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10 Best Island Destinations in the Philippines

Updated on September 25, 2012
Batanes, Philippines
Batanes, Philippines | Source
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines | Source

Picking out the best island destinations in the Philippines isn’t an easy task.

The Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands, give or take a few islands during high tide or low tide.

Yes, that’s enough islands for any foreign tourist or local Filipino to visit in his or her lifetime.

Still, there are many islands that effortlessly stand out from the crowd.

These island destinations have matchless, striking scenery found nowhere else in the Philippines and perhaps the rest of the whole world.

Their beauty is enough to leave one in awe, wondering what natural treasures the other Philippine islands might hold.

Tough as it seems, I’ve picked out the ten best island destinations in the Philippines that are a must-visit for any foreigner or local.

A note though, there are so many more beautiful Philippines islands that are beyond the scope of this short list.

1. Apo Island

About 20 kilometers from the province of Negros Oriental in the Philippines is the 72-hectareApo Island, a pristine, protected, and pastoral island that is famous for its snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep sea diving sites.

Apo Island is surrounded by calm waters and striking coral formations, making it a breeding ground for marine life and therefore a first-rate destination for marine activities.

Around the island, divers and snorkelers can encounter as many as 650 fish species and marvel at as many as 400 types of corals.

The scenery in the island itself is simply bucolic.

White sand beaches line the edges of Apo Island and people, mostly fishermen and their families, lead unhurried lives.

2. Batanes Islands

The smallest province in the Philippines – Batanes Islands – also has one of the most enchanting landscapes in the country.

Windswept and separated from the whole of the Philippines by wide, rough waters, Batanes Islands features gently sloping hills, sudden cliffs, seemingly bottomless canyons, and rugged shores dotted with boulders.

Its houses are bare yet robust, with thick walls and thatched roofs that are ready to withstand to the strong, destructive typhoons that frequently pass through the province.

In this timeless place, visitors can hop from one island to another, swim in the cool waters, admire the scenic villages, go fishing, and simply be one with nature.

3. Bohol Island

Bohol Island is most famous for its Chocolate Hills – over 1,500 limestone hills from coral reefs that formed during the ice age – but is way more than this amazing gem of nature.

Bohol Island is home to endangered flora and fauna and is most known as the home of the Philippine tarsier.

It has over one hundred caves that people can explore one after the other for spelunking activities.

Also the major draws to the island are the endless white-sand beaches, clear waters, and hidden waterfalls.

4. Boracay Island

Reaping prestigious awards left and right as one of the best beaches in the world is theBoracay Island, a seven-kilometer long, dog bone-shaped island with white, powdery sand beaches as well as very clear waters.

Lying about 315 kilometers from the Philippine capital Manila, Boracay Island is a haven for marine and land-based activities during day time.

Visitors can go scuba diving, cliff diving, snorkeling, kiteboarding, golfing, swimming, and windsurfing.

At nighttime, the island energizes and becomes one big party place with hundreds of revelers.

Boracay Island is popular among people from all walks of life, from the backpackers, to family-oriented visitors, and to the high-class people who value privacy and relaxation.

5. Camiguin

A picturesque volcanic island shaped like a pear is the tiny, quaint island of Camiguin in northern part of Mindanao.

As a volcanic island, Camiguin has seven volcanoes, plenty of hot springs, white-sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, mountains that appear blue-green in colors, and lush forests.

Travelers in the island can bask in the historical past of Camiguin by visiting Catarman Church Ruins, Sunken Cemetery, Sto. Rosario Church that was built in 1882, and several ancestral houses of the old rich.

6. Coron Island

Part of the famed Palawan province in the Philippines is the Coron Island, an island famous for its wreck diving destinations, bizarre marine animals, steep cliffs, and emerald waters.

In Coron Island, people can snorkel or dive to see the 12 huge intact ships that sank in the area during the height of World War II.

These were Japanese ships that docked in the Philippines to channel supplies to the occupying Japanese troops.

They were, however, sunk in a blitzkrieg staged by the US forces.

Coron Island is also famous for its reefs, with hundreds kinds of fish finding sanctuaries in this place.

7. Hundred Islands

Found in Alaminos City in the province of Pangasinan is the Hundred Islands, a group of two million-year old islands scattered across the Lingayen Gulf.

There are about 124 islands in Hundred Islands during low tide.

At high tide, one island submerges and so the count becomes 123.

These islands were once corals in an ancient sea bed that has become exposed over time.

Each island offers an opportunity for exploration, with its exotic flora and fauna.

8. Pamalican Island

Also part of the Palawan province is the ultra-secluded Pamalican Island, a 2.5-kilometer island surrounded by seven-kilometer coral reefs.

Pamalican Island is the location of the high-end Amanpulo Resort, which is owned by the global resort group Aman Resort that caters to people with high net-worth values.

This island is serviced by one airport and one ferry and is therefore very much private.

Visitors can do snorkeling, windsurfing, scuba diving, or simply chill out at the white-sand beach.

9. Siargao Island

About 800 kilometers southeast of Manila is a surfing haven called Siargao Island, a 400-square kilometer island with white-sand beaches, reefs, and rough winds from the Pacific Ocean that whips up waves ideal for international surfing competitions.

Siargao Island is where local and foreign surfers meet, daring each other to take on the next huge wave.

It, however, has more to offer beyond surfing.

Siargao Island has large mangrove forests and stretches of wetlands.

The place also has well-preserved coral reefs.

10. Tubbataha Reefs

Tubbataha Reefs is a remote island over 90 nautical miles from Palawan province in the Philippines.

It is world-famous as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tubbataha Reefs has one of the most amazing underwater scenery in the world with its reef platforms, sandy lagoons, steep walls, and staggering amount of marine life.

It has 350 species of corals and 500 species of fishes.

Measuring 130,000 hectares, Tubbataha Reefs is a protected area, making it ideal for visitors who want to see nature at its best.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Islands in the Philippines


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