With over seven thousand islands to explore, the Philippines is certainly the best destination for an exotic beach holiday. Each of these gems is the very definition of an island paradise, with some often featuring high on the international lists. We’ve all daydreamed over photos of Cebu or Palawan, Boracay or surfing paradise Siargao. While those islands certainly deserve to be on everyone’s bucket list, we’ve come up with three suggestions for three such paradises that are off the beaten path, and more on the low key side of what travelers talk about. If you plan to island hop in the Philippines, you must certainly add these to your itinerary! Also, don’t forget to book your accommodations in advance through booking sites like Traveloka.com to avail discounts and promos.
Camiguin – The Island of Volcanoes
This rather small island province has four volcanoes peppered over its surface. Its prime spot in the Bohol Sea, just ten kilometers off the northern coast of Mindanao, Camiguin is a perfect spot for diving. The four stratovolcanoes is each made of several flank domes. While impressive, they are quite safe, as only Hibok-Hibok is documented to have ever erupted, and that was back in 1953. Camiguin is the second smallest island province of the Philippines, and it’s actually made up of two different islands, White and Mantingue.
The volcanoes are the most impressive natural treasure here, but the hot springs, the waterfalls, and the Timpoong and Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument are just as breath-taking. What I find most interesting about Camiguin though is the sunken cemetery. This cemetery was part of a town called Bonbon and was submerged along with it during the birth of Mt. Vulcan. If you travel to Camiguin in autumn, make sure to also check out the Lanzones Festival on the third week of October. This entire festival is dedicated to a tropical fruit that’s the size of a grape and it’s called—you guessed it—Lanzones. In terms of accommodation, you can either splurge on more lavish hotels in Camiguin, or opt for the lower budget options. Just pick whatever fits your travel style.
Malalison – Hidden Gem of the Antique Province
The hook-shaped island of Malalison is an unspoiled paradise in Antique, more specifically in the municipality of Culasi. The fine white sand of its beaches, the crystal clear waters, and the pristine nature of the island make it so unique. Only two hours away from Boracay, this island is a total contrast with its dramatic beaches and its famous sandbar which changes its curve depending on how strong the waves are. Malalison is perfect for everything to do with water: it offers great visibility for snorkeling and scuba diving, while sailing and fishing are great fun.
This remote island is also great for trekking, and before you start, you can enjoy the Pang luy-a, a ritual where the Maaram or local faith healers perform a traditional blessings for the arriving guests. If you still want to explore, when the tide is low, you can cross the sandbar all the way to Nablag Islet. The local caves, perfect for spelunking, or a picnic on the beach are just as great of an activity.
Guimaras – The Island of the Best Mangoes in the World
Part of the Guimaras island province, one of the smallest in the Philippines, Guimaras Island is perfect for… well, everything! Clear water perfect for snorkeling, diving, swimming, or fishing; white beaches to soak up the sun; the Mango Research Institute for those keen on mangoes; the Baras Cave with its underwater lake, for the more adventurous travelers. There is no end to the many things to do in Guimaras, from Guisi Lighthouse ruins to the Trappist Monastery. I’d also add Daliran Cave, the Balaan Bukid Shrine, and the Navalas Church— Guimaras’ oldest edifice—to my list.
In case you missed it, mangoes are important in Guimaras. So important they have a month long celebration, Manggahan Festival (mango is locally known as Mangga) dedicated to it. This spring festival celebrates the rich culture of Guimaras with specific dances, handmade exhibitions, and, yes, and a Mango All You Can Eat event.
Which of these three islands are you the most excited to see? I wouldn’t be able to decide either, so make it a long trip and visit them all!
Liked the post? Share it on Pinterest!