6 breathtaking Philippine off the beaten path destinations

Philippines

Now boasting of 7,641 islands, the Philippines offers a number of destinations for travelers who want to enjoy nature without being jostled by dozens of camera-toting tourists. Avoid overtourism by picking little-known travel destinations that are breathtaking and are well worth visiting. Here are 6 great vacation spots in the Philippines that are off the beaten track:

  • Area
  • Natural Wonders
  • Outdoors

Updated a year ago

Grande Santa Cruz Island

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Zamboanga, Philippines • Memory • 

Want to see a pink beach? Then head to the Great Santa Cruz Island in Zamboanga to play in the blush pink sand of its beach. It took a great deal of coordination with the Zamboanga tourism office before we could travel to this pink beach because we needed to have military escorts accompany us while we toured the island. They explained that extra security is needed because it is located near Basilan. However, upon seeing the pink coralline sand and the clear blue waters of Great Santa Cruz Island, the effort was well worth it. My friend and I even had the chance to go scuba diving in the island but some of the corals were blasted by dynamite. That's a shame since this pink beach was named as one of the 21 best beaches in the world by the National Geographic in 2017. The pinkish hue was created when powdered remnants of red organ pipe corals mix with the white sand. There is a curfew on the island so we had to leave after a few hours of frolicking on the pink sand and playing beach volleyball.

  • Zamboanga, Philippines

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Chico River

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Sagada, Philippines • Memory • 

Get an adrenaline rush by trying white water rafting through the wild Chico River! My friends and I had a blast zipping our inflatable raft through giant boulders and whirlpools while admiring the awesome mountains of the Kalinga. This epic trip is one for the books!

  • Chico River, Philippines

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Apo Island

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Dumaguete, Philippines • Memory • 

Want to hang out with pawikans? Turtles abound in APO Island, which is located near Dumaguete. Don't miss the chance to swim with turtles but be forewarned that these turtles are super fast underwater! You can opt to go snorkeling or scuba diving so you can be amazed by the underwater beauty of this marine reserve.

  • Apo Island, Dauin, Philippines

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Siquijor

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Dumaguete, Philippines • Memory • 

Siquijor has gained a notorious reputation for its sorcerers who are known locally as the mambabarang. During our trip to the mystical island of Siquijor, we were repeatedly warned not to accept any food items or drinks that we did not prepare ourselves. This was supposed to prevent us from ingesting potions or being victims of "kulam." When staying in Siquijor, I highly recommend that you stay in Coco Grove Beach and Dive Resort, which has a large stretch of white sand surrounded by turquoise water. This spectacular resort is home to the Tubod Marine Sanctuary, making it the perfect place to snorkel and observe marine life. I also recommend that you go scuba diving at the nearby Paliton Sanctuary, which is a relaxing slope dive to a vibrant coral reef filled with schools of colorful fishes.

  • Siquijor, Philippines

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Burgos

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Urdaneta, Philippines • Memory • 

Fondly called Cabo Beach, the remote Caboangan beach in Burgos, Pangasinan has clear turquoise waters that can rival Boracay's world renowned seascape. The royal blue skies provide the perfect backdrop for your beach selfies while the sand is so powdery that your feet literally sink into it! Enjoy the long scenic drive to the beach by admiring the verdant rice fields along the road. Since it is rather difficult to reach this beach, there just might be a few beachgoers with you and your friends at this destination. Find tranquility amidst the crashing waves at Cabo Beach.

  • Burgos, Pangasinan, Philippines

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Atok

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Baguio, Philippines • Recommendation • 

Now, you don't need to fly to Japan or South Korea to see cherry blossoms or sakura up close. Haight's Place in Atok, Benguet is the first sakura or cherry blossom park in the Philippines. The cherry blossoms sprout between March to April, and last for only two weeks so you need to time your visit perfectly to catch them in full bloom. Atok is about a 3-hour drive away from Baguio. Due to its cool climate, you can even see flowers covered with frost when you walk around during the wee hours of the morning.

  • Atok, Benguet, Philippines

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About Philippines

The 7,107 islands of the Pearl of the Orient Seas boast of cultures, language, sounds, and sights that are as lively as its people

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