6 Undiscovered Beaches in the Philippines
The lesser well-known cousin of big players Thailand and Bali, the Philippines is an untouched beauty and for the beach lovers among us, it should definitely be on your travel list. Yet with over 7000 islands, you’d be excused for not knowing where to start! You’ve probably heard of the more famous beaches of Boracay and El Nido, but here’s a slightly different list for those who love to go against the grain and find hidden gems.
Abby snorkelling - Image: Abby Collins
Abby snorkellingImage: Abby Collins
Paliton Beach – Siquijor
South of Cebu and to the East of Bohol lies the small, mysterious island of Siquijor. Pronounced See-Kee-Hor, Siquijor may not be as well known among visitors, but Filipinos have long regarded it as a place of mystery, magic and witchcraft. A 50-minute ferry from Dumaguete or a 1 hour 20-minute ferry from Bohol, it’s easy to spend a week here. This tiny island is home to dramatic waterfalls, friendly locals, incredible diving and some of the best beaches in the Philippines, most notably Paliton Beach.
Known affectionately as the ‘mini Boracay of Siquijor’ and with huge palm trees fringing the shoreline, white sand beaches and a crystal clear marine sanctuary to snorkel in, Paliton has the beauty of more well-known beaches, without the crowds. The best time to visit Paliton Beach is at sunset, where you can enjoy a cold drink with the locals and watch the sky turn from blue to orange, to burning red, to black. With a sunset that sets the whole sky ablaze and fireflies that emerge at night, it’s no wonder they call Siquijor the island of fire.
Paliton Beach - Image: Abby Collins
Paliton BeachImage: Abby Collins
Apo Island Beach – Apo Island
A tiny volcanic island with one beachfront village, Apo Island truly is a hidden gem. A protected marine sanctuary since 1985, walk into the water off the small beach and immediately you will encounter Green Sea and Hawksbill turtles swimming by peacefully. Located between Siquijor and Dumaguete and only accessible by boat, why not join a day trip to snorkel or dive the waters and take in the 400 species of coral and 650 species of fish that occupy the pristine waters?
Apo Island turtle - Image: Babs Dim
Apo Island turtleImage: Babs Dim
Lio Beach - El Nido, Palawan
Although it’s now one of the most popular places to go in the Philippines, El Nido still manages to harbour a few secrets. Think of El Nido and beaches and you will undoubtedly think of backpackers’ favourite Nacpan Beach; head further south of Nacpan however and you will discover the little eco-haven that is Lio Beach. One of the most untouched parts of El Nido, yet only 15 minutes from the town by car, Lio-Eco Tourism Estate is an ongoing Eco Project, with bikes made of bamboo, a no plastic bottle policy and a commitment to maintaining the island’s beauty. With warm waters, white sand and quirky shops and restaurants nearby, this is the perfect place to get some peace and quiet. Visit here before word spreads and the crowds descend.
Lio Beach - Image: Abby Collins
Lio BeachImage: Abby Collins
White Beach - Port Barton, Palawan
A four hour drive south from El Nido, the sleepy seaside community of Port Barton should be on everybody’s to-see list. A quaint fishing village which takes 10 minutes to walk from end to end, Port Barton has a rural and laid-back charm. 30 minutes from the town sits the aptly named White Beach. Not to be confused with the Philippines’ other White Beach (Boracay), this White Beach is a secluded spot that’s worlds away from the crowds and nightlife of its namesake. Lie on hammocks and take in the picture perfect view, or snorkel in the shallow reefs filled with wildlife. You can kayak back to Port Barton in just over 40 minutes (although factor in longer as you’ll keep stopping to take in the view!)
Linapacan - Image: Abby Collins
LinapacanImage: Abby Collins
Ditaytayan Island, Calamian Islands
There’s no doubt that the Calamian Islands are an untapped treasure. Nestled between Coron and El Nido, you can either visit them during a day trip, or spend between two-five days on a longer boat tour exploring the islands, accompanied by friendly dolphins who swim alongside the boat, dipping and diving among the waves. Ditaytayan Island is undoubtedly the jewel in Calamian’s crown; a sandbar straight from a postcard with blinding white sand and crystal clear waters, you will never want to leave this slice of paradise.
Ditaytayan Beach - Image: Amy Cooper
Ditaytayan BeachImage: Amy Cooper
Linapacan Island, Palawan
Heading south from Ditaytayan is the wondrous Linapacan Island, approximately halfway between Coron and El Nido. As well as being surrounded by 52 mostly-deserted paradise islands, Linapacan itself is a dream spot to relax and forget about your cares. The water here is so clear that it has been voted one of the 35 best places in the world to swim. You could spend the entire day here, or use it as a base to island hop the surrounding spectacular beaches. Drinking from fresh coconuts, cliff diving and enjoying a Kamayan meal – a traditional Filipino feast featuring different meats, seafood, vegetables and rice laid out on banana leaves to be enjoyed by hand – you’ll feel like you’re in a different world.
Cliff jumping at Linapacan Island - Image: Abby Collins
Cliff jumping at Linapacan IslandImage: Abby Collins
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