Do you know where some of the world’s best islands are? They’re in the Philippines.
According to an international poll by the influential Travel + Leisure magazine, the Philippines is the world’s top destination for the best island in 2017. Palawan and Boracay were named the best of the best, ahead of other beautiful places like the Galapagos in Ecuador (the famous stomping ground of Charles Darwin) and Bali in Indonesia.
For first-time visitors, exploring the beauty of the Philippines’ 7,000-plus islands can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, this guide makes the task easier for you. In no particular order, here are 10 of the best Philippine islands for first-timers.
- Adventure and tranquility in Boracay
- El Nido and its breathtaking seascape
- Feel the magic of Siquijor
- The enchanting allure of Coron
- Riding the waves in Siargao Island
- The small-town charm of Camiguin
- Batanes is a sight to behold
- The stunning island that is Panglao
- World-class experience in Mactan
- Hollywood life in Pamalican
Adventure and tranquility in Boracay
It’s easy to see why Boracay Island is one of the most popular islands in the Philippines and in the world. The powdery sand and crystalline waters make for an ideal tropical destination. Those who seek an adventure can have so much fun dancing on the beach and doing water activities like parasailing and cliff jumping. For travelers who value tranquility, Boracay has a piece of heaven for you called Puka Beach, a more secluded spot with an 800-meter stretch of white sand made of finely crushed puka shells. If you’re looking for unique souvenir ideas in Boracay, Puka Beach and the local market have chic handicrafts such as necklaces and house trinkets.
El Nido and its breathtaking seascape
The claim that El Nido is a paradise can feel like an understatement. Located in Palawan, El Nido is so beautiful that it’s often ranked as the best island in the world. The limestone cliffs and calm waters make this place truly breathtaking. Note that El Nido is not a single island but a collection of small islands. When planning a trip to El Nido, first-timers are strongly advised to check the weather forecast. Generally, the months of November to May are the best time to explore El Nido’s more than 50 white sand beaches.
Feel the magic of Siquijor
An island province, Siquijor is often described as magical and mysterious. The island is shrouded with stories of apothecarists and occultists helping lovelorn visitors with potions and exotic concoctions. However, beyond its enchanting image, Siquijor is an island with fantastic beaches and greenery. The local people are warm and generous. It can make you think that the spell-binding attraction of Siquijor has to do with its natural beauty and its people.
The enchanting allure of Coron
While the pristine beaches of Coron don’t disappoint, the island is famous for its two lakes. Lake Barracuda and Lake Kayangan are rated as among the clearest and cleanest in the world. There are cliffs of marble to be explored in Coron as well as limestone formations. Like El Nido, Coron is located in Palawan. Coron and El Nido are beautiful in their own right, and it would be misguided to consider the two as rivals. The best travel goal would be to visit both.
Riding the waves in Siargao Island
You don’t need to be a surfer to appreciate the magnificence of Siargao. Some of the best waves in the world are found in Siargao, but the island has a lot of other natural attractions. The Magpupungko Pool is a mesmerizing body of water delineated by a barrier reef. Calm and crystal clear, Magpupungko is perfect for a serene experience.
The small-town charm of Camiguin
Travelers looking for hidden island gems in the Philippines would do well to visit Camiguin. Camiguin is not usually included in popular travel lists, but it is actually a beautiful and charming small island perfect for all travelers. Take time to visit White Island, a desolate sandbar with the backdrop of lush mountainous terrain and inviting blue sea. While Camiguin attracts discerning travelers all year long, one of the best travels tips is to visit in October during the Lanzones Festival, an event that celebrates the delicious local fruit.
Batanes is a sight to behold
The rolling hills of Batanes with the view of the Pacific Ocean are a sight to behold. The northernmost province of the Philippines, Batanes is also the least populated area in the country. Batanes is a good representative of an aspect of Philippine culture that encourages us to appreciate the beauty of nature. Traveling to Batanes used to be expensive and difficult, but travelers can now conveniently reach the island because of added flight schedules and airline promos.
The stunning island that is Panglao
Panglao Island in Bohol is a traveler’s haven for diving and diverse wildlife. Close to the island is Balicasag, which is famous for diving and snorkeling activities. Travelers who prefer to lounge by the beach will enjoy the shores of Panglao. The island also offers a lot of delicious eats. The seafood of Panglao is among the freshest you can find. A few minutes by car is the inspiring view of the Chocolate Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
World-class experience in Mactan
Prepare to be amazed by Mactan Island in Cebu. The island’s natural attractions include marvelous beaches and underwater adventure. Mactan is also famous for the hospitality of its inhabitants, the Cebuanos. Foreign travelers looking for a relaxing place that combines the beauty of nature and world-class hospitality should include Mactan on their bucket list.
Hollywood life in Pamalican
Pamalican is a tiny island in the Sulu Sea, but it has had as visitors some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Traveling to Pamalican can feel like you’re in the same league as Brad Pitt and Beyonce, who had been visitors of the luxurious island. Dubbed as the “world’s most VIP island,” Pamalican can be reached only by a private plane from Manila. Opulent casitas and swimming with sea turtles are some of the spectacles guests can experience.
Traveling to these 10 islands in the Philippines can feel like a dream come true. Whatever your budget and travel experience, these top islands are ready to win your heart and inspire you to come back.
Do you know of any other that should make it to this list of the best islands in Philippines? Let us know in the comments below!