Composed of 7,000 islands sitting well out in the South China Sea, it’s somewhat of a surprise that the Southeast Asia travel set have not discovered this string of pearls strung across a tropical effervescent sea. Due to odd visa regulations (until recently, you could only get a 21 day visa, and extensions were only valid for 7 additional days), the expense and hassle of traveling by plane roundtrip, and the general overall laziness of the average traveler (I’m prone to bouts of it myself, so I’m not acting high and mighty here), this gem has flown under the radar.
With a coherent and attractive advertising campaign that has captured the imagination of travel enthusiasts around the world, the internet making word of untrammeled paradises easier to spread, and the worldwide diaspora of Filipino workers boosting their home nation to their foreign hosts with evangelical fervour, the Philippines is gaining unprecedented attention.
Before mass tourism turns this unique corner of Asia into another Thailand, get in ahead of the crowds and experience beaches that will hold your imagination captive with their tranquility and indescribable beauty. Let’s take a look at a few:
Located offshore of the province of Carmarines Norte in the Bicol part of Luzon Island, this peaceful paradise is known mostly to Filipinos who aggressively seek secret beaches (translation: this beauty is off the beaten track), as most foreigners are really only aware of the beaches near Cebu or on Boracay.
With only sporadic outcrops of black volcanic rock breaking up the silica white sand, you will feel just like Leonardo DiCaprio discovering his perfect paradise in The Beach. This is truly a wild beach adventure, so corral up some camping equipment and enough pesos (100 pesos at this writing) to pay the national park tollperson, and enjoy living out what is a fantasy of almost every backpacker.
Located on the island of El Nido in Palawan, the prime attraction of this beach (one of many paradisaical strips of sand on this isle) is its double frontage on the ocean and a lagoon. The waters are shallow, making for warm waters, and fun times that can be spent chucking the Frisbee around. With the ever-popular town of El Nido close by, this gem in Palawan’s crown is easy to fit into your busy schedule.
Want to experience the “live in a bamboo hut on a tropical beach” fantasy? Then this isolated place in Iloilo province will fit the bill handily. After being given a lift to this sandbar island just a few feet above sea level, get familiar with your hammock, as you’ll likely be lazing around in it for much of your stay. If you want to capture the “walking on water” camera trick, Bolobadiangan Island is a great place for it, as a part of this humble landmass goes a few inches below the surface of the sea at high tide.
Just a mere fraction of what awaits…
With countless islands that have an unimaginably lengthy coastline, there’s a beach out there with your name on it. You only need come here to receive what’s yours!