With the gradual decline of the post-Christmas chill and the onset of clear, arid afternoons without a trace of rainfall, there’s no doubt that beach season is just around the corner. The next couple of months will definitely find most of us packing our bags and going off to the beach, where we can languish in the toasty summer heat, savor the cool blue waters on our skin, and let the warm salty breeze softly tousle our hair.

Summer is indeed the most ideal time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a couple of days or weeks in seaside havens safely tucked away in the corners, tips and small towns of the country—havens with powder-white shores fringed with trees and kissed by brine the color of cobalt and emerald.

Moreover, although the island of Boracay indeed remains one of the hottest go-to destinations this summer, there are a plethora of other beautiful shorelines around the Philippines that could serve as an idyllic getaway for you, especially if you would prefer a more tranquil and rustic beach experience over the exciting crowd and intense nightlife that Boracay guarantees. When planning your itinerary this season, you might want to consider visiting these five exquisite beaches:

5_non_bora_beaches_baler.jpgBALER, AURORA

Besides being the oldest municipality of Aurora Province and having been popularized by the fairly recent local film bearing the same name, Baler is also the perfect destination for those who love to surf, especially since its expansive coastline opens up to the Pacific Ocean. Depending on the season, the waters can shift from small, undulating waves to powerful swells nine feet high. You’ll definitely enjoy riding the crest of Baler’s high waters, especially at Sabang Beach and Cemento Beach. You can even take a few lessons from the local surfers, who are very welcoming of tourists and those eager to learn. Apart from being a nirvana for surfers, Baler has must-see historical sites such as the Baler Catholic Church and Quezon Park. You might also want to visit the nearby islands of Aniao, Dimadimalangat, and Lukso-lukso, which are renowned for their lovely coral beds, or have breakfast and lunch at the Dicaloyungan Picnic Zone.  

5_non_bora_beaches_bantayan.jpgBANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU

Bantayan Island, which is one of the clustered islands nestled at the northern part of Cebu island, has gained repute for its crystal clear waters and soft white sand. Its pastoral charm untouched by modernity, this island is a wonderful spot to escape from the world and enjoy the sea at its best. When the afternoon wanes and the sky turns red-gold, watch the breathtaking sunset as you take a walk down the Bantayan coast. The peaceful atmosphere of this tropical paradise just a few hours away from the Queen City of the South is also complimented by the company of friendly, smiling townsfolk. If you get the chance to visit the islands during Holy Week, you might even witness the Lenten procession held at the town center.  

5_non_bora_beaches_coron.jpgCORON, PALAWAN

Every summer, tourists, professional divers, and treasure hunters head to Coron for discovery and underwater adventure. Its renowned diving spots have make it a promising attraction in Palawan. While in Coron, you should take the opportunity to check out the shipwrecked Japanese vessels left over from World War II, or observe marine wildlife such as sea turtles, dugongs (sea cows), and fish of every kind and color. Apart from diving, you can also try a variety of other enjoyable activities, such as taking a dip in Maquinit Hot Springs (found at the entrance of Coron harbor), snorkelling for multi-colored corals and vibrant fish, or taking picnics on the uninhabited islands of Isla Walang Lang-aw and Isla Walang Tao. You could also take a serene raft ride across Cayangan Lake, which is one of the cleanest and purest lakes in the country.

5_non_bora_beaches_pagudpud.jpgPAGUDPUD, ILOCOS NORTE

Pagudpud—a small, sleepy town located in the northernmost part of Luzon—is famous for the pristine, unperturbed quality of its shores. In contrast to most beaches teeming with tourists and avid beach-goers, or lined with bars, booths, inns, and hotels, Pagudpud is the ideal place to hide away if one is looking for a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature in perfect solitude. The stillness of the surroundings, as well as its wide stretch of powdery shoreline yet untainted by commercialism and flocks of tourists, make it a great spot to simply unwind, contemplate and take in the immense view of the sea. You can also get a majestic view of the towering windmills that line one side of the coast.

5_non_bora_beaches_siargao.jpgSIARGAO, SURIGAO DEL NORTE

Known for its exquisite beaches, turquoise waters and its title as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” Siargao isn’t just a place to ride the waves. It can also be a place for relaxation, as tourists can try a host of other activities such as kayaking off to nearby sandbars or across the mangrove river; snorkelling off the islands of Bukas, Daku, and Mamon; visiting the Suhoton Cave at Bucas Grande; or taking a tour of the surrounding white-shored islands such as Guyam and La Janosa.

With these options in mind, you already might want to book an early flight or ask a few friends to take a road trip with you this coming beach season. This summer will be a chance for you to visit and experience your tropical paradise, beyond the city, beyond Boracay.

(Baler photo by Andrej Wisniewski; Coron photo by Goldy Lim; Siargao photo by Kage Gozun; photo source for Bantayan and Pagudpud pictures: sxc.hu—Bantayan, Pagudpud)
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