7 Best Homegrown Bean-to-Bar Chocolates in the Philippines

Filipinos’ love for chocolate is undeniable. Chocolates are the ultimate dessert or snack for many; it’s one of the best pick-me-up foods when you feel sad and blue. It’s also a popular gift every Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and special occasions. One thing’s for sure, chocolates are still a hit. But, do you know the main secret ingredient of chocolate? It’s Cacao.

Cacao, scientifically known as Theobroma cacao, has been revered in history as the “food of the gods.” In the Philippines, cacao first became part of our culture when it was first introduced to the early Filipinos in the mid-17th century during the galleon trade. Today, the rise of cacao and the Philippine chocolate industry has been rapid as its products and raw materials bagged numerous international awards. 

Global recognition does bring pride to the country, which encourages more farmers to plant cacao. With the rise of the chocolate industry also comes the market and creation of artisan chocolate. This article features seven (7) of the country’s best homegrown chocolate producers and sellers supporting farms that adhere to sustainable agricultural practices. Sustainability is their businesses’ standard pillar. So, you don’t only have the pleasure of eating chocolate, but you will experience a happy journey from seed to table. 

  1. Casa De Cacao & The Chocolate Chamber

For the Chocolate Queen of Cebu Raquel T. Choa, chocolate is more than just a dessert. Taking you on a Cacao Journey at Casa de Cacao (Chocolate Appreciation Tours) and The Chocolate Chamber (retail store), she will tell you her stories — The Legend of Maria Cacao —– which will capture your imagination while sipping hot “sikwate” perfected by Raquel herself. 

Her chocolate creations made from pure cacao beans will fill your heart and palate with the different notes and flavors of cacao that’s as colorful and flavorful as life itself. 

Once known as the ‘food of the gods,” cacao takes the main stage in the Chocolate Appreciation Tours of Raquel and is celebrated and enjoyed as it once had been. 

At Casa de Cacao and The Chocolate Chamber, you will be able to taste the myriad of flavors of cacao, and try out their chocolate creations, such as the Quickmelt Tablea, White/Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs, Cacao de Bola, Choco Cayenne, Tsokolate Bar, Choco Nib Oatmeal Cookies, Fartufini, Flavored Chocolate Powder, and Raquel’s newest creation, Moringa Alfajores  — crumbly vanilla-malunggay cookies filled with tablea caramel and coated with white chocolate and malunggay. 

Behind her achievements as an entrepreneur, Raquel is driven by a purpose – her advocacy to uplift the Filipino chocolate, the Philippine Cacao industry and support farmers –  making her and her chocolate creations all the more admirable.

  1. Malagos Chocolate 

Taken from Malagos Chocolate’s Facebook Page

As one of the most popular locally-made chocolate brands in the Philippines, Malagos Chocolate has captivated the meticulous taste of global chocolate lovers for its unique and superb taste. 

Malagos Chocolate is situated in Davao, dubbed as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines, and responsible for 80% of the country’s production.  The city’s environment where it’s grown, including the climate and genetics, influences the taste of the chocolate and its signature chocolate flavor and notes. Malagos Chocolate has also received international recognition and awards.

Taken from Malagos Chocolate’s Facebook Page

The farm has a Malagos Garden Resort, where you can stay overnight or spend a day tour around the country’s first chocolate museum and experience a Tree-To-Bar Tour, chocolate-making activity, or pamper yourself with a chocolate spa. Founded by mother-son tandem Roberto and Charita Puentespina, Malagos has welcomed guests since 1994 and is now deemed as one of Davao’s top tourist spots. 

  1. Dalareich Chocolate House 

Credits to: Dalareich Chocolate House 

Where else could chocolate be discovered than in the land of the Chocolate Hills – Bohol? With so much Spanish influence across Bohol island, cacao has become part of Boholanos’ culture. Each Boholano household has at least one to three (1-3) Cacao trees planted in their backyard. No wonder the Polot family founded the Dalareich Chocolate House in Bohol that received international recognition from the London-based Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2019. 

It has a Ginto Chocolates social enterprise that makes bean-to-bar chocolates from locally grown cacao trees planted by local farmers. Aside from its renowned Tablea, a local chocolate drink, this family business also advocates for an ‘Adopt a Cacao Tree and Preserve’s Bohol Cacao Heritage’ project to preserve and rehabilitate heirloom cacao trees and help the farmers earn more income for their families. 

Looking for a luxury treat, try its Oro Single Chocolate Bar, which is 75 percent dark chocolate that comes in plain, mint, chili, and coconut flavors. Or, surprise your loved ones with a box of 12 assorted chocolate pralines with fillings of wine and honey, which is one of its Ginto Luxury Chocolates brands. A dried mango or a dried pineapple coated with dark chocolate could be another chocolate choice while shopping at Dalareich. Its chocolate flavor is a combination of the sweet to the sour taste of mango and the bitterness of single-origin dark chocolate. 

Dalareich Chocolate House also has a farm where guests can fall in love with their chocolates even more. Guests will learn about the story behind Dalareich and discover the process of chocolate making and the brief history of cacao in the Philippines. Guests are also expected to witness the life of the hardworking farmers and taste the cacao fruits. To book a farm tour or buy its products, you may check out www.delareichchocolatehouse.com or book through your favorite Travel Agent or Travel Advisor. 

  1. Cacao Culture

Credits to Cacao Culture Philippines 

This is another chocolate producer from the Cacao Capital of the Philippines, Davao City.  Cacao Culture is known to produce Cacao Butter and Chunks, Roasted Cacao Nibs with Coconut Sugar, Chocolate Covered Mango Strips. 

Taken from Auro Chocolate’s Facebook Page 

Its internationally awarded premium bean-to-bar chocolate brand, Auro Chocolate, is rooted in sustainability (buy beans from local farmers) and  raised the bar high when it comes to creating high-quality artisan chocolate.

Auro Chocolate offers a wide variety of flavors that will leave a mark on your palette. It fulfills any chocolate lover’s wish with its plain dark and white chocolates. Also in its  product line is the chocolate bar with cashews, cacao nibs, and banana chips. 

Another of its award-winning artisan chocolate brands is Theo + Philo is one of the first Philippine chocolate makers to make their chocolate exclusively with local cacao. What makes them different is that they mix distinct and unique Filipino flavors like coconut and mango. 

5. Risa Chocolates

Taken from Risa Chocolate’s Facebook Page

What started as a stall in a pop-up shop and bazaars now became  one of the most sought-after chocolate brands in the country and worldwide. A chocolate seller from the south, Risa is a one-of-a-kind premium handmade chocolate that leaves a lasting impression. It is made with high-quality cacao beans coming from South Cotabato in Mindanao. You will drool from its unique chocolate flavors such as bacon chili chocolate, brown butter chocolate, and Cerveza Negros truffles. 

6. Tigre y Oliva Chocolate

An Italian craft chocolatier ventured on social entrepreneurship, working with cacao farmers in the Philippines and creating an emerging chocolate brand, Tigre y Olivia, in La Union. It is known for its handcraft and single-origin chocolate bars that every Chocolate lover must try. 

7. Hiraya Filipino Bean-To-Bar Chocolates

Hiraya is a chocolate brand that merges comfort and newness into its products. One of its popular products is the 72% dark chocolate bar, where you can taste its fruitiness with a hint of a bitter taste. Hiraya  also experimented with flavors such as chicharron, coconut, and queso de bola. Its products are all-natural and handcrafted , which fits well for vegans. It sources their beans from Davao to help farmers make their living through direct and fair trade, adopting a sustainable and socially conscious practice into its brand. 

Discover these award-winning chocolate producers and sellers in the Philippines!

You can check out all of these chocolate producers and sellers in the Philippines. But first, don’t miss the opportunity to grab one of our packages here. 

The Best Brews in the Philippines

For coffee lovers, the Philippines could be a place for you to explore and experience its local coffee shops while tasting and smelling the addictive aroma of its signature local coffee from Lipa City in Batangas, where the first coffee beans were introduced by a Spanish Priest in 1800, to the metropolitan cities of Manila, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro, and the mountain ranges of Sagada, Benguet, Bukidnon, South Cotabato, and Davao.

Coffee isn’t just a trend. It’s also a cultural symbol not only in pop culture but everywhere in the world. There are many reasons why coffee shops are the most visited in the world, especially coffee shops in the Philippines. For some, it also has become a cozy place to catch up with friends and chatter.

Coffee has been an essential commodity in the Philippines, not only for students and working people but also for the tourists who wanted to experience and taste Philippine coffee in an atmosphere like no other. The warm, cozy, mom and pop, or open-air ambiance of coffee shops become hangout spots for individuals, friends, students and professionals, local and foreign visitors from all walks of life, whether young or old.

