind your number 12 should be “Bulog Dos” Coron Palawan…There is a Bulog Uno that is operated by Waling-Waling Island Resorts and has modern toilets, cabanas and a kitchen 🙂

  19. 22 Lharz
    April 16, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Check Kalanggaman Island, Palompon, Leyte. (^_^)

  20. April 17, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Reblogged this on Xrispy with K, no E. and commented:
    One of these islands actually is my office. 😉

  21. 24 Tim
    April 17, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I spent three weeks on Santa Fe Beach in Bantayan in 2011 and can confirm it is one of the best beaches I’ve ever seen!
    The water is perfect for swimming also,unlike the way too shallow,covered in seaweed beaches on Panglao Island,Bohol.I lived in Cebu for that year but never made it to Malapascua which was next on my list.
    Philippines are simply the best beaches in the world,I live in Thailand and it’s not even close!

  22. 26 Skysurfer
    April 17, 2014 at 3:43 am

    I hope the other beaches remain unadulterated. I really love this post, but contrary to your sentiment, I really wish these beaches don’t get posted on those famous lists you mentioned. I don’t want those beaches to become like Boracay or El Nido – only accessible to those who got the money, which are usually the foreigners.

    • April 21, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Absolutely agree 100%. I love this post but at the same time it scares me… I don’t want it to be come the next Thailand or Maldives or Yasawas in Fiji were Tourists have killed the atmosphere, littered the beaches and caused prices to sky rocket.

  23. 28 magdalena
    April 17, 2014 at 3:50 am

    I have been to 4 of the beaches you have mentioned. The are definitely amazing places to visit. However, why are travelers hesitant to visit them. The image of the Philippines as a country is pretty much accurate: inequality, poverty, air pollution in the city (you need to go through the city to reach your beach destination), people who are desperate to make money from you (out of poverty), government officials to misuse government funds, fees and taxes as you leave or enter the airport. It is a country that needs to align its needs: population control, public education, free higher education, government housing since the private is not picking it up for the masses, affordable health care, no corruption (practice Christianity – thou shall not steal), If we implement half of this with honesty, the country has a chance to share its beauty with the rest of the world.

    • April 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Though your comment is true we suffer these same problems in “The West”. Air pollution, is HUGE. Inequality… despite what the media may portray there are still huge problems with this. Poverty – ok per capita you may have bigger issues than North America. But our poor in relation to the ‘well off’ have a huge gap to fill. Government misuse of funds, hahahaha. Welcome to every country.

      How about the GREAT things about the Phil’s. AMAZING, hospitable, generous people (sure some ‘rip me off’ but c’mon. It is always paid back in some other way by some other random stranger – I certainly don’t feel that way in a lot of SEA or Central America). I love the Phil’s and feel that the negatives mentioned are exactly what keeps trashy, douchebag masses from going to your country – which is what keeps the beaches like these clean and pristine… and uncluttered.

  24. 30 Manny
    April 17, 2014 at 4:05 am

    How about the beach of Potipot Island, Candelaria, Zambales. I seriously think it beats Puka Beach in Aklan. I’ve been to Pagudpud as well, and the white beach there is also good.

  25. 31 Theda
    April 17, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Thank you for showing to the world the beauty of the Philippine beaches. I continue to aspire to visit some of them soon. I will repost your blog inky FB page Centennial Tours.

  26. 32 Cez
    April 17, 2014 at 5:06 am

    The areas you have featured are great but i think youve missed the treasures of the north like the marvelous sea and sand of pagudpod in ilocos.

  27. April 17, 2014 at 5:29 am

    Reblogged this on rizkyujianovita's home and commented:
    So breathtaking, gonna travel there soon. °\(^▿^)/°

  28. 34 CrazyGuyinThailand
    April 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Awesome pics

  29. 35 jam
    April 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    OMG. Thank you so much for mentioning Kalanggaman Island! It is practically untouched and the government rejected offers of building hotel there. It is worth a mention. *thumbsup*

  30. 36 Marly Biuendia
    April 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    To the author of this article, for Philippines’ beaches not to be included in the world’s best is a HUGE BLESSING and is not disheartening at all! That way, the pristine conditions of those beaches and waters are somehow preserved and not exploited by tourists who have no care or respect for the environment because they could care less about the place once they have enjoyed it because it is NOT theirs. That way locals get to enjoy and experience their own place without being “prohibited” because there are “foreigners” in their own environment. Just take for example the “survivors” shooting location, the locals are no longer allowed to get near those areas, how sad and disheartening that is!

  31. 37 Nosaj Onardep
    April 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Nice article. Glad you include our very own kalanggaman island. I live in that small town palompon.;) This time, the island has cottages but still no electricity and potable water and still improving. The town is planning to build new hotel for future tourist.

