Where do you go to cool off for the summer?
I find this post highly appropriate since last night was the first night we had to go to bed with the electric fan set to #2. It won’t be long until we’re spending sleepless nights tossing and turning while drenched in summer sweat. But somehow, take the same heat and humidity and transfer it on a sloped and sandy shore and it seems to be a welcome effect.
The sparkle of the water, the gentle (or rough, surfing type of) lapping of the waves, the blaze of the sun, the feel of the sand and the condensation of that fruity cocktail – they all seem to play a part in what summer really is and if you’re looking for a private seclusion or a huge beach party or maybe something in between, these top beach destinations could just do the trick for you!
1. Siquijor Island
Whether it’s the backpacker hauntings on the west end or the public beaches on the east, Siquijor will not disappoint you if you’re looking for a quiet escape from the city. Without having a big, commercial airport, Siquijor still maintains a very small tourist population for the most part. To get in, one has to fly to Dumaguete and then endure a rough 45min-1hour ferry ride to the famed “Island of Fire.”
Beaches on the west, especially in Barangay San Juan, is peppered with backpacker digs and small restaurants and other places, mostly run by foreigners who have grown roots in this top beach destination in the Visayas.
Peace, quiet and absolutely NO ONE else on Kagusaan Beach on the east side of the island.
Another golden sunset from San Juan, Siquijor with a marine sanctuary just behind me (when i took the photo)
Left-top-bottom: Balete tree, oldest convent in the country, Cambugahay Falls – just some of what you could do in Siquijor
- Vsiting the ancient Balete Tree
- Jumping over Cambugahay Falls
- Joining the people over at Salagdoong Beach
- Taking seclusion in Kagusaan Beach
Siquijor Beaches are best for snorkeling with tons of marine sanctuaries lining up right on the beach.
2. Samal Island
How can something so close to a major Philippine city and be one of the top beach destinations in the country? Well, for starters, you have to go south. Waaaay down south. Like, Davao City, south.
About 10 minutes from the shores of Davao lies the Island Garden City of Samal. From there, a whole new world opens up that is for those who seek a little quiet adventure. As a beach, it’s got great sands and you can choose to be at the place where everybody hangs or maybe take in a luxe version and stay at the posher resorts. Either way, they are all featuring the great setting that is Samal Island.
It’s fun that when staying in the city, you could explain that you want to go to beach and exactly be there in an instant. Also, when lazying around the beach gets old for you, then opt for some of the adventures on the island that is just waiting for you.
Some of the other things you can do on the island
When beaches get boring, it’s to go a-soaring!
Or you can also escape the beach and literally head for the mountains!
- Taking a peek at Guinness World Record Holder, Monfort Fruit Bat Cave
- Dipping your toes at Haguimit Falls
- Climbing the peak of Mt. Puting Bato
- Sliding down Maxima Aqua Fun‘s awesome tarp slide
- Making your way to the Vanishing Island
- Taking a day trip to Pearl Farm Resort
- Taking a jet ski or a parasail around the island
TRAVEL TIP: If Mt. Apo (the country’s highest peak) scares the bejeezus out of you, try out a quickie 15-minute hike up Mt. Puting Bato. It’s like a 45-minute motorbike up before you leave the bikes for a quick hike. It’s a great place to see the entire island and is duh-ly the highest peak of island.
3. Alona Beach, Bohol
For the 5 times I’ve been to Bohol, I only stayed at his 1 beach – that’s why this is taking a special mention on Alona Beach. If you prefer something *like* Boracay but not *as crowded* as Boracay, then you go to Alona Beach. This strip of beach is basically a cut out section of the famous party beach but with a little bit more laid back feel to it.
There are bars, restaurants and resorts from one end to the other; all you gotta do is show up. Although there really wasn’t anything, in terms of dining or resorts that jumped out and made themselves known. Everything was same-old, same-old. So if you’re looking for a quick getaway, this is the definite spot for you.
