The “Manila Bay Sands” have been a hot topic since efforts to beautify the area with crushed dolomite first hit the news. The sneak peek over the weekend brought in hordes of people who wanted to be the first to experience the new look of the area. I guess it is safe to say that it did not disappoint and more people, including me, are quite curious of how it will look after the rehabilitation project is completed.
In the spirit of the coastal clean-up celebration and while everyone is drooling and flaunting their white sand experiences, let me share with you seven white sand beach spots that captured my heart. These destinations are a work-in-progress selection as there are still others that I still have to explore. But these beach spots have made me look back and miss the sun, sand, and sea of summer.
Punta Sebaring, Balabac, Palawan
Hands down to Punta Sebaring as my top white sand beach spot here in the Philippines! Located on the southernmost municipality of Palawan, it boasts of one of the finest sands, if not the finest, in the country. It is so fine that your feet sink into its wet sand.
The sandbar that stretches out into the blue waters of Palawan is a perfect backdrop for pictures. It is rustic and largely remains untouched which makes it a perfect destination to chill out and relax. We got to enjoy the whole sandbar all for ourselves where we got our fill of the summer sun, sand, and sea. Punta Sebaring re-defines what a beach paradise is.
Balabac, through the years, have been getting traction on the tourism front and we have seen some developments in the area. This is a good opportunity for its locals to work on a sustainable program to keep its natural beauty despite the attention that it is getting now. I will always cherish the memories where I saw Balabac in its raw form and I hope more Filipinos will get to enjoy its pristine beauty.
You can read on my Balabac adventures here: A Balabac Summer Buffet (Part 2)
White Beach, Boracay
Boracay is the ultimate beach party island. It has blossomed from an off-beat destination during the 80’s to being one of the top beach destinations in the world. I was lucky enough to have seen Boracay during its early years when boats from the mainland dock on the beachfront.
At the center of all the island buzz is White Beach. The 4-kilometer white sand beach spot is popular for its powdery white sand. This is where most of the hotels, food establishments, and activities happen. The stretch is also where you get the best view of the sunset on the island. You can choose to watch it while enjoying a nice cold drink by the beach or aboard a paraw where you get a 360-degree panoramic view of the sunset and the island.
Boracay went into a 6-month rehabilitation under the Duterte Administration. Some of my friends who have been there have shared that the island is a lot better and more subdued after the rehabilitation. It has successfully regained its title even after months of closure. This is an amazing feat to make Boracay a more sustainable destination to enjoy.
Read up on my Boracay adventures here: Random Travel: Boracay in a Day
Mahabang Buhangin, Calaguas
During the time of our visit, Mahabang Buhangin in Calaguas was said to be how Boracay looked in the 80’s. It was rustic, pristine, and off-beat. We braved the long drive to Camarines Norte and the choppy waters of Vinzons just to catch the view and experience what it has to offer. It didn’t fail to impress us.
Mahabang Buhangin is Calaguas’ prime attraction. The stretch of white sand shoreline and its turquoise waters is a perfect beach combination. We were lucky that we were able to pitch our tent at the beachfront as the island was pretty crowded during the visit. One can choose to either chill out by the beach or go for a hike atop a nearby hill that offers a 360-degree view of the island. The hill is also a good vantage point to watch both the sunset and the sunrise.
Interestingly, Calaguas quickly rose to fame as a popular weekend destination, especially among the metro residents. Its natural beauty and chill beach vibe quickly captured the hearts of many. Calaguas is great weekend getaway where you can simply relax and enjoy the sun, sand, and the sea.
Want to visit Calaguas? Check this out for tips: Feeling the Vibe of Calaguas
Bantayan Island, Cebu
This rustic and laidback island, on the northern side of Cebu, is one of my favorite Cebu beach spots. You will get to create good memories from its rustic ambiance and the natural beauty of the place. Bantayan is definitely a must-visit destination in the province.
The beach spots in Bantayan Island are simply perfect. From its white sand shores to rocky beach spots, it gives you a total beach experience that matches the island’s rustic charm. You have a lot of white sand beach spots to explore and uncover on this island. The best way to discover these beach spots is by hopping on a bike and leisurely bike around town.
