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Favorite Beaches

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The Philippines has a lot of beaches!  Of course, with 7,107 Islands making up the country, there are literally thousands, probably tens of thousands of beaches!  Maybe even more than that.

Over my years of living in the Philippines, I have been to a lot of beaches.  I am sure that even those who have traveled to the Philippines just once, one of the activities that they participated in during their visit would be going to the beach.

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There are only a few places you might go visit in the country where you can’t easily and quickly be at the beach.  I mean, places like Baguio come to mind and other inland areas.  But, most population centers around the Philippines are close to beaches.  In my case, living in Davao we are right on the water.  Even if I am at my house, I can literally walk to the nearest beach in only about 10 to 15 minutes.  I have expat friends living in Davao who are right on the beach.  So, it is easy to get to beaches from most places in the Philippines

What kind of beach do you like?

What kind?  You mean there are different kinds of beaches?  Sure there are!

What comes immediately to mind is the difference between a very crowded tourist type beach vs. a remote beach.

Boracay

Boracay Beach Party

Boracay Beach Party

Boracay is a very popular beach destination.  Unlike it being a beach “just up the road” people from all over the country travel to Boracay, be it by air or boat (usually both), to visit Boracay.  Undoubtedly, Boracay has some of the top beaches in the world.  I have seen plenty of surveys in Magazines and online where Boracay beaches are rated among the world’s best.

But, do you want to visit Boracay?  Have you already visited, or do you plan to? For me, Boracay is not on my list of places I plan or even want to visit.  Why not?  Well, nothing against the place itself, but it is crowded. Lots of tourists.  Plenty of crowds of people.

Being crowded has advantages.  Having a lot of visitors means that there will be businesses there to support the tourist trade.  Restaurants.  Hotels.  Bars.  Places where you can rent things like jet skis or other “beach equipment”.  If you go to a very secluded place where there are not any or many tourists, such businesses will not exist, because without people around there won’t be enough money flowing to keep the business afloat.

Certainly, not having tourists around to enjoy the beach is not a problem in Boracay.  They get a huge tourist trade throughout the year.

Remote beaches

Beach in Santa Maria, Davao del Sur

Beach in Santa Maria, Davao del Sur

Living in Davao, we have a lot of beaches around here that are fairly secluded.  I like that.  You can go out to a great beach that is more or less “undiscovered” and does not have many people on it.  In fact, a lot of the time when we go visit a beach we don’t see another soul anywhere in sight, and we have the beach all to ourselves for enjoyment!  Of course, this is true in most areas of the Philippines.  No big crowds on the beaches because the beaches are so numerous that people can go to a large variety of beaches, thus no big crowds at any of the beaches!

The beach in the picture above is at Santa Maria, Davao del Sur Province.  Santa Maria is about an hour and half south of Davao City.  We used to go down there often for a day at the beach, although it has been several years since we have made the trip.  I’ll have to arrange another trip soon, take the family down and have a nice day in the sand.

For the Davao area, most people go over to Samal Island to have some beach fun.  On Samal you have a mix of crowded beaches, semi-crowded and isolated beaches. Probably the most popular (and crowded) is Paradise Island.  I am not a huge fan of Paradise Island, although it is very nice, because it gets crowded.  Also, if I am at Paradise I feel like I am still in the City.  Other beach resorts on Samal are semi-crowded, but not nearly as crowded as Paradise.  For secluded beaches, travel further South on the island and you will see fewer and fewer people.  For totally abandoned beaches on the island, the place to go is EAST.  Yes, the east side of Samal island is generally isolated, and you will see others on the beach only rarely.

What type of beach do you prefer?

For me, I really enjoy an isolated beach.  I like nature, and on the isolated beaches you tend to find sea life like sea urchins, starfish and such on the beach.  You don’t see those on crowded beaches much.

Yes, I understand, a lot of people enjoy the party scene. The drinking, partying, and such with others.  For me, I prefer the quiet.  But, nothing wrong with either preference.

What do you like best?

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Gregory Bunn
Gregory Bunn
5 years ago

Are you acquainted with any isolated or semi-isolated beaches around Calapan City?

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Gregory Bunn

Hi Gregory – No, I am not familiar with that area. Sorry.

Rease Wold
5 years ago

Mornin’ Bob 🙂 Boracay isn’t my go to type beach either, but ended up there on accident once. It’s more for tourists who aren’t as adventurous and want all the amenities of home. If you want to sit in an upscale hotel and look at a beautiful beach while eating the same food you would in the USA or Europe, then that’s your place. I prefer more remote places. So far, my favorite is Kalanggaman Island off of Polompon, Leyte, but that’s a real adventure.

