Boracay, one of the most idyllic destinations for locals and tourists in the Philippines known for its day to night leisure-friendly beach, is nearing its 6-month hiatus. Soon, it’ll be out from our list this summer as it goes under rehabilitation from an environmental mishap brought together by years and years of mishandling, causing a massive water waste pollution. But being blessed with 7,641 islands, we have other beach destinations that can satisfy our need for some sea-sand-sun break.
While we’re giving Boracay a break to breathe a new life, here’s a list of some alternatives.
San Juan, La Union – Ilocos Region, Luzon
San Juan (Photo from booking.com)
La Union, a coastal town in the Ilocos Region, is dubbed as the “Surfing Capital of Northern Luzon,” for its huge swells that attract seasoned and amateur surfers alike. The province is tourist-friendly with accessible roads and an array of artsy resorts and restaurants available in the area.
Apart from enjoying the flourishing surfing vibe along the shores, one cannot miss trying out surfing as there is a number of groups offering lessons. The best time to go to San Juan, La Union is either during summer months (March to May) or October to March when the big waves turn up.
La Union also has hidden waterfalls and rivers such as Tangadan Falls and Tapuakan River that tourists can explore while they’re in the province.
La Union is only 5- to 6-hour drive from Metro Manila. Bus terminals with trips going to the province are located in Pasay, Manila, and Quezon City.
Camaya Coast, Bataan – Northern Luzon
Camaya Coast (Photo by Mae Pascual)
Had a busy week in the metro? A good slowdown will only take you a 3-hour drive or a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Manila and bring you to the southernmost tip of Bataan where the fine white sand and clear blue waters of Camaya Coast Resort will set you quick to respite mode.
The private-owned, 450-hectare land-turned-prime residential resort offers a balance of beach life and urban living with full amenities to guarantee comfort and perfect leisure time for vacationers. There are restaurants, food kiosks, and cafés near the beach area. Other amenities include waterpark, infinity pool with kiddie pool, fitness gym, and the internationally renowned, Bali-themed Mandara Spa.
Bookings are made through their website or via Metrodeal. Apart from land transfer to Mariveles, Bataan, you can also avail of roundtrip ferry transfers at Sun Cruises Terminal located at Esplanade Seaside Terminal at MOA Complex in Pasay City.
Bantayan Island, Cebu – Central Visayas
Bantayan Island (Photo from bantayanisland.org)
Bantayan is an island situated at the west of northern end of Cebu. Calmness, relaxation, and simplicity are the words the island promises to its guests. Known for its powdery soft white sand and aquamarine clear waters balanced with lush tropics, it leaves many charmed by its pure beauty. The water is only 4-feet deep at around 100 yards off the shore, ideal for a warm soak and basking under the sun.
The island has many to offer, from affordable accommodations, cottages, food, to scooter rentals if you opt to stroll around. Not too far from the resorts is Ogtong Cave that can take you to another unique excursion. Other activities are snorkeling, boat riding, and even bar hopping in various resorts on the island.
This Visayan island is accessible via ferry from Hagnaya Port in northern Cebu. Going to Santa Fe Port of Bantayan Island could take 1.5 hour.
Anda Beach, Bohol – Central Visayas
Anda (Photo from bohol.ph)
Anda is one of Bohol’s hidden gems situated at the eastern coast of the island. Not far from the town proper is Quinale Beach, a three-kilometer strip of fine white sand that lures you to its cerulean waters. Due to its long distance from Tagbilaran, it remains unspoilt, raw, and pristine, best for those who are after a perfect quiescence and repose.
When in Anda, it is also best to visit Cabagnow Cave, a unique cave structure with deep turquoise waters resembling a hidden lagoon that has emerged from nowhere. One cannot miss this spellbinding experience.
From Tagbilaran airport, head to Dao Terminal. It takes 2-3 hours from Dao Terminal to Anda town proper.
Samal Island, Davao – Davao del Norte, Mindanao
Samal Island (Photo from samal-island.com)
Samal is an island located in Davao Gulf of Davao del Norte. Together with Talikud Island, just southwest of the main island, they form a part of the Mindanao Island group.
Samal Island features a wide selection of resorts and accommodations dotting its 116-kilometer shoreline, depending on the traveler’s budget and needs.
There are several ways to enjoy the island, ranging from windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, kayaking, and surfing. You can also try spelunking at Balete, Mangongawong or Baga caves or go mountain climbing at Mt. Puting Bato. Samal also has a vanishing island in Barangay Tambo which disappears during high tide.
From Davao City, boats and ferries are available at Sta. Ana Wharf and Km. 11 Wharf in Sasa going to Samal Island for only 1-2 hours.
These alternatives are just some of the Philippines’ famed beach destinations. More coves, islands, and expansive white beaches in the country are waiting to be explored. We must learn our lessons from what happened to Boracay; one must not forget, when turning to nature for a dose of relaxation and enjoyment, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.
written for: The Manila Standard