Spontaneity truly brings out the fun in every travel. However, when it comes to a stress-free adventure, planning ahead of time is a good idea. If you’re looking forward to a little vitamin sea, then check out these eight stunning beaches near Manila and find out how to get to them.
1. San Antonio, Zambales
Believe it or not, Zambales offers some of the cleanest beaches in the country. Per The Poor Traveler, Nagsasa Cove, Silanguin Cove, Anawangin Cove, and Talisayen Cove are made up of a mixture of sand and volcanic ash from the infamous Mt. Pinatubo. Native pine trees also thrive there.
These coves are mostly famous for camping trips. A designated “tent area” creates the atmosphere of a small community. Campers from all over the country love to cook, eat, drink and be merry by the bonfire as there is no electricity or cellphone signal here.
While relaxing by the beach is great, those who are up for an adventure can opt to trek a mountain instead of taking the boat to Anawangin Cove. Each person must pay an Php 100 for the mountain guide, though – a small price to pay if you’d rather be safe than sorry.
To get San Antonio, Zambales, take a bus to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales (fare is less than P300 and travel time is about four hours) and get off at the San Antonio town proper. From there, take a tricycle to Pundaquit (fare is P30, travel time is 10-15 minutes). In Pundaquit, boat tours are available for P1,000 to P2,500 depending on the destination and the size of the group.
2. Morong, Bataan
There are several resorts in Bataan where guests can do everything from riding a jet ski, a banana boat ride, a zip line and more. For people who love even more fun under the sun, you can play basketball, volleyball and watch a movie by the ocean, too.
To get to Morong, take either Victory Liner (going to Olongapo) or Bataan Transit (going to Balanga). The fare ranges from P207 to P280 for Olongapo, depending on the route (SCTEX is pricier). For Bataan Transit commuters, the fare is around P200.
Victory Liner passengers should take a yellow jeep from Olongapo bus terminal to Harbor Point Mall (fare is P8). Beside the mall, there is another terminal for buses going to Morong (fare is P40 and travel time is around 45 minutes). For those in Balanga, take a jeep or bus to Morong (fare is P70).
3. Subic, Zambales
Known for its duty-free shopping and popular theme parks, Subic has something for everyone. They’ve got quite a collection of animals residing at several attractions, too: Ocean Adventure (dolphins and sea lions), Zoobic Safari (tigers and lions) and Magaul Bird Park (birds and insects).
If you’re feeling adventurous, head over to Treetop Adventure, Funtastic Park and Inflatable Island – Asia’s biggest playground floating on sea.
To get to Subic from Manila, travel by bus to Olongapo. From Olongapo bus terminal, take a blue jeepney going to Subic town (fare is P20 and travel time is less than 30 minutes). Do note that Subic town is different from Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
4. Ternate-Maragondon, Cavite
One of the resorts that tourists should not miss when in this area is the Katungkulan Beach or the Boracay de Cavite. Its most famous feature is the towering stone wall on the side of the cove perfect for taking group shots or one selfie after another.
There are several resorts that offer its guests grilling stations and other beach-front activities. Guests can also opt to hiking at Parrot’s Beak and Mt. Marami. To get to Ternate-Maragondon from Manila, take Saulog Transit to Ternate, Cavite. The transportation fee is around P95.
5. Hundred Islands, Pangasinan
Travelers can choose to ride either Victory liner, Five Star or Dagupan Bus. From Manila, take a trip to Alaminos (P340, three to four hours). Upon arrival, ride a tricycle to Lucap Wharf – which is around 10 minutes from drop off point.
The outdoor adventure package is P175 inclusive of ziplining, kayaking, wall climbing, and rappelling. The zipline moves from one island to another, crossing a decent amount of clear sea waters. A longer 546-meter zipline is also available for P250.
In the same tower as the zipline ride, a safe and “easy” man-made rock climbing wall stands tall. There are also cliff jumping sites and underwater caves at Marcos Island, go snorkeling in Coral Garden, and explore the Bat and Monkey Islands.
6. Anilao, Batangas
To get to the “diving mecca of the Philippines”, ride a bus to Batangas City Grand Terminal (P150 to P170, two to three hours). From the terminal, ride a jeepney to Anilao (P35, 45 minutes).
Anilao is known for its clear waters and rich marine life. Snorkeling and SCUBA diving are the best ways to enjoy its surreal underwater scene. Island hopping is a popular activity here, too. On the other hand, a short trek to Mt. Gulugod Baboy is a recommendable trip as well. In less than an hour, the summit is already there.
7. Laiya, Batangas
Still in Batangas, Laiya is laced with white sand resorts. City dwellers just have to take a bus to Lipa City and get off at the bus terminal (travel time is one to two hours). Next, take a jeepney to San Juan, go to the town market, then take another jeepney to Laiya.
Beginning from the boat ride, Laiya provides breathtaking experiences as pawikans, dolphins, and even whale sharks appear sometimes. Just like in Anilao, this area is popular for snorkeling and SCUBA diving as well. Not only do tourists meet a variety of fishes, they also see different sea turtles and coral species. Interestingly, some resorts have kayaking activities.
A climb to Mt. Daguldol is also a must-try. The entrance fee per head is P35 and a tour guide good for 15 people is worth P350. Overall, the trek lasts for about eight hours (four hours up, four hours down). Now, for those who want to camp out on the summit, the fee is P700.
8. Nasugbu, Batangas
Aside from the typical swimming and sunbathing, there is an assortment of things to do in Nasugbu. For one, a short trek on the Twin Islands is good for first-time climbers. Diving and snorkeling, on the other hand, is best done at Fortune Island. Meanwhile, family outings are recommended at Natipuan and Tali Beach.
Thrill seekers may do skim boarding, too. The waves on the shores of Nasugbu are deemed to be really fit for the board sport. Just note that no one should belittle the adrenaline rush in skim boarding. Although it is “softer” than actual surfing, it is not as easy as it looks like.
From EDSA-Taft, ride the BLTB bus to Nasugbu (P155 to 170, three to four hours). From Nasugbu, all beaches are accessible via jeepney or tricycle.