One of the joys of living in an archipelago is that, more often than not, a beach is just beyond one’s horizon. And for those staying in Metro Manila, the call of sandy shores and bluer skies and seas brimming with wildlife — and, you know, the hours of being unplugged — can easily be answered by a day trip and a weekend getaway. Here are some recommendations for coastal destinations just a few hours away from Manila, care of Smile magazine and some seasoned travelers.
Religious landmarks aside, Bataan’s shores are also worth a road trip. Make one of the resorts — on the beaches of Morong, Bagac or Mariveles — your jump-off point. From there, hire a boatman to take you on an exploration of the area’s beaches, caves and cliffs.
Itinerary idea: If you’re ever in the mood to start inland, why not check out Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Brgy Ibaba, Bagac, which features reconstructed 18th-century houses. Las Casas can be a base from which to explore the rest of the province — you can schedule a day trip to the beaches at West Nuk from there.
Anawangin’s crescent-shaped cove, tucked behind the mountains of San Antonio, can be accessed with a little extra effort. To get to Anawangin Cove, you’ll first need to drive to Pundaquit Town. From Pundaquit Beach, Anawangin is a four-hour trek or 30-minute pumpboat ride away. Anawangin has very basic toilet facilities, and overnight visitors are required to bring their own tents and camping gear.
Visitors be warned (or, alternatively, take heart): Anawangin has truly rustic conditions. You’ll be off the grid with no electricity or mobile signal. If that doesn’t terrify you, go for it.
Traveler Eric Villanueva [IG: @akosimamerto] recommends: “Malabrigo Beach in Lobo is a coastline situated near the world-famous Verde Island Passage, a strait that holds the title of ‘Center of the Center of the Marine Biodiversity of the World’. Other destinations to check out include a local marine sanctuary and the Malabrigo lighthouse.”
Traveler Kym Macatubal [IG: @alon_butneverlonely] recommends: “A boat ride from Batangas port will transport you to Puerto Galera, which offers a range of beach resort options, based on budget. There’s fine sand, diverse marine life and lush forests here for all your island adventures — it won’t disappoint.”
Quezon province is home to many white beaches — including Borawan, which recalls Boracay and Palawan — that are pristine, sandy stretches, sans resorts. Visitors can also hop to neighboring islands like Dampalitan and Jomalig. In for an overnight stay? Get prepped to camp out under the stars.
Traveler Guada Reyes [IG: @helloandgoodeye] recommends: “If you’re looking to relax and disconnect from the world, Patar Beach in Bolinao is one of the best places to be. From your chosen beachfront resort, you can also visit the 114-year-old Cape Bolinao Lighthouse and explore Bolinao Falls.”
This article first appeared in the July 2019 issue of Smile magazine.