Looking for beaches to spend a summer vacation paradise? The Philippines is the perfect place to be in, especially if you are craving a beach getaway. But here’s the truth, once you land in Manila – the country’s capital city – you don’t have to go as far as Boracay or Cebu to get that beach experience you deserve. This archipelago is the home to some of the most fantastic and the finest sand-sea-and-sky combo you’ll see in your lifetime.
Ask the city locals! There are pristine and fantastic beaches outside the metropolis, which are peaceful alternatives to notoriously crowded beaches. Lucky you, these beaches won’t take you too far from the city. Pack your bags and go on a road trip that would only take five hours at most!
We listed 12 white sand beaches foreign tourists are dying to see in the Philippines. Now, let’s begin at the first stop!
First Stop: Zambales
Anawangin Cove is a beauty that resulted from a disaster. This famous Zambales paradise used to be a rocky coast until the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. Tons of ash were dumped into the shore of San Antonio, resulting in fine white sand. The secluded crescent-shaped island is every beach bum’s paradise.
Activities: Swimming, stargazing, mountain climbing, and strolling along the inlet.
Travel Time: Depending on traffic, the time spent traveling from Manila is about 5 hours or more.
A sea haven located in the same province, Nagsasa Beach boasts amazing ash-gray sand beautifully peppered with Agoho trees. It is also home to picture-perfect mountainscapes filled with bamboo and grass, and since it’s not spoiled and commercialized just yet, it’s the best place to go if you want some peace and quiet.
Activities: Strolling along with the scenic islet near the southern end of the tip, trekking to the Nagasa waterfalls, mountain climbing to the viewpoint, fishing, and swimming.
Travel Time: 6 hours (4-5 hours bus ride to Santa Cruz + 20 minutes tricycle ride to Pundaquit + 30-40 minutes boat ride to Nagsasa Cove)
When people say that Surigao is the only surfing spot for surfers, they might not have visited much of the Philippines. Crystal Beach of San Narcisco, Zambales, is one of the favorite surf spots, especially with all the new highways bringing you from the Metro to Zambales. You can choose to stay overnight whether you go camping by the beach or book a hotel, or just pay the entrance fee of P895 (P395 is refundable) to enjoy the facilities.
Have fun exploring the beach with the Zambales mountain ranges as your backdrop!
Activities: Camping, surfing, swimming, beach volleyball, and massage.
Travel Time: 3-4 hours from Manila (bus ride for Iba or Sta. Cruz + tricycle ride to Crystal Beach Resort)
Second Stop: Batangas
Tingloy’s hidden gem will impress you if you seek a fun and relaxing beach adventure this summer. Sure, its calming waves will leave you speechless, but it’s the crystal clear and shallow water that leaves tourists wanting some more!
Activities: Island hopping, trekking, diving, snorkeling, sunset viewing, sunrise viewing, and camping
Travel Time: 4 hours (2-3 hour LRT Buendia ride + 40-minute jeepney ride to Anilao Port + boat ride to Masasa Beach)
One of the closest beaches in Manila lies in Batangas. It’s just a two and a half bus ride away from the city, so you won’t have to travel long to enjoy beach bumming in Laiya. The beach is a long stretch of breath-taking white sand lined up with palm trees and sparkling blue water that create a picturesque view. A favorite beach weekend getaway of the people from Manila or nearby cities.
Activities: Resorts along the coastline have different activities for guests like banana boats, jet skis, kayaks, and many more. Plus volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, diving, and snorkeling!
Travel Time: 2-3 hours
Third Stop: La Union
San Juan, La Union
This beach is home to the nearest surfing spots that are nearest to Manila. Urbiztondo and Bocnotan for beginners, Monaliza for intermediates, and Carrille Point for advanced surfers are the most popular surf spots in La Union. Beach lovers may not only enjoy the fine black sand of San Juan but its beachbreak also offers highly consistent waves for beginners or surf school students, considering it as one of the main attractions. Prepare to ride along the waves in La Union!
Activities: Surfing (for advanced and beginner surfers), enjoy the nightlife, staycation, sunset viewing, culinary tour, visit Bahay na Bato.
