a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Top 5 Philippine Beach Hideaways

The summer heat is getting to me and the humidity that causes the icky sticky feeling made me dream of wallowing in a gorgeous beach isolated from civilization with a cooler overflowing with ice and drinks a few feet away.

While my wishful thinking will remain a whim for the next two weeks, I shall reminisce on my most memorable beach escapes. Here's my list, feel free to share yours! :)

1. Zambales - Nagsasa Cove
Offers a unique beach experience with pine trees a few feet from the water and isolation from cell phone towers. The water flowing to the cove is part of the South China sea so the 45-minute boat ride from the shores of Barangay Pundaquit can be a bit wet and wild. The imposing view of mountains engulfed with overgrown weeds as you lazily float on the water makes up for the rough ride and as you lie on a hammock or inside your tent, strong, cold winds will rock you to a blissful slumber.

Tip : Bring all your provisions specially tons of ice and a cooler.


2. Palawan - Coron and Puerto Princessa - the organized tourism industry around Palawan makes it easy for travelers to experience its overly photographed powdery sand beaches surrounded by gigantic jagged limestone formations. You don't even have to rent your own boat to go island hopping as tour operators are willing to find you a group to join so you can save on costs.

Tip : If you want some island hopping, restaurant adventures and a side trip to the new 7 Wonders of Nature winner, Puerto Princessa Underground River, book a flight to Puerto Princessa. If you are headed to quaint Coron, you need to go to Busuanga. 


3. Cebu - Boljoon
Located 20 minutes away from the town of Oslob, where you can swim with the whale sharks, Boljoon generously offers its visitors the chance to enjoy its clear waters with no entrance fee, two cement platforms where the brave can jump to the sea, a side trip to Heritage Houses, centuries-old Patrocinio de Maria church, its museum and satisfying meals at a nearby eatery.

Tip : For a full-packed one day adventure, you may consider this itinerary I pieced together after last year's visit to my self-proclaimed hometown :P. Click here.

Photo Credit : Edcel Suyo of Soloflighted.com
4. Batanes - its rugged landscapes is renowned as a photographer or backpacker's haven, but does not get much credit as a beach bum's destination. When the weather is unafavorable, vicious waves crashing against the shore makes it nearly impossible for anyone but the suicidal to enjoy its waters. Thus, I suggest to go here during Batanes summer which is June-August and swim at Nakabuang Beach in Sabtang Island, Diura fishing village in Mahatao or Di-atay Beach, 10 KM from Basco.

Tip :
The three major inhabited islands of Batanes are Batan, Sabtang & Itbayat. From Manila, South East Asian Alirline (SEAIR) offers flights to Basco (Batan island). Check the current season in Batanes when you're visiting. Temperatures can go as low as 7C during Batanes winter is from November -February.


5. Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
This is the most touristy among my favorite beach destinations but its deep, clear blue waters hypnotized me on my first visit in 2008. Its long stretch of sand is lined with beach resorts that caters to travelers with various spending preferences.

Tip : If you're traveling on a budget, opt for homestays where you can get a room as low as 500/night during off season. Just ask the tricycle drivers. You can also considering coming here past the peak season of March-September and December to avoid the crowds.


Packing your sexy swim wear now? See you at the beach!

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