The Philippines are famous for their beautiful beaches. But when you first touch down in frenetic Manila, those sandy idylls can seem a world away! There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines and almost endless options for an amazing beach vacation. But where should you go if you don’t want to travel too far from Manila to get there?
Here are five the best and top 5 beaches near Manila, that can be reached in no more than five hours drive (or bus journey) from the capital:
Patar White Beach, Bolinao, Pangasinan
This beautiful stretch of sand at Bolinao can be reached by bus from Manila in around 5 hours. Far less developed than many other, better known beaches in the Philippines, this is a delightful place will seem a world away from the busy city you have left behind. Some of the roads leading here are still unpaved, though it is just 30-40 minutes by tricycle from the heart of Bolinao. With creamy white sand and clear water, this is a great location for nature lovers. Bonus: a number of other pristine beaches can also be found in the Bolinao area.
Burot Beach, Calatagan, Batangas
Burot Beach is one of a number of beautiful beaches strung along the western coastline of the Punta de Santiago, south west of Manila. This Batangas gem is one of the best of the bunch, with creamy white sand and affordable prices. Small yet perfectly formed, this beach cove is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It can be reached from Manila in as little as 3-4 hours.
Even closer to Manila – just 2 ½ hours away by bus, lies this other top beach of the Batangas area. Here you will find a long, pristine stretch of white sand lined with shady palms and breathtakingly blue water. While here, be sure to sample a local Batangas dish and tuck into a bowl of lomi and sinaing na tulingan.
Nagsasa, San Antonio, Zambales
Nagasa Cove, along with the other beaches of San Antonio – Silangun Cove, Anawangin Cove and Talisayin Cove, are other excellent choices if you are looking for beautiful beaches near Manila. These beaches are blanketed in volcanic ash from Mount Pinatubo, and along the shoreline, magical agoho trees rise, quite literally, from the ashes. Uncommercialisegd and undeveloped, this is another great place to get away from it all beneath the awe-inspiring bamboo and grass-clad mountains.
Borawan, which takes its name from the two popular Philippines beach destinations of Boracay and Palawan, has fine white sand like the former, and rock formations like the latter. This place also takes around 5 hours to reach from Manila, and in addition to enjoying the sandy strand, visitors can also explore some amazing partially submerged caves.
There are plenty more beaches in the Philippines that will make for an amazing beach vacation – for example, the famous tourist destinations of Boracay, Cebu and Palawan. But choosing one of these destinations will mean a far shorter trip after landing in Manila, and could give you that little bit longer to enjoy your vacation.