5 must-visit beaches that are not in Boracay or La Union or Siargao

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Usually regarded as nondescript, the island of Cagbalete is slowly making it to many traveler’s lists. It is 14 km off the coast of Mauban Town in Quezon. Photo from VILLA NOE BEACH CAGBALETE/FACEBOOK

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The beaches of La Union, Baler, Boracay, Palawan and Siargao are mainstays on the avid traveler’s list. Even during the rainy season, beachgoers flock to these seaside havens that prove it’s summer all year ‘round in the country. There’s a reason why they’re on everybody’s lips and Instagram feeds. Their immaculate white sand beaches, ridiculous waves, and exciting night life can take credit for that.

There are still parts of the archipelago that are still hugely undiscovered. Beaches and towns still largely unknown to most of us are sometimes literally next door. We’ve listed down a few equally beautiful yet lesser known beaches across the country that you might want to add to your must-visit list, as well as how to get there and how much budget you need for meals, lodging, and activities.

Cagbalete, Quezon

Usually regarded as nondescript, the island of Cagbalete is slowly making it to many traveler’s lists, especially those who like to stretch their budget. An overnight stay in Cagbalete Island can start at ₱1,000 per person if you don’t have a problem with sleeping in a tent. Despite the cheap lodgings, the resorts that line the coast and town proper are very decent, accommodating, and charming. And with a magical view of the Pacific Ocean, you wouldn’t mind sleeping by the beach at all.

There are plenty of things to do in Cagbalete. Take a day tour around the island to see the different coves and rock formations. Snorkel or skin dive in their coral reefs facing the Pacific. Or lounge in the disappearing sandbar of fine white sand. Tourists flock to this sand bar to witness the rising and falling of the tide while enjoying a dip in the tidal pools or sunbathing. You can also explore the mangrove forest right next to the sandbar.

How to get there: Cagbalete is 14 km off the coast of Mauban Town in Quezon. Get to Mauban Port via a bus from Lucena Grand Terminal Station. There are also gated parking lots around the narrow streets of the town if you bring your own vehicle. From the port, take a ferry that will take you to Sabang Port in Cagbalete. From there, you can charter a bangka or habal-habal to your resort.

Estimated budget: ₱2,000 to ₱4,000 per head for an overnight trip.

casiguran-road.jpg Casiguran is for the adventure-seeker with a hunger that needs satiating. You can visit the mangrove forest and explore its meandering river beds via kayaks. Photo by LAWRENCE RUIZ/CC-BY-2.0

Casiguran, Aurora

Overshadowed by the more popular Baler, the municipality of Casiguran deserves the same attention. It is 200 km away from Manila and four hours away from the surf town, but the natural wonders it cradles makes the long trip worthwhile. Casiguran is home to the Amro River Protected Landscape, which preserves not only this body of water, but also the area’s tributary terrains.

Casiguran is for the adventure-seeker with a hunger that needs satiating. You can visit the mangrove forest and explore its meandering river beds via kayaks. Trek through a mossy forest following a river to get to a waterfall where you can take a dip in the cold water to rest your tired feet.

And at the end of the day, relax in two of the major beaches in town — Casapsapan Beach, a creamy-sand beach located within a cove overlooking the mountains, with a bed of islets on its shores during the low tide; and Ampere Beach in Dipaculao. Its smooth white rock beach is a beautiful backdrop for the fervent turquoise tides crashing against the rock formations on both ends of the shore.

How to get there: Take a bus from Cubao that leaves for Baler, Aurora and transfer to another bus at the terminal that’s bound for Casiguran and Dilasag. Travel time from Baler to Casiguran is four hours.

Estimated budget: ₱3,000 to ₱5,000 per head for overnight trip.

tatlongpuloguimaras.jpg In Tatlong Pulo, Guimaras, electricity doesn’t reach the beach; instead, travelers are treated to a peaceful weekend close to nature, and away from gadgets and the stress of the city. Photo from TRIPADVISOR/WEBSITE

Tatlong Pulo, Guimaras

For the majority of a decade, Guimaras fell off of people’s travel lists, especially after the oil spill in August 2006, which was considered to be the biggest one in our country’s history. However, tourism is on the rise in recent years, following the recovery of the biodiversity in the area. The small island off the southwestern coast of Panay has slowly made its way back to travelers’ consciousness, known for offering some of the most secluded and breathtaking beaches.

