Pass Island, Coron. Photo by Vet Patiño

Water and Sands in the Philippines

Just a few days ago Cebu registered a high 44.1 degrees heat index according to PAG-ASA Mactan. According to the said local state weather bureau, the heat index (also called human discomfort index) is the actual temperature felt by the body based on air temperature, humidity, and the surrounding environment. Quite a number of people on my FB feed shouted their discomfort with a slew of posts ranging from how polar caps are melting to comparisons of heat felt to the fires of hell reiterating how HOT this summer is becoming.

When it is this HOT, you can’t helped but think of the many places you’d rather want to be than stay at your sauna-like home. Luckily, the Philippines is blessed with a lot of wonderful places offering escape from the summer heat. As an archipelago, our country literally abounds with bodies of water that will refresh you!!! Here are a few outside of Cebu that I was fortunate enough to have visited over the years. I believe these will give you reason to hop on a ferry or book your next flight out of the city!

BLUE LAGOON, PAGUDPUD ILOCOS NORTE

blue lagoon, pagudpud ilocos norte
Pagudpud is hours away from Manila, and I grant that it maybe TOO far for us Cebuanos! However, I believe any beach lover will think this worth a trip. This beach, I believe has the finest sands among all Philippine beaches! Get your fill of its crystal clear waters without needing to wear any beach footwear.
If you come here, you have the option to stay overnight at the many resorts in the area, or head back to the city proper of Laoag. During our trip, we stayed at Java Hotel. Other activities in Ilocos Norte may include sand dune activities such as sand boarding, four-wheel driving, and ATV back riding. If you’re a historical buff, you can head to Ilocos Sur for a Vigan heritage tour.

ALONA BEACH, PANGLAO BOHOL
alona beach panglao bohol

Panglao is a favorite when it comes to a quick beach trip outside of Cebu. Once you find yourself in the Port of Tagbilaran, simply hire a trike to Dau Terminal (in front of Island City Mall(ICM). Ride a jeepney bound for Tawala and tell the driver to drop you off at Alona. From there, you can head towards Alona beach and find yourself accommodation that suits your budget. Bohol Diver’s Resort is my go-to resort here. Of course, you can ask the trike driver to take you all the way to Alona Beach, but that will set you back to PhP200~300!
If you get bored at Alona Beach, you can easily hire a boat for an island hopping to nearby Virgin Island and Balicasag Island! (See other Bohol sites you can visit in a day.)

BALICASAG ISLAND, BOHOL
balicasag island

The crystal clear waters of Balicasag is reason enough for me to come back here. Over the years, many tourists are finding their way to this island. At times, the island may have too many people. Nevertheless, this should not stop you from enjoying its waters and the fishes in the area.
On your way here, you may just get lucky and chance upon a group of dolphins as we did! Look below:

dolphins at balicasag bohol

CAMBUGAHAY FALLS, SIQUIJOR
cambugahay falls

Siquijor is a small island. In just a couple of days, you can explore its wonderful water falls, caves, and beaches. Cambugahay may not be as glorious as Cebu’s Kawasan, but it does have its own allure and its cool waters is just what you’ll need to cool off the summer heat.
Salagdoong is also another beautiful beach in the country. So it will come as no surprise to you that this place is highly popular among locals. Thus, you can expect quite a number of families enjoying their time here.

SALAGDOONG BEACH, SIQUIJOR
salagdoong beach siquijor
RAYMEN BEACH, ALUBIHOD GUIMARAS
raymen beach alubihod guimaras

Its crystal clear waters may not be high on my list, but Raymen Beach in this beautiful island of Guimaras is one of my favorites. I love the remoteness of the place. Thus, not too many people come here (unless that has changed now). Once you find yourself in Iloilo, just ask the taxi driver to drop you off at Ortiz Wharf. From there, you can get a 15~20-minute ferry ride to Hoskyn Port in Jordan, Guimaras. From the port, ride a jeepney bound for Nueva Valencia. Just ask the “konduktor” to drop you off at Raymen Beach in Sitio Alubihod.

WHITE ISLAND, CAMIGUIN
white island camiguin

The pictures above and below can more than speak for itself. Just look at that splendid white sands and crystal clear waters! White Island is just shouting for you to play in its white sands and frolic in the water!
I believe there are now flights direct from Cebu to Camiguin. However, if you find yourself already in Cagayan de Oro City, then just hop on a jeepney bound for Agora Terminal. From here, get a bus ride heading to Balingoan (pronounced by locals as “ba-ling-wan). This is roughly a less than 2-hour bus ride. From Balingoan terminal, you can either hire a trike or walk towards Balingoan Port, where you can take a ferry to Benoni Wharf in Camiguin.  (Read more here: When in Camiguin.)

crystal clear water camiguin

BANOL BEACH, CORON PALAWAN
banol beach

banol beach coron palawan
Any description I can give to the waters of either Coron or El Nido in Palawan just won’t do these places justice. So, I just highly encourage you to come and visit them. Truly you won’t regret coming to either of these places. To fully enjoy, allot at least ONE WEEK vacation time to fully maximize coming here. If you decide on Coron, then book a flight for Busuanga. If you heart El Nido more, then head to Puerto Princesa as your jump off point.

DICANTUMAN BEACH, CORON PALAWAN
dicantuman beach coron palawan

dicantuman coron palawan
Whether you’re in Coron or El Nido, you’ll never regret coming here as you will see God’s creation at its finest. As I’m NO swimmer, my preference will always be the shallow beaches. Thus, the pictures here are mostly beaches! But my travel companions and many other blog accounts/videos could vouch for the wondrous creation hidden in the waters of Palawan. Bring in your own snorkels and goggles so you can fully explore and appreciate the beauty underneath.

PASS ISLAND, CORON PALAWAN
pass island coron palawan

pass island duyan

SOUTH MINILOC, EL NIDO PALAWAN
south miniloc island el nido palawan

SNAKE ISLAND, EL NIDO PALAWAN
snake island el nido palawan

BORACAY BEACH, MALAY AKLAN
boracay sunset
A lot would argue that Boracay is no longer as nice as it used to be. It’s too touristy! Be that as it may, I still suggest coming here at least once in your lifetime. Enjoy the flurry of summer excitement in this beautiful island. My very distinct memories of this place is its vast horizon and long shoreline! The beauty of the sunset here is just incomparable! Watching these magnificent views just makes you forget the summer heat.
boracay sunset 2

That folks are JUST FEW of the 7,100++ islands we have here in the country! You surely have quite a number of options to choose where you can spend your summer. Maybe we can’t escape the heat, but we can definitely make the choice to spend it frolicking in our beautiful waters. Leave us your comments on where you, friends, or family have spent or are planning to go this summer to at least lower your discomfort level in this hot weather! 🙂

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