Bob Martin
5 years ago
Reply to  Rease Wold

Hi Rease. Like you, I find the more remote and isolated places preferable. Nothing wrong with the high end beach resorts… they just are not for me. 🙂

bill
bill
5 years ago
Reply to  Rease Wold

Kalanggaman Island, stock up before you go, because there is nothing there. it is beautiful, sure. But hope a tropical depression doesn’t come along.

Nick
5 years ago

Bit of a shock my first beach visit in Davao because the sand was black. Kids looked like they were playing in mud.

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Nick

There are beaches with sand of lots of colors in the Philippines. In Zamboanga they have Pink Sand beaches, which are quite beautiful. Not many black sand beaches around Davao, but a couple. 🙂

Jeff Kelton
Jeff Kelton
5 years ago

The family home where we stay when in Bauang,La Union is less than two blocks down a small alley directly across the highway to the beach. The beaches are usually not crowded, but they are not secluded either. There are always a few people around,but rarely a crowd. We spend a lot of time in the water just staying cool. My goal during my last visit was to find a beach resort nearby that had good food, drinks, both pool and beach access, and WiFi. We found several such resorts within 20 minutes walking distance from home. We narrowed those… Read more »

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Kelton

Sounds like we have similar tastes, Jeff. You will find the secluded beach that you are looking for, I am sure! I wish you luck on the journey!

Bob
Bob
5 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Kelton

Do you know of any apartments for rent in La Union?

Jeff Kelton
Jeff Kelton
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob

In Paringao,Bauang, right next door to where we stay are the Mark Theresa apartments. It is a local landmark, right on the main highway
It did not appear that all the apartments were full when we were there in April.

PeterB
PeterB
5 years ago

Bob said: “For me, I prefer the quiet.” That is my taste, as well. Not long after I arrived in Philippines, in 2007, we were given the opportunity to purchase a couple of lots, 2500 sq.mtr., with a 40 metre beach frontage, in a secluded location – less than 30 minutes drive south of Tagum. It faces those deserted beaches on the east coast of Samal, which you mention. Unfortunately, an adjacent lot has been purchased by a Canadian and commercialised, on a small scale – a few nippa huts but no concrete. Many people have suggested that we should… Read more »

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  PeterB

Hi Peter – Sounds very nice! I great place to get some peace and quiet and relaxation! Assuming that the Canadian does not expand his operations!

I am not anti-business, or the type of beach development business. For me, if I were to have such a place, though, I would also have a separate secluded place for my own enjoyment. If it comes to business, you want lots of activity and people spending money. But, for me (and you) having that quiet seclusion is important for my “alone time”.

PeterB
PeterB
5 years ago

Bob said: “Assuming that the Canadian does not expand his operations!”

He has expressed an interest in purchasing our area, but that will not be an option for him while we can afford to keep the area for ourselves.

I’m not sure of the status of the land on the other side of his lot – it looks rather overgrown.

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  PeterB

Problem is that if he wants to purchase your lot bad enough, he can make it unbearable to stay – too much noise and activity on his present property… then selling to him might be the best option. I hope that does not happen!

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

Bohol is nice not really secluded though
But it was quiet relaxing
Mactan beaches aren’t to bad , been awhile since I’ve been there
I heard Cebu is expanding

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Hi Ben. When I have been to the beach on Mactan it was quite crowded. Perhaps I went to the wrong beach though!

Ben
Ben
5 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Yeah it was a resort beach
Forgot the name , I heard they closed down , pretty compeitive I guess in that biz
They always seemed booked
Who knows
Hope your feeling better by the way

MindanaoBob
5 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Hi Ben – I am actually feeling really well, thanks for asking. My doctor says that I am recovering very quickly, and that is good news!

Maynard Handy
5 years ago

Like Gilligans Island is just fine with me.

Bob Martin
5 years ago
Reply to  Maynard Handy

Ha ha. As long as Ginger and Mary Ann are there!

Maynard Handy
5 years ago
Reply to  Maynard Handy

You got that right lol

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

Tambuli west and east resort
They closed down a few years back
Don’t know why they always seemed booked
Pretty quiet
By the way hope your feeling better

Michael Boo
5 years ago

Borocay sounds fun to me , except i read that the vendors will drive u nuts since there are so many there.

Rease Wold
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Boo

What you heard is correct. The vendors are relentless pests…..

Bob Martin
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Boo

For me, I would consider Boracay to be high stress. Dealing with crowds like that, drunks roaming the place and such is the last thing that I would consider fun. But, everything has their own preferences, so what is fun to you is fine, if that is what you enjoy! 🙂

James Campbell
5 years ago
Reply to  Michael Boo

We had a great time in Boracay the 3 times we’ve been there, but Yes, they are pesky!

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