With more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines isn’t short of stunning beaches. However, some of these gems are hidden and require days to enjoy fully. You can opt for the best beaches in the Philippines near Manila if you don’t to waste a lot of time on travel. In this post, I listed 12 of the most beautiful beaches you can reach in just a few hours from the capital. It’s perfect for weekend getaways or even over-nighters!
1. Isla Verde (Batangas)
I’ve traveled to many beaches in the Philippines, but Isla Verde is what I considered my precious discovery. It’s one of the few beaches that you can reach in less than four hours. That’s a very short journey, considering that you still have to cross the Verde Passage.
Isla Verde is one of the most unforgettable beaches I’ve visited. It stands in the middle of the Verde Passage, a 10-mile strait that experts consider as “the center of the center of marine biodiversity”.
Although Isla Verde is under the jurisdiction of the Batangas province, it’s not a commercialized beach – and that’s exactly the charm of this place.
If you want to have a quiet weekend getaway, Isla Verde won’t disappoint. Its secluded location is a perfect breather for a tired soul.
How to get here: From Cubao, ride a bus going to Batangas Grand Terminal. From the terminal, ride a tricycle going to Tabangao Port. You’ll ride a motorboat going to Isla Verde for about 1-2 hours.
2. Sepoc Beach (Tingloy, Batangas)
Another beach in Batangas that you should visit is the Sepoc Beach at the western tip of Marikaban Island. However, don’t let the off-coast location intimidate you. Although you will have to ride a boat, the total travel time is just 3 to 4 hours from Manila.
Sepoc Beach is naturally isolated, which is perfect for those who want some peace and quiet. The Sepoc Beach is located right behind a steep rock cliff that seems to protect the pristine beach.
The sand here is white and creamy, but not powdery fine since it seems to be made of crushed corals. There are a lot of trees around, too, which sets the nature vibe so you can relax and bum by the beach.
How to get here: From Cubao, ride a bus routed to the Batangas Grand Terminal. After that, take a jeepney ride and a tricycle ride to reach the Eagle Point Resort. The resort manages trips to the Sepoc Beach.
3. Nagsasa Cove (San Antonio, Zambales)
Do you want to go off the grid for a weekend? The perfect refuge is Nagsasa Cove. It used to be a hunting region until the locality of San Antonio opened it to campers and tourists. The view is a scenery straight from a postcard – lush Agoho trees adorning the curved inlet.
The sand here is gray, which is understandable since the cove is the product of a volcanic eruption. Nevertheless, the water is shallow and calm, which is perfect for swimming.
If you want to get out of the water, you can also hike the nearby hills. Take note, though, that there are no major establishments in the cove, so tents are the major mode of accommodation for tourists.
How to get here: Ride a Victory Liner bus bound to Sta. Cruz or any farther areas in Zambales. Get off in San Antonio Public Market and ride a tricycle that will take you to Pundaquit. From there, you’ll take a 30-minute boat ride.
4. Liwliwa Beach (San Felipe, Zambales)
One of the first beaches I’ve been in a few years ago is Liwliwa. Back then, the place is less crowded, and we managed to have the beach to ourselves during the peak season. It has light gray fine sand and calm waters. The surroundings are filled with Agoho trees that set a cool and laidback vibe.
If there’s one thing I won’t forget about Liwliwa, it would be its sunset. It’s the most perfect and breath-taking sunset I’ve ever seen even to this day. It’s the type of sunset that I won’t get tired of seeing every day.
And since Liwliwa can be reached by land, it’s a convenient choice for weekend getaways. It’s perfect for budget trips as well since accommodations in the area only cost us about $40 for an overnight stay for 4 persons.
How to get here: Ride a bus going to Iba or Cabangan, at least. Get off at San Felipe Public Market and ride a tricycle that will bring you to the beach or your booked accommodation. Travel time is about 3 to 4 hours only.
5. Half Moon Beach (Subic, Zambales)
If you’re not very picky with the beach you’re going to go to, I recommend the Half Moon Beach in Subic, Zambales. This place has gray sand and gentle waters, which is ideal even if you’re not the best swimmer.
Half Moon Beach may not be as beautiful as Boracay, but it’s decent enough for a humble getaway. Also, it’s breath-taking to see large ships docking and sailing in and out of the freeport area. There are accommodations here should you decide to spend a night or two.
Aside from the beach, shopping is a big thing here. It’s a sin not to drop by a Duty-Free store for some imported goodies.
How to get here: Ride a bus found to Olongapo City through the Olongapo-Gapan Road. After getting off, you’ll take a jeepney ride that will bring you to the Freeport.
