Three Off the Beaten Path Islands to Add to Your Philippines Hopping Tour

Beach in Malalison, Philippines

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 to avail discounts and promos.

Guimaras Island, Philippines

Guimaras Island, Philippines

Camiguin – The Island of Volcanoes

Camiguin, Philippines

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.

Camiguin, Philippines

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.

Camiguin, Philippines

Malalison – Hidden Gem of the Antique Province

Beach in Malalison, Philippines

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.

Sunset in Malalison, Philippines

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.

Sunset in Malalison, Philippines

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.

Beach in Guimaras, Philippins

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.

Sunset in Guimaras, Philippins

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!

All photos in this post were taken by the amazing Michael Gonzalez, a Filipino traveler and photographer. Follow him on Instagram and see more of his amazing photography. 

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Three Off the Beaten Path Islands to Add to Your Philippines Hopping Tour Three Off the Beaten Path Islands to Add to Your Philippines Hopping Tour

Three Off the Beaten Path Islands to Add to Your Philippines Hopping Tour

13 Comment to “Three Off the Beaten Path Islands to Add to Your Philippines Hopping Tour”

  1. Philippines are my favourite destination for island hopping tours. So breathtaking, so many stunning spots, it’s honestly my happy place. If only I could stay there for good – the only downside is slow internet. I haven’t been to any of the islands you feature in this post, but judging from the photos they look just as amazing as Caramoan in Camarine Sur province where I spent over 2 weeks this March and it was the best time of my life. Can’t wait to go back, so definitely saving this post for more off the beaten track destinations!

  2. Shem says:

    My aunt is from the Philippines and I’ve been wanting to visit for the longest time! I’m definitely going to save this for later so I can refer to it when I visit – Island hopping sounds so perfect! Loving all your photos — they are so colorful and vibrant!

  3. I like the look of the Camiguin island but given its proximity to Mindanoa would not recommend travelling there currently. That island is considered high risk for western travellers and has been the scene of notorious kidnappings. That said, this should not put anyone off travelling to other parts of the Philippines as many islands are stunning. We recently visited Mindoro which no one seems to ever mention but it was gorgeous and just a few hours from Manila.

  4. Your photos are absolutely stunning! I love seeing lesser known islands, especially in the Philippines! Great post!

  5. Nisha says:

    The photos are gorgeous and pls convey this to your friend Micheal. All the three islands look very beautiful and tempting too!
    Manggahan Festival looks quite interesting. Do you know in Tamil, (south India) they call it Maanga. 🙂

  6. shobha says:

    wow! the Philippines has so many islands. It’s hard to keep track of them all. I am however all for going to Guimaras for the mangoes. I wonder if they need a voluntary taste tester??

  7. These look like great places to visit! I love finding the more remote places to travel. I also love trekking while I’m exploring a new place so this is perfect. Love your pictures too, you have really captured the beauty of the islands.

  8. You photos are so beautiful they transport me to these places. I have never been to the Philippines and now I really want to go island hopping. I could easily spend a few weeks visiting all these places if only I had the time to do so.

  9. Soraya says:

    What an incredible post – just what I need as I am looking to visit the Phillipines in 2017. Camiguin looks amazing!!!! I love the way you have captured the coral. The water all around the islands looks so beautiful and blue. And I so have to check Guimaras because I am a total mango lover!

  10. Anna says:

    Oh my, how could I use a tropical getaway on one of the islands right now! I haven’t heard of these ones in particular before, but the Mango Festival is a reason good enough for me to go! Pinning for future reference 🙂

  11. Paige Wunder says:

    I’ve never heard of any of these three islands, but since I’m heading back to the Philippines, I that at least one of them needs to be on my list! The island of volcanoes is most intriguing, but I can’t pretend that that I don’t want the best mangoes in the world! Haha! Too many islands to choose from! Xx

  12. The Philippines look so nice! Great photos. Need to go there soon! Looks like paradise.

  13. BonBon says:

    wow!!! so beautiful…. where in the Philippines are you from? GOing this July for a family visit…

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