Summer is almost here, and it’s time to search for the perfect travel destination. Good news, you don’t have to travel beyond the country’s borders to make your escapade worthwhile. Whether you’re you’d like to get away to an island with world-class amenities or go backpacking in underrated beaches, summer is indeed more fun in the Philippines! Read on to get some ideas from ShoppersGuide readers’ favorite places to go.
10. Guimaras Island
A traveler jumps into the azure blue waters at Guimaras Island. (Image: Discover Guimaras)
Guimaras, an island province in Western Visayas, produces the best export-quality mangoes in the Philippines, earning it the title “Mango Country.” The locals celebrate the fruit in all its glory during Manggahan Festival every May 22.
The most popular beach in the island is Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia, which is also a good jump-off point if you want to go island-hopping in western Guimaras. For those who like less crowded beaches, there’s Guisi Beach, 30 minutes away from Alubihod Beach.
Before going home, you can shop for mango products at the Trappist Monastery in Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan.
9. Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, and Bohol
The pink-tinged sunset at one of the beaches in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
The coastal town of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte is dubbed as the “Boracay of the North,” minus the crowd. Pagudpud offers beaches with white sand and clear blue waters, most notable of which is Saud Beach. If you want some alone time, head to the secluded Blue Lagoon in Maira-ira Point. On the other hand, surfers can catch a wave at the beachfront of Kapuluan Vista Resort. Not to be missed are the 20 giant windmills facing Bangui Bay.
Another popular summer destination is the island province of Bohol. It is popular for the Tarsier sanctuary and the Chocolate Hills, but there’s more to Bohol than these tourist spots. Beach bums can head to Alona Beach in Panglao Island, a 1.5-km.-long stretch of beach with fine white coral sand. Nature lovers can marvel at the mangrove forests of Banacon Island and Candijay, go trekking, watch birds, whales, dolphins and fireflies, or explore the 1,400 caves scattered throughout the island.
8. Quezon Province, Manjuyod White Sand Bar, and Isla de Gigantes
“Quezon has many underrated pristine beaches waiting to be discovered.” - Kaye
Yang-In Sandbar at Cagbalete Island, Quezon (Image: Cagbalete Island)
With its accessibility from the metro, Quezon province is an ideal getaway for travelers on a budget. Just three hours away from Manila, this entry point to the Southern Luzon and Bicol regions has a number of beaches and islands for weekend warriors to explore.
During the summer, locals like to cool down at Puting Buhangin Beach in Pagbilao Grande. In Padre Burgos, Quezon, one can marvel at the high limestone walls found in Borawan Beach or go overnight camping at Dampalitan Beach. For a little over PhP500 per trip, you can also explore Binumbunan Island and Cagbalete Island.
Stand-up paddle boarding at Manjuyod White Sand Bar (Image: SUP Tours Philippines)
Manjuyod White Sand Bar, also known as Sumapao Shoal, is a picture-perfect slice of an idyllic tropical paradise. Amazed by its beauty, Canadian vlogger Christian LeBlanc called it the “Maldives of the Philippines.”
This seven-kilometer stretch of pristine white sand is accessible by a 15-minute boat ride from Capiñahan Wharf in South Bais Bay, Bais City, Negros Oriental. Guests can rent the cottages at the sandbar for day or overnight use, or explore the surroundings through a package tour which includes activities like dolphin and whale watching at Tañon Strait, and bird-watching at Talabong Mangrove Park and Bird Sanctuary.
Another island creating a buzz in local travel is Gigantes Islands, also called Islas de Gigantes. Located in Carles, Iloilo, this remote group of islands takes at most seven hours of travel to reach. However, the weary traveler will be rewarded with the sight of tree-lined shores where clear blue waters crash against fine white sand.
To make the most out of your visit, go island-hopping for a day via chartered boat to see the twin white sand beaches of Cabugao Gamay Island and Antonia Beach the breath-taking sandbar in Bantigue Island, or the Tangke Lagoon where one can go cliff diving.
