Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Maktang Beach, General Nakar
A local fisherman at Colayo Beach, Pangasinan














It takes endless months of drudgery in front of the computer to dull one's senses, but a simple ocean view can easily bring a person back to life. With the Philippines as target, one can't miss. It offers a lot of beach destinations for being an archipelago anyway. Like a showcase talent, it is its main draw. Then you meet locals at the shore and you discover the heart of the attraction. For others, it's just a side trip to get bronzed before another destination. Regardless of the intention, securing a spot of paradise is easy.

The chief hurdle to having a beach getaway is bad weather. This is why summer is always the preferred season to book one. As I've tested, though, there are destinations that look better on a good day even in the rainy season. There's always that gap between thunderstorms when the sky clears out and sunshine hits the beach in a very fascinating way. The sand has more character and the waves are more dramatic. Plus, there's a great chance that you'll end up strolling in your lonesome for a crowd-free selfie. Also, it's more likely that you'll book a resort room for an affordable rate.

Here are some beach destinations that I've tested to be sensational for sunbathing or those quick cerulean soaks even on a non-summer schedule:

Maktang Beach, General Nakar
Maktang Beach, General Nakar
Maktang Beach
Location: General Nakar, Quezon Province
Getaway Factor: Dumagat kids are known to surf at Maktang Beach using anything flat that they can get their hands on. Since nearby areas frequently suffered the burden of misfires between the military and NPA rebels, the coast of the province had been considered off-grid by tourists until recently when tensions ceased to exist. The beach is highly recommended for surfing professionals and enthusiasts, especially between the months of November and February.
Resort To Book: None; a homestay with the Dumagat is recommended
Read more about Maktang Beach.

Pinamuntugan Island
Pinamuntugan Island
Pinamuntugan Island
Location: Bacacay, Albay
Getaway Factor: Just off mainland Albay in the town of Bacacay, Pinamuntugan Island only opened itself to visiting tourists in 2014 although a few locals in the province have already seen its pristine white sand beach beauty before. Untouched by the modernizing hands of swank resort and bar operators, the island is a beach paradise where one can basically beach-bum for epic hours and even see a faint view of Mayon Volcano from the shore on a good day.
Resort To Book: Facade By Hotel Fina
Read more about Pinamuntugan Island.

Punta Verde
Punta Verde
Punta Verde
Location: Santa Ana, Cagayan
Getaway Factor: The jump-off point to any of Palaui Island's trails is at Punta Verde although there are tour packages from the mainland that let tourists get dropped off at a cove next to the site where the lighthouse of Cape Engaño is, eliminating the need for a three-hour hike. If you're visiting the place for the first time, it's better to see this part of the island first as it's where the community of Agta natives live. Lingering here for sunbathing and swimming can offer insights into their simple way of life.
Resort To Book: Nature Village
Read more about Punta Verde.

Mongpong Island
Mongpong Island
Mongpong Island
Location: Sta. Cruz, Marinduque
Getaway Factor: From a distance, Mongpong looks like any other island in Marinduque. A swath of the island has the same fine, white sand as Maniwaya. Once there, your boat can dock at the rock-studded beach of the island village called Ungab which shares the same name of its natural attraction -- a massive rock formation that stands more than a hundred feet above the water. Ungab Rock Formation is a natural bridge that's massive to behold at one side of the island's beachfront where smooth pebbles of rock fill the shallow waters. Under the cathedral-like rock formation, young locals are known to bathe during the day. Some of them even effortlessly scale the rock walls to eventually dive down below.
Resort To Book: Marikit-Na Beach Resort
Read more about Mongpong Island.


Masanga Coves
Masanga Coves
Masanga Coves
Location: General Nakar, Quezon Province
Getaway Factor: Masanga is home to both lowland locals and Dumagat natives. Most are into fishing for livelihood and some have found the coast to be beneficial for farming as well. With four pristine coves that are unique in their own ways, it can easily charm any tourist who loves the beach. Three succeeding coves have dark brown sand and are respectively veiled by the highly vegetated Sierra Madre. Both also have a few profound-looking rock formations at the beachfront. The fourth cove that's the farthest from the entry point to the sitio looks more tranquil with its white sand and age-old trees. However, when it's low tide during the day, it looks like a desolate expanse of coralline rocks.
Resort To Book: None; a homestay with a local -- Ramon Romero (0909-478-6191) -- is recommended
Read more about Masanga Coves.


Binumbunan Island
Binumbunan Island
Binumbunan Island
Location: Burdeos, Quezon Province
Getaway Factor: From the daungan or old port of Burdeos, a faint view of the distant Binumbunan Island can already be seen. Fondly referred to as Burger Island by young locals who've spent camping there, the small island looks like a burger bun from a distance. It's considered as the most accessible island to visit from the town proper even when it's looking quite breezy at the port. Once you've reached a certain point past the view of the vast mangroves, the scenery becomes pleasant. On the island, especially with no other tourists around, the place becomes idyllic. It's an island where time seems to stand still. It's where you can forget your daily grind because it's remote and not a soul lives there.
Resort To Book: Andy's Lodging House or Burdeos Island Inn
Read more about Binumbunan Island.

