The Philippine Islands are some of the most spectacular islands in the world, and the beaches of the Philippines are among the best in the world. Surrounded by crystal clear blue-green waters, with pristine white sandy beaches and warm breezes blowing in from the Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and Visayan Sea that make the palm trees and mangrove forests sway, this is the ideal place for that picture perfect holiday.

You can find isolated beaches that make you feel you are the only person on earth, or beaches that are very lively and entertaining and everything in between. You can immerse yourself in local culture by visiting one of the many fishing villages, or take part in the shopping and nightlife of one of the many larger cities. Wherever you are you will find the people of the Philippines very friendly, and you are never far from a beach.

Surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving and snorkeling are some of the favorite pasttimes here, as well as any other water sport you can imagine. Charter boats to take you fishing or island hopping, or rent your own sailboat and explore the islands for yourself. The raw beauty of all the islands will also make you want to hike and explore the interiors which have some of the most spectacular flora and fauna you will see anywhere. Listed here is just a few of the options for places to go in the Philippines that will leave you breathless. It is one of those places that will create memories that last a life time.

1. El Nido, Palawan

best-philippine-beaches

Flickr Credit: Allan Ascaño


El Nido, Palawan is not a beach, but a town with over 50 fantastic beaches to discover and explore. Palawan has been called “the last frontier” by many, and the coastal town of El Nido is the perfect get-away. It is a great base from which to island hop and find that perfect spot to spend the day. You may want to spend one day on a busy beach with a lot of fun things going on, or you might want to find a secluded beach on a nearby island where you can have some real relaxation in quiet solitude.

All of the beaches have fantastic powder-fine sand and the crystal clear turquoise-green water is so enchanting and enjoyable. The surrounding views are absolutely breathtaking, with the marble cliffs, limestone formations, waterfalls and caves that are all just waiting to be explored. Some lagoons even have caves that can lead you to some hidden beaches! Scuba diving is a very popular sport here, with divers from all over the world coming here to enjoy these waters.

There are over 30 dive sites where you can see over 50 species of coral and a wide variety of marine life including manta rays, dolphins, whale sharks and sea cows, just to name a few. Bacuit Bay is a marine reserve, so the protected sea life makes for some of the best diving and snorkeling anywhere. There are many dive shops that can give you lessons, take you out to the best dive sites that match your skill level, and provide all the equipment you need to make this a very memorable experience.

You may also want to take a kayak island hopping or do a little paddle boarding. After a full day of activity, you will certainly want to try out some of the superb local cuisine, which of course specializes in seafood. There is also a great nightlife in town, or get your food and favorite beverage right on the beach and watch a magnificent sunset over the water while listening to some great local music. All in all, spending your holiday here is one adventure that you will never forget.

2. White Beach, Boracay Island

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: Remar Lapastora


White Beach in Boracay, Aklan is perhaps the most popular destination for holiday travelers to the Philippines. The water here boasts of rough waves and strong winds that make it ideal for surfing, windsurfing and kite boards. There is an annual competition nearby called the International Funboard Cup that attracts hundreds of wind and kite surfers from all over. As the name implies, the beach is a beautiful white sand that is so inviting.

Take part in a rousing game of beach volleyball or comb the beach for some amazing seashells. Sunbathe in the powdery soft sand or in the shade under some of the swaying palm trees or snorkel in the crystal clear water. There are also some glass bottom boats and banana boats you can hire that take you out further where you can glimpse some of the other species of sea life that call this place home.

The restaurants and bars stay open all night, so you can be sure to have fun til early dawn. At night some amazing sand castles are lit by candles which is a spectacular sight and gives a real romantic feel to this amazing 4km beach. You will not want to miss seeing this awesome Philippine beach.

3. Bantayan Island

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: Ren Albs


Bantayan Island near Cebu is the perfect place for anyone wanting to visit a beach in the Philippines that is more secluded and quiet. It is full of coconut palm trees, pristine white sand and crystal clear blue water of the Visayan Sea, and is basically untouched by the modern world. During Holy Week before Easter the island becomes crowded with many Filipino travelers, and there are many activities going on.

The remainder of the year it is very pleasant and the locals are very friendly. You will certainly want to partake in some of the local cuisine and experience some of the culture of the country. Spending the day playing in the water or sunbathing with a good book on the soft sand is a favorite past time for tourists and locals alike. While the majority of the island is flat and near sea level, there is one hill called Atop-atop that rises to about 60m where you can get in a bit of a hike. Then head to town for some of the fun local night life, or take a romantic moonlit stroll along the beach. This is perhaps the best of the Philippine beaches for a totally relaxing and tranquil holiday.

4. Caramoan Island

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: Mau Lebee


Caramoan is another secluded island, but it differs from Bantayan Island because of it’s spectacular scenery. Many rock formations and giant boulders reach right down to the sea and have caves that are waiting to be explored, both from land and by snorkeling. There are beautiful waterfalls that fall into some wonderful freshwater pools. White sandy beaches are scattered throughout so you will be able to find an isolated place for that ideal get-away.
You will find lagoons and underground streams that rival any others found elsewhere.

