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10 Best Island-Hopping Spots in the Philippines Worth Seeing

Have an adventure of a lifetime at these best bets for island hopping in the Philippines!

By: Peter Parcon | April 01, 2022
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See the country’s outstanding beauty through island hopping.

Image: Caramoan Islands

While many of the 7,641 islands in the Philippines are inhabited, most have maintained their pristine condition. These islands have white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. In addition, they are also teeming with rich underwater life. It makes island hopping in the Philippines one of the top activities during the summer.

If you want to know where to go island hopping in the Philippines, you can check out this list of our readers’ favorite destinations.

10. Cagbalete Island

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, island hopping Philippines

Lounging by the beach at Cagbelete Island is an appealing option after an entire day of exploring the beauty of nature.

Image: Nilandingan Cove - Cagbalete Island

Cagbalete Island may not ring a bell among many people, but it has caught the eye of many local and foreign tourists. Located less than an hour from Mauban, Quezon, the island is only accessible by boat. The island can also be your jump-off point in exploring the diverse ecosystem of its surroundings.

Snorkeling and swimming will be among your activities as you explore the Yang-in Sandbar, which shows the beauty it hides beneath the waves when the tide is low. Another place you may want to visit is Bonsai Island, where you can find a Bonsai Mangrove tree on a flat rock. The lighthouse at Baliscar Island is another worthy destination on your trip to Cagbalete Island.

9. Talim Island

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, beaches

The sun setting at the port hints at the serenity one can experience at Talim Island.

Image: Mac Koy

Ninth place is not your typical island-hopping destination since Talim Island is located in the middle of the largest lake in the country, Laguna Lake. Forming the southwest rim of the Laguna Caldera, the island offers many options for city dwellers looking for a weekend getaway without having to travel too far.

The island’s unique biodiversity makes it an ideal destination for nature lovers where they can find different bird species including Kingfishers, Herons, and Flowerpeckers. The island is an active volcano and has several hot springs you can dip in. You can also try local delicacies like the native rice cake or soft milky bread. Conquering Mt. Tagapo can also be on your to-do list while visiting Talim Island.

8. Tablas Island

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, Philippines

Watching the waves caressing the beach is a perfect way to end a week at work.

Image: Tablas island, Romblon Philippines

Tablas Island is the biggest island in the province of Romblon and has remained relatively less commercialized. It is home to several waterfalls, beaches, and lakes. In addition, the watershed area hosts some endemic wildlife, including the Romblon Hawk Owl and the Tablas Drongo.

If island hopping is your game, you may want to explore the Looc Marine Sanctuary and check out the rich marine life in the area. The Blue Hole is another destination if you are looking for some adventure. Calatrava Cove or Paksi Cove may be to your liking if you’re a white-sand beach lover. Another destination is a saltwater lake close to Mt. Payapao, Tinagong Dagat.

7. Kalanggaman Island and Jomalig Island

Seventh place is shared by Kalanggaman Island in Leyte, Cebu, and Jomalig Island in Quezon.

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, philippine tourist spots

Relaxing by the beach with the sun setting over the horizon is the perfect way to end the day at Kalanggaman Island.

Image: Kalanggaman Island, Leyte

Situated off the coast of Palompon, Leyte, Kalanggaman Island is a small uninhabited island that is currently making waves among nature lovers all over the country. Its powdery-white sand beach is comparable to the best in the archipelago. This marine sanctuary features sandbars on both ends and is a favorite dive site among visitors of Malapascua Island.

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, white sand beach

Islets off the southern coast of Cebu offer unique dive opportunities for people looking to explore the underwater world.

Image: @kensuarez / Unsplash

Cebu has always been a tourist spot and preferred destination among tourists looking for fun under the sun. Aside from Mactan Island, there are many island destinations off the coast of Cebu. Bantayan Island, Camotes Island, and Malapascua Island in the north are among the more popular island destinations. The southern part of Cebu also boasts of the white-sand beaches of Sumilon Island and Badian Island. Mactan Island is a jump-off point for tourists looking to hop from one island to another.

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, island hopping in the philippines

The raw beauty of Jomalig Island is its main appeal among its visitors.

Image: Jomalig Island - L&J - Pampo & Tala Resort

Jomalig Island in Quezon shares the limelight with two popular island-hopping destinations. Its remote location allowed its pristine white beaches to remain relatively undisturbed. Its raw beauty has put it on the bucket list of many beach lovers worldwide. The long hours of travel will be rewarding for anyone looking to witness the beauty of nature at its best.

6. Tawi-tawi Island

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, best islands

The serene beauty of Tawi-tawi Island is best observed when the sun sets over the horizon.