Pep up your trip to the Philippines by discovering the unique flavors of Philippine coffee while tasting the best brews found in all three major islands.

Top 9 Coffee Shops in the Philippines

Bo’s Coffee

Bo’s Coffee

Bo’s Coffee’s primary focus is offering an entirely homegrown coffee experience to the locals and tourists. They don’t only sell the beans, but they also use them in the beverages they make in their coffee shops.

They provide a wide array of beans from Sagada, Benguet, Mt. Apo in Davao, and Mt. Matumtum in South Cotabato. The beans from Sagada give out a nutty taste with tobacco notes. The Benguet beans have a wine taste with an herbal kick. Mt. Apo beans give an earthy flavor, while beans from Mt. Matumtum has a berry taste with a kick of spice.

Location: You can find Bo’s Coffee in major cities in the Philippines such as Makati City, Quezon City, Cebu City, Dumaguete City, Cagayan de Oro and Davao City.

Kalsada Coffee

To connect to her heritage and her home country, the Pacific Northwest-raised Carmel Laurino founded Kalsada. Photographs showing “kapeng barako” sold in the Seattle market in 1909 became her inspiration for opening her coffee business. Today, her coffee shops cater to coffee lovers in four American cities and Manila.

They source beans from Belis, Benguet that give out a vanilla taste and floral aroma. Expect to taste notes of cacao, nutmeg, cardamom, and all-spice in your drink. Another win for the company is their support for the farmers as they pay over 50 pesos per pound of beans.

Location: Kalsada has branches in Seattle, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Manila.


Figaro serves coffee made from freshly-roasted beans sourced from all over the Philippines. The coffee shop prides on their fresh beans roasted every week before they deliver them to all the stores. Through this, customers can enjoy a fresh cup of coffee while enjoying it’s European-style ambiance.

The coffee shop has come a long way since it’s opening in 1993, with over 90 branches worldwide. Today, the brand has become a prime example of what a Filipino world-class coffee brand can become.

As for the menu, they created a lineup of their old and new favorites that fits anyone’s pallette. It is a medley of Western cuisine (Chicken Caesar Salad and BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich) and a touch of Filipino flavors such as their classic Magandang Umaga Platter, our version of a breakfast platter.

Coffee shop gems in Luzon

El Union in La Union

If you are looking for a hip, open-air cafe atmosphere by the beachside or in a surf town, La Union is the best place. El Union is Instagram-worthy, with #ShirtlessBaristas making good coffee from high-quality local beans and specialty drinks. The coffee shop from one of the Philippines’ surfing capitals serves homegrown coffee and drinks, including a specialty cup of Nitro Cold Brew on draft and a cup of Dirty Horchata, which is a shot of espresso mixed with a rice-milk. This surf town cafe is frequently visited by surfers, surf enthusiasts, and Manila folks who spend their weekends in Elyu or La Union.

They serve high-quality local beans from farmers in the Cordilleras, Benguet, Mt. Apo, Cagayan De Oro, and Bukidnon and blend the roasted beans with Panama, Brazil, and Ethiopia El Union is a popular spot for celebrity tourists. In fact, they once served coffee to Martha Stewart when she visited the country.

Location: The Great Northwest Travel Shop & Viewing Deck, MacArthur Highway, San Juan, La Union

Cafe de Lipa in Lipa, Batangas

Why not start your day at “Cafe de Lipa, the most popular coffee shop located in Lipa City in Batangas, which is the birthplace of Philippine coffee. Cafe de Lipa serves Kapeng Barako (a Liberica species), from Tagalog words, a male stud bull or wild boar, due to its strong and bold flavor. Its historical significance dates back as early as 1800 when a Spanish Franciscan monk introduced coffee in the Philippines. Mostly for Filipinos, Kapeng Barako invokes memories of their parents sipping it early in the morning, a cultural staple for more than 200 years. In fact, the owners were able to trace their lineage to two family members who helped propagate the country’s first coffee trees.

They source their beans in different parts of the coffee, including Robusta from Cavite, Ilocos, Basilan, and Arabica from Benguet, Bukidnon, and Cotabato. You can expect authentically and high-quality coffee served in the cafe.

Best Drink: Barakok Joe. It’s their homage to the classic signature brew.

Location: You can find Cafe de Lipa in three different locations in Lipa City (The Outlets, STAR Tollway, Brgy. Tibig, and at Mataasnalupa, Lipa City). You can also visit its Taguig City Branch located at the ground floor of Market! Market!

Bana’s Coffee (Sagada)

Once a set of a beloved Filipino romantic comedy movie “That Thing Called Tadhana” (That Thing Called Destiny), Sagada has become one of the country’s top tourist spots not only by local travelers but also by foreign visitors. Sagada prides itself on its rich coffee beans. Hence, there is a coffee shop found within the rich highlands.

Bana’s Coffee is famous for its Arabica house blend and Kape Alamid, coffee made from civet cats’ droppings. You can enjoy a world-class coffee while looking at the gorgeous view of its balcony.

The cafe is also renowned internationally. It won the Medaille Gourmet in the “International Contest of Coffees Roasted in their Countries of Origin” in 2017, awarded in Paris, France.

Location: South Road, Poblacion, Sagada

The Visayas Concoction

Balsa Kafe and Agri-tourism Hub in Leyte

Leyte’s must-visit destination is known for its scenic view, serene atmosphere, and great coffee. The Balsa Kafe and Agri-tourism Hub is known for its rich coffee that every tourist wants to start their day with. This cafe and hub work with the local farmers and farming communities around the area, where they source their fresh produce and local coffee.

Location: Brgy. Bogasong, Libagon, Southern Leyte

Madge Cafe in Iloilo

This cafe has become an Iloilo icon where tourists stop here to dig into their breakfast menu before exploring the town. Serving since 1951, they are using its original pre-war concoction and source their beans from the northern parts of Iloilo and Guimaras.

What’s more impressive is that they traditionally prepare their coffee using a culador (flannel sieve), holding and boosting the flavor as layers of beans are added.

Location: Lapaz, Iloilo City

Coffee Culture Roastery (Bacolod)

The country’s City of Smiles is every food lover’s paradise as they come to the city for its iconic chicken inasal. But, what most people don’t know is that the province’s cafe culture is rising.

Found here is the town’s first artisan coffee roaster, Coffee Culture Roastery, where they source their beans from Philippine local farmers.

Best Drink: Negros Blend. Baristas use a mix of Robusta and Arabica beans from Negros Island’s Mt. Kanlaon, with hints of dark chocolate and roasted nuts.

Location: Alijis Road, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental (Besides 7-eleven)

Mindanao’s brew

Bukidnon Brew Cafe

This family-owned cafe is one of Bukidnon’s favorite coffee shops and hangout places for people of different ages. Located in the city of Malabalay, this coffee shop prides itself in brewing and serving the traditional Monk’s Blend coffee, beans grown and produced by Benedictine Monks in the area.

Location: Bonifacio Dr., Malaybalay, Bukidnon

Travel now in the Philippines

For a country like the Philippines, a cup of coffee means a lot to local farmers. You support their farms while advocating ethical and sustainable farming and embracing the Philippine coffee culture of Kape Tayo!

Kape Tayo (Let’s have coffee) is the Filipinos highest form of endearment, inviting you for a cup of coffee at home, in an office, or a coffee shop where you can have intimate or deep conversations.

If you want to taste our local coffee in all three islands, come and visit the Philippines. Book your travel now!

Experience the Philippines’ award-winning destinations: Palawan, Cebu, Boracay, Siargao, Intramuros, and Batangas

Boracay, Philippines

Known as one of the top destinations in the world, it is no wonder that the Philippines has been winning awards for its world-renowned best beaches, diving tourism, and even its tourism campaigns. In this blog, we celebrate the many wins for the Philippines; more specifically, the awards garnered by the Philippine tourism industry.

The 2020 World Travel Awards Asia

Intramuros, Manila

This awarding body has contributed to the rising global tourism standards through giving awards to brands and best practices from the best travel, tourism, and hospitality industries every year. And last year, the Philippines’s Department of Tourism was declared the 2020s Leading Tourist Board in Asia out of the 11 countries nominated. 

For the fourth time in a row, its majestic beaches have won as Asia’s Leading Beach Destination. For the second time, the award-giving body recognized these beaches as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination.

Siargao won as World’s Leading Island Destination, and Intramuros won as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction. 

Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2020

Coron, Palawan

The world-renowned travel magazine awarded Palawan as the Best Island in the World. This tourist attraction is rated by the lifestyle sites reader for 94/83 out of 100 for its striking limestone cliffs extending directly from the ocean, the seascape in its dramatic way. Its white sandy beaches with palm trees are to-die-for. And, did we forget to mention its crystal clear waters? It looks straight out of a million-dollar art piece. 

One of the reviews also noted its world-class scuba diving to discover and explore the World War II shipwrecks. A piece of nature and history enveloped in one destination. 

Travelers can enjoy the traditional Filipino culture as locals celebrate festivals with float parades and costumes. 

Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Awards

Siargao Island

Aside from Palawan, other islands were recognized as the best in Asia. Conde Nast Traveller’s annual Reader’s Choice Awards named Cebu and the Visayas as the Best Island In Asia, scoring 95.83 out of 100. 

Other islands, Palawan, Siargao, and Boracay, also made it to the Top 10 in the Asia list, ranking fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. Although Boracay is part of Western Visayas, it was submitted as a separate entry.

None of its major island groups –  Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, Guimaras, Panay, Romblon, Samar, and Leyte – all pose its charm simplistic white sand beaches to its picturesque crystal clear water. 

These islands also have a significant historical value. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan first set foot in the Mactan Island in Cebu, where he introduced Catholicization. Some of the bloodiest battles were fought on these islands. One of these was against the Japanese during World War II. It is in Leyte where General Douglas MacArthur made his famous promise, “I shall return.”

World Spa Awards

Our spa and wellness brands, including Conrad Spa Manila, Aman Spa at Amanpulo, and The Farm at San Benito, bagged three awards in the 6th edition of the World Spa Awards. 

Conrad Spa won as Philippines’ Best Hotel Spa and bested other famous luxury hotel spas in the country like Willow Stream Spa at Raffles Manila. The said luxury spa facility is famous for its unique pampering and relaxation experience, boasting its six individual treatment rooms with tubs, private sauna, and steam facilities. 

The said spa also won the same award in 2019. Aman Spa bagged the Best Resort Spa, which is the same accolade given to them in 2016. The said luxury spa offers fitness, relaxation, and a serene, panoramic view of the sea. 

The Farm of San Benito in Lipa City Batangas, one of the world’s top holistic medical wellness resorts, was also recognized as the Best Wellness Retreat. They are known to specialize in preventive health care and offer a personalized plan to improve their guest’s physical and emotional health. 

These awards were voted by professionals in the spa and wellness industry as well as by spa tourism consumers. 

Visit the Philippines

Come and visit the Philippines, and experience these award-winning destinations — Palawan, Cebu, Boracay, Siargao, Intramuros, and Batangas — for yourself. Indeed, it’s more fun in the Philippines!

12 Instagram-worthy Spots in Coron, Palawan

Four things pop in our minds when someone mentions Coron, Palawan: white sand beaches, diving, karst landscapes, and stunning views. Places with these four features are a perfect element to an instagrammable post, whether it is a photo or a video. Palawan is internationally renowned as the best island in the world, recognized by numerous travel publications like Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast Traveller. For sure, Coron has tons of Instagram-worthy spots. 

A tip, though, if you want that serene photo, visit during the dry season spanning from December to May. Not only will you be able to avoid the rain and typhoons, but also you can capture the clear waters Coron is known for. Plus, traveling during this season is safe for travelers riding on a boat between islands. 

So, we’ve selected 12 picture-perfect spots you must visit if Coron is on your bucket list.

  1. Kayangan Lake
Dive into the deep blue Kayangan Lake

The lake is instagrammable because it is a surreal destination. Kayangan Lake has a mixture of fresh and saltwater that is crystal-clear, and it is visible up to ten meters deep. The rock formation is unique, making it an excellent background for every picture. One worth mentioning is its pristine reef that catapults Kayangan Lake to one of the island’s most popular tourist spots.  Make Kayangan Lake your first stop to avoid the crowd and enjoy the serenity of the lake while capturing picture-perfect photos. 

2. Twin Lagoon

A spectacular attraction, the Twin Lagoon is a go-to for its beauty and mystery. 

It’s clear water and the unique structure, seen in the karst wall that separates the lake and the sea, is a definition of beauty. The lagoon is surrounded by sheer cliffs; however, it doesn’t end there. Here is the mystery. 

As you explore, you will discover a hole found in one of the cliffs leading you to an inner lagoon. The hole itself is submerged underwater at high tide. With a wooden ladder, visitors can climb up to the rocks and view the second lagoon.

3. Calauit Island Safari 

Including wildlife in your Instagram feed is one of the highlights, so visiting a safari is a must. Calauit Island Safari, a 9,100 acres game reserve and wildlife sanctuary, is one of the top destinations for tourists, both locals and foreigners. Take a trip to see the savannah with African giraffes, gazelles, zebras, and more.

4. Siete Pecados

Known as a snorkeling haven, Siete Pecados prides on its picturesque coral reefs along with reef fish, turtles, and schools of barracudas, perfect for an underwater photo. Its coral reefs surrounding are the healthiest in the region and the most-visited by snorkelers. So when going to this spot, imagine swimming in a giant aquarium. 

Siete Pecados, a name of a group of seven rocky islets, is located in the south of Busuanga Island.

5. Bulog Dos Island

White sandy beach and endless sunshine hours seem to be a myth but not in Bulog Dos Island. So, enjoy the turquoise waters and their tranquil surroundings. It is perfect for Instagram shots worth a hundred likes. 

Bulog Dos has a small sandbar where you can take a walk into its clear, calming waters. Snorkeling is another activity on the island. Here, you will be able to see vibrant corals and abundant tropical marine life. 

6. Two Seasons Coron Island Resort

If you come to Bulog Dos during low tide, you can cross to its neighboring island where the resort is located. What connects the two islands is a small sandbar that only appears during a low tide, which occurs in the early morning. 

Tip! Visit the infinity pool, and also, make sure never to miss the happy hour cocktails. Definitely worth the fun!

7. Barracuda Lake

It may not be packed with marine life, the lake is the center of interest to divers for different reasons. There’s nothing much to see underwater except for a barracuda fish. What makes it exciting for scuba divers and freedivers is the thermocline experience, the temperature drastically changes at 30 feet. The lake never fails to deliver a picturesque overload. Barracuda lake has saltwater and freshwater, causing it to have an oil-on-water layer. 

8. Coron Bay

This is an obvious choice for travelers visiting Coron. The bay features a viewpoint where you can take a picturesque full view of the bay using your drones. The best-kept secret of the area is the swimming spots. You can enjoy the unbelievably clear waters and tall limestone cliffs, an excellent background for your Insta’ pic! 

Beneath the surface of Coron Bay is World War II sunken ships covered with colorful corals and marine life, and Philippine Dugongs or Sea Cows, approximately 8-10 feet long and 510-650-pounder marine animals that are related to manatees with similar in appearance and behavior, except its tail is fluke like a whale. It’s indeed an amazing experience to have a close encounter with this gentle, shy giant at six feet and capture this moment with your camera.

9. Black Island

The reason behind its name is the black limestones covering the area. However, the beaches on the island have fine white sand. You can explore three small caves, open to the public, and a natural pool inside the cave. 

The island is also an excellent snorkeling spot where you can find a colorful coral garden and a World War II shipwreck in the middle.

10. Malcapuya Island 

Imagine a tropical getaway with clear warm waters and tranquility. That is a 100 out of 100! Malcapuya is one of the farthest islands of Coron town, but the view is definitely worth the trip. Not only you’ll find a great swimming spot, but also a great diving spot where you will be able to have a glance at the marine life on the beach

11. Mount Tapyas

Craving for a stunning sunset view? The best picture Coron can give you is on the top of Mount Tapyas. Here, you will see surreal panoramic views of Coron Island and other smaller islands. Don’t forget to have a camera with you for a chance for a beautiful photograph. 
Note: Prepare for a sweaty hike, though you have to take 700 stairs to get to the top. Also, one tip, leave early before the sunset (a 45-minute allowance is enough before the sun goes down).

12. Maquinit Hot Springs

Aside from the beaches and snorkeling, Coron also has places where you can relax after a day of exploration. Now, it is time to relax your muscles as you soak yourself in a natural hot spring with a relaxing view of the ocean. Of course, Maquinit has to be the number one option. 

