When you talk about traveling to the Philippines, you surely should expect heat. Especially if you are coming from somewhere outside Asia and the Middle East, e climate can just be too hot to handle. But luckily, on thing you can look at to enjoy your travel and do away with the bit of hot weather is to plunge in its numerous beaches.
When you do a basic search of Philippine beaches, it will often point you to Boracay. The whole country is proud of the international recognition that Boracay has garnered over the years. However, to some budget backpackers and those looking for an off-beaten path, there are tons of other options you can find.
So for those looking for equally fun but relatively cheaper alternatives, here are three quick recommendations:
White Beach, Puerto Galera
Just about 2 hours away north of Metro Manila via bus (landing on the Batangas City pier) and about 1.5 hours from the pier to Mindoro island via ferry, White Beach is a relatively cheaper alternative to beach lovers who would want to bum around a white sand beach for more than 4 days and could still afford to pay for the lodging, the food and the beers. Aside from the usual beach activities, White Beach also has a vibrant nightlife that could rival that of Manila’s establishments.
Prepare to spend around 1000 pesos per night (or less if it’s not peak season) for a single room that could actually accommodate 2-3 persons. Food is cheap here (80-200 peso meals are available, depending on your choice of cuisine) and so is beer (below 50 pesos per bottle). But you should try their signature Mindoro Sling cocktail which gives quite a kick at around 200-300 pesos per pitcher (good for a group of 4).
San Juan, La Union
About 6-7 hours up north of Manila via bus, get down at Urbiztondo town where the famous San Juan surfing beach area is located. It’s hard to miss because the highway is just right beside the beach resorts. But if you don’t surf, the fine sandy beach area still offers the beach serenity you’re looking for. It doesn’t get too crowded like Boracay or White Beach and the area always has this laid back chill aura.
Since the place is quite popular already, expect to pay a pricier amount during peak season. About 1000-2500 pesos per room could fit 2-3 persons depending on the lodging place. Meals of beach resort restaurants cost about 90-300 pesos each meal, depending on your taste in cuisine. But beer is still cheap here (below 50 pesos per bottle).
There are actually a number of resorts that you could choose from when you land in Bolinao since many beaches line up the town. Pristine white sandy beaches could also be found here. To reach it, the trip is going north, about 5-6 hours from Manila via bus and you will land in Alaminos, Pangasinan. From there, you could take smaller buses or vans that will take you to Bolinao town proper in 1-2 hours’ time. It’s recommended to book your Batangas hotel early to save on travel expenses.
If you want to “rough it,” there are some people who own houses there that you could rent on a longer basis at a cheaper price than the resorts. Just try to ask when you arrive. What’s important is, these beaches can surely give you the fulfillment of splashing in the water, have a sun-kissed tone while you travel in the tropical Philippines.