A young local at play at Colayo Beach
A view of a passing banca from a rock formation at Colayo Beach
Colayo Beach
Location: Bani, Pangasinan
Getaway Factor: Not all beaches are sandy. Some are coral like this one that's found at the end of the Navalta-Oduca Road in the town of Bani. It's even accessible on foot from the shoreline of the next village of Patar where most beach-goers hie off to in Pangasinan. The only ones to be seen here are local fishermen and residents of Colayo who seem to enjoy the serene coral beach ambiance sans the throng of sunbathing tourists. Tip: For your own safety, it's essential that you wear a pair of aqua shoes or slippers when tackling this rock-studded coast.
Resort To Book: (see the next entry about Patar Beach)
What Aqua Shoes To Wear: Atunas

Anguib Beach
Anguib Beach
Anguib Beach
Location: Santa Ana, Cagayan
Getaway Factor: There was a time when Sta. Ana's long stretch of fine white sand beach called Anguib was once accessible to tourists without an entrance fee. It was an authentic paradise in all aspects of the term as God made it. It's not hard to imagine what state it was in. Sand on your feet sans the burden of a booked accommodation. Views of a cerulean coast regardless of the weather. Your skin swathed in emollient sandalwood and indescribable bliss. Sea breeze lifting the brim of your kooky vacation hat. That was Anguib Beach for most travelers who've visited it years ago.
Resort To Book: Country Inn By The Sea
Read more about Anguib Beach


Patar Beach in front of G Beach Resort
The view of Patar Beach from atop a rock formation
Patar Beach
Location: Bolinao, Pangasinan
Getaway Factor: Scared of boat transfers but craving to have a whiff of sea breeze? Patar is a coastal village that has a good balance of coral and sandy shoreline which is accessible by land. It's a favorite beach getaway by local tourists in Benguet and other neighboring provinces as they prefer its laid-back character over the surfing scene of La Union beaches.
Resort To Book: G Beach Resort
Read more about Patar Beach.

Subic Beach
Subic Beach scenery
Subic Beach
Location: Matnog, Sorsogon (15-minute boat ride from the mainland)
Getaway Factor: For every default destination like Boracay, there's an alternative one. And it's considered to be alternative for a good reason -- it has less commercial gloss. What it lacks in accessible cafes and island eateries, it makes up for nature itself. What does it really look like on site? Imagine Boracay's White Beach and swap the swath of resorts with nothing but vegetation. It's almost the same length of stretch anyway. Fortunately, it has a lone beach resort that operates for rustic guest dwellings.
Resort To Book: Holy Trinity Beach Resort
Read more about Subic Beach

Guinanayan Island
Guinanayan Island
Guinanayan Island
Location: Rapu-Rapu, Albay (2-hour boat ride from Bacacay Port)
Getaway Factor: Part of the journey to this island paradise of Albay is the scenic boat ride. It will let you traverse an area called Nagtapis which is rumored to be inhabited by mermaids. An up close view of Monkey Island (an islet dwelling of monkeys) is also possible. Guinanayan Island is gifted with a calm shore in most pleasant days, making it kid-friendly for not having dramatic waves. Areas inland (close to the beachfront) are being zoned for a planned set of villas for overnight stays as the place is currently best experienced as part of an island tour.
Resort To Book: Official Facebook account
Read more about Guinanayan Island

Sugar Beach
The fine sugar-like sand of Sugar Beach
Sugar Beach
Location: Sipalay City, Negros Occidental
Getaway Factor: Formerly called Langub Beach (the term means cave in Hiligaynon), the long stretch of fine sugar-like sandy beach is separated by a stream from the rest of Sipalay City, so it's accessible via a short banca crossing or a chartered boat ride from the poblacion beach. It's a beach getaway that most foreigners coming from Bacolod and Dumaguete prefer over Boracay because of its laid-back scene.
Resort To Book: Takatuka Lodge Beach and Dive Resort
Read more about Sugar Beach

The fine brown sand of Sablang Beach
The scenery inland a few steps from the beachfront of Sablang Beach -- perfect for tent-pitching
Sablang Beach
Location: General Nakar, Quezon Province
Getaway Factor: This side of the province of Quezon is popular for two things -- NPA rebel-army misfires and a rumored aswang resident that attends Catholic mass. Both have deterred tourist arrivals and equipped existing beach resorts with barbwire for fence. What remains is an unspoiled stretch of fine brown sand that's exotic to behold against the mist produced from the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean. There's plenty of space at the beachfront to pitch your tent for camping and you don't have to pay anyone for it.
Resort To Book: Astrera Beach Resort
Read more about Sablang Beach

