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If you’re a beach fanatic looking for your next big beach break, you might have come across the Philippines at some point. Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches can be found in this country, which is home to more than 7,000 islands. Given your seemingly limitless options, you might be asking yourself questions like, “Which one should I visit?” or “What can I do on this island?” Look no further, because we’re here to help you settle the debate.
Perfect for: Beautiful island scenery
Recommended activity: Island-hopping
On the hunt for the best beach scenery there is? If you’re looking for powdery white sand, turquoise waters, and majestic limestone cliffs, then your best bet would be to jump on a bangka (a small local pump boat) and go island hopping. Coast through the glimmering waters, take in the scraggly cliffs, and make sure to have your cameras out to capture all the photo-worthy landscapes around you.
Perfect for: Some R&R
Recommended activity: Grabbing your beach towel and sunbathing on the san, or walking along the beachfront with a coconut in hand
If you’re after some quality downtime, maybe along a huge stretch of white sand, then Boracay is an excellent choice. You can spend the day sunbathing on the shore, taking a dip in the clear waters, walking along the beachfront, and maybe eating in one of the many waterfront restaurants or hotels that line the shore. There are also a lot of water activities offered by locals that you can pay for upfront, like paddleboarding and jet skiing.
Perfect for: Snorkeling and diving
Recommended activity: Joining a local tour to get to some of the best snorkeling or diving spots on the island
Wondering which is the best place to spot some marine life? Personally, we’ll have to say in the waters and lagoons of Coron. Join an island-hopping tour and spend the day snorkelling—glimpse a variety of different sea creatures like fish, starfish, and even turtles! Divers will also be ecstatic to explore the shipwrecks in the waters of Busuanga Bay.
Perfect for: Surfing
Recommended activity: Heading to Cloud 9 for some of the best beach breaks
Love the waves? Then a trip to the Philippine surf capital of Siargao is a must! While a favourite among surfers, Siargao has recently gained traction even amongst non-surfers for its unspoiled beaches, tidal rock pools, lagoons, and islands. Friendly locals and the budding number of eateries add to the appeal.
Perfect for: Non-beach adventures
Recommended activity: Doing the underground river tour or zipline across the sea, if you’re looking for the extra adrenaline rush
If you’re looking for more than just some sand, sea, and sun, Puerto Princesa is the one for you. The famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famous for its underground river tours. Other activities you can do on the island include paddling through a mangrove forest, watching fireflies on a river cruise, spelunking, abseiling, ziplining, and more. If you’re up for some (or a lot) of adventure, then this is the place to be.
Well, that depends on how much time you have. The three beaches in Palawan—namely Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron—are relatively near each other, while Siargao is all the way down south in Mindanao (leaving you no choice but to take a plane), and Boracay is farther east. Flights from El Nido and Coron to Siargao and Boracay are scarce, meaning you might have to fly back to Manila and take another flight from there.
Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron are all islands within Palawan, so you might be wondering if it’s possible to do all three beaches in one go. The short answer is yes. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s going to be quite a tiring journey.
From Manila, you can find relatively cheap flights to Puerto Princesa. Spend two to three days there depending on your itinerary, then you can take a van to El Nido. While much cheaper than a plane from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, expect a bumpy, long ride that can also be cramped, depending on the day. Once you get to El Nido, again, we recommend spending more than three days there before taking the fast ferry to Coron.
This depends on what you want to do. Do you want to snorkel? We’d say Coron should be your go-to beach. Maybe you just want to sunbathe on the shore? Then Boracay is a good choice. Are you looking to take amazing photos of beautiful scenery? Choose El Nido and prepare your cameras. Want to ride the waves? Book your next flight to Siargao. If you’re looking for some thrilling adventures, then Puerto Princesa it is.
If you don’t really have a preference, another factor you might like to consider is cost. Flights to Siargao from Manila are the most expensive (given that it’s the farthest from the capital), while flights to Puerto Princesa can be really cheap when local airlines go on promo. You can also consider the prices of lodging, food, and activities before making up your mind.