Image: Tawi-Tawi Southern Pearl

Despite its not-so-appealing reputation among non-residents, Tawi-tawi Island is still considered an exceptional island-hopping destination. Located in the Sulu Archipelago, the island features pristine beaches, unexplored dive sites, and natural tourist attractions untouched by commercialization.

The island offers a myriad of activities for people looking for something fresh and new. You can dive and check out the wrecks of Japanese World War 2 warplanes, explore Bolobok Cave, or trek Bud Bongao. Visiting the neighboring islands of Papahag, Laa, and Bilata is another option. There are also some sandbars and virgin island beaches, including Panampangan Island and Pasegan Guimba.

5. Caramoan Islands

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, beaches

Limestone formations and white-sand beaches are a staple in the Caramoan Islands.

Image: Gota Village Resort, Caramoan Island

Fifth on the list is the Caramoan Islands. It remained relatively unknown until it became the hit reality television show “Survivor” venue. Located on the far coast of Camarines Sur, the islands are blessed with white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. In addition, some islands feature caves, lagoons, and limestone cliffs.

Aside from hopping from one island to another, you can also go snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving in the area. Teeming with rich marine life, Caramoan Island offers visitors an experience of seeing nature’s beauty protected due to its isolation.

4. Baler

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, philippine tourist spots

Baler is home to several secluded beaches and coves where you can camp and spend the night.

Image: Baler Municipal Tourism Office - Baler, Aurora

Located on the east coast of Luzon, Baler faces the roaring waves of the Pacific Ocean. More famous as a surfing town, Baler offers visitors more than giving them the chance to hang tent is also home to some cultural and historical sites that have been preserved over the years.

Aside from surfing, you can also go scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding in Baler. In addition, there are also many secluded coves and beaches in the area where you can spend the night in a tent.

3. Siargao

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, white sand beach

While Siargao may be a surfer’s paradise, it is also heaven for a beach lover due to its white-sand beaches.

Image: Isla Cabana Cloud 9 Siargao Island Philippines

The Surfing Capital of the Philippines, Siargao, comes in third. This tear-shaped island features a shoreline marked by white-sand beaches, reefs, and minor points. Its year-round waves are even comparable to several surfing hotspots around the world. The island also hosts an annual surfing competition that has drawn some of the best surfers in the world.

But Siargao offers more than just surfing and beaches to its visitors. You can visit many smaller islands, including Naked Island, Guyam Island, and Daku Island. You can also visit Sohoton Cove, where you can find some caves, a lake, and a lagoon.

2. Hundred Islands

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, island hopping in the philippines

The view deck on Governors Island offers a panoramic view of the Hundred Islands.

Image: Island Tropic Hotel and Restaurant

A list of island hopping destinations is never complete without the Hundred Islands. While boats can dock close to many of these islands, you can only admire some from the boat. Over a hundred islands collection is accessible through an outrigger boat from Lucap wharf in Alaminos, Pangasinan.

Governors Island is the biggest island where you can have a sweeping view of the area. A cove on the island is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Some islands have beaches, while others feature caves you may want to explore. You can also stay a night in a tent on some of the islands in the area.

1. El Nido

Island Hopping: Philippines' Best Adventure Destinations, best islands

Accommodations of all shapes and sizes are available for visitors to El Nido.

Image: El Nido Resorts

On the top of the list of favorite island hopping destinations in the Philippines is El Nido, Palawan. Despite its popularity and being one of the best islands in the Philippines, the area has maintained its natural beauty that is known around the world. Its turquoise waters and white-sand beaches are the main attractions of this well-liked holiday destination.

The different geological formations on the area islands are famous island-hopping destinations among local and foreign tourists. Some of the islands you may want to visit are Matinloc, Cadlao, and Dilumacad. You may even want to see the secret lagoon and take a dip in its calm, clear waters. The area also has around 30 dive sites where you can explore the rich underwater life.

The Philippines is indeed blessed with islands that are nothing short of world-class. Which of these island hopping destinations have you already ticked off from your bucket list?

Visit Yoorekka Magazine for more travel spots and guides in the Philippines!

Stay safe as you travel! Make sure to follow social distancing protocols and observe health precautions wherever you go. For now, keep safe!

This article was originally published in Yoorekka on May 12, 2019.

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About Peter Parcon
After leaving spending 16 years of his professional life in the academe, Peter decided to try his luck in the world of online freelancing. For the past eight years, he has been creating content for clients all around the world. He can work on just about any topic - from tattoos to technology and food to finance. He dreams of visiting every island in the archipelago some day.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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