At first glance, The Philippines appears to be just another sunny archipelago in stellar South East Asia. But as the saying goes, looks can be deceiving. In 2018, nine Philippine beaches were listed in Asia’s 50 Best Beaches by Flight Network, with one magnificent beach landing third in the global ranking. Travel journalists, editors, agencies, and specialists decided on this list, including Forbes, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Yahoo, BBC, The Guardian, and Los Angeles Times.
Sure, some nearby destination countries may be more popular, but the critics have spoken – The Philippines takes the crown. Find inspiration for your next trip here and discover two of its most famous beaches, each lauded as no less than the best this world has to offer.
White Beach, Boracay Island
Falling in love with Boracay happens like this: white sand as far as the eyes can see, calm gin-clear waters that glitter in the smoldering sun, and a picturesque sunset made unique and infinitely romantic by a fleet of paraws – the local version of the sailboat with blue sails – dancing above the now golden sea. Your boat has yet to dock at what Conde Nast named the Best Island in the World in 2017, and your heart is gone, smitten by this tropical beauty that is the most iconic in The Philippines.
Simply you, the sun and the glorious White Beach
Its main beach is called White Beach, a four-kilometer stretch of powdery white sand that is unblemished save for the people enjoying the surf and sand. Fresh from a six-month rehabilitation, the island is as clean and relaxing as ever. No cordoned parts of the beach, no hawkers accosting you, and no strange mix of loud music blaring from every single establishment trying to catch your attention. It is simply you, the sun, and the glorious White Beach.
After getting sun-kissed, island hopping still remains a popular activity, as is snorkeling, and sailing on paraws. Paddleboarding is made more interesting with an almost meditative pace on these still waters, too. The many restaurants, cafes, and shops all prove a joy to visit, catering to the global palate, with local surprises that are a shame to miss.
Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan
Hidden Beach on Palawan seems straight out of a movie. Remote and untouched, it could easily be the home of mythical creatures or ancient spirits that walked the Earth before time. Its towering limestone formations are imposing but are softened by the wild vegetation that drape over it like a lush, thick cloak. The water is so clear, it melds with the sky and its natural beauty, with prehistoric caves and waterfalls, so beguiling that a stay of a few days may easily turn into weeks and months inconspicuously. No surprise that Hidden Beach was ranked 3rd best beach in the world last year!
El Nido is located in Palawan, the island that The Philippines fondly calls its “last frontier”, and rightly so. Marble cliffs shooting out of turquoise lagoons, the softest and purest white sands, magnificent reefs – it is hard to believe a place like this still exists. And the jewel of the island is Hidden Beach.
Tucked behind rock formations, you have to come in swimming to “discover” the beach. It is this sense of mystery and adventure that seduces people time and again. But a beauty this stunning attracts a crowd so remember to come early if you wish to enjoy the beach all to yourself. The secret is out and travelers from every corner of the globe want to get a piece of the Hidden Beach.
Start planning your next vacation and do not miss out on the best beaches this world presents. There are direct flights from Manila to both Boracay and El Nido islands. The Philippines may be out of the way from its South East Asian neighbors, but it guarantees discoveries and adventures like nowhere else. Go and see it for yourself!