Maniwaya Island
Arriving at the Palad Sandbar of Maniwaya Island
Maniwaya Island
Location: Sta. Cruz, Marinduque
Getaway Factor: Marinduque may be popular for its annual Moriones Festival, but it also has accessible natural attractions. When you're visiting the island province before or after the holy week, it's best to schedule an overnight stay at Maniwaya Island that's a 40-minute boat ride away from Sta. Cruz's Buyabod Port. The island has a lot of beach spots to cater to your sun-kissed moment. Highly recommended is a side trip to the vanishing Palad Sandbar.
Resort To Book: Marikit-Na Beach Resort
Read more about Maniwaya Island

Nangaramoan Beach
Nangaramoan Beach
Nangaramoan Beach
Location: Santa Ana, Cagayan
Getaway Factor: If rural relaxation means azure waters, rolling waves, and golden sugar-sand beaches, then Cagayan's Nangaramoan Beach has your name on the list of invites. Boasting more tropical vibe than any other shoreline attraction in the town of Sta. Ana, it has a little of most beaches that I've been to in the past. It's got the free spirit of Puerto Galera but toned down for lack of the party scene. It's affordable to beach bum for days with a group of like-minded revelers like in Baler but in less intimidating tiki hut lodgings. The terrain mimics that of Patar, but within a cove that provokes visitors to enjoy communal spaces.
Resort To Book: Nenet's Inn & Cottages or Marpe Lodging
Read more about Nangaramoan Beach

Agas Beach
The clear waters of Agas Beach
Agas Beach
Location: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Getaway Factor: Agas Beach is actually a short stretch in Puerto Galera where chartered boats dock in between one's booked beach resort and the coral reef area. However, that fact did not prevent me from enjoying my quick break there because anything that's secluded strikes a good beach vibe for me.
Resort To Book: Coco Beach
Read more about Agas Beach

Local kids at play at the port at Cagbalete Island
A natural pool at the vanishing Bonsai Islet of Cagbalete Island
Cagbalete Island
Location: Mauban, Quezon Province
Getaway Factor: A lot of local tourists allude to the Boracay of the '80s when referring to this destination which means that it's less of a party-scene and more laid-back. It has enough beach resorts but their owners are related to each other because there's still a small community residing at the island. Its fine white sand is not just the attraction of the place. It also has a vanishing islet that offers natural pools in the middle of the day (during low tide), a mangrove, and a vanishing sandbar.
Resort To Book: Dona Choleng Camping Resort
Read more about Cagbelete Island

San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
Location: Tabaco City, Albay (30-minute boat ride from the Tabaco City Port)
Getaway Factor: A rock-studded beach that's a stroll away from rolling hills? That's something that tourists can enjoy at San Miguel Island. In between are cliff-side views of the distant Mayon Volcano on a good day.
Resort To Book: Via Hotel Fina
Read more about San Miguel Island

Pancian Beach
Pancian Beach
Pancian Beach
Location: Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Getaway Factor: The main attraction of this beach facing Pasaleng Bay is the spot of convergence of the sea and Barangay Pancian's river. This beach spot in Pagudpud is unlike Maira-ira Beach in the same shoreline of Ilocos Norte in that it's doesn't offer views of the fascinating blue lagoon, but it has a remote quality that lures backpackers who love to simply go unplugged.
Resort To Book: Pannzian Beach Resort
Read more about Pancian Beach

Sunset at Diniwid Beach
Diniwid Beach scenery
Dinidiwd Beach
Location: Boracay, Aklan
Getaway Factor: Boracay always has a little something for every beach lover. Should you have a predilection for laid-back beach getaways, White Beach won't work for you. Diniwid Beach, however, will. It's just a fancy stroll away from Boat Station 1 of the island where most foreigners prefer to escape when booked at a resort inland. The good thing is that there are a few beachfront resorts in the area that offer distinctive views -- sandy and cliff-side.
Resort To Book: Microtel By Wyndham-Boracay
Read more about Diniwid Beach

Olotayan Island
The beachfront of Olotayan Island where the guest cottages are
Olotayan Island
Location: Roxas City, Capiz
Getaway Factor: When visiting Roxas City for a chance at seafood degustation, it's also best to check out where the catch comes from. Apart from dining at Baybay Beach, you can visit the nearby Olotayan Island where villagers are known to fish for a living. The island village is also tranquil enough for an overnight stay as it has rustic cottages for guests.
Hotel To Book: Via Roxas President's Inn
Read more about Olotayan Island 




Resorts Recommended For Family Getaways:

Check out kid-friendly resorts here.

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