Bantayan Island is a total tourism package where you get a touch of history and natural beauty surrounded by the old-town feel. It does not rush you with your itinerary. It gives you that sense to simply stop and enjoy the moment. It wants its tourists and guests to stay a little longer and breathe in its unique vibe.
You can read about my Bantayan travelogue here: Unguarded Moments in Bantayan Island
Cresta de Gallo, Romblon
Cresta de Gallo is an island that offers a rare privilege of watching the sunset and sunrise on the same spot. This kidney-shaped island in Sibuyan Sea remains untouched by commercialization and offers its guest a rugged survivor-style kind of experience. On this island, you get marooned on it in style.
It is very easy to fall in love with Cresta de Gallo. There is nothing much to do but explore its pristine beauty. Our group had the privilege of having the whole island for ourselves so we really took the time to walk its sandy shores and explore while waiting for the sunset. I enjoyed having to watch the sunset while listening to the gentle sound of the waves lapping up on its white sand shoreline. It was a very calming experience.
Romblon is a tourism gem that is waiting for its turn in the limelight. With Cresta de Gallo at its helm, I would not be surprised if a heightened interest to the province will drive development in its tourism front. Cresta de Gallo cannot hide under the shadows very long because its beauty is for the whole world to see.
Cresta de Gallo was an adventure. Read more about it here: #LaBoRomblon
Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan
The long white sand shore of San Vicente is the main tourism icon of this municipality. The 14.7-kilometer stretch of powdery white sand is the longest in the country. And with the growing interest in its natural beauty, we are now seeing the development of tourism facilities in the area. I wouldn’t be surprised that, in a few years, we will be seeing a more commercialized Long Beach in Palawan.
Long Beach is a beauty to admire. The white sand stretch faces the western side of Palawan giving guests a perfect view of the sunset. Walking along its shoreline as the sun goes down is a perfect way to a day after exploring San Vicente and Port Barton. It has managed to maintain its rustic vibe despite the attention that it has been getting. Oh... and its long stretch of powdery white sand is also a nesting ground of sea turtles.
Like many destinations in the country, San Vicente is now creating its own buzz. The opening of its airport to commercial flights have opened new opportunities for its locals. It is great to see that its Local Government is following a sustainable development plan for San Vicente. We just hope that it will be followed to the tee.
Read about my San Vicente adventure here: SanVic sa Pagbabago (Unang Bugso)
Gumasa Beach, Glan, Saranggani
Gumasa Beach in Saranggani is often referred to as the “Boracay of the South”. With its powdery white sand and turquoise blue waters, it is not surprising to see the similarities with that of the party island in Aklan. But Gumasa Beach has its own brand of beach vibe as it hosts the annual Sarbay Festival.
The 6-kilometer white sand stretch of Gumasa Beach is just one of the many beach spots in Glan. It is popular among locals and guests for its charm and beauty. Most part of the beach front are already privately-owned that access to its shoreline may either require you to pay a little amount or the use of one’s charm. I guess the latter was our advantage so we got to see and explore the cove’s beauty. This beach spot is a charmer and photogenic that it can quickly capture your heart. It is a perfect summer beach spot in Mindanao.
Gumasa Beach is one beach destination that I would like to return to in the future. I would like to get a full experience of having to spend a day by its shores and watch the day go by. It is a beauty that is worth a second look.
Read about my Saranggani trip here: #Mindanao1: What's the G in Saranggani
POST TRAVEL NOTES
The Philippines is blessed with a long coastline with different characters. From the boulder shorelines of Batanes to the pink sands of Zamboanga, we have a wide selection to choose from depending on what appeals to our senses. I guess it is safe to say that most of us love the feel and vibe of white sand beaches because of how it contrasts with the darker shade of sea waters. This makes the spot look more appealing.
The restoration of Manila Bay with white sand is something that can create tourism opportunities for the city of Manila. I am excited to see how the restoration will look once completed. Although it is true that nothing beats the real thing, it is nice that more Filipinos can experience the feel and the vibe of a white sand shoreline against the beauty of the Manila sunset especially for those who cannot afford to experience the “real thing”.
If you are one of those people who can afford to, no one’s stopping you to check out the 7 white sand beach spots that I just shared with you.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.