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Everybody knows the Philippines is never without the next big beach thing. While Boracay, Cebu and Palawan are still lording over the scene — and understandably so — there are more little known spots around the country for the quiet kind of beach bumming. Below are six of them.
1. Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon
More and more people are talking about the pristine beach of Cagbalete in Mauban, Quezon. Drawn by the promise of solitude and peace, travelers go there to walk along its quiet beaches, which are known for the unique ripples left by undulating waves.
Get there: A JAC Liner bus to Mauban, Quezon, leaves every 5am from Cubao. Once there, you take a 45-minute boat ride to Cagbalete Island.
Stay: If you want to discover the exceptional beauty of Cagbalete, the three-year-old Doña Choleng Camping Resort (Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon) is the place to stay. The sandbars are amazing, even the birds think so! You can stay put at the beachfront and go bird watching for hours on end. The property offers comfortable rooms, nice nipa cottages and even tents for the brave ones! If you book through Agoda, the Balinese-style hut starts at PHP3,200, which is good for eight people.
2. Ticao Island, Masbate
While Ticao Island is part of Masbate, it is geographically closer to Sorsogon. So Ticao gets the best of the two provinces: Masbate and its cowboy culture, and Sorsogon for the whale sharks.
Get there: Fly from Manila to Legazpi City in Albay, and then take a two-hour road trip to Bulan Port. From there, travel an hour on a boat to San Jacinto.
Stay: Ticao Island Resort (Sitio Tacdugan, San Jacinto, Ticao Island, Masbate). It has nine beachfront cabanas and four fan rooms. Its restaurant by the beach is popular among travelers and vacationers. And yes, guests of Ticao get a tonload of diving, horseback riding, island tours, and immersion in local village life. The beachfront cabana is yours for PHP4,200 a night, complete with full board meals every night.
3. Siquijor Island, Siquijor
Everybody knows Siquijor for its supposed witchcraft, which is fine, but dude yo, don’t overlook the beaches and the rest of what Mother Nature has to offer. It’s rather remote — getting to Siquijor is an adventure in itself — which is perfect for anyone looking for a quiet vacation. Looking for more adventures? Good. There are over 40 natural caves in Siquijor, the 60-years-in-the-making Salagdoong man-made Molave forest, the Camabugahay Falls just off Lazi town, natural flowing springs, and a lot of snorkeling and diving.
Get there: From Manila, fly to Dumaguete, take a trike to the port, and then take a PHP160-ferry to Siquijor. Total travel time, layovers and all, is about 3 hours.
Stay: Our friends from Agoda recommend Salamangka Beach and Dive Resort (Buluhisan, Catulayan, San Juan, Siquijor). It has well-equipped cottages and lofts. You’ll only have to shell out about PHP4,800 for a bay view cottage loft for two people. If you want an ocean view loft, that’s about PHP8,000 for two.
4. Sipalay, Negros Occidental
Located at the south of Bacolod is Sipalay, one of Negros Occidental’s best-kept secrets. Sipalay has a one-kilometer stretch of white sand beach. Caves can be found on its coastal lines, while waterfalls can be found in the uplands, where cascading rivers, ginormous rocks, and age-old trees will make you feel like a speck. Sipalay is also super accessible to Danjuan island, where diving is a must.
Get there: Fly from Metro Manila to Bacolod, and then from there, take a 5-hour bus ride to Sipalay. A bus leaves every 30 minutes.
Stay: Punta Bulata White Beach Resort & Spa (Barangay Elihan, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental) takes pride in the design of each room that mixes Filipino and modern touches. They have capiz-shell doors and garden bathrooms which take full advantage of the fresh ocean breeze. Their deluxe king room with breakfast sets you back PHP3,900 without taxes, but if you want a room with a view of the sea, that’s PHP4,300. Aside from diving, there are other leisure activities such as kayaking, trekking and bird watching to include in your itinerary.
5. Bolinao, Pangasinan
Would you believe that Bolinao is just a few hours drive away from Manila? Apart from the beaches, Bolinao also boasts of a photogenic lighthouse, a few caves and a lot of centuries-old churches. Pangasinan’s famous Hundred Islands National Park is also just a boat ride away, making Bolinao an ace choice for a quick R&R and D&D weekend.
Get there: Take the bus to Bolinao, and then take the trike to head out to your hotel.
Stay: Right on Patar beach is Puerto Del Sol Beach Resort (Barangay Ilog Marino, Patar Beach, Bolinao, Pangasinan). It has a list of interesting room types. There’s the two-story bahay kubo (roughly PHP6,300) which can accommodate up to three people, the two-bedroom casita, which can accommodate up to four, and the big and modern loft-type sitio amore (roughly PHP11,700), which can accommodate up to eight people.
6. Camiguin Island, Camiguin
Though it is one of the smallest provinces in the country, Camiguin delivers big beach experiences. It is also known as the island “born of fire,” because a lot of it was formed through earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There’s the famous Sunken Cemetery, a number of waterfalls, the Santo Niño Cold Spring and the Ardent Hot Spring. Under the sea are beautiful diving and snorkeling spots and above it, the beautiful beaches.
Get there: Fly from Manila to Cagayan de Oro. From CDO, take a cab to Agora market where you’ll find the bus terminal. Board a bus going to Balingoan town, and from there, take the ferry to Camiguin. Alternatively, you can fly to Cebu and board another flight to Camiguin.
Stay: You will want to stay at Camiguin Volcano Beach Eco Retreat and Dive Resort (Nasaag, Baring, Mambajao, Camiguin) for its commitment to the environment. Construction materials are made without harmful chemicals, all rooms are built with energy conservation in mind, and meat and eggs are sourced from organic farms. Standard rooms starts at PHP1,600, which is good for two, while their beach cottage starts at PHP2,100. Among the many activities on offer are diving, lounge at the famous white sandbar, have a massage, and practice yoga.