7. Tagaytay City
The Taal Volcano, a volcano within a lake within a volcano (Image: Hike Taal Volcano)
Another popular summer destination due to its proximity to Manila is Tagaytay City in Cavite. Located 55 km. south of Metro Manila, Tagaytay is just two to three hours away from the city. Here, visitors can take in the cool breeze as well as explore the wonders of nature. One of these is the Taal Volcano, the smallest active volcano in the world. Tourists can walk up the main crater by following hiking and trekking trails, or go by boat to Volcano Island from Talisay town. For family-friendly destinations, there’s People’s Park in the Sky, Tagaytay Picnic Grove, Puzzle House Mansion and Sonya’s Garden.
6. Siquijor and Cebu
“Discover (the) hidden beauty of the island’s white sand beach.” - Butch
Cool blue waters cascade down three terraces at Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor.
Siquijor is more known for practitioners of folk magic, or mangkukulam, as Filipinos call them. Just like the love potions concocted by the shamans said to live here, this island province is bound to cast a spell on its visitors with its natural beauty.
One of the tourist draws in Siquijor is Cambugahay Falls in the town of Lazi. The waters here flow through three terraces, with the topmost level being the most popular spot to have a picnic or go swimming. There’s also a rope where one can swing before diving into the water. On the other side of the road to going to Cambugahay Falls is the smaller and lesser known Kawasan Falls.
Thirty minutes away from Lazi is San Juan, most known for its stunning beaches like Paliton Beach. Visitors have described the sand in Paliton Beach as “blindingly white,” while the crystal-clear waters lets swimmers see the aquatic life thriving in the ocean. To cap off the day, travelers can take in the fiery sunset Siquijor is known for at Sandugan Beach in Larena.
The seemingly endless shoreline at Bantayan Island, Cebu (Image: Bantayan Island Cebu Philippines)
At the Queen City of the South, there’s something for every type of traveler. Heritage lovers would certainly appreciate places like Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Magellan’s Cross, Museo Sugbo and the Casa Gorordo Musuem, which can all be found in downtown Cebu City. Adventurous types can go diving at Moalboal or Malapascua Island, or go canyoneering at Kawasan Falls. Nature lovers can take in the 360-degree view at Osmeña Peak, the highest peak in Cebu situated 1,000 meters above sea level. Of course, lazing around in the beach is always an option, which one can do at the many public beaches around the province. But the most popular ones can be found at Bantayan Island, which also happens to be a favorite getaway spot for travelers during Holy Week.
5. Danjugan Island
“Nice summer getaway” – Connie
“Explore Nature at it best.... If your’e looking for eco-tourism this the best destination. Enjoy one of the best diving site in Negros.” - Mark
One of the beaches in Danjungan Island facing the Sulu Sea (Image: Danjugan Island)
If you are looking to have not only a relaxing but also an educational vacation, one option is to go to Danjugan Island in the southeast coast of Negros Occidental. While they have accommodations, the Danjugan Island management reiterates that the island is not a resort but rather a marine reserve and wildlife sanctuary.
Danjugan Island is home to 572 fish species, 244 species of hard corals, 22 butterfly species, and 72 bird species. The five lagoons and limestone forests in this 43-hectare island is a veritable playground for any type of activity favored by their guests, whether that be snorkelling, kayaking, trekking, bird watching, sailing or scuba diving.
Guests can choose from two types of accommodations: Mooray Lagoon Camp which is near a lagoon and private rooms at Typhoon Beach facing the Sulu Sea. Take note that there is no mobile phone reception in Typhoon Beach, which is ideal for those who want to go on a digital detox while on vacation.
Being just two hours away from the city, Batangas is another popular option for Mañilenos and other travelers looking for a quick weekend getaway.