  32. 38 shayne castleland
    April 18, 2014 at 2:24 am

    I’ve visited some already but i like more el nido.perfect for scuba diving

  33. 39 shayne castleland
    April 18, 2014 at 2:24 am

    I’ve visited some already but i like more el nido.perfect for scuba diving 😄

  34. 40 RM
    April 18, 2014 at 3:18 am

    There are 1,701 islands in our dear Philippines, the beach areas alone will need at least 2 months of 3-days/2-nights stay at each beach… yup easily 20 beaches, north to south 🙂

  35. April 18, 2014 at 3:24 am

    Walang Daku Island Siargao,, you should include this.. 😉

  36. 42 Precious Trumata
    April 18, 2014 at 5:25 am

    big thanks to you your blogs that you featured the beach from my hometown ,,from there I have let my other friends to discover it too…:-) im so proud !!

  37. April 18, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I’m afraid for the poor Filipinos who would loose access to these fine beaches we have here due to privatization.

  38. 44 Jonathan Mercado
    April 18, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Hello Blogger! Please come and try to see the beauty of Pagudpud which is located in Ilocos Norte. I’m sure you’ll gonna have a good time and their beaches are named “The Blue Lagoon” they got this title because of the clear water and unpolluted beach it offers, you can also check out some of their tourist spot like “The Bangui Windmills, The Lighthouse, and Patapat Bridge.

  39. 45 charles
    April 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

    WOW.. THis is great. Thank you for making philippines’ beaches the most beautiful.. i think some tourist are not able to judge the best, but those who love it much choose to stay here in palawan!

  40. 46 Mildred
    April 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing!! it gonna be a great help and tips.
    I was born in Jolo Sulu but left there since 1989.. all i remember about that island is the most beautiful beach I ever saw at the momment its a pity.. the peace and order are very poor that i myself and my family doesnt dare to go home…
    I hope you can visit that island one day.
    Great Job and thanks for this tips.

  41. 47 Rhoda Berlin
    April 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Just wondering why Pagudpod isn’t in your list? Thanks

  42. April 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Hi admin. Please try to check the unexploited Dahican Beach of Mati City, Davao Oriental. It was the SummerFrolic 2014 venue. Thanks. 😀

  43. April 19, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Reblogged this on le.confessions.of.elle and commented:

  44. 50 jegz
    April 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

    hey…since i’m not a blogger but found your article very interesting… let me share this on FB…
    keep on rockin’ dude..

  45. 51 kendi maristela
    April 19, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Buntod Marine Sanctuary and Porta Vega in Masbate also 🙂

  46. 52 madz
    April 19, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    like!!! try to visit siargao island

  47. 53 Indigo
    April 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Let me correct you on the Helicopter Island. Got its nickname because it looks like a helicopter from afar, but the island’s name is actually Dilumacad.

    And Secret Beach? Matinloc.

    You should’ve included Entalula (El Nido) too, as its pristine white sand is comparable to Boracay’s white beach (cleaner too). And the view?! A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. 🙂

  48. 54 Earl Grey
    April 20, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Beautiful, but so few places to stay, and so difficult to visit.

  49. 55 Maria Tremewan
    April 21, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Wow beautiful thank you for posting

  50. 56 Jon
    April 21, 2014 at 2:52 am

    #1 beach..great choice, I was there last March ’13. Had a blast!

  51. 57 hawayano
    April 22, 2014 at 11:09 am

    where is our own pagudpod??? ohh. never mind.. just visit that place..

  52. 58 Maddie
    April 24, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Hi Admin, I’ve been to many of the beaches on your list and I agree with your ranking. (y) I love quiet places so Kalanggaman and Malcapuya islands are my absolute favorites!

    I hope you get to visit more destinations and then maybe update this list as you go along!


    To the commenters:
    I think it was clearly stated that the ranking is based on the places the admin has visited. So quit saying “you’ve missed blah and blah”!

    Ang kukulit eh. Sana kasi nagbabasa…

  53. April 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Reblogged this on My Kind of Perfect and commented:
    So many more beaches to visit in the Philippines! Panglao next!

  54. 61 Albert Antig
    April 24, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Not so many have seen our pristine beaches because … OUR AIRPORTS SUCK.

  55. May 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Good choices. I would just like to say that Chocolate Hills is not in Panglao Island. It’s in Bohol, yes. But it’s three hours away from Panglao.

  56. 64 Jacqueline
    May 7, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I can’t wait to see this in person:)

  57. 65 Fayne Vars
    May 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Very nice blog about Pilipinas beaches. One bookmark added 🙂

  58. 66 kay
    January 14, 2015 at 6:25 am

    OMG all of these pictures are so so so gorgeous. I’m going to holiday in calayan island and pagudpud this june. So excited already! I’ve been to Siargao and it’s amazing you should go there t if you haven’t yet.

  59. February 6, 2015 at 7:56 am

    I think the admin of this web page is actually working hard in support of his web site, since here every data is quality based material.

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