10 remote Philippine island beaches you haven’t been to

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Mapped locations of the remote island beaches featured in this post
Mapped locations of the remote island beaches featured in this post
Its not for ordinary tourists but for intrepid adventurers who seek really off the beaten path, remote beaches in the Philippines.

I’ve personally been to these places and I can attest to the beaches that have been listed here. But then, its not only about the destination. The journey is quite interesting in getting to these places.

And if you brave the routes and length of travel, you will be rewarded with often white sandy shores without the crowds, touts or vendors. Below is a compilation of ten remote island beaches from Luzon to the Visayas and then Mindanao.

Do you have what it takes to head to these beach destinations?

Cibang Cove (Calayan, Cagayan)
So remote, so pristine, so magical!

1. Cibang Cove (Calayan Island, Cagayan)

Its truly a paradise! Cibang Cove in Cagayan province’s Calayan Island is so pristine, so remote, so magical that its even a safe bet to guess only a few hundred people or even less have been to its shores. Hemmed in by soaring cliffs and the unpredictable Babuyan Channel in this part of the archipelago, a slice of white sand gives any dyed in the wool beach fanatic bliss.

Read more: Cibang Cove, a glimpse of heaven

Flower Island's white sand beach is concentrated at only a section of the island, and where one enters and exits.  This is pure bliss!
Flower Island’s white sand beach is pure bliss!

2. Flower Island (Taytay, Palawan)

Brave enough to go the usual route of plane to Puerto Princesa, van ride for a few hours to Taytay and then another two hour pump boat ride on a sometimes rough sea? If that’s okay with you, Flower Island is just awesome! It’s a private place with its own white sandy beach, several trails around the forest and a spectacular viewing deck that gives you 360 degree view up a hill.

Read more: Pristine Flower Island is real beach escape

Just a few hundred meters from Cuyo port, a tongue of land jutting out into the emerald sea
Just a few hundred meters from Cuyo port, a tongue of land jutting out into the emerald sea

3. Cuyo town beach (Cuyo Island, Palawan)

One would be surprised to find this beautiful tongue of white sand jutting out into the sea just a hundred meters from the beachline of Cuyo town and the same distance from the town’s small wharf. Get to see birds congregating at the rocky side while frolic at the opposite but sandy shore. Unfortunately for beach goers, this one, Capusan Beach is now a haven for foreign kiteboarders.

But this is just one of those white-sand-beach-all-to-yourself beaches that abound in this cluster of islands and islets in the middle of the northern Sulu Sea between Panay and northern Palawan.

READ MORE: Capusan Beach: Rising destination for kiteboarding in Cuyo

Seaweeds scattered in this white sandy beach
Seaweeds scattered in this white sandy beach

4. Agutaya town beach (Agutaya Island, Palawan)

Agutaya? Where is that? One might ask. But this unassuming, remote municipality north of Cuyo, in the same area of the northern Sulu Sea hides many such beautiful white sandy beaches. It’s so ordinary here and with the lack of travelers braving the journey, you can have it all for yourself. By the way, world renowned Amanpulo is just in the neighborhood.

Read more: Unspoilt white sand beach in Agutaya

The stunning view of Antonia Beach from atop the rock formation.
The stunning view of Antonia Beach from atop the rock formation.

5. Antonia Beach (Isla Gigantes Sur, Carles, Iloilo)

I never regretted visiting Isla Gigantes off Carles in Iloilo where I spent my xxth birthday, solo. Antonia Beach is just one of the spectacular beach areas scattered in different islets and islands. Here, there are great rock formations, a back-to-back beach and friendly fishes that accompany you while swimming (they actually want to nibble on your skin).

Read more: Friendly fishes an experience at Antonia Beach

The abandoned Abak Beach resort in Capul Island
The abandoned Abak Beach resort in Capul Island

6. Abak Beach (Capul Island, Northern Samar)

Historically, Capul Island was a very strategic place. It was where Spanish galleons make their final stop to stock on water before they set sail to Acapulco via the Pacific Ocean. At the southern end of the island is an abandoned white sand beach. Eerie? Yes. But the water was just too inviting for a swim.

Read more: An abandoned beach in remote Capul Island

Red flag stand guard at the white sand beach
Red flag stand guard at the white sand beach

7. Santiago Bay (San Francisco, Pacijan Island in Camotes, Cebu)

Just between the islands of Cebu and Leyte, and off Danao City is the group of islands called the Camotes. And in San Francisco town in Pacijan Island, is Santiago Bay with its stunning white sand beach. When you go here, its okay to think that its a private strip but is actually owned by the local government and free to use.

