With Boracay closed and the rainy season now with us, where else can beachgoers go?
With over 7,000 islands from north to south, the Philippines is teeming with diverse beach destinations that are frequented by travelers, rain or shine. And with affordable airfares available online, it doesn’t take much to visit the country’s tropical wonders.
Here are 10 beach destinations sure to satisfy your sand-and-sea craving:
Dive in the crystal clear blue waters of South Cebu, especially at the island of Moalboal to witness a patch of tiny but dense group of fishes—yes, sardines—moving in perfect harmony. In an hour of snorkeling, you can come close and witness the dolphins and if you’re lucky, a whale shark (but hopefully from afar, as human interaction stresses them out).
How to get there: From Manila, fly to Cebu which is as low as Php 1,758 one-way economy fare at Philippine Airlines. From Cebu’s South Bus Terminal, take a bus south to Moalboal City Hall. From there, you can hire a tricycle to take you to White Beach or Panagsama Beach.
Sohoton Natural Park, Siargao
Siargao is indeed a popular surfer town, but what a lot of people don’t know is that one of the main attractions of this province is the Sohoton Natural Park. Located in the south of the province, the park features a 60-meter long tunnel passable only by boat during the low tide season. Within, you can discover the Hagukan Cave or the Diving Cave.
How to get there: Philippine Airlines now has direct flights from Clark to Siargao starting July 1, 2018 as low as Php 988 one-way economy fare. Van transfers from Sayak Domestic Airport are available going to General Luna where Cloud 9 is.
Deca Wakeboard Park, Davao
Apart from its famous Durian, Davao has lots to offer! Famous for white water rafting, Davao is also home to wakeboarding. Try your hand at getting through the obstacles at Deca Wakeboard Park, which features a state-of-the-art cable park.
How to get there: Philippine Airlines has flights from Manila to Davao daily for as low as Php 2,348 one-way economy fare. Only just 20 minutes away from Davao City, you may look for the Mintal-bound jeep. In Mintal, ride a trike going to the wakeboard park.
Apo Island, Dumaguete
The highlight of your stay in Dumaguete is visiting Apo Island, a volcanic island situated at the southeastern tip of Negros Oriental, where you can dive and freestyle with the pawikans and see them up close and personal in this marine protected sanctuary (but don’t touch or feed them, they easily get stressed!).
How to get there: Daily flights are available from Manila to Dumaguete via Philippine Airlines for Php 1,828 one-way economy fare. From the airport, take a bus to Zamboanguita and get dropped off at Malatapay. From Malatapay, there are boats that regularly bring tourists from there to Apo Island.
Coron Islands, Palawan
You can island hop in Malcapuya Beach, touted to be the next Boracay; Culion Island; Malaroyroy Island; and Banana Island known to be good spot for snorkeling. Coron is also known for its majestic “karst” limestones formations, which began forming 260 million years ago!
How to get there: Philippine Airlines offers a flight for as low as Php 1,288 one-way economy fare from Clark and Cebu directly to Coron (Busuanga). Upon arrival at Busuanga Airport, take a van to the town of Coron.
Anda Beach, Bohol
Bohol has a way of drawing you into its embrace. Aside from the popular Chocolate Hills, there are a whole lot of things to explore in this famed island. Visit Anda Beach and enjoy its white and powdery sand. Another spot to visit is the Cabagnow Cave Pool located in the outskirts of Anda. With its rich blue waters that goes as deep as 12 feet, it’s worth taking a dip (or a dive) in the cave pool.
How to get there: Catch a plane from Manila to Bohol (Tagbilaran) via Philippine Airlines for as low as Php 1,948 one-way economy fare. Upon arrival at the airport, you may hail a trike going to Dao Bus Terminal. From there, take a bus or van to the town of Anda.
Lakawon Island, Negros Occidental
Visit Lakawon Island Resort and Spa, touted to be Negros Occidental’s secret paradise. Once there, be enchanted with the TawHai Floating Bar, believed to be the biggest floating bar in Asia. Sip some wine or beer while watching the sunset at TawHai (which means “relaxed” in the dialect). You may also find refuge in the stunning cabanas of Lakawon while getting a soothing massage or simply dozing off with the summer breeze.
