Being an archipelago, the Philippines is sprawling with beaches. Though each one is not the same and offers you a different experience. I’ve been to several coasts and was able to enjoy a different flavor from each visit.
As far as I know, the first beach I’ve been to was in Ilocos. Hailing from the northernmost province of Luzon, my family had yearly 6-8 hour road trips each summer. And to get to the tip of the country, Pagudpud Beach, called for another 2-hour drive. When I got older, the yearly road trips stopped, but I was able to make it back a couple of years ago, this time with my lomo cameras. The blue lagoon in Pagudpud offers you isolation and anonymity. Because it’s so far up north, and not as commercialized and developed, you can enjoy your beer on its powdery white sand and clear blue waters in solace.
Going a little further down, just before the Ilocos provinces, is La Union. This visit is more action packed: it’s one of the better places to surf. The Billabong Surf School in San Juan, La Union, gives you a taste of the surfer lifestyle. Everything is laid back!. The sand may not be as appealing as that of Pagudpud or Boracay, but that’s okay because you’ll be spending most of your time in the water anyway, on the board, either surfing or getting wiped out by the waves.
Zamabales, meanwhile, leans more on nature tripping. Hopping between the nearby islands to bear witness to their isolation is the main thing to do (though you can also surf at certain areas). Most famous of the islands is Anawangin, where you can camp in the breast of its cove and be disconnected to the rest of the world. Calaguas Island, a virgin island, in Camarines Norte offers a similar but better connection to nature, but I have failed to get there due to Mother Nature’s wrath, ironically.
And of course, Boracay Island, arguably the most popular beach in the country. It may not be the most beautiful (due to rampant commercialization and over population of visitors at certain times of the year) but it still remains as a very fun place to go to. Everything a man needs is in Boracay – beautiful white sand, water sports, luxurious hotels/cheap food, fine women, and alcohol.
I’ve been out to other coasts aside from what I’ve mentioned, and there are a lot more sandy places I have yet to visit, both locally and abroad. Funny thing is, I hardly ever stay in the water for too long. What draws me to the beach is the peace of mind that the sound of the waves brings me. It drowns away everything else, and just leaves me feeling happy with where I am with the sand between my toes.