We still have more than three months before we can frolic on the white sand and take a dip in the crystal blue water of Boracay, which government officials expect to reopen on October 26. But this doesn’t mean we have to wait to enjoy a beach getaway as the Philippines is home to more than 7,000 islands where “vitamin sea” is available all year round.
Here are seven tropical wonders that promise to satisfy sun-sand-sea craving:
Apo Island, Dumaguete
When on this volcanic island, situated at the southeastern tip of Negros Oriental, dive with the pawikans and see them up close and personal (but please don’t touch or feed them as they easily get stressed).
How to get there: Daily flights are available from Manila to Dumaguete via Philippine Airlines for P1,828 one-way economy fare. From the airport, take a bus to Zamboanguita and ask to be dropped off at Malatapay. From Malatapay, there are boats that regularly bring tourists to Apo Island.
Siargao, Surigao del Norte
This tear drop-shaped island is home to the world-famous "Cloud 9" that draws surfers and non-surfers alike. But aside from thrilling waves, this tropical paradise offers a lot more other attractions, including the Magpupungko Tidal Pool, Naked Island, Guyam Island, and Dako Island.
How to get there: PAL now has direct flights from Clark to Siargao starting July 1, for as low as P988 one-way economy fare. From Sayak Airport, take a van or tricycle going to General Luna.
Dive in the crystal clear blue waters of South Cebu and witness a patch of tiny but dense school of fish moving in perfect harmony. In an hour of snorkelling, you can come close and witness the dolphins and if you’re lucky, a whale shark (but hopefully from afar, as human interaction stresses them out).
How to get there: From Manila, fly to Cebu, which is as low as P1,758 one-way economy fare via PAL. From Cebu’s South Bus Terminal, take a bus to Moalboal City Hall. From there, you can hire a tricycle to take you to White Beach or Panagsama Beach.
White Island, Camiguin
The white sandbar of Camiguin is one of the most popular destinations in this province. Only a few kilometers away from the northern area of Camiguin Island, it’s the only beach in the area that has fine white sand. It also has an excellent view of Mt. Vulcan and Hibok-Hibok.
How to get there: Direct flights are available from Cebu to Camiguin for as low as P988 one-way economy fare. From Camiguin Airport, you may choose to stay in resorts 10 minutes away. From there, you can plan a day trip to White Island.
Lakawon Island, Negros Occidental
Visit Lakawon Island Resort and Spa, touted to be Negros Occidental’s secret paradise. Once there, head straight to the TawHai Floating Bar, believed to be the biggest floating bar in Asia. Sip some wine or chug a bottle, or two, of beer while watching the sunset. You may also find refuge in the stunning cabanas of Lakawon while getting a soothing massage or dozing off while the summer breeze caresses you.
How to get there: Flights to Bacolod from Manila via PAL are frequent and only cost around P1,628 one-way economy fare. Upon arrival, take a bus to Cadiz. From there, take a trike to Barangay Cadiz Viejo where you’ll find boats that will take you to Lakawon Island.
Anda Beach, Bohol
Bohol has a way of drawing you into its embrace. Aside from the popular Chocolate Hills, there are a whole lot of things to explore in this famed island. Visit Anda Beach and enjoy its white, powdery sand.
How to get there: Catch a plane from Manila to Bohol (Tagbilaran) via PAL for as low as P1,948 one-way economy fare. Upon arrival at the airport, hail a trike going to Dao Bus Terminal. From there, take a bus or van to the town of Anda.
San Vicente, Palawan
Dubbed as the “Longest white beach in the Philippines” with its 14-kilometer stretch, San Vicente is a budding destination in Palawan, seen to be at par with Coron’s fine white sand beaches. The beach stretches across the coast of barangays San Isidro, Alimangoan, and New Agutaya. Now is the best time to catch this tropical paradise, still untouched by commercial resorts.
How to get there: PAL is soon opening a direct flight from Clark to San Vicente on July 16. From San Vicente Airport, you may hire a trike to get you to the beach.