Have you heard about the recent news regarding the six-month closure of Boracay from 26 April 2018? We’re saddened by the decision but we know it is the best for the beautiful island for now and something must be done to restore the state of it. Did you know that the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,641 islands?! So rest assured that you’ll have plenty of other options to choose from. We’ve put together 10 alternative islands you can visit in the Philippines because Boracay is only one of the many islands in this Southeast Asian country. Let’s get to it!
Of course, we can’t leave out Cebu and that’s why we’re starting this article with it. Cebu is a province of the Philippines and its capital is Cebu City, as many of you should be familiar with. There are certain must-dos in Cebu if you’re visiting for the first time. We recommend cultural sites like the Basilica del Santo Niño and Yap Sandiego Ancestral House. Food wise, you can’t leave Cebu without having a taste of Lechon, also known as the roasted pig. If you happen to visit Cebu on the third Sunday of January, observe Cebu’s Sinulog Festival, one that honors Cebu’s devotion to the child Jesus. As for accommodation, we’ve previously compiled a list of affordable top Airbnb vacation rentals in Cebuwhere you can find a room for as low as 10 USD. Check it out here.
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Mactan is an hour drive from Cebu City and it’s part of its Province. However, it is divided into two parts - Lapu-Lapu City and the municipality of Cordova. Activities wise, we suggest that you visit Lapu-Lapu Monument, a historical spot with a bronze statue of native warrior Lapu-Lapu standing at 65.5 feet (20 meters). From there, you’re a 15-minute drive to Boyla Diving Resort, a family-friendly place to learn and experience scuba diving. If you have 3 days to spare and don’t mind getting a license certification as a valuable souvenir to bring home, then go for their 3 day course! The place offers standard and deluxe rooms so accommodation’s sorted. Located a 10-minute walk away is Gold Mango Grill & Restaurant which is a great place to have a meal.
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Mindanao island belongs to southern Philippines and home to the Enchanted River. Also known as the Hinatuan Enchanted River or the Hinatuan Sacred River, it is believed to be protected by supernatural spirits. You will not be able to swim there but there’s a designated swimming area located only 10 m (32.8 ft) away. From there, you’re a 1 hour 30 minutes drive to Tinuy-an Falls, another great place to chill and relax. Some locals have even named it the Niagara Falls of the Philippines! Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is a 2-hour drive from the waterfall and Sarnimian Inland Resort is a 7-minute drive from the sanctuary.
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4. Siargao Island
Did you know that Siargao Island is shaped like a tear-drop? Situated 800 km (497 miles) southeast of Manila, we highly encourage you to wake up to catch the sunrise at Magpupungko, a secluded beach with tidal rock pools. And of course, you shouldn’t miss out on surfing at Cloud 9 Surfing Area. There are several accommodations around the area so you can take your pick. Shaka Siargao Cafe Gallery is a good place to sip on coffee before you enjoy a full day at the beach. We’ve previously written a list of things to do at Siargao Island other than surfing so hop over to read if you’re interested to find out more!
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Palawan is the largest island in the Palawan Province of western Philippines. If you’re on a tight budget, we’ve got good news for you because you’re able to get an Airbnb vacation rental in Palawan under USD 100. For a wonderful experience at Palawan, we recommend stopping by Honda Bay to take on a boat tour before driving to Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (Crocodile Farm). From there, drive on for about 35 minutes and you will land yourself in the vicinity of Puerto Princesa City Baywalk Park. Read our article on more suggestions of things to do in Palawan.
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Sumilon may not be familiar to many of us but it is an option for a short vacation. There is no need to get frustrated with options here because there is only one resort located on the island, and that’s the Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort, a 3-star hotel that has gotten many good reviews by people who have gone before us. Surrounded by clear blue waters, we believe this place makes a good spot for a silent retreat, yoga paradise, and a perfect sanctuary for meditation. They have also implemented a no-smoking policy (except for a designated area) so expect fresh air all around the resort! Check out their themed dinner menu at The Pavilion restaurant and chill with a drink in hand at The Cliff Bar. There’s an onsite spa (Amuna Spa) as well as activities like snorkeling, caves for exploring, kayaks, lagoons, and hiking trails.
Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort
Address: Sumilon Island
Physical distancing rules followed Hand sanitizer in guest accommodation and key areas Contactless check-in/check-out Private beach area Gift shop Breakfast in the room Bike tours First aid kit available
Mindoro is the seventh largest island in the Philippines by land area and Puerto Galera is one place you need to go to if you want a good dive. There are bars, resorts, and a forest trail that leads to the secluded Talipanan Falls. If you like golf, we’ve got a good deal for you at their hillside 9-hole golf course that sits above the coast. Sablayan, the official Municipality of Sablayan in Occidental Mindoro is also another place to consider. It is home to the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world - Apo Reef Marine Natural Park. Don’t miss out on the 1.4 km (0.8 miles) zip line at Parola Park while you’re at Sablayan! Learn more about accommodation options and the best things to do below!
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Does Chocolate Hills sound fascinating? It is located in Bohol, a province of the Philippines in the country’s Central Visayas region. This island is a wonderful destination if you’re searching for an alternative honeymoon spot, as there are many romantic things to do in Bohol. Delight in a candlelight dinner at Henann Resort Alona Beach at Panglao Island. Henann Group Of Resorts has six properties at Boracay and one at Bohol, so you can expect the same quality just like the ones at Boracay. This makes a good place to stay as they offer rooms, suites, and pool villas from 206 USD. But of course, this is only one of the many resorts located on Panglao Island. For the photographers or photography enthusiast, Hinagdanan Cave makes an amazing place for a photo spot so don’t miss out on that. The limestone cave has dramatic stalactites, tours, and a lagoon.
Luzon is the Philippines’ largest and most densely populated island. It has many Spanish-colonial landmarks, national monuments, and a wide range of museums. We’ve previously uncovered a hidden gem at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, Bataan, where you can taste authentic Philippino cuisine in a fine-dining setting, join in a heritage tour, take a dip by the beach, and watch a cultural show. But apart from that, you can also visit the Banaue Rice Terraces, a 2-hour drive from Luzon. This is also a rare chance to visit Hiwang Village, a place that offers a good view of Banaue Rice Terraces and just a 10-minute drive from the rice terrace.
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10. Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is located in the Visayan Sea of the Philippines. Dropping by the Cebu Port Authority Passengers Terminal, you will be a 20-minute walk or 5-minute drive to Amihan Beach Cabanas, an accommodation you can consider if you’re into rustic cottages with sea views. Or if you’re on a budget, you can get a resort at half the price at Maia’s Beach Resort, a 30-minute ride from the ferry terminal. Visit Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden, a 20-minute drive from Maia’s Beach Resort, and take walk through the mangrove area. Don’t be fooled by Ogtong Cave Resort’s laid-back unit because what lies beyond the surface is an exclusive access to a freshwater cave. Read more about things to do at Bantayan Island here.
With so many other options, we hope you’re feeling better about Boracay’s temporary closure. While some of these islands are not that easily accessible, it takes some planning but we believe it will be worth it to see other sides of the Philippines other than the more touristy areas. So travel with an open mind, heart, and soul and the world will reward you with more than you can imagine. Happy traveling and stay safe, my friends.
Important Note: Travellers who have booked a trip to Boracay during the closure period, please contact your airlines, hotels and travel agents/operators directly for up-to-date information.
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