Experience Coron 

Coron has a lot to offer, and the posts are worthy of your Instagram feed. Just don’t forget to travel during the dry season to achieve the perfect shot. We know that experience is also your number one priority. To see the picturesque spots Coron has to offer, plan your travel with our partner agencies

Four Must-Visit Pink Beaches in the Philippines You Should Include in Your Bucket List

An aerial shot of the Silla Island, San Vicente Pink Beach in Northern Samar taken by Jet Santillan (@jetsantillan)

Have you heard of pink beaches in the Philippines?

Though the Philippines is famous for its white-sand beaches, there is no denying that the country also has beaches that aren’t known yet. Travelers worldwide may know about Palawan, Siargao, Cebu, and Boracay, but there is more that the Philippines has to offer. Like Barbados, Bahamas, Greece, and Indonesia, there are several pristine, off-the-beaten-path pink beaches around the country that you can find and include in your bucket list.

What makes pink beach “pink”

People only know about white and black sand beaches, so it’s no stranger that pink sands are still surprising to some because of their color. But, what makes pink sand “pink”? 

The pink hue actually comes from a microscopic organism called “foraminifera,” algae in pink. These organisms are present as they are in the sand mix with corals, shells, and calcium carbonate. Sounding too scientific? Well, science does magical things we’ve seen, just like these four pink beaches we have in the country. 

  1. Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga City
Aerial drone of sandy beach on a tropical island. Great Santa Cruz island. Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippines.

If you are looking for a unique island to check off that bucket list, then you should come and visit Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga City, which is in the Southern part of the Philippines! The island itself is famous due to its fine pink sand that mimics the sea’s pink corals’ color. It is no wonder that this sun-drenched island was named one of the world’s best beaches by National Geographic.  What makes the island unique and famous is the lovely pink hue sand that glows under the sunlight and calm waters with some mangrove trees as background.

As an ecotourism site, Santa Cruz Islands or Las Islas de Santa Cruz only allow low-impact structures, facilities, and activities to ensure that the islands’ natural environment remains pristine and habitable for various animal species.  Aside from enjoying the scenic beach and strolling around the island, you can also do  other activities such as snorkeling,  diving, bird watching, lagoon tour, and cultural immersion in a small peace-loving Sama-Bangingi community.  If you are looking to experience local cuisine, then locals can prepare good ol’ seafood dishes just for you. 

Getting There: The island is just a 15-minute boat ride from Zamboanga City’s bustling commercial district, about a 90-minute plane ride from Manila. Since the islands are protected seascape and landscape areas, the best way to visit the island is to get in touch with the Zamboanga Tourism Office or the Protected Area Management Office through its Facebook account (Las Islas de Sta. Cruz – Pink Sand Beach) or email at zcpamolgu@mail.com. You may also contact your preferred travel advisor or travel agent to facilitate your travel arrangements. Booking is then encouraged 30-days before your actual visit to the island. You may enjoy this less crowded nature preserve from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. since the overnight stay is not allowed. The island is a lot quieter, with only 500 visitors allowed per day, making it a perfect island getaway escape. 

2. Sila Island in San Vincente, Northern Samar 

Shot of the Silla Island, San Vicente, Northern Samar, Philippines. Taken by anonymous.

Are you dreaming of going to a tropical island retreat while avoiding throngs of sun-seekers? Why not explore one of the most famous off-the-beaten-path pink beaches in the east-central Philippines Sila Island in Northern Samar? Sila Island charms tourists because of its pink sand hue and natural beauty. The pink sand isn’t as ultra pink as you’d expect, but the pinkness can be noticeable up close, which is still impressive. Plus, the island is the definition of clean and beautiful, where you can submerge yourself under the sea to discover what this beautiful island has to offer.

On the island is the Pink Sand Resort, where you and your friends can rent cottages for a day so you can enjoy the clear blue horizon besides the pink sand.  You may bring  your snorkeling gear as Sila Island is considered one of the Philippines’ best snorkeling spots. Don’t forget to prepare your own food, drinks, sunblock, garbage bag, and enjoy one of the most impressive pink beaches you could find in the Philippines. 

Getting There: Sila Island is about a 40-minute flight from Manila to Catarman town in Northern Samar or Tacloban City in Leyte. Chartered jets are also available from Cebu, Davao, and Manila. From Catarman (almost 2-hour drive) or Tacloban City (more than 4-hour drive), hop on a chartered van to Calbayog and San Isidro towns, a jump-off point to San Vicente. A passenger boat or ferry will take you to Sila Island that departs daily at 7:00 in the morning, except Sunday, and returns to San Isidro town at 2:00 p.m. You may also have the option to charter your own boat.

3. Subic Beach in Sorsogon

Who would’ve thought you’d get two pink beaches in one whole beach? Only in Sorsogon! This particular Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon, is divided into two: the locals call it Subic Liit (Subic Small Beach) and Subic Laki (Subic Big Beach). The sand is fine, and it’s pink sand also comes with crushed red corals mixed with creamy white sand, a unique island trait.  

Instead of landing on the beach right away, you can explore the sea caves and their rock formation near the southeastern end of Calintaan Island. Enjoy the crystal blue water as you swim, but never forget to grab that life vest of yours. 

You may have the option to avail of a private day tour that kicks off from Legazpi City, including boat rides, fish feeding at Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary, and swimming. The tour package includes hotel transfers, private boat rental with life jackets, complimentary refreshments, cottage rental, entrance fees, and tour guide services. 

You can see several native-style huts and cottages; some even have air conditioning in Subic Laki and book an overnight stay as the beach offers affordable accommodation rates. 

4. Tikling Island in Sorsogon

Tikling Island in Matnog, Sorsogon, Philippines. Mt Bulusan in the background. Shot from the San Bernandino Strait.

While exploring Sorsogon for the pink beach, Tikling Island, located along the scenic waters of Matnog Bay, could be your last stop. As the boat sails towards the island from Calintaan Island, you’ll get a glimpse of the aquamarine waves to the shores of the fine sands mixed with scattering pink corals in the entire coast, making the sand pink. 

With its charming rose-tinted shores, Tikling Island will impress you with its beautiful beach. Another beach that is just miles away from Subic Beach, this island isn’t known to most tourists, considering it as Sorsogon’s hidden gem. Explore this island and get the feel of its pink sand. 

Getting There: Fly from Manila to Legazpi City in Bicol. You may hop onto a chartered van from Legazpi City to Matnog town, then take a private boat to Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary for fish feeding, island and pink beaches hopping (Calintaan and Tikling Islands) before boarding your boat bound for Matnog town proper and driving back to your hotel in Legazpi. Or, you have the option to stay in Subic Laki.

Into the green: eight destinations for an eco-friendly escape

Featured Content by Lonely Planet

TAMARA HINSON Lonely Planet Writer22 JANUARY 2021

Deciding to adopt a sustainable tourism ethos doesn’t mean vowing never to take another flight or to only travel to off-the-radar locales. Instead, invest your wanderlust in places that are rolling out initiatives to minimise the impact of tourism on the environment.

In many ways, travel can be a force for good, so kick-start your eco-friendly escape with one of these dynamic destinations doing their bit for sustainability; from hotels committed to reducing energy consumption, to pioneering tours and activities designed to give back to local communities and help wildlife thrive.


Featured Content by Lonely Planet

Editor’s note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

A worn white catamaran diveboat in the Philippines sits in shallow water dappled with light. In large rainbow letters on the side the name of the boat reads Swedman.
An example of a bangka, a kind of outrigger canoe used for island-hopping tours and to access dive sites in the Philippines © Michael Ballard / Lonely Planet


At the thousands of dive sites scattered throughout the Philippines, you’ll be enchanted by the more than 1,200 macro and pelagic species that live in these waters. In fact, the incredible biodiversity of Tubbataha Reefs National Park in Palawan earned it Unesco World Heritage Site status.

Board a liveaboard in Puerto Princesa City, then sail to dive sites like Amos Rock, Washing Machine and Black Rock to experience 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 11 species of sharks and 13 species of dolphins and whales, along with manta rays, barracuda, nudibranchs, pipefish and seahorses.

If a liveaboard isn’t in your budget, you can still see a boatload of sea life at Moalboal on the island of Cebu, where you’ll sail on a traditional double outrigger canoe called a bangka. Moalboal is world-renowned for its sardine run, an enormous bait ball of approximately seven million small fish that attract larger marine life in search of food. While you can dive the warm Philippine waters year round, you’ll witness the most wildlife and avoid monsoons if you visit between March and June. 

25 Photos to Fuel Your Travel Daydreams

Featured Content by Travel Pulse

March 26, 2020

El Nido, Philippines

Craving that cinematic island escape? Enter El Nido and it’s surrounding islands and lagoons for your daydreaming needs. The island of Palawan is where you’ll find El Nido, your base for this venture through turquoise blue waters, hidden lagoons and limestone cliffs towering out of the sea. Head out on a traditional boat to picnic in the sun, snorkel amongst fish and discover untouched beaches.