One of them is Tatlong Pulo, arguably the most beautiful in the island. The name comes from the three islets facing the main beach. Electricity doesn’t reach the beach; instead, travelers are treated to a peaceful weekend close to nature, and away from gadgets and the stress of the city.

Enjoy the white sand and wade in pristine waters while taking in the view, or go island hopping and snorkeling around the islets. You can also rest in wooden cottage attics until it’s time for dinner you can ask to have done for you. This idyllic weekend narrative is surely one for the books.

How to get there: From the jump off point of Iloilo City, take a ferry to Ortiz Wharf in Guimaras Island — about an hour and a half ride. From there, take a 15-minute bangka ride to Jordan Wharf. Upon arrival, take a tricycle going to the Alibhon Market, and from the market, charter another tricycle ride going to Tatlong Pulo.

Estimated budget: ₱1,500 to ₱2,000 per head for a daytrip from Ortiz Wharf, Guimaras.

salogdoongbeach.jpg Salagdoong is famous for its two-tier jumping boards embedded on a 50-feet coral rock, which makes it a great place for first time jumpers and divers. Photo from SALAGDOONG BEACH AND RESORT/FACEBOOK

Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor

Take a deep breath and jump off a cliff in Salagdoong Beach, located in Maria, Siquijor. Famous for its two-tier jumping boards embedded on a 50-foot coral rock, Salagdoong is a great place for first time jumpers and divers. Its gorgeous emerald waters visibly shift from light to dark and it houses a lush biodiversity underneath.

Although the beach is considerably short, it’s very well-maintained and beautiful. There is also a restaurant near the beach where you can get meals for ₱150 to ₱400. There’s also a small cave at the edge of the cove where you can relax and take pictures as the waves gently pull you back and forth against the shallow limestone wall. A perfect spot for social media-worthy photos.

How to get there: Siquijor is a must-see destination on its own, so set aside a few days of your Central Visayan backpacking if you wish to go around and experience the whole island. Coming from Dumaguete City, either take a tricycle or a van going to Dumaguete Port and book ferry tickets going to Siquijor. The ferries leave every hour, and take two hours to reach Siquijor. From the port, you can take a tricycle tour going around the island (it takes about four hours to do a perimeter), including Salagdoong Beach, or simply take a tricycle directly to your destination.

Estimated budget: ₱7,000 to ₱8,000 per head for two nights in Siquijor.

dahicanbeach.jpg Dahican Beach, a 7 km stretch of white sand beach in Davao, has strong waves, making the destination a great place to surf, skimboard, and lounge under the sun. Photo from WAYPH/WEBSITE

Dahican Beach, Mati (Davao Oriental)

Dubbed “The Next Boracay,” Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental boasts of its largely unspoiled beaches, credited to the careful and sustainable tourism implemented here. Its 7 km stretch of white sand beach and strong waves make the destination a great place to surf, skimboard, and lounge under the sun. The colorful stilt cottages remind you of Bali and Maldives, and the energy, that of the bigger surftowns.

There’s so much to do in Dahican. Learn how to ride its iridescent blue waves, fly one of their ultralight planes to take in the view, and go island hopping in a small bangka. You can also hike up the rolling hills of the Sleeping Dinosaur.

At the town proper, you can visit the Subangan Museum, or take a stroll along their baywalk lined with shops and restaurants. The municipality is dotted with resorts and hotels, but you can opt to camp beachfront, enveloped by the coconut trees that line the coastline.

How to get there: Get to Davao City via plane or a ferry from Manila and board a bus for four hours to the city of Mati. Upon arrival, take a tricycle or a habal-habal directly to Dahican Beach.

Estimated budget: ₱6,000 to ₱10,000 per head for an overnight trip from Davao City.