From Tagbilaran airport, it’s around a half-hour ride. Room are fairly cheap with fan rooms at around 800-1000. I wasn’t able to be sober enough to check out if you could score cheaper rooms or beds.
This beach is for laying back and getting drunk with faces like this
- Take the obligatory Bohol 101 van-tour that includes a trip to the Chocolate Hills, a lunch cruise on the Loboc River, a visit to the Tarsier sanctuary and then maybe, even a peek and touch of Prony, the giant snake.
- Go to Peacock Garden Resort for a good meal, capped off by magic ice cream (for another post, for sure)
- A healthy lunch over at the Bohol Bee Farm
- Early morning trip over to Pamilacan Island
- Dolphin Watching at dawn
It’s not really an impressive beach, when it comes down to the basic things – it’s very commercialized. Early morning is the best time to enjoy this strip of beach.
4. Bolinao, Pangasinan
There were two beaches that we were all able to visit: Patar beach and the strip in front of Puerto del Sol Resort. And both of them were pretty much spot on. For those wanting something different in terms of your beach retreat, then Bolinao is perfect. The beaches are awesome even their public beach, Patar Beach, is pretty deserted. The other beach, the one in front of Puerto del Sol Resort is also a great money-maker. It could very well be one of the longest stretches of beaches, evah. It’s great. It stretches out for about 50 meters, with only the water being a few inches deep. It, all of a sudden, makes a sudden drop, which you can tell from the waves hitting the edge of it.
Bolinao beaches are definitely more of a family-vibe than anything else. And if you feel like doing something else other than creating-destroying-rinse-and-repeat sandcastles, then the nearby area already has a lot that you can check out.
Waterfall #1. A taller more secluded waterfall in Bolinao
Another waterfall that is much more accessible and much more visited by locals
Look at that looooong sandbar right in front of Puerto del Sol Resort, you can see where the water goes deep when it suddenly turns deep blue.
- Visiting the 2nd tallest lighthouse in the country
- Taking a dip in the pool that’s inside the “Wonderful Cave”
- Have a mini photo shoot on the cliff of the sea caves
- Explore and experience Bolinao’s 2 gorgeous waterfalls
- Indulge in the province’s awesome bangus (milkfish) offerings
Bolinao is quite the trip from Manila, being about 6 hours away (this was a midnight trip going out of Manila so most likely, it would be longer if you took a day trip) by bus. Luckily though, you only need 1 bus ride to get into town. With the distance you have to clock in, it would be best to stay for at least a couple of nights here.
5. Angol Point, Boracay
A summer checklist of top beach destinations would not be complete with this summer mainstay. I, myself, went to Boracay for 3 different occasions last year and each time, I experienced something new.
For me, though, personally, I love staying over at Angol Point, on the far-end side of Station 3. It’s a clear 20-minute walk from D’Mall but it has everything I want: peach and quiet, good sand, good drinks and good people. The people staying in Angol Point could not be even more laid back.
Basically the people hanging out on Bulabog Beach are the extreme sports kind, those on white beach are first timers looking for their first sunset photos, those loitering on puka beach are on their 2nd visit and want to experience something new and those on Angol Point, just go there to chill out, read a book and have a few beers.
And as Boracay is, you will never run out of things to do here. And maybe, just maybe, I could write in another post exactly what you could do there, if you find yourself in Boracay again and just bored to death.
Nothing like flying into Boracay via Caticlan.
Angol Point. My most favorite of all.
The last time I was in Boracay was with this little girl. Toddlers + Sand + Water = No worries
TRAVEL TIP: Angol Point also has the cheapest beers on the beach.
Personally, I’m looking forward to going to ANY beach this summer and with the heat clocking in to be one for the books, I am looking forward to sinking my feet into the sandy shores of one of the country’s top beach destinations. If not that, then at least I’d be able to snuggle against the taut blue plastic of our inflatable pool.