15 Must-Try Extreme Adventure Activities in the Philippines

Adventure-junkies listen up! Check out the must-try extreme adventures in the Philippines. Is the Philippines good for adventure travel? What kind of outdoor activities can be done around the country? Are there any water activities you can try aside from the usual inland activities? Read this article to find out more about it.

For a true adventure junkie, the Philippines is a good destination. From caving to snorkeling and scuba diving, the Philippines has it all. The country’s diverse natural wonders make it a sought-after destination among adrenaline junkies. 

So whether you like outdoor adventures in the air, land, or water, you’ll find that there’s a lot of things to do in the Philippines.

15. Freediving with Sardines in Cebu

One of the most exciting, unique, and spectacular things to do in the Philippines is seeing the sardine run in Moalboal. It doesn’t have the billions of sardines, in southern Africa, the best-known sardine run in the world, but it does happen year-round. Just rent a snorkel set from the many tour operators along Panagsama Beach, jump into the water, and you’ll find them there. 

14. Multi-Day Caving Adventure in Samar

When it comes to multi-day caving tours, nothing beats caving in Samar. Called the Cave Capital of the Philippines, with the largest cave system to be found there (Langun-Gobingob Caves in Calbiga), Samar has hundreds of caves that have been explored, a small portion of the total known caves.

Caving tours in Samar range from 1-day “discovery” tours, to multi-day caving tours where you get to spend a night or two inside the caves.

13. Hiking Mt. Pulag 

The Philippines is not only famous for its beach tours but also for its hiking tours. Mt. Pulag in the Northern Philippines, the third highest peak in the country, is a popular trek for local mountaineers due to its famous sea of clouds.

The Mt. Pulag National Park has one of the richest biodiversity in the country, having vast forests full of pines, moss, and grass. It is a mountain worth climbing, both for its challenging trails and its natural beauty.

Hiking Mt. Pulag can last between 1-4 days, depending on the trail. Beginning climbers take the Ambangeg trail which is possible on a day trip, while the Akiki trail is a challenging, multi-day hike requiring physical fitness and training prior to the climb.

12. Wakeboarding in Camarines Sur

Wakeboarding tours are also popular as it involves riding a wakeboard on the water surface. The wakeboard is normally towed by a motorboat or by closed-course cable systems like in CamSur Wakeboarding Complex, a world-class water sports complex that is the first in the Philippines and in Asia. Aside from wakeboarding, visitors can also try water skiing, kneeboarding, and wake skiing.

11. Surfing in Siargao

Surfing tours are exciting, and the Philippines doesn’t lack for surfing destinations all over the country. There’s San Juan in La Union and Baler in Aurora, best to visit from October to April and from December to February, respectively.

The most popular, however, is Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte because of several surfing spots that can be found on the island. Its Cloud 9 reef break has even been called one of the best waves in the world. The best time to catch swells there would be from July to December.

While Siargao is the surfing capital of the country, it does not only offer good surfing breaks, but also some of the best tourist spots in the Philippines, from lagoons, caves, and the best beaches in the country.

10. Whitewater rafting in Kalinga and Cagayan de Oro

River tours are popular for both local and international travelers as it often includes whitewater rafting, a recreational outdoor activity that uses an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. This is often done on different degrees of rapids. Dealing with risk and the need for teamwork is often a part of the whitewater rafting experience.

In the Philippines, there are several places where you can go whitewater rafting. Near Manila, you can do it in Magdalena, Laguna, where you will navigate over 20 rapids in a couple of hours. The two most popular whitewater rafting destinations, however, are up north in Kalinga and down south in Cagayan de Oro.

In Kalinga, you’ll have the best time navigating the 175-kilometer-long stretch of the Chico River. You can even bundle it up with other activities in Kalinga, like getting a tattoo in Apo Whang-Od’s village of Buscalan.

Cagayan de Oro, on the other hand, is known as the Adventure Capital of the Philippines and the Cagayan River is best known for whitewater rafting. It offers rapids with varying grades that suit everyone, from beginners to whitewater rafting junkies. There are direct flights to Cagayan de Oro daily, while you can get to Kalinga by flying to Tuguegarao and then taking a 2-hour land trip.

9. Ultralight Flying in Pampanga

Ultralights are small 1- or 2-seat fixed-wing aircraft. For people who love flying and want to experience flying and being in a small aircraft, ultralight or microlight flying is a good recreational activity. You will also experience flying with the wind on your face as the ultralight has an open-air cockpit.

The Philippines is a good place to try the ultralight as the country has a good flying condition, especially during the summer season. It’s not dirt cheap, but there is no cheaper way to fly than with ultralight planes. It’s one of the top outdoor activities in the Philippines.

8. Canyoneering in Cebu ​

Canyoneering tours are popular because it involves hiking, bouldering, climbing, rappelling, jumping, and swimming while exploring canyons. It’s a more fun activity than just ordinary hiking. One of the best places to do so is in  Cebu, where you will start in Alegria and end up in Badian.

canyoneering day tour takes 4-5 hours and the fee covers all the gears (life vest and helmet) and a bottle of water. It will challenge you to conquer your fear of heights, and even non-swimmers can join, too. For those who want adrenaline-pumping activity while exploring canyons and falls, canyoneering in Kawasan Falls is a must.

7. Swimming with Whale Sharks

You can swim with whale sharks in some parts of the Philippines. These whale sharks grow at 32-40 feet on average, but despite their size, they are known to be docile, earning them the “gentle giant” nickname.

There are two locations in the Philippines where you can swim with whale sharks: Donsol and Oslob. Whale shark season in Donsol is from December to May, with the best time from February to April. While whale shark sighting is not assured, since these are wild creatures, you will likely see at least 5 during peak season and as many as over 40. 

There have been controversies with the whale shark tours in Oslob, with the primary argument being the lack of sustainability practices in place. The Oslob local government unit, however, has taken steps to limit the number of tourists to the area to reduce the stress tourism brings to these gentle creatures. 

6. Sandboarding in Ilocos Norte   

Sandboarding is a recreational extreme sport similar to snowboarding but instead of snow, you ride a sandboard down or across the sand dune. It can also be done while standing up or lying on your belly. It is a popular sport in desert or coastal areas with sand dunes.

Sandboarding in the Philippines is quite a new sport and you can only do this at the sand dunes in Ilocos Norte. This sand dune is getting more and more popular not only for sandboarding but also for ATV and 4×4 riding.

5. Paragliding in Sarangani

If you want to experience flying but find skydiving too extreme, paragliding is your next best choice. It uses a lightweight and free-flying glider aircraft and requires a licensed pilot to operate it.

There are few paragliding sites across the Philippines but Sarangani in the Soccsksargen Region in Mindanao offers the best view with its rolling hills and the Sarangani Bay in the background. You can also find paragliding tours in Carmona, Cavite and Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. A paragliding trip takes only around 20 minutes, but it’s more than enough to satiate your thirst form adventure. You can try other Sarangani tours after your paragliding trip.

4. Tandem Skydiving in Cebu

Skydiving is one of the most extreme adventure sports in the world. It was developed for military use but is now one of the most popular recreational activities for adrenaline junkies. It is also one of the most expensive, given the gears and the expertise involved in doing sports.

If you can get over your fear of heights, and want a very unique perspective of seeing the Philippines from above, head to Cebu to go skydiving. While it is indeed pricey to undertake this activity, the view of the numerous beautiful beaches in Cebu surrounding the province is priceless indeed.

3. Canyon Swing in Bohol     

Bungee jumping is not in the Philippines yet. However, a very good alternative to the different outdoor adventures is the canyon swing called The Plunge in Danao Adventure Park in Bohol. Unlike bungee jumping where you jump off a platform, you’ll hang by your feet in Danao and be dropped over 200 meters above the river. You’ll get around 4 seconds of free fall before swinging around 100 meters wide around the canyon.

An alternative to hanging by your feet is being dropped in a sitting down position, where you can see the ground rushing forward to meet you as you drop. Just state your preference!

If you want to tick off “bungee jumping” from your bucket list but find the 200-meter The Plunge too much, head to the Tree Top Adventure in Subic. There is a range of fun activities there, including zipline rides, but one activity similar to The Plunge is the Tree Drop. You climb up to a 60-foot high platform and experience free fall for around a second, which means that before you can scream, the free fall is over.