Read more: Beautiful white sand beach in Camotes

Heading and anchoring to Dumog Island
Heading and anchoring to Dumog Island

8. Dumog Sandbar (Tubigon, Bohol)

As the tide rises, Dumog Islet (or sandbar) goes under a few inches of water. When the tide gets low, it appears like a mirage. It even has a tail of white sand just barely visible above the water that stretches for a hundred meters out into the sea.

Read more: A beautiful sandbar in Bohol’s Tubigon

Buluan Island (Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay)
It’s part of a marine sanctuary and the beach is just so clear

9. Buluan Island (Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay)

Buluan Island is definitely under the radar. A tadpole shaped land off Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay, its another beautiful place with a nice pristine beach. It’s part of a marine park that if you take the time to visit this place, you’ll be rewarded with untouched coral gardens. Or if you prefer basking in the shoreline, small fishes called lupoy often swim in numbers jumping on cue off the water that it can be a sight to behold early in the morning.

Read more: Buluan Island, beautiful, pristine and relaxing

Malamawi Island (Isabela City, Basilan)
It was peaceful and serene. The beach captivating with its colors and the view was just spectacular.

10. Malamawi Island (Isabela City, Basilan)

Spell B-A-S-I-L-A-N and most Filipinos would not want to go there. But in an island just five minutes off Isabela City is a gem of a beach with scenic view of the mountains of the Zamboanga Peninsula. Is it safe? Yes. I think. Especially that armed military men are there under the shade of the trees might just be enough to deter bandits and Abu Sayyaf.

Read more: Beautiful white beach in Basilan.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London).

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. Open for work, collaborations and inquiries for site features.

102 thoughts on “10 remote Philippine island beaches you haven’t been to

  1. Wow… I am originally from Cagayan but still never been to Calayan Island… Ganda pala dun! 🙂
    Here we go again Sir, Cuyo Island!!! 🙂

  2. Reydan, am planning a trip to Palawan and will include Cuyo and Agutaya uli, sometime sa May 🙂

  3. Wow Sir Estan… you keep on going back there. How I wish anytime soon I can also visit Cuyo 🙂

  4. 2/10 – Santiago and Malamawi. Maybe I should brew a Cuyo trip soon. #11 should be Pamalican. 🙂

  5. I haven’ been to any of these beaches… what a shame! hahahaha… Definitely going here in few years time… oh wait, make that months. =) Thanks for this!

  6. All of this beautiful beaches in the philippines, i haven’t seen yet this stunning beaches, so shame on me. But i would be very happy and Maybe one of this i can go and visit when i’m going back home in the philippines. And i hope i can travel more of than this , so that i can introduced to some of my japanese friend. And this all of my dream to go around the philippines. Thank you for sharing us it’s so beautiful. God bless to my beautiful country. And to the filipinos people as well.<3<3

    My best wishis to my disqus followers have great day and bless wonderful week to you all and thank you for having me in your space. Hope to hear you for once in awhile <3

  7. All of this beautiful beaches in the philippines, i haven’t seen yet this stunning beaches, so shame on me. But i would be very happy and Maybe one of this i can go and visit when i’m going back home in the philippines. And i hope i can travel more of than this , so that i can introduced to some of my japanese friend. And this all of my dream to go around the philippines. Thank you for sharing us it’s so beautiful. God bless to my beautiful country. And to the filipinos people as well.<3<3

    My best wishis to my disqus followers have great day and bless wonderful week to you all and thank you for having me in your space. Hope to hear you for once in awhile <3

  8. Wow. So there’s really much more sights to see in Palawan than the famed Underground River.

    Could you suggest a nice and not-so-expensive itinerary for island-hopping in Palawan? I’d really love to check those awesome beaches out. ^^

  9. if only it is safe to visit, the Quezon Beach in Jolo Sulu is as lovely as Boracay…i’ve visited the place but with the Phil.Marines.

  10. Hmmm… Not fond of itineraries but the last time i was in Puerto zori cesa was many years ago.im bo longer familiar if theres something new to do.

