Thursday, January 6, 2011

Top Beaches

For some reason, I am seeing a lot of news article on beaches lately all over the place - Reuters, National Geographic, etc. This morning there is one sensational piece on Boracay that showed up in Aussie, UK and regional papers. I decided I have to at least give my two cents worth about best beaches in Philippines.

I have to start with some caveats. I have actually only been to a few major beaches here - Boracay, Mactan, Cebu. Its just that you have to fly to most great places and then the cost of staying at resort is not cheap either but I have been to a number of small ones - there are literally hundreds if not thousands in Philippines. I go to the beach for nothing more than simple pleasures of nature and smell of sea air. I am not big on luxuries or parties at the beach although I consider bikini-spotting a legitimate visual sport.

Actually one of the thing that confuses me is how people rate beaches. What is considered a great world class beach? I think while there is commonality, its different for different people. I think most people think a great beach is one which is white sands, clear water and the longer the better - in my book they have to be like 2mile long beaches at least. In the Philippines actually there is only a few of these - the most famous being Boracay which is basically overdeveloped already. Other places are
1). Gamusa Beach, Glam, Southern Mindanao
2) Pugudpud, Illocos Norte, (most famous is Saud Beach)
3) Camiguin Northern Mindanao and
4). Panglao Island Bohol (near Cebu).

You will notice that Palawan does not figure in my list. At first I thought there was none very long contigously but was recently introduced to Long Beach at San Vincente - supposedly the longest beach in Philippines - 14km. Its easier to develop areas with long beaches because govt and developers just gets better scale of economies. San Vincente is in North Palawan - famous for the resort of El Nido and Amanpulo is viewed to have the highest potential for building a world famous large beach-resort industry like Cancun because a lot of the beaches are close to each other. Its likely that eventually the area will be like that when infrastructure are put in beginning with an airport. You can't really do much unless you have a decent airport that can land mid-range jets (737/A320).

BUT, there are so many smaller beaches or the larger beach is not all-white The top of the list for such smaller beaches are actually better in my view because usually there is better diving or surfing etc..The top of my list include
1. Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte
2. Dakak, Mindanao
4. Malapascua Island Cebu
5. Honda Bay, Palawan
6. Camaroan Peninsula, Camarines Sur (often just locally called Camsur) - this is where they have the Ironman annually and other major beach events.

The closest one near Manila would be in small islands near Batangas like Tilog Island, Verde Island off Anilao/Mabini or Lubang & Ambil Island off Nusugbu. There is one off the nearby Puerto Galera, Mindoro area called North Pandan is like a small fishing village island where you can get freshly caught lobster lunches arranged for you. There is off course my misadventure to get to Potipot, Zambales. Its just that there is nothing else other than the beach in these places. You really wonder actually why most people go to the beach - is because of the beach or the beach is just a reason to make all the things that make people want to go to the beach?

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