2. Spelunking in Sagada

Sagada, a small town in the northern part of the Philippines, is best known for its hanging coffins. However, it’s also known for adventure travel in the Philippines due to its beautiful limestone caves.  

The province of Sagada has more than 60 stunning caves with spectacular rock formations, the biggest of which is Sumaguing Cave. It is an expansive cave network known for its gorgeous stalagmites, stalactites, giant rock formations, and steep descents. It is also considered as the deepest cave in the country and has a big role in the culture of the people in Sagada.

A DIY tour of the Sagada caves is not possible; a guide from the Sagada tourism office is required. While you can decide to explore Sumaguing alone, it is best to check for Sagada tours that bundle up Sumaguing with another large cave, Lumiang.

1. Coron Diving Experience  

As one of the biggest archipelagos in the world, it’s not surprising that the Philippines is one of the top diving destinations worldwide. It is part of the Coral Triangle, an area in the western Pacific Ocean that’s incredibly rich in marine life. It comprises six countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Solomon Islands, and of course, the Philippines.

You’ll find in the Coral Triangle hundreds of species of reef-building corals, six out of the world’s seven marine turtle species, and thousands of reef fish species. 

Featured Content by Guide to the Philippines



25 Best Beaches in the Philippines

Featured Content by Guide to the Philippines

Lounge in the best beaches of the Philippines! If you’re looking for the most pristine beaches with unspoiled stretches of white sand, crystal clear waters, and postcard-worthy views, the Philippines has a ton of them! With so many beaches to choose from, where do you start? Find out the top beaches in the Philippines below.

It’s not surprising that choosing the best beach tours in the Philippines is one of the hardest things to do when planning your vacation to this Southeast Asian country.

After all, the Philippines is an archipelago with over 7000 islands and has the 5th largest coastline in the world. This means there are literally hundreds of tropical beaches to choose from!

We’ve come up with this list to help you find the best beaches in the Philippines. In general, the best time to plan your trip to these beaches is during the dry and summer months in the Philippines, from late November to May.

From popular beaches to secluded unspoiled ones, here are 25 of the best beaches in the Philippines that you should add to your travel itinerary.

25. Bakhaw Beach, Camotes Islands, Cebu

One of the most underrated places in Camotes Islands, located in Cebu province, is Bakhaw Beach. Even though it’s a public beach, it rarely gets crowded. This unspoiled beach has a picturesque stretch of white sand and crystal clear waters, making it the perfect place to go swimming and sunbathing.

It’s emerging as a must-visit tourist spot in the province and is also one of the top beaches in Cebu. Don’t forget to take photos of the sunset as it’s a breathtaking sight to see. Since you’ll be riding a boat to get here, avoid planning trips around the rainy/typhoon season usually from June to October. 

24. Antonia Beach, Gigantes Islands, Iloilo​

No wonder why Islas de Gigantes or Gigantes Island tours in Iloilo, Visayas have been gaining popularity — the crystal clear waters and powdery white sand of Antonia Beach is a sight to behold! It’s one of those remote beaches where you can laze around and swim all day without the big crowd. 

Just off the shoreline on the northern part of the beach you’ll find colorful fish, corals, seagrass, and other types of marine life that can be clearly seen even without snorkeling gear, although if you want a closer look you can always rent one out for a small fee. 

It’s usually rainy in Iloilo from June to August so best avoid those months since you need to ride a boat during your island hopping trip to Antonia Beach.

23. Lambug Beach, Badian, Cebu​​

Badian, Cebu got its reputation for being a popular canyoneering experience destination, but did you know there’s a hidden gem within the area called Lambug Beach? This public beach is a great place to spend a lazy day relaxing and enjoying the sun.

It’s a peaceful beach destination perfect for relaxing and just listening to the waves crashing into the shore. This attraction is relatively uncrowded but if you want to stay overnight, there are some rooms or cottages surrounding the beach area that you can stay in.

22. Morong Beach, Batanes​

Aside from its rolling hills, lighthouses, and stone houses, the small archipelagic province of Batanes in the northernmost part of the Philippines is also home to Morong Beach. Also called Nakabuang Beach, its most prominent feature is the massive rocky arch called Nakabuang Arch, making it one of the most photographed spots in Batanes.

The glass-like water in Morong Beach is calmer and friendlier despite the usual rough weather. The best way to enjoy Morong Beach is by joining a Sabtang Island day tour. You can even tour the island in a more rugged experience by joining a tricycle excursion of Sabtang Island.

21. Alegria Beach, Siargao

Siargao is often dubbed as the surfing capital of the Philippines. But did you know there are more things to do in Siargao aside from surfing? Make sure to visit the unspoiled Alegria Beach, a 5-kilometer long white sand beach that’s famous for its breathtaking views. 

There are no commercial hotels and establishments within the area, only a few picnic huts and cottages. It’s ideal for swimming, snorkeling, or simply sunbathing. Make sure to add this destination to the Siargao experiences you’ll be trying out while on the island.

20. Anguib Beach, Santa Ana, Cagayan Valley​

Anguib Beach is one of the best beaches in Santa, Ana Cagayan Valley. Located at the northeastern tip of Luzon and the Philippines, this beach with powdery fine sand and crystal blue waters is one of the main highlights of Cagayan Valley adventures such as the popular island-hopping day trip in Cagayan where you visit other major attractions in nearby Palaui Island such as Cape Engaño Lighthouse.

day trip to Palaui Island is a highly recommended side trip as you get to visit Anguib Beach, a majestic lighthouse, scenic terrains, and other white sandy beaches. Palaui Island attractions are best explored by boats so avoid the months of June to November since the currents can be rough because of the rain or typhoons.

19. Subic Beach, Sorsogon​

Another Philippine beach with pinkish-white sand, Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon of Bicol region is a must-add to your beach itinerary in the country. Its crystal blue waters and the unspoiled white sand beach offers a peaceful getaway for travelers.

The beach is divided into two, Subic Laki (Big Beach) where most accommodations are located, and Subic Liit (Small Beach) which is uninhibited but is perfect for taking a dip or a quiet stroll under the rows of trees.​

It’s a great destination to unwind and relax if you want to escape from the city and follow the sun. You will need to board a boat to go here so it’s best to avoid the rainy/typhoon months of July to December. 

18. Pink Beach, Zamboanga​​

If you’re looking for a unique beach to visit, travel to the Pink Beach in Zamboanga’s Sta. Cruz Island. The beach has a sandy pink color because of the white sand mixed with the pulverized red organ pipe corals. It might not be visible at first, until you take a closer look at the sand, or view it from a drone video or photo.​

Joining a Zamboanga Pink Beach escapade is worth it, not only because it was dubbed as one of the best beaches by National Geographic, you can also visit the mangrove forest on the island where you can ride a colorful vinta and encounter non-stinging jellyfish. You will need to board a boat going here from Zamboanga City so it’s best to avoid the rainy/typhoon months of May to October. 

17. Gumasa Beach, Sarangani​

Situated on the stunning shoreline of Sarangani in Mindanao and is often compared to Boracay’s White Beach, Gumasa Beach deserves its gaining popularity. It’s been called the “Boracay of the South” and “Small Boracay of Mindanao”. It offers 6-kilometers of white sand beach, sparkling aquamarine waters, and a scenic view worthy of a photoshoot.​

What sets this beach apart is it’s less crowded, but offers the same experience like other more popular beaches in the country. You can go swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, snorkeling, and many more. You can join a Sarangani beach tour that includes Gumasa Beach during your trip to this part of the Philippines.

16. Bitaog Beach, Dinagat Islands​​

Bitaog Beach is one of the best places to visit in Dinagat Islands, a group of islands in the northern tip of Mindanao. It’s a sight to behold with its white sandy shores, crystal clear waters, and rows of coconut trees. With its pristine beauty, it’s no wonder why Bitaog Beach is emerging as a top destination in Mindanao.​

Bitaog Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. There is also an abundant number of rock formations and calcareous peaks that serve as the backdrop of its white sandy shores and are reminiscent of other paradise-like destinations in Palawan.

You’ll have to ride a boat to get to the beach, so it’s better to refrain from visiting during its rainy months, which is from November to June.

15. Malamawi Beach, Basilan

Malamawi Beach is an unspoiled white sand beach in Isabela City of Basilan, Mindanao. This off-the-beaten-path tourist spot is worth checking out because of its turquoise waters, stunning white sand, and uninhibited beauty.