The picture-perfect cliff in Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas (Image: Fortune Island)
With clear waters and cream-colored sand, Laiya Beach in San Juan, Batangas, draws in tourists for the summer season. There are both high-end and budget resorts in this developed seaside community. On the other hand, Anilao in Mabini, Batangas is a popular diving destination. There are 30 dive spots in Anilao, most notable of which is The Cathedral, a marine park sanctuary which is reputed to be one of best dive sites in the Philippines.
For those who want to see a beach that is untouched by commercialization, the sleepy town of Tingloy holds the hidden gem that is Masasa Beach in Maricaban Island. There’s also Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Cavite which has been making rounds in social media. Here, one can find Instagram-worthy Greek-inspired pillars from what remains of an exclusive resort, set against a stunning backdrop of turquoise blue waters and white sand.
Horseback riding at Camp John Hay, Baguio (Image: Camp John Hay)
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City. In 1908, Governor-General William Taft built The Mansion, his official residence in the City of Pines, to get away from the heat of Manila. The idea has since caught on among Filipinos, who come to visit Baguio in droves during summer.
For families going to Baguio, Burnham Park overlooking Mount Kabuyao provides ample entertainment options for everyone like boating, biking and ice skating. There’s also Camp John Hay, a former recreation facility for American soldiers. This popular tourist spot offers extreme rides, trekking and horseback riding. Lastly, there’s Mine’s View Park where onlookers can get a glimpse of abandoned gold and copper mines in the Cordillera mountains.
For a seasonally appropriate activity, visitors can pick their own strawberries with Ibaloi farmers at the strawberry farm in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Boracay is the perfect getaway this summer, not only because of its powdery sand, best beach and great nightlife!
The pristine shores of White Beach, Boracay is a sight to behold on a clear day.
With a spectacular beachfront filled with endless options for dining and leisure, sun worshippers will find their tropical paradise in Boracay. Boracay boasts of at least a dozen beaches, so it’s only appropriate to call it the “Beach Capital of the Philippines.”
At the heart of all the action is White Beach, a four-kilometer stretch of beach with powder-like white sand and clear blue waters. Called the “finest beach in the world,” one can find budget resorts side to side with luxury hotels at White Beach. There are also numerous restaurants, bars and dive shops catering to local and international tourists.
For those who’d like to veer away from the crowd, alternative spots like Diniwid Beach and Bulabog Beach offer quality accommodations in a more serene setting.
While in Boracay, one is spoilt for choices on what to do. Up to 350 tourist establishments offer various recreational activities like sailboating, kayaking, wind surfing and scuba diving, to name a few, so guests will always have something exciting to do in this tropical paradise.
“Palawan is the best summer destination, because Palawan is a slice of heaven, a sliver of an island that teems with exotic wildlife.” – Jerick Lacdao
Top view of the Calamian Islands in Palawan
Palawan ranked second to Boracay in The Best Islands in the World 2016 list by Conde Nast Traveler. But our ShoppersGuide readers beg to disagree, and voted to make Palawan grab the top spot in our poll.
Dubbed the last frontier of the Philippines due to its rich biodiversity, one of the must-see places in Palawan is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. Also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the park is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site since 1999 and was included in the New7Wonders of Nature poll in 2011. A guided boat tour of the 8.2-kilometer river takes visitors to cave systems with limestone karst landscapes and a complete mountain-to-sea ecosystem.
El Nido, one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, boasts of over 50 beaches. There are island hopping tours with an option to kayak from one island to another. On the other hand, Coron, part of the Calamian group of islands north of mainland Palawan, is famous for lagoons and coves nestled between limestone cliffs. For experienced divers, Palawan also holds treasures under the sea, like Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which is also UNESCO World Heritage Site. At Coron Bay, experienced divers can go wreck diving to see Japanese navy ships which date back to World War II.
And there you have it! What other summer destinations do you wish to go soon? Tell us on the comments section below and let your top choice know!
Results are based on the Top Summer Destinations in the Philippines Poll posted at the home page of ShoppersGuide.com.ph from February 06 to 12, 2017.