Unspoiled white beaches: Luzon

Rhea Claire Madarang

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Travel far to these beaches where the crowds are thin to non-existent, the waters crystal clear, and the sands bright white

PICTURE-PERFECT. Calaguas’ beauty is the real thing – raw and unedited, but bursting with color. Photo by Amer Amor

MANILA, Philippines – Want your own piece of paradise this summer? Travel far to these beaches where the crowds are thin to non-existent, the waters crystal clear, and the sands bright white. Be prepared for some roughing it and some camping if you want to stay overnight.

Here are some of Luzon’s best pristine and white beaches, in no particular order:

1. Calaguas Islands, Vinzons, Camarines Norte

SPELLBINDING SUNSET. At the end of the day, Calaguas’ palette of blue, green, and white gives way to reds and oranges. Photo by Amer Amor

Long stretches of white sand, and waters so clear and blue that they look Photoshopped — that’s Calaguas. With powdery fine sand like Boracay’s minus the crowds, it is the “kind of private paradise you’ll want to keep all to yourself,” as travel blogger and Bicol local Amer Amor found out. He even claims the sand there is finer than Boracay’s, one reason why Calaguas made it on top of his list.

This beach is so postcard-perfect that, as Amer points out, “It’s that one destination that will have everybody asking, ‘Where on earth did you take that picture?’”

If you’re coming from Manila, the journey to this group of islands can be long and rough, with a 7- to 8-hours bus ride to Daet, Camarines Norte, and a two-hours boat ride to the islands.

But travelers like Amer swear that the long trip is more than worth it.

Here are video clips of Calaguas and the boat ride getting there: 

2. Twin Beaches Nacpan and Calitang, El Nido, Palawan

TWIN WONDERS. Walk on this swath of sand and choose between two spectacular beaches on either side. Photo by Josiah Sicad

Palawan has many white islands that describe the word “paradise,” but to travel blogger Josiah Sicad, who has been living there for over a year, the best he has seen so far is El Nido’s twin beaches Nacpan and Calitang, two perfect beaches dramatically separated by a swath of white sand dotted with greenery. The sand gently slopes downward to the twin beaches, making the waters perfect for swimming.

BEAUTY FROM AFAR. The view of Nacpang and Calitan from the top looks as picturesque as the beach scenery. Photo courtesy of Josiah Sicad

One hour away from El Nido town proper, the beach is worth the extra travel time, Josiah says. And if you stay long enough, you might just be treated to a great sunset.

3. Alibijaban Island, San Andres, Quezon

PACKAGE DEAL. Expect not only pristine beaches but also warm smiles at Alibijaban Island. Photos by Dong Ho

Quezon’s white and golden beaches are mostly off the tourist radar, but engineer and beachineer Dong Ho, who has been visiting and exploring relatively unknown islands he only found through GPS, was quick to point out his favorite: Alibijaban Island.

Aside from the island’s clear waters, white sand, and scores of mangroves, Dong also found that the island has a warm and welcoming community. Upon his arrival, children smiled at him and later on, the barangay captain talked with him and served him a seafood meal fresh from the day’s catch.

“I realized that beyond beautiful island beaches, the people’s hospitality is its most priceless gem,” Dong reveals.

For those who want a similar experience, just take the bus to Lucena Grand Terminal, another bus to San Andres, and a boat to the island. Average travel time is a little over 6 hours.

4. Burot Beach, Calatagan, Batangas

NEARBY PARADISE. For an unspoiled beach, Burot is quite close to Metro Manila. Photo by Missy Penaverde

This is probably one of the closest white, unspoiled beaches to Manila, with travel time around 3 to 4 hours by bus or by car. Perfect for a quick getaway, Burot Beach’s “silence and comfort are next to none,” as travel blogger Missy Penaverde discovered. The beach also promises a spectacular sunset.

She warns, though, that the beach’s pristine condition might change in the future, as SM’s group of companies has bought it. “Do not wait,” she implores. “Now is the time to see this.”

5. Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan

WORTH THE TREK. This view is the reward of those who braved the roads to Palaui. Photo by Marky Go

Palaui is one of the more challenging beaches to get to, with over 12 hours of land travel (but you can fly to Tuguegarao to cover part of the trip), a short boat ride, and a two-hour trek. The view overlooking the beach, though, is jaw-dropping, and the beach is as quiet and pristine as a beach could get. Another way to enjoy the stunning landscape is by going up Cape Engaño lighthouse for the sunrise.

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. Another way to take in the view is through the Cape Engaño lighthouse. Photo by Marky Go

Travel blogger Marky Go, who took the long trip and trek, says: “All lingering doubts on why you undertook such an arduous trip gets blown away with the wind.” 

6. Cibang Cove, Calayan, Babuyan Channel

FAR-FLUNG PARADISE. Cibang Cove’s calm waters, pristine beach and remote location makes it ideal for those who want the beach to themselves. Photo by Estan Cabigas

Photographer and blogger Estan Cabigas calls his experience here a “glimpse of heaven.” Should you see his photos of Cibang Cove, you will understand what he means. Cibang’s quiet turquoise waters and creamy white sand are encircled by gray-green cliffs and mountains.

“The place is just so marvelous,” Estan exclaims. “Think of Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves in Zambales but better.”

Like Palaui, the trip to Calayan takes more than 12 hours, with another land trip from Aparri or Claveria. From there, Cibang Cove can be reached by a 15-minute boat ride or a one-hour trek.

As this beach is remote as remote can get and picturesque, Estan could not help feel as though he was “stranded in some unknown but beautiful island paradise.”

But, like the case with Burot Beach, though, Cibang’s unspoiled state may not last. Estan reveals that there are plans to build facilities on the beach as well as construct a road getting there.

Have YOU been to any more unspoiled white beaches in Luzon? Tell us about them by posting your comments below!  Rappler.com

Rhea Claire MadarangClaire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.

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Rhea Claire Madarang

Claire Madarang is a traveler, writer, biodiversity communications practitioner, and facilitator of nature play activities. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and reflections on her blog Traveling Light and on her Instagram