November 27, 2021
THE BEAUTY OF THE PHILIPPINE
Matinloc Island, Palawan
Located in Bacuit Bay, off Palawan Island’s northerly El Nido region, Matinloc Island is home to some of the area’s most famous tourist attractions: Matinloc Shrine, a Virgin Mary church left eerily abandoned in a tropical cove; Secret Beach, only accessible by boat; and Hidden Beach, where craggy slate-grey rocks form a white-sand sheltered bay that backs onto rainforest. The covert beaches are concealed by El Nido’s iconic limestone formations and Matinloc Shrine offers some of the best panoramic views in the area.
Growing in popularity in the past few years, Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. Surfers from all over the world visit to catch the perfect Cloud 9 swell. While it has long been a surfer’s paradise, regular beach lovers and vacationers are slowly discovering Siargao’s inland charms. Exploring this laidback island and its neighbours, you’ll find cool waterfalls to stand under, smooth limestone gullies to walk in and warm cave pools surrounded by tree-root smothered boulders. It’s a largely untouched landscape with an undeniable natural beauty; some are even calling it “the new Palawan”.
Just like Palawan, Boracay has enjoyed the title “World’s Best Island” for its powdery white sand beaches and glorious sunset views. It has long attracted travellers from all over the world, and as such has taken some wear and tear through the years. Because of massive commercialisation, the island is oversaturated with establishments and structures and is often crowded with more people than it can handle. Sewage and waste problems are also beginning to worsen. In 2018, the Philippine President ordered a complete six-month closure of the island, to allow its rehabilitation. This was the beginning of Boracay’s restoration to its former glory.
Strictly speaking, Calaguas is a group of islands, east of Manila in the province of Camarines Norte. While a handful of islands make up the area, the island of Tinaga is best known and most frequented for its pristine 3km (2mi) stretch called Mahabang Buhangin. Not nearly as distinguished as Boracay or Palawan, the islands of Calaguas remain unadulterated. Fancy accommodations are also not an option in Mahabang Buhangin, so it has become a popular camping ground for the adventurous islander. Surrounding rolling terrain and hiking trails also present a more active alternative to lying on the beach.
Once hidden jewels, the islands around the Caramoan peninsula in Camarines Sur were brought into the limelight after being featured on several seasons of the long-running reality competition, Survivor. The show’s typical setting is rendered ‘remote’ and ‘isolated’, a look very much had by the Caramoan islands. One of these islands is Matukad, which boasts a gorgeous fine-sand beach, lush forest backdrop and hidden lagoon. The lagoon is obscured by a tall limestone cliff, that, when climbed, presents a superb view of the natural pool below. The waters are calm and clear, perfect for swimming, but pack some courage for the climb as the rock wall is steep and jagged, which many contend is also worth the view.
White Island, Camiguin
This bare island just off the coast of Camiguin’s capital is a favourite for more than just its accessibility. More a sandbar than an island, it is free of any trees or structures, save for a meagre shack that sells snacks and rents out umbrellas. What surrounds it, however, are exquisite views of the horizon and Mt Hibok-Hibok on the province’s main island. Because there is not much shade, it’s best to come early in the morning or late into the afternoon to avoid the day’s scorching hours. Try to chance upon either sunrise or sunset for an even more remarkable scene.
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
While the luxurious island of Pamalican may sound divine, a trip here does end with quite the hefty bill. For those seeking out a tropical escape with a more feasible price tag, the country has a remarkable lineup of undeveloped virgin islands, too. One of these is Kalanggaman in Leyte. While the island itself isn’t all that large, two dazzling sandbars extend into the sea on either side. There are no hotels on the island, nor is there electricity – two enticing features to campers. There are basic facilities however, such as toilets and cottages for rent, so choosing to spend the night wouldn’t be too rough. Kalanggaman might not be the easiest to get to but its picturesque sandbar alone makes it a must for anyone travelling around the Visayas.
Apo Island, Negros Oriental
Apo is a unique one on the list because perhaps even more famous than the island itself are its surrounding waters. A protected marine reserve, the waters around Apo Island hold magnificent coral gardens and bustling marine life. Turtle sightings are especially commonplace even close to shore, making it an exciting site for both snorkelling and diving. There are also accommodation options on the island for those who want more time exploring its marine reserve than a day trip allows.
Malcapuya Island, Palawan
With El Nido and Coron crowning the island province, Northern Palawan is any beach lover’s utopia. Another of its islands worth a trip is Malcapuya, sitting between the municipalities of Coron and Culion. As you approach, it won’t seem like much but, as you’ll quickly find out, it’s only because you’ll be docking at its backside. This gives its exquisite powdery white sand beach unobstructed views and keeps its shores swimmer-friendly and free of boats.
Sabtang Island, Batanes
Journey an hour southwest of Batan and you reach the island of Sabtang. Here, Batanes showcases even more masterpieces of nature, like the Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint and Nakabuang stone arch on Morong Beach. But an impressive man-made treasure that also renders this island worth a visit is the traditional Ivatan house, built to withstand the tempestuous weather the province sees, due to its geographic location.
Cresta de Gallo Island, Romblon
Near the centre of the Philippine archipelago is a small untouched paradise that still flies below the tourist radar, leaving it in its pure, spotless state. It also helps that it isn’t the easiest to get to and that there is virtually nothing on the island except for whatever nature bestowed. Anyone who decides to make the trip must have all necessities in tow, from water and food to camping gear. But for the trouble, they’ll also very likely have this precious island all to themselves.
Just east of Camiguin is the mystical island of Siquijor. Despite being wrapped in folklore and tales of witchcraft, this island is much more than its age-old legends. White sand beaches and marine sanctuaries with splendid diving spots abound but the star of the island is Cambugahay Falls, a series of gently cascading waterfalls that form a number of enchanting turquoise pools. Surrounded by lush green rainforest and dotted with wooden rafts, it looks like it could have been designed for a luxury waterpark – we’re talking honeymoon-photos gorgeous.
There's more island's in the Philippines that can surely catch your attention. You can freely visit the websites containing another wondrous places, tourist spot and islands in the Philippines.
Granada, Mabel Q.
Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English 1-D
Jose Rizal Memorial State University-Dipolog Campus