Philippines Beaches: White Sands, Clear Waters

Getaways are easy with many beaches to explore in the Philippines, and our writer describes his chosen few. Text and Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio.

Davao 8 May 2013. With more than 7,100 islands, it’s not surprising that beaches are one of the big draws of the Philippines. 

“Whatever your mood, there’s something to suit: from kilometers of fine white sand with a not a soul in sight, to party strands, to spectacular water-sports beaches, to tiny, sandy isthmuses in the lee of tropical islets,” wrote Lindsay Bennet in her globetrotter island guide book to the “Philippines.” 

Some of the country’s fine beaches can be found in the coastal waters of Davao Gulf, which has an area of 308,000 hectares that cuts into the island of Mindanao from the Celebes Sea. It is surrounded by all four provinces in the Davao Region. 

The largest island in the gulf is Samal Island. Davao City, on the gulf’s west coast, has the largest and busiest port on the gulf. Davao Gulf is surrounded by seven cities namely: Davao, Tagum, Panabo, Samal, Digos, Panabo, and Mati.   As a journalist who loves to travel, I have been fortunate to visit some of the best beaches in the region.  Here are some favorites:

Kopiat in Mabini, Compostela Valley

Still undeveloped, the beach has white sand and crystal clear blue waters.  It is located in an island, about 87 hectares, that is full of coconut trees and wild fruit trees.  The sea water is a known breeding ground of the hawksbill and leatherback turtles.  Sea travel around the island takes about 20 minutes by motorized boat, while in-land tour takes about 45 minutes. A portion of the island encircles a seven-hectare lagoon. 

Bonhomie in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental

It has a very clean area and the surrounding is well-maintained. Near its infinity pool is the powdery-white cream beach.  Visitors and guests can request to be brought to the one-hectare Burias Islet, located at the boundary of Maputi and the Puntalinao Rivers.  Just 12 minutes away by boat, it has a white sand beach and good for diving and snorkeling.  The place, just along the highway, is about 12 kilometers from the poblacion of Banaybanay.  From Tagum City, it is about 52 kilometers away. 

Welborn in Pantukan, Compostela Valley

This secluded beach is about 250 meters away from the highway. The beach is wide stretch where adults can walk and children play.  The sea bed is flat and there are no stones or coral that makes bare walking dangerous.  It is a haven for photographers as it has the best sunset and best panoramic/scenic view among the province’s beaches. 

Dahican in Mati City, Davao Oriental

“A South sea dreams come true” was how a foreigner described the beach.  Walking on barefoot on its white sand is a pleasure.  Its serene and tranquil shores make it a great escape from strenuous busy life. Its old fashioned way of beach lounging made it become more relaxing and comforting. No parties, not crowded, just simple beach life. It is located about 15-minute ride from the heart of the city.

Bluewaters in Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte

Tired of the hassles of city life, the stress of your work, the fast tick of the clock, and the noise of the vehicles, then go straight to this place.  Here, you can relax, have peace of mind, and be with nature.  It has two infinity pools, one for adults and another for children.  Travel time from Davao City to this place is only seven minutes.  Go to the boarding area located at the Davao Beach Club in Lizada Drive, Lanang.

Banana in Tagum City, Davao del Norte

Ever wonder it is named as such.  The reason: it is located in what is touted as the world’s only beach resort within a banana plantation. Its coastline beach spans 4.5 kilometers of a flat and even seabed, which provides guests with popular water activities such as kayaking, skimboarding, banana boat riding, beach volleyball, water trampoline, Frisbee throwing, or simply building sand castles.  About 15-minute drive from the heart of the city.

Little Boracay in Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur: This place, far from the madding crowd, is so serene that disturbance is made only by cool breeze and splash of wave. Tourists can gaze into the horizon and ponder into their problems and decisions. There are no crisscrossing banana boats or paragliders in the view to spoil serious contemplation. The long white beach is open and relaxing.

Malipano in Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte:The beach is located hundred meters off Samal Island.  It island is part of the Pearl Farm Beach Resort and is the site of the seven executive villas. The island offers three holes of golf and a west facing white sand beach. 

Pujada in Mati City, Davao Oriental: If your thing is nature at its best, then Pujada is it.  Located in an island, it has no huts, kiosks or commercial establishments.  What you have are only the talisay and coconut trees that provide cover against rain and sun. Davao journalist Rudolph Alama describes it this way: “Very fine white sand, clear clean waters plus a carpet of wild periwinkle flowers on an unspoiled beach.”   Go to these beaches sooner than you plan because most of them are now being developed.  By that time, they may accessible but will be expensive to visit.