This summer, beach #content is queen. If you want to stand out from the pack or just go on vacation away from the crowds in Boracay, Siargao, and the usual suspects, here are seven white sand beaches from Luzon to Mindanao that you should check out.
Cresta De Gallo Island, Romblon
The charm of this small island lies in its pristine, undeveloped beach where there’s nothing but fine white sand, crystal clear waters, and a few nipa huts. A long white sandbar connects the two sides of the island, making for the most gorgeous photos. A diving site lets you get up close and personal with the thriving marine life.
From Sibuyan Island in Romblon, Cresta De Gallo Island is about an hour away by boat. Since there are no stores or restaurants on the island, make sure to pack food, water, and everything you need for a day in the sun. Bring your own equipment if you want to cook on the island, or ask around for group packages that include the boat ride, food, and other provisions. You can stay overnight, but it’s not necessarily recommended by locals. Most boatmen will advise you to head back to the main island before sunset, so start your trip early to make the most of it.
For the complete experience, check out vlogger Patrice Averilla’s Romblon travel guide, where she visits Cresta De Gallo, Cobrador Island, Looc Fish Sanctuary, Aglicay Beach, Bon-bon Beach, and Carabao Island.
Mahabang Buhangin, Camarines Norte
True to its name, Mahabang Buhangin features over a kilometer-long coastline of powdery white sand that is perfect for leisurely strolls. The sand is said to be even whiter than Boracay’s world-famous beach. The rest of Calaguas, where Mahabang Buhangin is located, features white sand as well, though this beach takes the crown in the area. Bring or borrow snorkeling gear to check out the marine life clearly visible in the blue waters. Stay in one of the resorts along Mahabang Buhangin, or try pitching a tent for the full outdoor experience.
From Daet, the capital of Camarines Norte, you can travel by land for less than two hours to the municipality of Vinzons or Paracale. From there, you can take a boat straight to Mahabang Buhangin, or go for a cheaper yet less convenient boat ride to nearby barangays and then another boat ride to Mahabang Buhangin.
Lakawon Island, Negros Occidental
Go on a day trip to or stay overnight at Lakawon Island Resort and Spa, which occupies Lakawon Island in Cadiz Viejo, Negros Occidental. The fine white sand beach is perfect for getting your tan on and capturing #content.
Named after the local word for “relaxed,” the resort’s TawHai Floating Bar is another great place to laze around. You can even jump off the boat and plunge into the clear blue waters (at your own risk). Looking for more activities? Go snorkeling, kayaking, or kite surfing, or play football or volleyball by the beach.
Located off the coast of Cadiz Viejo in Negros Occidental, Lakawon Island is about a 20-minute boat ride away from the port. You’ll have to register for a day tour and load a cash card since the island facilities don’t accept cash. You can refund unused credits when you check out.
Palaui Island, Cagayan
Aside from its white sand beaches, Palaui Island is famous for its scenic terrain, beautiful waterfalls, and centuries-old Cape Engaño Lighthouse. A marine reserve and protected area, Palaui has maintained its natural beauty through the years—no wonder TV series Survivor filmed two seasons here. You can go beach hopping, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, bird watching, or do other outdoor activities as long as you bring your own gear.
From Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan, travel by land for three hours to Santa Ana and then take a quick boat ride to Palaui. There are no commercial accommodations in Palaui, so you can opt for a homestay with the locals or pitch a tent in the Punta Verde camping area. Alternatively, you can spend the day in Palaui and stay overnight in one of the resorts in Santa Ana. If you plan to stay overnight in Palaui, make sure you get everything you need in Santa Ana.
Pujada Island, Davao Oriental
Enjoy a day off the grid in this small, secluded island down south. Pujada Island boasts of powdery white sand, turquoise waters, and lush greenery. With a bit of exploring, you’ll also find ponds and lakes in the area. This island is just one of the places you can visit in Pujada Bay if you’re up for a day of island hopping. It’s in the middle of Waniban Island and Oak Island, both smaller than Pujada yet just as beautiful with fine white sand. When it’s high tide, part of Oak Island becomes submerged in water so it’s best to visit during the low tide.
From Mati, which is about four hours away by land from Davao City, take a habal-habal to Barangay Tamisan, your jump-off point to Pujada Island, Oak Island, and Waniban Island. There are resorts in the Pujada Bay area, but make sure to bring enough food, water, and provisions for a day of island hopping.
You probably know all about El Nido and Coron, but have you heard of this remote island in Busuanga? Mangenguey is a haven for those who are into shipwreck diving, snorkeling, and of course, lounging around on a powdery white sand beach. Camp Ngey Ngey offers back-to-basics lodging and food for the more adventurous traveler, matched with the incomparable sights, sounds, and flavors of seaside living.
From Coron, you travel by land for 40 minutes to the village of Sagrada and then by sea for another 40 minutes to Camp Ngey Ngey. Pack light and bring cash. Make sure you have a flashlight and power bank since electricity, as well as internet and water, are limited on the island.
Panampangan Island, Tawi-Tawi
If you’re on the hunt for a beautiful beach unspoiled by commercialism and the ‘gram machine, Panampangan Island is the one to beat. Located down, down south in Tawi-Tawi, it has what is considered to be the longest sandbar in the Philippines, stretching for more than three kilometers. There are no commercial lodgings on the island, but there are nipa huts and grilling areas perfect for a day at the beach.
If you want to visit this idyllic spot, be prepared to invest time and money. From Zamboanga City, you can travel by air or sea to the municipality of Bongao and then take a boat to Panampangan Island. For safety and convenience, coordinate with the Provincial Tourism Office of Tawi-Tawi by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.