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Bucket list: PH's most breathtaking white sand beaches

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Sep 23, 2020 10:15 pm Updated Sep 24, 2020 3:44 am

Curious crowds trooped to Manila Bay when a part of its “white-sand beach” was opened to the public on Sept. 19. The beach, made from crushed dolomite rocks, is part of the government’s beautification campaign of Manila Bay, which is world-famous for its majestic sunsets.

As people gathered to have a glimpse of and experience the new beachfront (only 70 people at a time were allowed to walk on the beach and only for three minutes), photos and videos on social media showed that they failed to follow health protocols, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following this fiasco, different social media platforms were peppered with posts that carried the hashtags #ManilaBaySands (a play on Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands) and #ManilaBayChallenge. The latter was a witty challenge took on by social media users, even celebrities, where they posted a photo of onlookers perched on a footbridge along Roxas Boulevard side by side or photoshopped with their own throwback beach photos.

As an artificial white-sand beach has emerged in the city, the country’s amazing destinations — with their clean, cerulean waters and pristine white-sand beaches — sit still, waiting for the day sun-kissed travelers would again revel in their unrivaled natural beauty.

Here are some of the country’s natural white-sand beaches to take one’s breath away — places to consider visiting once, as they would say, things get better. 

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Hidden not so hidden 😎

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Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Palawan is known for its plethora of powdery white-sand beaches that has stolen the hearts of local and foreign tourists alike. Recently, Conde Nast Traveller included in its “30 Best Beaches in the World” list El Nido’s Hidden Beach in Matinloc Island. This secluded pocket of white-sand beach sits on a cove embraced by towering karst cliffs and a lush forest. This hidden gem’s crystal-clear waters also add to its appeal, which also makes it a favorite for island-hopping tours.

 Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan

Long Beach is located in the first-class municipality of San Vicente in Palawan, which has been on the radar of travelers who seek a more laid-back atmosphere compared to the El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa staples. It reportedly has the longest stretch of white-sand beach (14.7 kilometers) in the country, which spans the coastline of barangays Poblacion, New Agutaya, San Isidro and Alimangun.

 Morong Beach, Sabtang, Batanes

Morong Beach, situated on the northern tip of Sabtang, is famous for its most-photographed limestone Ahaw Arch, which frames the view of the white-sand beach. This short stretch of beach is an everyday witness to a steady set of waves that comes in from the South China Sea. One may need an adventurous spirit to get to Sabtang for it takes a 30-45-minute falua (an open-deck boat of the Ivatans) ride to get.

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Bonbon Beach, Romblon

Sunworshippers and travel seekers swear by the beauty of Romblon with its beaches that are definitely worth exploring like Bonbon Beach, located in Barangay Lonos. Its inviting turquoise waters facing the Romblon Pass and amazing beachscape endears Bonbon Beach to travelers. During low tide, one can explore the nearby Bang-og island via the beach’s famous Bonbon sandbar.

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Chilling on one of my favorite islands in the Philippines: Cresta de Gallo 🇵🇭

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Cresta de Gallo, Sibuyan, Romblon

The off-the-beaten-path charm of Romblon comes from its treasure trove of destinations like Cresta de Gallo, south of Sibuyan Island. This beach’s raw, untouched beauty coupled with its inviting azure waters surrounding the island and a stunning sandbar are more than enough reasons to experience this stunning gem.

Boracay's White Beach right after the island reopened from rehabilitation in 2018. Photo by Walter Bollozos

White Beach, Boracay

With its entrancing turquoise waters, fiery sunsets and the world-famous powdery white-sand beaches, Boracay continues to lure those who surrender to the call of the sun, sea, and sand. The island’s six-month government-mandated closure to tourists in 2018 for rehabilitation helped bring forth Boracay’s natural wonders that further cemented its status as one of the world’s best islands.

Sumilon Island, Cebu

Sumilon Island is at the southeastern tip of Cebu, where pristine white beaches abound. Sumilon Island’s sandbar is known for its changing shapes and shifting locations around the island depending on the season.

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Ohhh Mondays 🏖👙☀️

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Panampangan Island, Tawi-Tawi

From afar, Panampangan Island in Tawi-Tawi looks like a screensaver, replete with jutting coconut trees, a carpet of green grass and a long stretch of white-sand beach. This slice of paradise, located in the municipality of Sapa-Sapa in the province of Tawi-Tawi, boasts a stunning sandbar (reportedly the longest in the Philippines at 3,128 meters) that extends to the nearby Basibuli islet.