Travel Time: 4 hours
Fourth Stop: Puerto Galera
It is a long stretch of white sandy shores dotted with bars, restaurants, and resorts. It offers a variety of watersports activities and a vibrant nightlife. About 5 miles away from the town proper is a Mangyan village, a community of indigenous tribes of Mindoro, where you can buy local arts and crafts and interact with the local community.
Activities: scuba diving, parasailing, snorkeling, swimming, flyboarding, and jet-skiing
Travel Time: 3-4 hours
Fifth Stop: Pangasinan
Boasting 124 islands at low tide and 123 islands at high tide scattered along the Lingayen Gulf, Hundred Islands National Park has beaches where you can dip into its serene waters and see the fantastic natural spots. Every island’s vantage point is a picturesque panoramic, Instagramable shot.
This destination from Alaminos, Pangasinan, is known for its great inland and underwater flora and fauna. Every step, you’ll feel the fine sand and greet every friendly local islander. Never miss the islands’ stunning sunset. Or perhaps do trekking at Governor’s Island that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Hundred Islands at its highest point. For adventure seekers, experience cliff diving, rappelling, wall climbing, and ziplining in Quezon and Marcos Islands.
Activities: Swimming, kayaking in Children’s islands, snorkeling, ziplining (Governor’s Island to Virgin Island), wall climbing and rappelling (Quezon Island), and trekking.
Travel Time: 4 to 6 hours
Sixth Stop: Bataan
Beachgoers everywhere will be in awe of this privately-owned beach nearby Five Fingers Cove. This virgin beach is ideal for those traveling on a budget because its cottage rental fee and camping fee are free. Their entrance fee is P300 (day trip) and P400 for those staying overnight. Expect to enjoy the beach’s tranquil atmosphere where you can have a breath of fresh air!
Activities: swimming, lazing around, and even cliff diving.
Travel Time: 3 hours away
Seventh Stop: Baler
This Baler wonder is known as the birthplace of surfing. Sabang Beach is a two-kilometer stretch of gray sand widely known among surfers and beach bums. This beach provides frequent waves, which makes it the best surfing spot in the country alongside Siargao. Experience the level of surfing like never before!
Activities: Surfing, swimming, sunset viewing (where you’ll see the sky become cotton pink and bubblegum blue), and of course, a food trip!
Travel Time: 5.5 hours
Eight Stop: Pagudpud
Situated in Pagudpud is this stunner called Saud Beach. This long-stretch beach of creamy white sand and shore consists of teal waters, coconut trees, and thrilling waves. Plus, it is among the 25 Most Beautiful Beaches in the world listed by Travel+Leisure magazine.
Activities: Romantic walks during twilight, sunset watching, and water activities like sailing and snorkeling. Don’t forget your food trip to some of the finest local restaurants and canteens!
Travel Time: 10 hours
Last Stop: Sta. Ana in Cagayan
The last stop! One of the regions in the Philippines you’ll fall in love with due to the beauty of the breathtaking hills and mountains. With cool breeze, historical landmarks and electrifying festivals, Sta. Ana in Cagayan is a must-stop destination!
White sands, blue-green waters, and rich marine life. These make Cagayan a tourist attraction worth your attention. This place exudes mystique itself. With the scenic terrain and the gigantic waves, you will notice its distinctive charm you can explore!
Check out the Siwangag Cove for fun nature sightseeing. Snorkel into the ocean, where you can see the beauty of the sea underneath. Experience the joy of the Viray Festival held every 26th-30th of May. Visit Anguib Beach, Nangaramoan Beach, Pozo Robo Beach, Jerolinda Beach, and Buacag Falls in mainland Sta. Ana
Activities: Trek to Cape Engaño Lighthouse in Cape Engaño Point, snorkeling and scuba diving, birdwatching, skimboarding (with your own board), exploring the nearby Crocodile, Mapurao, and Manidad Islands, and camping.
Travel time: 10 hours
Discover Philippine beaches!
So there you go, the top ten white sand beaches in the Philippines near Manila! See? You don’t have to go far from the city to see the beauty of the Philippines. What are you waiting for? Book early cheap flights to Manila, Philippines, and discover the Philippines’ 7,107 islands on your next spring vacation!