If you are on your way to Manila and are looking for a good beach spot, you may have to look a bit further. Although a capital, with a large metropolitan area and numerous shopping malls, hotels, and places of interest, Manila doesn’t have any good beaches, this is at least what I have been told.
Manila lies at the mouth of the Pasig River on the eastern shores of Manila Bay, which is on the western side of Luzon, the largest, most populous, and most important island in the north-west Philippines.
The Manila weather is hot and humid. The city has an average temperature of 30°C (86°F) + all year long. There are two weather seasons, a wet season and a dry season.
The rainy season starts in June and lasts until October. Typhoons and tropical storms are a common occurrence during the wet season. This is why dry season is the best time to visit the city. The dry season in Manila is between the months of late October to May, with the Philippine summer months of March to May being the hottest, around 83 degree F/ 28 degrees C. From March to May, temperatures heat up but as Manila is by the coast, it rarely goes beyond 36 to 37°C (97 to 99°F).
Although there aren’t any particular beaches in Manila, the city offers a wide range of other activities such as the day trips, tour art exhibits, educational tour, religious tours, shopping and wild nightlife.
Before you plan your stay in Manila, you should learn a few basic things:
- On public holidays, all offices and banks close but shops and department stores remain open.
- The locals celebrate all major Christian festivals, as well as Independence Day (12 June), Bonifacio Day (National Heroes Day, 30 November) and Rizal Day (30 December).
- On Good Friday, the entire country closes down including public transport and the national airlines.
A few helpful tips:
- During the wet season, you should be equipped with insect repellent as the stagnant waters in the wet season make a good ground for the mosquitoes that carry Denggue Hemorrageic Fever.
- Manila should be avoided during typhoon season…which is from around June to November, as the area gets flooded frequently.
- In regards to immunizations: none is required.
- However, cholera and hepatitis shots are recommended if travelling to remote areas.
- The climate and changes in diet may create health problems for most of the visitors. It is crucial you avoided tap water, as well as drinks, shakes and desserts with ice (halo-halo) from any restaurant. Ask if the ice was made with tap or bottled water. Do not accept boiled and/or filtered water, only take mineral or bottled water that is sealed when unopened, at least during the first week of your stay
- During the dry season, the heat and humidity can cause havoc when you don’t have enough to drink. Rehydrate often.
- Although Manila has its charms, it’s just like any other big city – overcrowded.
- Manila is a city beside Manila Bay, it is not advisable to go to the bay because you cannot swim there due to the filth. Manila has no beaches.
- There are two choices if you plan on visiting beaches near Manila – north or the south.
- If you go to the smaller islands, you will get the chance to appreciate the real beauty of the Philippines.
Some of the most popular beach destinations around Manila are:
Palawan is an archipelago in the Western border of the Philippines, located 30 nautical miles South of Mindoro and 60 nautical miles North of Borneo, bounded on the East by the Sulu Sea. It is around one hour air travel and 24 hours boat travel southwest of Manila. Palawan has nice beaches with beautiful white sand. From March to May, it is favorable for sea travel.
Taytay town is Palawan’s old capital. It has many snorkeling opportunities. Taytay Bay has several islands with unspoiled virgin forests. The most beautiful island in the bay is Apulit Island, about two hours by boat from Taytay, an ideal romantic paradise.
El Nido is group of islands in Bacuit Bay, accessible from Manila by direct flights to several airstrips in the area. The plane ride takes about two hours. El Nido is a marine sanctuary loved by snorkelers and experienced divers. El Nido’s island resort offers luxury amidst magical beauty.
Paradise Beach, 300-400 meters long and 50-100 meters wide is excellent for snorkeling and 30-40 minutes by boat from El Nido.
A collection of picturesque islands each with a white sand beach, which sit atop vast coral reefs are Busuanga, Coron, and Culion, favored by many divers for their underwater adventures.
Baracay, is in the Visayas and pretty easy to get to. A plane ride takes from 35-60 minutes from the Manila Domestic airport, a short 5-minute ride to the port and a 15-20 minute boat ride to the island. Boracay gets a bit crowded in peak periods around Christmas and in the Philippine summer in late March to May.
The most popular activities on Boracay Island are sunbathing and strolling along the beaches but there is so much more to do like banana-boat riding, Mountain Biking & Hiking, Wall Climbing, Windsurfing and Kiteboarding, Tennis, Golf & Horse-Back Riding, etc
Cebu is a a typical tropical island. It is known for its narrow coastlines, limestone plateaus, and coastal plains. It is naturally safe as it does not lie within any earthquake zone or typhoon belts and it has no volcanoes on the island. The city has a developed tourist infrastructure for sustained development.
Puerto Galera is characterized by shimmering seas surrounded by lush mountains. It is one of the most beautiful and developed beach resort communities in the Philipines. So called “backyard tourism” where the local residents accept local and foreign tourists as stay-in guests is very popular. There are also several hotels, resorts, inns and restaurants available within the area.
Bohol also has many white sand beaches but it’s not as popular as Boracay. The month of May is the month of fiestas in Bohol. Hardly a day passes without a fiesta in one or another town, starting with the fiesta of Tagbilaran City on the first of May.
The most popular beaches are Alona Beach – one and a half kilometers long, lined with nice resorts, with well equipped diving establishments and pleasant places to eat out.
Dumaluan Beach – two and half kilometers east of Alona Beach.
Bikini Beach – a popular location for local pick-nickers.
Momo Beach and Doljo Beach, where you can find beautiful seashells
Davao is the third most popular city in the Philippines. It is famous for its breathtaking scenic beauty and the Filipino hospitality.
The city has some of the finest beaches, islands and diving and snorkeling sites. You can enjoy a wide range of leisure and adventure activities such as boat sailing, diving, and snorkeling. The beaches are ideal for relaxing and sunbathing.
Davao is also suitable for hiking and trekking to the highest mountain peak of the Philippines, Mt. Apo