  11. Check out Lakawon Island in Negros Occidental. 🙂 These places are too beautiful to miss out.

  12. you really justify the word “off the beaten” which none or only few dare say “been there, done that”

  13. Hi , I’m from cuyo there’s a ship that will take you direct to cuyo from manila pier.
    The name of the ship is Journey . Its a 2 days sail from manila to cuyo. There are transient there and you can rent pump boat to take you to agutaya, bararing, pandan island, quiminatin, kokoro, bisucay and many more. These are all island worth checking out if you have plenty of time 😉 from cuyo there is a ship also to iloilo and puerto princesa. Pwede dn po n manggaling kang puerto prinsesa to cuyo my byage dn ng barko dun. Hope it helps 🙂

  14. Nice one, Estan. With over 7,000 islands to explore, I’m sure picking the top 10 is no easy task. I’m from Palawan and have bee to El Nido and I can say our country is really blessed with paradisaical beaches. I’ve been to Phuket and an island in the Andaman Sea. Even the Mediterranean seashores will pale in natural beauty.

  15. Hi Estan!
    It’s me – Carolina, from IG 😉
    You have a great blog and of course beautiful pictures!
    By looking at everything, I have fallen in love with Palawan … I was planning to go there but I think I will wait, when the rain season is gone … I’m really looking forward to it! I’m really impressed – I didn’t know Philippines would be such a paradise!
    Thank you again for all your help 🙂

  16. Stunning photos of remote beaches. Wow! Try to visit beaches from Southern Palawan . . . You are welcome to Punta Sebaring (Balabac) . . . GO SOUTH, Backpackers and Adventurers

  17. thanks Sir for sharing….i’ve been already at Gigantes islands and it’s definitely a paradise. I’m planning to visit again Palawan and maybe I can visit one of the places you’ve featured.

  18. pakiusap lang po kung dadalaw kayo sa palawan, wag nyo naman sanang dalhin yung ugaling pagka busabos, matutong sumunod sa patakaran ng lalawigan namin pag dating sa basura

  19. truly,,, Calayan island is one of the best and peaceful place of the archipelago

  20. Whew. Soooo interesting. I love traveling but I haven’t been to one of these magical places. And who would have thought that these places can be found here in our country? Philippines are truly blessed with these! Thumbs up! Will be visiting one of these soon. 🙂

  21. I would include Sequijor, a beautiful island just 45 minutes away by fast launch from Dumaguete. It has 38 Barangays with an approximate population of 100,000. There are beaches of pure white sands that are absolutely barren and the Cambugahai Waterfalls are pure nature. I was told not to go there as the fabled stories of barang barangs and flying creatures live here and witch doctors that roamed the hillsides. So I forced myself to visit this beautiful island not knowing what to expect. Lo and behold, I was to stay only for 3 days and ended up staying for two weeks😊 one piece of advice though, take alot of canned foods and other extra eatables as the remote provinces there, do not have restaurants or the exotics of the cities. By the way, your first stop will be in the port of Laurana. The people are friendly and warm and miles and miles of smiles all around.

  22. You may also include LUBANG ISLAND, Occidental Mindoro. I’ve been there and i had a lot of fun. Not expensive at all. 🙂

  23. kelan kaya kame masasama sa listahan na to 🙂 # marinduque -heart of the Philippines

  24. Im surprised that malamawi island is part of your list, you are right it is an awesome beach! Therr is another beach in basilan that is as beautiful as nalamawi’s.. I forgot the name of beach but it is in lamitan basilan.. Oh yeah, another one is in zamboanga city, called sta.cruz island

  25. Hi Julian, yes, Siquijor should be included but in succeeding lists. Been there thrice but all for work. Wasn’t able to explore. But soon. Thanx sa suggestion!

  26. You should include paguriran island of sorsogon.=)..it’s da best!with a beautiful lagoon.=)

  27. I’ve been to only 2 in this list and hoping to cross out more soon. 🙂 I suggest adding Balabac, Palawan, in this list. So far it’s still an off-the-reader beach destination. You can island hope to about 7-8 islands in 2 days time, and I’ve read that more sites are still not open to public.

    Here’s a link of photos of island hopping in Balabac, Palawan:

    http://www.taraletsanywhere.com/guide-balabac-island-hopping/

  28. So glad that my hometown Capul Island Samar was included. Thank you and God bless you more!

  29. Number 5 picture is Cabugao Gamay in Gigantes and not Antonia..but i loveee your article..I’ll save it so I can plan my trips this coming years..thanks

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