In a country like the Philippines, the beach is a year-round thing, never isolated during the summer times. For most of us, we are probably considering the famous beaches of the country. But wait, what about traveling to the up-and-coming beaches of Bicol? We might be surprised that they are as competitive just as they are amazingly beautiful!
PAGURIRAN ISLAND, BACON, SORSOGON
Hidden in the quaint hamlet of Sawanga in the province of Sorsogon, Paguriran Island boasts of a natural rock formation that forms a lagoon. The place is inviting not because of the naturally white sand. For travelers who have gone to most white beaches of the country, there is nothing impressive with that. The lagoon, however, provides guests with the opportunity to spend their adrenaline on climbing and diving, on top of swimming within it. A great view of the open ocean will mesmerize anyone who sits on top of the rocks. A great place to take that mandatory selfie!
The nearest airport is at Legazpi City. An hour drive from Legazpi will bring you to the city of Sorsogon. Jeepneys are parked beside the public market. For travelers staying overnight, buy your food before hopping on the public transport. That’s the cheapest and best way. It takes forty five minutes to get to Sawanga. Alternatively, you may opt to rent a van to ferry you directly to Sawanga. Once there, you can set up camp and cook your own viand. Otherwise, you may ask resort owners or households to cook for you for a minimal fee. That allows you to enjoy the place more. There isn’t any fee collected, except when you rent for cottages. A budget of 2500.00 (exclusive of transportation from Manila) for a group of four will get you a long way.
SUBIC ISLAND, MATNOG, SOROSOGON
The town of Matnog, still of the province of Sorsogon, is the southernmost point of mainland Luzon. A sleeping town before, Matnog now opens up to the rest of the world by marketing one of the best island beaches of the country. Subic Island is a thirty-minute boat ride from Matnog port. The sand is white and fine. But unlike other white beaches, the sand in the island has some pinkish tints. Describing it is way too hard. The easiest way is to come and see it yourself!
The local government is now regulating tourists who visit the island. Anyone who plans to spend time in the island has to sign up at the tourism center and pay the boat rentals. Guests are then escorted to the accredited boats. Once aboard, the boatmen takes you first to a fish sanctuary where you interact with large species of fish. You then proceed to the island for a whole day adventure.
From the airport of Legazpi, you can hire a van to take you directly to Matnog. The best time to go is early morning as it takes about 3 hours to get to the port. Most of the time, there will be lots of tourists lining up to get on a boat. A budget of 5000.00 ((exclusive of transportation from Manila) for a group of four is enough for a whole day stay.
ATULAYAN ISLAND, SANGAY, CAMARINES SUR
It’s understandable that most people have not heard about this place yet. A snail-shaped island some thirty minutes away from the town of Sangay, Camarines Sur, Atulayan is emerging as a destination this summer. Because it is not as developed as most commercial beaches, it offers a certain level of tranquility and escape, but never short of the fine white sand and beautiful scenery. The traveler who comes here are those in search of the majestic and will never come home disappointed.
The nearest airport is at Naga City. From there, you can directly hire a van to take you to Nato Port in Sangay. At the port, you can negotiate with fisherfolks to take you to the island, even take you on a sight seeing tour of the entire place! Once there, you can opt to stay on the small cottages, for a fee, rent small rooms close to the beach, or bring your own tents and enjoy the serene feel of the place. A budget of 3500 (exclusive of transportation from Manila) for a group of four is a good budget.
SAN MIGUEL ISLAND, TABACO CITY, ALBAY
Off shore the city of Tabaco, Albay, San Miguel Island is within a protected fish sanctuary. Expectedly, you will be within swimming range with colorful schools of fish and good corals. The sand is white, fine mixing and churning with the clean blue waters in a foamy exchange. The place is best for snorkeling and the usual swimming and basking.
Tabaco City is an hour drive by van from Legazpi City, Albay’s capital and where the airport is. From Tabaco city, take a tricycle to the port. Enjoy a twenty – five minute boat ride to San Miguel Island. Because the place is protected, strict compliance to environmental laws are expected. A budget of 2500.00 ((exclusive of transportation from Manila) for an overnight stay for four people is a good start.
CALAGUAS ISLAND, VINZONS, CAMARINES NORTE
If you wish to have the ultimate beach camping experience, Calaguas Island may be the best white beach for you. Located in the town of Vinzons, Camarines Norte, Calaguas is rising to become one of the top destinations because of its white sand appeal and the fact that it offers the back to basics ‘barkada’ trip where you camp by the beach. Many tour packages even include a do-it-yourself array where you modify the inclusions at your own convenience. The best point of the place is the Mahabang Buhangin, literally translating to “Long Beach” where you see the full majesty of the sun as it kisses the ocean!
Because Camarines Norte is closer to Metro Manila, you can ditch the plane if you’re on a tight budget. Take a bus and alight at Talobatib in the town of Labo. From there, take another hour on a bus to Paracale and then hire a tricycle to take you to the port. That takes about 10-15 minutes. From there, many boats are waiting to service the travelers. If you still opt to take the plane, book the Naga flight, take a two-hour busride from there to Daet, Camarines Norte. From Daet, ride a bus to Paracale. Booking a DIY adventure in Calaguas is easy. Social media is teeming with them. Search and you shall find! A budget of 8000.00 for a group of four is a good start (inclusive of transportation by bus from Manila).