How to get there: Flights to Bacolod from Manila via Philippine Airlines are frequent and only cost around Php 1,628 one-way economy fare. Upon arrival, take a bus to Cadiz. From there, take a trike to Barangay Cadiz Viejo where you’ll find boats that will take you to Lakawon Island.
White Island, Camiguin
The White sandbar of Camiguin is one of the most popular destinations in the whole of Camiguin. Only a few kilometers away from the northern area of Camiguin Island, it’s the only beach in the area that has fine white sand. It also has an excellent view of Mt. Vulcan and Hibok-Hibok.
How to get there: Direct flights are available from Cebu to Camiguin for as low as Php 988 one-way economy fare. From Camiguin Airport, you may choose to stay in resorts 10 minutes away. From there, you can plan a day trip to White Island.
San Vicente, Palawan
Dubbed as the “longest white beach in the Philippines” with its 14-kilometer stretch, San Vicente is a budding destination in Palawan, seen to be at par with Coron’s fine white sand beaches. The beach stretches across the coast of Barangays San Isidro, Alimangoan, and New Agutaya. Now is the best time to catch this tropical paradise, still untouched by commercial resorts.
How to get there: Conveniently enough, PAL is soon opening a direct flight from Clark to San Vicente on October 28. From San Vicente Airport, you may hire a trike driver to give you a tour of the beach.
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Located at the northern-most part of Luzon, Pagudpud is a sleepy town with a lot of iconic travel destinations such as the pristine Blue Lagoon. The ever-popular beach is an excellent beach destination for peace and relaxation since it’s coast is not populated by noisy bars. Not so far from Pagudpud are neighboring iconic tourist spots such as the Bangui Windmills, the Bantay Abot Cave in the east, and the secluded Maira-ira Beach.
How to get there: From Laoag Airport, Pagudpud is only one hour away. Via Philippine Airlines, airfare is only Php 1,728 one-way economy fare. From the airport, take a tricycle to bring you to the terminal. From there, take the bus to Claveria; this bus passes through Pagudpud.
Traveling to these amazing spots are made easier with Philippine Airlines’ affordable fares. Experience PAL’s buong pusong alaga complete with snacks and beverages, baggage allowance, and comfortable seats at budget-friendly rates.
Despite the Boracay closure and the rainy season, these beach destinations can satisfy your wanderlust. Visit philippineairlines.com and book your way to your next escape!
Tea with Coralie
When a basket filled with tea goodies of macaroons, delicate cakes and sandwiches was delivered, it came in the signature purple color of this iconic brand. “Very Charriol”, as Coralie , the CEO of the Swiss brand, might have put it. She didn’t actually use that term to describe the savories. Rather, she was describing the cable bracelet that makes their products distinct. Avid Rustans Cebu shoppers will find the Charriol boutique just off the main entrance of the department store, near the familiar scented hall at the first level. On display are an array of earrings, bracelets and watches enticing to those looking for retail therapy with pieces that are timeless and yet not overtly breaking the credit card limit.
The tea Zoom party, as arranged by our host Ginggay Joven, and Luzanne Manlapit who is the brand manager of Charriol in the Philippines, was as good as any press-do from pre pandemic normal times. And an intimate peak at lifestyle editors’ lives as most of us were zooming from our living rooms, including Coralie who was answering our questions from her home in Geneva. Like most of us, she readily says, “I have a travel bug, and on weekends, I dream of where I can go!”.
Philip Charriol, Coralie’s father who started the brand in 1983, was a frequent visitor to the Philippines, making Manila (and Cebu) a side trip to his rounds of Singapore and Hong Kong. He made many friends in Asia and it was a sad day when everyone heard of his passing more than a year ago in a car accident at the Le Castellet racing track in southeast France.
These days, the company is in good hands with Coralie. She is set to debut a series of new collections building upon her father’s vision, including a reimagined Celtic collection, a line of watches first introduced in the 80s. The latest Celtic Legacy watch has a more striking face with two dials and bigger bezels available in gold or rose gold. The cable bracelet is made up of 6 strands of steel and titanium alloy that are flexible and durable. It comes in an elegant 30mm case, making it an equally perfect accessory for both a lunchtime affair as well as to a glitzy night on the town.
