The Top Under-The-Radar Beaches In The Philippines According To "Beached" Hosts
Marc Nelson and Rachel Peters look back on the two seasons of "Beached" to crown the top 10 beach destinations in the Philippines that you should not miss for 2020
As Boracay reclaims its top spot after its year-long rehabilitation, and in fact, been named by Conde Nast Traveler as “The Best Island in the World” this 2019, we go back to discovering new pristine, coastal destinations from within our 7,641 islands.
So if you’ve been to Boracay, Puerto Galera, and others, but are looking for brand new beach destinations around the Philippines, you’ll be glad to know that there are so many options wherever you are in the Philippines. Beached has been all over the country this past two seasons, hopping from one island to another, and hosts Marc Nelson and Rachel Peters have become witnesses to the natural beauty that Philippines has to offer.
To close the year, they round up the best beaches they’ve visited to create a sort of beach bucket list for every Filipino who wants to explore the sand and sea wonders of our more than 7,000 islands.
Top 10 – Davao
Apart from the amazing food in Davao, there are so many adventures to be tried in the water. The Davao region is your jump-off point to many exciting beaches and water activities surrounding the mainland—and it is home to some of the most adrenalin-inducing activities.
It’s best known for its white water rafting, where you ride aboard a raft, courageously making your way through the harsh waters.
“It’s so much fun barreling down the waves, and even if you get thrown off, the adrenalin starts pumping as you navigate your way through the rapids’ icy cold water until you can get back on the raft. Admittedly, it can get a little bit scary the first time,” says Marc about the experience. But based on how much fun they had, it’s definitely a must-try when in Davao.
Another destination that Beached visited in Davao is Maxima Aquafun, home to the longest water slide that plunges you straight into the ocean. Maxima is also home to giant clams that were planted to keep underwater biodiversity healthy and alive. Marc says he helped plant some of the clams way back, and it was nice to return and see them mature.
If you’re looking for a nice beach resort, a luxury option in the area is Pearl Farm, a 5-star island resort with world-class amenities and facilities. The food here is part of your destination, too!
Top 9 – Coron
Every year, Palawan gets recognition from all over the world as one of the best islands to be experienced and seen. And this year, Travel+Leisure names Palawan as the second-best island in the world.
Coron, of course, is half of that recognition. Off the bat, it’s visually spectacular, thanks to its ginormous limestone formations and interesting lagoons. Just renting a boat and hopping from one island to another gives you a beautiful overview of this natural wonder.
If you’re looking for some underwater excitement, Coron is also a perfect spot because it is truly a wreck-diving mecca, home to a number of World War II Japanese shipwrecks reachable even by open water divers. Marc, however, cautions that the dive can be eerie, given the history of the shipwrecks, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
One of the things that "Beached" highlights is the locals' efforts in protecting their natural environment. In Coron, they’ve witnessed the efforts of the Project Water Bottle, which is a private initiative that tries to reduce the use of plastic bottles. To eliminate water bottle wastes from going into the ocean and the beach, they’ve put up water stations in different areas and islands to encourage people to bring their own water containers. How about that for sustainability?
Top 8 – Masbate and Sorsogon
Rachel came on board as the host of Beached only in season 2, after Maggie Wilson vacated the post. For a beach junkie like her who grew up going to the beach every weekend (and living her life now in Siargao) doing Beached was a dream come true.
Going to beaches of Masbate and Sorsogon was an extremely emotional episode for Rachel—and for good reason. It was where she saw and swam with the whale sharks in their natural habitat. For animal lovers or those who’d like to gain more appreciation of underwater life, visiting Donsol to interact with the whale sharks is a must-try.
After an encounter with the whale sharks, you can also follow in Rachel and Mark’s footsteps and travel down the Donsol River to watch the evening sky be lit up by thousands of fireflies.
One of the best things about the Donsol Eco tour is that it highlights environmental friendly tours where people can enjoy and experience the beauty of nature while leaving as little carbon footprint as possible.
Another secluded and pristine spot that you might want to check out is the Calintaan Cave in Matnog. You have to wait for the tide to go down so you can access this area of Sorsogon, where you will be met with crystal clear water and interesting rock formations that form caves. You’ll also notice one area filled with stone stacks that were left by people who visited the cave.
Top 7 – Romblon
There are so many things to enjoy in Romblon, which is a stone’s throw away from neighboring Boracay. In terms of non-water activities, you’d enjoy the marble craftsmanship in Romblon since it is the marble capital of the Philippines. Rachel and Marc tried their hand in engraving their names in some marble items and Rachel was able to take home her own marble coffee cup.
Romblon is also home to the only zip line in the Philippines that goes from one island to another. More than an exciting activity, it’s an easy mode of transportation from the main island and back so you don’t have to spend all that time trekking.
When it comes to water activities, a popular attraction in Romblon is the Blue Hole, located at the north of Tablas Island. It’s called such because it goes down so deep that when you look at it, it looks like a hole in the ocean. Sounds pretty scary, but Marc actually got to 11.8 meters into the hole on a free dive.
And probably one of the highlights of their Romblon trip is Cobrador Island, home to Green Sea turtles, Hawkbill Sea turtles, and Olive Ridley Sea turtles. Marc has seen turtles in the ocean before, but he says that the Green Sea turtles at Cobrador are the largest and most majestic he’s seen in his life.
Top 6 – Cebu
When you think Cebu, you’d immediately think land activities and destinations like the Magellan’s Cross or the Sirao Flower Farm. But if you have the energy to travel a bit farther from the mainland, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most exciting and memorable water activities.
Moalboal, for example, which is a few hours from the city mainland, has a beautiful biodiversity for divers to explore. One of Marc’s favorite sardine runs in the world is in Moalboal, where the local decided not to feed on the sardine and let them roam the ocean freely. Because of the lack of predators eating the sardine, too, you get a huge community of sardines that’s so thick they look like a blanket of fish covering the sun from below.
It’s also near Kawasan Falls, one of the best canyoneering spots in the country.
For more advanced divers, Malapascua Island in Cebu is the perfect place to watch some thresher sharks. Although the "Beached" team didn’t get to see some thresher sharks during their stay, you might be luckier when you give it a try. You’ll see beautiful corals and fishes while you’re at it anyway.
Top 5 – Pagudpud
If you’re a kiteboarding enthusiast or want to start learning, there’s nowhere else to head but to the best kiteboarding spot in the country, which is Pagudpud. Kingfisher Resort in Pagudpud is one of the windiest spots in the country with tame waves so it makes for a good location for kiteboarding and windsurfing.
You can also enjoy some time off the sea by going on an ATV ride, which is pretty cheap if you do it at Hannah’s Beach Resort. They also have other activities like gun shooting and zip line.
Pagupud is home to the very first windmill farm in the country, and the locals’ support for renewable energy definitely makes the trip more invigorating. Marc says sunsets in Pagudpud are really hard to beat, and has earned his Top 3 spot for best sunsets in the country.
Want to know more about all the beaches that landed in Marc and Rachel's Top 10? Watch the whole "Beached" episode in partnership with the Department of Tourism to find out which islands made it and what they loved most about these beach destinations!