Go for a walk, swim, snorkel, have a picnic, watch the sunset and more. There are beachfront cottages and small stalls selling food and other kinds of souvenirs. You can even rent kayaks if you want to try that water sport activity while in the area.​

14. Puka Beach, Boracay​

Another gorgeous beach found on the island of Boracay is Puka Beach. It is one of those quieter beach spots in Boracay compared to White Beach, which makes it ideal for those who are looking for a more peaceful tropical getaway.

It got its name from the abundance of crushed “puka” shells mixed with the fine white sand. The beach is roughly 800 meters long and doesn’t have hotels, resorts, and clubs like White Beach. Puka Beach is usually included in a sightseeing trip in Boracay.

13. Bonbon Beach, Romblon

Bonbon Beach is an idyllic beach paradise located in the archipelagic province of Romblon, found in between Luzon and Visayas. It is well-known for its long stretch of white sandbar extending up to 2 kilometers and connects to another island, Bang-og. The sandbar is visible during low tide and you can walk to Bang-og Island too!​

If you want to have a great time at this beach and enjoy its crystal clear waters and stretch of white sand to its full extent, make sure to visit either early in the morning or in the late afternoon. It’s best to avoid going there from June to October because of the rain/typhoon season.

12. Banol Beach, Coron, Palawan

Banol Beach, also called Banul Beach, is a sight to behold with its powdery white sand, aquamarine waters, and a towering wall of karst cliffs. Aside from swimming, you can also ride a kayak or chill by the nipa huts that line the beach.

Joining an island-hopping tour in Coron that includes Banol Beach is a must-try. You can also do an overnight Coron camping excursion that includes this beach.​

​​Don’t forget to bring your camera as it’s one of the most photogenic tourist spots in Coron! You will need to board a boat for the island hopping tour so avoid the rainy/typhoon season, usually in July to September. 

11. Paliton Beach, Siquijor

Paliton Beach is the most popular beach on the western side of Siquijor, a small island province in Central Visayas. Dubbed as the province’s “Mini Boracay”, this beach is famous for its immaculate turquoise waters, white sand, and vast coconut trees. Visiting this beach is worth it, even during peak season.​

Join a Siquijor island adventure to visit Paliton Beach aside from top attractions in the province. The stunning sunset is a must-see in Paliton Beach! The most convenient way to go to Paliton Beach is by riding a scooter or a tricycle. Although the beach rarely gets crowded, it’s best to avoid the wet season, from January to May.

10. Saud Beach, Pagudpud

Pagudpud, a coastal town in Ilocos region and a popular holiday destination in North Luzon, is famous for its windmills and lighthouses. But it’s also a popular destination for travelers because of Saud Beach.

Known for its calm waters and stunning sunset views, this idyllic beach has 2-kilometers of powdery white sand. Take photos as you wade around its waters with the scenic view of Pagudpud as the backdrop!

Make sure to visit this beautiful beach during your sightseeing trip in Pagudpud. Avoid the rainy/typhoon season usually around late May to October since waves are quite rough.

9. Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan​​

True to its name, Long Beach is the longest beach in the Philippines with 14.7 kilometers of powdery white sand. Located in San Vicente, Palawan, it is composed of four towns namely San Isidro, New Agutaya, Alimanguan, and Poblacion. It’s one of the top tourist spots in San Vicente.​

This beach is ideal for those who seek peace and tranquility as it’s unspoiled and uncrowded. Enjoy swimming and sunbathing in this piece of tropical paradise. If you’re still craving for more adventure in San Vicente, make sure to join Port Barton tours as well which is just a boat ride away.

8. Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental

Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental is not like your typical white sand beach, it’s also a skimboarding and surfing spot. It has a 7-kilometer stretch of white sand perfect for lounging for non-surfers and non-skimboarders. The stretch of white sand beach is also a sanctuary for sea turtles.

This underrated beach in Mati is one of the best in Davao Oriental and worth the 4-hour land trip from Davao City. Make sure to stop by at this piece of paradise aside from top Davao trips and experiences.​

7. Mahabang Buhangin Beach, Calaguas

If you ever wanted to visit an unspoiled beach with gorgeous views and turquoise waters, Mahabang Buhangin Beach in Tinaga Island of Calaguas Group of Islands, Camarines Norte is a must-visit. It’s a famous destination for campers and beach lovers due to its remarkable 2.5 kilometer stretch of white sand.​

You can spend a weekend here or join a Calaguas Island escapade. One of the best ways to enjoy this beach is to rent a cottage or pitch a tent and rediscover the meaning of tropical paradise by wading around its turquoise waters.

Going to Calaguas will require you to board a boat so it’s highly advisable to avoid planning a trip here during the rainy/typhoon season usually from June to October. 

6. Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan is best known for its white sand, azure waters, and towering karst formations that conceals its, thus the name. From your boat, you can swim or ride a kayak to get to the beach. It’s one of the major highlights in El Nido island hopping tour C package.

Although it’s far from the other popular islands and beaches, most travelers prefer to unwind at Hidden Beach since it’s not crowded. This means you have more opportunities to take great photos (or selfies!) with the scenic view as the backdrop.

Hidden Beach is one of the best attractions in the list of El Nido island-hopping experiences that you have to visit during your trip to the Philippines. Since you’ll be boarding a boat for the tour, avoid planning trips here during the rainy/typhoon season in El Nido, Palawan, usually around July to September. 

5. Malcapuya Beach, Coron​​, Palawan

Coron, Palawan is a popular Philippine destination because of its beautiful islands and beaches. One of the must-visit tourist spots in Coron island hopping tours is Malcapuya Beach, that you can go to by joining an excursion at Culion Island. It has 1.5-kilometer stretch of pristine white sand that could rival Boracay’s White Beach. ​

Aside from being a great swimming spot, it’s one of the best places to snorkel and dive. It’s teeming with marine life and colorful corals. Drink straight from a coconut as you stroll around the beach lined with palm trees.

Make sure to take photos as well as it’s one of those picturesque beaches that deserve a spot on your photo album. Island hopping tours will require you to board a boat so avoid going here during the rainy/typhoon season, usually in July to September. 

4. Kota Beach, Bantayan Island​​, Cebu

Kota Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in Bantayan Island, Cebu and features crystal clear waters, powdery white sand, and a sandbar that appears during low tide. Bantayan Island is located on the Northwest Coast of Cebu and boasts fine white sand beaches without the big resorts and commercial establishments like Boracay’s White Beach. ​

Bantayan Island is a perfect destination among travelers who want a laid back atmosphere and are looking for new experiences in Cebu. Avoid the months of June to September, the wettest months in Bantayan Island, since you need to board a ferry to get here from the main island of Cebu. 

3. Alona Beach, Bohol

Along with its world-class diving sites, Panglao Island tours in Bohol are also famous for white-sand beaches. Alona Beach, which is named after a famous actress during the ‘70’s, is a 1.5 kilometer stretch of white sand is one of the most well-known tourist spots in Bohol aside from the Chocolate Hills.

Aside from lounging on the beach, you can try fun Alona Beach activities like the banana boat ride, UFO ride, parasailing activity, and join island-hopping tours to nearby islets and islands. Like Boracay’s White Beach, Alona Beach can get crowded during the summer season since it’s a popular destination. Go here during the lean months of January to March and June to July to avoid the crowd. 

2. Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Nacpan Beach is a 4-kilometer stretch of white sand in El NidoPalawan, about 45 minutes’ drive from the town center. It’s also part of the Twin Beaches along with Calitang Beach, adjacent to Nacpan Beach. Nacpan Beach is considered by many as the real hidden gem of El Nido due to being uncrowded and untouched by mass tourism. 

You can spend a lazy day here just swimming, sunbathing, or hiking to the hill where you can see the view of the Twin Beaches. This is why Nacpan beach tours are massively popular among local and international travelers. You must try a Nacpan Beach inland excursion in El Nido aside from island-hopping experiences. ​

There are also plenty of other beaches in El Nido worth exploring if you have more time. Going here during the rainy season in El Nido, usually June to November, can be tricky because of the muddy roads that you have to pass through to get to Nacpan Beach.

1. White Beach, Boracay

White Beach offers a 4-kilometer long stretch of powdery white sand and is the most popular beach and the main attraction in the famous island of Boracay. White Beach and other beaches in Boracay are not only considered as one of the best in the Philippines but are also hailed as the best in the world by several international travel publications.

The best way to experience the beach to the fullest is by trying out White Beach activities like the banana boat ride, parasailing tour, paraw sailing tour, paddleboarding tour, helmet diving tour, jet ski experience, wakeboarding activity, and speedboat riding. You can also just lounge by the white sand and watch the famous Boracay sunset or join a sunset yacht cruise tour.

