By Mary Puglisi
You may think that you’ve stepped into paradise when traveling to Boracay Island. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, Boracay glistens with white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters. This small island south of Manila has over 350 resorts, from budget-friendly inns to luxurious hotels. There’s something for everyone at Boracay no matter how they’re looking to spend their vacation time. From water sports, scuba diving, fun nightlife, and a tranquil environment, Boracay has it all! Not to mention, it has the “finest beach in the world,” White Beach. No wonder Boracay Island was ranked the 2nd Best Island in the World by Travel + Leisure, an international travel magazine. For calmer waters, avoid monsoon season and visit from November through May.
In 2016, El Nido was ranked the #1 Best Island in the World according to Travel + Leisure magazine. With about 50 white sand beaches, five types of forests, three major marine habitats, many bird species and a rich sea life, this island has been called an “extraordinary natural splendor and ecosystem.” This island has the largest marine reserve and sanctuary in the Philippines, making it a popular tourist destination among many nature lovers. Come to scuba, snorkel, visit a secret lagoon, take an island hopping tour, or just sit back and relax in a beach paradise.
If you are an adventure traveler, then Puerto Galera is the island to visit in the Philippines. This island offers one of the most diverse diving sites in Asia as well as the densest population of marine species in the world, according to research that was conducted by the University of the Philippines. A good alternative to Boracay if you have a tighter budget and/or schedule, Puerto Galera has standard beach and resort activities like water sports, spas and lounging along with the incredible diving opportunities.
Photo by Paolobon140
Photo by André Héroux
With 70 different resorts around the island, plenty of marine reefs and pristine blue waters, Samal Island close to Davao City is one of the most developed vacation destinations in the Philippines. Along the white and pink sand beaches there are a number of world class resorts. This island is especially known for its diving, hiking and beach lounging. Nicknamed the Garden City of Samal, Samal Island is a great choice for vacationing in the Philippines.
Listed among the top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world by Forbes Travel magazine, Coron Island is a picture perfect island filled with natural beauty, limestone cliffs, white sand beaches and seven mountain lakes. Crystal blue-green waters make up the secret lagoon that lies behind the majestic limestone rock formations. The climbing over cliffs and swimming through sea tunnels are totally worth the one-of-a-kind experience of being in a secret lagoon on one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines!
A surfing paradise, Siargao Island brings people from around the world for its large waves that form at Cloud Nine Reef. This island is known for other things too, such as snorkeling, diving and having a large mangrove forest which is a source for rich marine biodiversity. However, surfing is what Siargao Island is best known for! This island isn’t as developed as other islands in the Philippines, so you won’t be overwhelmed by hotels, shops and bars as you may be in other destinations. Make plans to visit this nature-lover’s paradise!
Mary Puglisi is a 23-year-old with a passion for writing, adventure seeking and finding the beauty in the everyday things around us.