Many television and movie productions have been shot here because of spectacular scenery, including the Survivor reality show. Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities, as there is such a wide variety of marine life to see, including the sea turtle which the island is named for. Underwater caves also make for some great exploration when diving.

The interior of the island is magnificent, with the beautiful Mount Caglago in the midst. From atop it you will get a stunning view of the island and the smaller islets that surround it. There is also the giant statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary here that is well worth the hike up to see. An amazing limestone forest is also fascinating to explore with all of the wildlife, flora and fauna to be seen. Caramoan Island should definitely be at the top of anyone’s list who is wanting to have that perfect holiday on a Philippine beach.

5. Manoc Manoc Beach, Boracay Island

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: Yasuko_


Manoc Manoc Beach is located on the beautiful Boracay Island. It is located on the southern end of the island, across the channel from the quaint village of Caticlan. It is one of the busier Philippine beaches as there are numerous boats bringing in supplies for the entire island here. It is also a favorite beach amongst the locals, so there is always something fun happening. It is generally windy all year long, so is the perfect spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

You can often see some of the more experienced surfers competing against each other, and if you are feeling lucky, you can challenge someone to a race. There are also shops here that will rent you the equipment needed as well as give lessons to anyone wanting to learn the sport or sharpen up your skills. Either way, for an exciting time this beach can not be beat.

6. Palaui Island

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: Inside SoutheastAsia


Palaui Island is perhaps the best kept secret of all the Philippine beaches. It is relatively isolated and basically untouched by human hands, as there is only one small fishing village here. It has also been declared as National Marine Reserve so the beauty of the wildlife and marine life of the beaches and jungle are well preserved. The coral gardens are fantastic to snorkel and dive around and explore.

Trekking overland to the pristine white sandy beach can be quite an adventure in itself, and there are guides available to help you along the way. Or you can charter a boat to take you directly to the beach, which is surrounded by volcanic rock and mangrove forests, which add so much to the beauty. There is an century old lighthouse called Farol de Cabo Engaño or Cape Engaño Lighthouse that you will want to explore as well as hidden waterfalls and coves.
Huge waves here make for some of the best surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing around. After a full day of playing in the water and exploring the island, enjoy a big bonfire and camp out right there under a magnificent starry sky. For the more adventurous traveler looking for a rugged, back to nature holiday, this will be the most memorable one you could ever have.

7. Panglao Island

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: Elmer Cobreros


Panglao Island is an idyllic island located just off the island of Bohol near Cebu. It is a real haven for divers, where you can see a wide variety of marine life including barracudas and sea snakes, and boaters that are looking for a chance to see whales and dolphins among other fish. The coral reefs are also stunning and teeming with colorful animals. Several dive spots exist off the beach making this one of the premier destinations for divers from around the world.

The beaches are perfect for sunbathing or playing a rousing game of volleyball as well as swimming and snorkeling. There are waterfalls, caves and underground springs that are fun to explore. There are some great tourist resorts here, so you can get plenty to eat and drink and pick up some souvenirs. You would be wise to hop on over to Bohol and take in some of the famous sights there.

The Chocolate Hills are a series of over 1,000 hills that turn a chocolate brown as the grass dries up, making such an unusual and dramatic landscape. The world’s smallest primate makes its home here, and the Tarsier Sanctuary is set up for this endangered species. This island with the beautiful beaches, serene landscape and proximity to Bohol makes it one of the most sought after places to see in the Philippines.

8. Siargao Islands

best philippine beaches

Flickr Credit: iam_visual


Siargao Islands are known as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines and for good reason. The water of the Pacific Ocean is very deep here, and when the waves break over the reefs it creates some spectacular waves. It can make some amazing thick, hollow tubes and the best known of these even has a name. “Cloud 9” is world renowned among surfers. An annual competition, the Siargao Cup, attracts competitive surfers from all over the world.

If you do not surf, or are a beginner at the sport, there are places where the waves are more modest or even very mild where it is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Coconut palms provide shade on this pristine beach so you can lie in the sand with your favorite book and tropical drink. The interior of the island has one of the largest mangrove forests around as well as some large wetlands where birdwatchers can find some unique birds.

Ferries are available to take passengers and vehicles between some islands if you want to take a few hours to explore those. Back on the beach, the moon shining off the waves as they break off the reefs is such a sight to behold. Take a romantic stroll along the beach searching for some of the amazing seashells that are there for the taking. You can spot some of the other islets that dot the area as well from here. You may even want to do a little island hopping and see if there is another beach that suits you better for the day. You will have a great time at this island, whether you are watching or taking part in the surfing or finding a secluded spot of your own.

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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!
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