Also new are their ocean-themed pieces. The Forever Starfish watch comes in two iteration of stainless steel or rose gold case with a white mother-of-pearl dial. The second one is the Marina bracelet collection — the Charriol signature cable tied around a porthole and clasped together by a Charriol dial, it’s a fresh and young take for an everyday jewelry.
As a contemporary business leader, Coralie shared cautionary tales of polar bears and melting icebergs. Through their Charriol Living initiative, Philippe Charriol is a partner of the global organization Lonely Whale. It is a community of international businesses cognizant of the harming effects of disposable stuff in today’s world. Particularly single-use plastics, which are harmful to marine life when they end up in our seas. She co-produced a compelling documentary titled The Story of Plastic (www.storyofplastic.org) “a searing expose revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling”.
The company is committed to being socially conscious. Pretty soon, all Charriol packaging will be made of paper and sustainable materials. “We are interconnected tru our oceans”, she explains. In addition, part of the proceeds of selected ocean-themed Charriol pieces like the Forever Turtle watch, the Forever Waves and Ocean bracelets, will go to the Lonely Whale organization.
Philippe Charriol comes up with new design for watches once a year or once every two years to keep it fresh. Their jewelry line is much more frequent with bracelets and earrings. When asked if the company will be coming out with smart watches, Coralie was quick to reply that although other prestige watch companies have tried it, Charriol will not be producing one. “But I am coming out with something by October which is a kind of an accessory to a techie watch. To connect Charriol to technology.”
Coralie Charriol, the CEO of Charriol showing the Forever Starfish collection using mother of pearl face and their entry level cable bracelets in bright colors.
Screenshot of the Zoom tea party attended by top Manila lifestyle editors
The tea goodies for the tea party delivered by the Charriol team
The Charriol boutique inside Rustans at Ayala Center Cebu
PANDEMIC DIARIES: Twelve Months Later
Photos taken by Pablo Quiza around Cebu City during the months of March, April and May 202
AS WE APPROACH ONE YEAR under pandemic times, we look back at March 2020 with fascination. And awe. We had 12 months of lockdown and survived the so called new normal. We lived with masks and alcohol even today. Carless roads and dark malls. Those were the early days of March, April and May.
It stretched to October and past Christmas. No Sinulog. Virtual parties on Zoom and virtual mass on You Tube and FB Live. We debated on the best meds to take if we get sick and whether to wear masks (please do!). We scampered for face shields and anti-viral sprays. Vitamins C and D and zinc. Later, we survived being swabbed and we learned the difference between a PCR and an anti-gene test. The latter cost less.
We dreaded the declarations of IATF mandated from Manila. And we got mad at the police chief who had a birthday party while his people were busy locking up everyone violating the lockdown. Most horrifying of all, we needed to produce IDs! Are you a resident of Barangay Lahug or Banilad? Are you employed and why are you still working? Everyone suffered thru endless checkpoints. Most sad of all are those using motorbikes, they seem to get the raw end of the deal since those with cars are not as scrutinized. We managed to trick the system by putting a big handwritten note in front of the car: COMPANY CAR, and zipped tru the police desks in the middle of the road. Don’t even think of travelling, by plane, boat or bus. The collection of the required documents is enough for one to get exposed to Covid.
We learned to shop online, order groceries and necessities thru delivery. We slowly moved towards cashless payments. Gcash and banks like Union Bank and China Bank with friendly apps are heroes for making life easy for most of us to spend what little cash we have to spend on Lazada or pay the VECO bill. Oh and we binged on K dramas on Netflix and You Tube, kamsaminada.
As 2021 enters, there are some good news. For those obsessed with news, you already know that 7,000 vaccines arrived last March 2 in Cebu, with more expected in the next few weeks. The death rate is not as high among those who caught this pesky virus, which tells us that doctors in the hospitals have some proven expertise in dealing with Covid. More cures should be in the horizon.
Meanwhile, lets continue dreaming of the day when we can cross borders again, even if its just Bohol or Boracay, Bangkok or Hong Kong. Ready those luggages and bags bought during the 3/3 sale in Shopee in preparation for the day when we can take the ferry or the plane for new adventures.