You can join Boracay island-hopping tours to explore the islets and snorkeling spots around the island. If you want to avoid the crowds, go here during the lean season from January to March and June to July. Typhoons usually fall on August to October.

11 Best Festivals to Join in the Philippines

Featured Content by Guide to the Philippines

Experience the colorful culture of the Philippines by joining the vibrant festivals around the country. What and where are the top festivals that are worth traveling to? When should you schedule your trip to experience these festivals? What are the highlights of these festivals? Read on to find out about these fun festivals in the Philippines. 

Filipinos are known around the world not only for its attractions included in top tours but for their love to get together and celebrate. A proof of this is the long list of festivals in the country.

There are a number of holidays, long weekends and top festivals in the Philippines happening throughout the year. These vibrant festivals are characterized by the history, artistry, creativity, and passion of the people. While some of them take place for just a day, a lot of them are celebrating for a week and even for an entire month.

Travelers are attracted by these celebrations, along with the energetic, colorful, and fun environment they create. In fact, some of the celebrations are some of Asia’s most popular festivals.

Here is a list of the best and must-see festivals in the Philippines:

11. Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

When: Every Second Week of February

Where: Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga

Unlike most of the traditional festivals in the country, the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an extraordinary one and is often hailed as one of the top tourist spots in Pampanga.

This 4-day festivity surprises and delights the attendees with things and activities that include flying, skydiving, formation flying, paragliding, aerobatic displays, and hot air balloons. People all over the country and across the world gather during February to experience Asia’s longest-running sports event and to celebrate the heart’s day with their loved ones.

10. Giant Lantern Festival

When: Every Weekend Before Christmas Eve

Where: San Fernando City, Pampanga

Anyone will feel the holiday vibes during the Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga. San Fernando City or the Christmas Capital of the Philippines organizes the competition of giant lanterns during the weekend before Christmas Eve.

Participants create gigantic and bright lanterns made from locally sourced materials and parade them to each barrio in Pampanga before the midnight mass of Christmas. Add some Pampanga activities to make your Christmas excursion more special.

9. MassKara Festival

When: Every 19th of October

Where: Bacolod City

The MassKara Festival in Bacolod is a giant masquerade party hailing from the country’s City of Smiles. Thousands of young people wear colorful masks decorated with flowers, feathers, beads, and paints.

Aside from joining Bacolod trips, make sure to participate in the MassKara festival to get a full picture of Bacolod. It’s filled with people wearing festive costumes and masks while dancing with the beat of the loud music and spreading the friendly, welcoming, and happy atmosphere.

8. Pintados Festival 

When: Every 29th of June

Where: Tacloban City

A religious festival celebrated in the name of Santo Nino, the locals of Tacloban City parade around the city with their bodies and faces painted with vibrant colors of green and blue, which symbolizes Leyte’s ancestral people.

Locals fill the street and perform traditional dances in honor of Santo Nino. Some dancers also use designs that look like arbors to depict warriors who lived in Leyte decades ago. Join a Tacloban day tour to fully experience the province to the fullest.

7. Aliwan Festival

When: Every Last Weekend of April

Where: Pasay City

Although relatively new, the Aliwan Festival in Manila, particularly in Pasay, is by far one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines. Due to its popularity for Filipinos and foreigners, it is called the “Mother of all Festivals.”

This festivity, which started in early 2003, is known as more of a competition than a festival. It aims to promote the diversity in the country, with thousands of participants showcasing their cultures, and the winner bringing home a million pesos as the cash prize. 

6. Kadayawan Festival

When: Every Third Week of August

Where: Davao City

Davao City brings its locals and residents in the biggest celebration of Kadayawan.

Kadayawan Festival takes place during the third week of August. You can try Davao tours or watch the flourish with street dancing, beauty pageants, floral floats, and fireworks displays. Locals also showcase flowers, fruits, and other products from the city.

5. Dinagyang Festival

When: Every Fourth Weekend of January

Where: Iloilo City

The people of Iloilo takes street dancing into a whole new level during the Dinagyang Festival. 

The whole city of Iloilo transforms into a huge street party complete with bands in every corner and street performers. Mouthwatering and overflowing local delicacies and drinks are served while watching the performances. To cap everything off, barangays and schools compete against each other on a street dancing contest. 

4. Pahiyas Festival

When: Every 15th of May

Where: Lucban, Quezon

During the month of May, Lucban showcases a unique harvest festival also known as the Pahiyas Festival.

Locals decorate their homes in lively and vibrant colors. Farm produce like handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, and kiping (rice wafers) are hanging around the houses as decorations. People also bring in their own baskets and pick the fresh produce – free of charge!

3. Moriones Festival

When: Every Holy Week

Where: Province of Marinduque

During the Holy Week in the country, people flock to Marinduque to experience the weeklong celebration of St. Longinus: the Moriones Festival.

Combining the Catholic pageantry with folk mysticism, people wear helmets and don in centurion costumes to reenact the beautiful and theatrical play where one of the locals play the role of St. Longinus and hide among the houses while the others search for him. It’s a great way to spend meaningful time in the province aside from joining Marinduque excursions.

2. Panagbenga Festival

When: Every February

Where: Baguio City

Panagbenga or the Season of Blooming is one of the longest Philippine festivals, observed during the entire month of February in Baguio.

This festival highlights the bountiful blooming of the flowers and to pay tribute to the rising up of the city from the 1990 Luzon earthquake.

During the festival, expect beautiful parades of floats made from different flowers, parading throughout the city, followed by children and adults adorned as flora and fauna.

1. Ati-Atihan Festival

When: Every Third Week of January

Where: Kalibo, Aklan

The Ati-Atihan Festival is known as the granddaddy of the festivals in the Philippines, the celebration that started many festivals in the country. This festival in Aklan is also one of the oldest and is known as the best and the biggest Mardi Gras in the Philippines.

This grand festival lasts for the whole week, often starting its peak during the third Sunday of the month of January. With activities set from sunrise to sunset, people are parading on the streets with colorful paints on their faces and wearing indigenous costumes.

The highlights of Ati-Atihan Festival are the tribal dances, the booming drum beats, the loud chants, and the Catholic rituals, which will surely make any visitor dance their heart out.

DOT ups the ante for PHL food, brings Fil-Am chefs to PHL


As part of its relentless efforts to position the Philippines in the world gastronomic scene, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has tapped three of the most celebrated US-based Filipino-American chefs to discover their food roots in the country for a three week-long culinary smorgasbord experience.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says it’s all systems go for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” that will commence on Saturday, November 9, 2019. The said project aims to heat up the country’s profile as a culinary destination in the world by tapping into the Philippines’ stable source of gastronomic geniuses starting off with the fast-rising Filipino chefs in the US.

Invited US-based Fil-Am chefs include 2019 James Beard Awards’ Best Chef for the Mid-Atlantic, Tom Cunanan of the famed Washington, DC’s Bad Saint; Charles Olalia, owner and manager of Ma’am Sir, one of GQ’s Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America for 2019; and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura, host of food show Cooking Hawaiian Style and winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.

A self-confessed foodie herself, Secretary Puyat points out that “This is the perfect occasion for us to institutionalize Filipino cuisine and flavors that can proudly stand side by side with other cherished cuisines of the world. Going back to their roots will certainly inspire these leading Fil-Am chefs to lend their voices and talent to raise the world’s perception and taste towards Filipino dishes”.

Organized by the DOT in collaboration with three of the country’s leading chefs Margarita Forés, Claude Tayag and Tatung Sarthou, the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” spotlights some of the country’s renowned culinary destinations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and will feature respected Filipino food advocates along with their town’s most iconic dishes and heritage cuisine and local produce like Atching Lilian Borromeo, a beacon of Kapampangan cuisine; Bacolod’s eponymous Mang Enting and Ramon Uy, Jr. of Fresh Start Organic Farm; Olive and Rex Puentespina of Malagos Farmhouse; and Davao-based restaurateur Carmina del Rosario of Mindanao Butchers and Company.

The project also includes interactive symposia to be undertaken in partnership with World Food Expo (WOFEX) University, the teaching arm of the World Food Expo (WOFEX), an institution in food exhibitions in the Philippines, that will engage the visiting chefs with culinary tourism stakeholders, students, and food and gastronomy aficionados alike. Dubbed “DOT x WOFEX University Fun Food Talks”, the symposia will be held in Pampanga on November 13, 2019, Bacolod on November 16, 2019, Davao on November 19, 2019 and Manila on November 21, 2019. For tickets and more details, you may call +632 8929-7993, +63 999-888-5000, email at info@peptarsus.com or visit www.peptarsus.com.