|A local fisherman at Colayo Beach|
T R O P I C A L
E S C A P E
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.
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:
|A young local at play at Colayo Beach|
|A view of a passing banca from a rock formation at 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
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|
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 scenery|
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
|The calm waters at the beach of 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
|The fine sugar-like sand of 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|
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
|Arriving at the Palad Sandbar of 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
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: Country Inn By The Sea for day tour of the beach (see here for more lodgings)
Read more about Nangaramoan Beach
|The clear waters of 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|
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|
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
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|
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
|The beachfront of Olotayan Island where the guest cottages are|
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.