6. Burot Beach (Calatagan, Batangas)
If you can’t get enough of the Verde Passage, I recommend that you visit the Burot Beach in Calatagan, Batangas. It’s located at the tip of Calatagan on the western coast of the picturesque Punta de Santiago.
This beach has white sand and shallow waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. It’s also home to the best sunsets in Batangas, so make sure that you stick around until dusk.
Aside from the stunning beach, I also spent some time visiting old guesthouses around the area. Don’t miss the Cape Santiago Lighthouse, which is one of the most famous attractions here.
You can also pitch tents by the beach, which you can rent for about $8 a night. There’s also an overnight camping fee of $3.
How to get here: From EDSA-Taft, ride a bus headed to Calatagan. Get off at the town center and ride a tricycle that will bring you to Burot Beach.
7. Anilao Beach (Mabini, Batangas)
If you’re a diver who wants a weekend plunge, you should head to Anilao Beach. It’s a paradise for all tourists – swimmers, divers, beach bummers, and hikers. You can find white sand strips in between the rock formations on the coastal area, which makes the topography of the beach more interesting.
For divers, you can book your visit with the Anilao Scuba Dive Center. They offer air-conditioned rooms with Wi-Fi, parking, and beach access. You can also book a guided dive with them and rent the necessary equipment.
The underwater world in Anilao is a whole new paradise comprising of reefs, schools of fishes, and incomparable diversity. It’s within the coast of Balayan Bay, which offers a lot of underwater surprises.
How to get here: Hop on a bus bound to Batangas City then get off at the Grand Terminal. From there, you should ride a jeepney going to Anilao Port.
8. Laiya Beach (San Juan, Batangas)
If you’re spending the weekend getaway with the family, the Laiya Beach might be the best choice for you. This beach has white sand, calm waters, and close proximity to Metro Manila, which makes it a favorite spot for weekend tourists.
You can also collect washed up shells by the shore. Just take note that Laiya Beach doesn’t have luxury resorts. Nevertheless, it’s a peaceful advantage if you want to rest and have peace of mind. You can always book a hippie nipa hut a few meters from the shore.
Overall, Laiya is a well-maintained beach, which I’d love to re-visit in the future. It’s a tranquil place, despite the fact that a lot of businessmen are putting up their own establishments already.
How to get here: Take ALPS bus on Cubao or Alabang Grand Terminal and make sure it’s bound to San Juan, Batangas. Get off the market and ride a jeepney to go to Laiya.
9. Puting Buhangin (Pagbilao, Quezon)
True to its name, Puting Buhangin (directly translates as “white sand”) offers a piece of white paradise. It’s a beautiful beach with a calm vibe where you can relax and de-stress. This is a small cove with a matching cave on one end.
This beach isn’t crowded, mostly because you have to ride a boat to get to it. That gives every tourist the chance to enjoy the beach without too much noise or crowd.
If you want to stay the night on the Pagbilao Grande Island, you have to get to the other side of the Pagbilao Power Plant. It’s where Jenny’s White Beach Resort is located.
How to get here: Ride a bus going to Lucena Grand Terminal. After that, take a bus bound to Unisan and get off at Padre Burgos. Next, ride a tricycle to Aplaya, where you will ride the boat to reach Puting Buhangin.
10. Laki Beach (Mariveles, Bataan)
Another one of the best beaches in the Philippines near Manila is Laki Beach in Mariveles, Bataan. For just four hours, you will reach this laidback paradise. It has fine white sand, shimmering waters, and a coconut-line coast where you can bum on a hammock.
The water here is very clean, which is a sign of how well the beach is kept. Take note, though, that this is a private beach, so you have to book your stay ahead.
Laki Beach is a lazy patch away from the stress of daily life. It’s a great alternative to crowded beaches in La Union and some parts of Batangas. The entrance fee here is $6 for day trips and $8 for overnight stays. You can rent a nipa hut or a tent as you wish. Also, the boat will cost $40 to $70, depending on the type of trip you booked.
How to get here: From Cubao, ride a bus going to Mariveles. Get off at Mariveles and ride a tricycle going to Barangay Balon. Ask the driver to bring you to Porto, where you will ride the boat to Laki Beach.
11. Cagbalete Island (Mauban, Quezon)
The beauty of Cagbalete Island shines even more during low tide. As the water recedes, the white sand shore of the island becomes wider. It faces the Pacific Ocean, so expect strong waves on normal tides. But when the low tide hits, you can take a quiet dip.
Cagbalete Island isn’t crowded, which makes it a topnotch option if you want to go away from work or your personal life. It’s one of the hidden gems in the Quezon province because it’s almost pristine. The best part is you can reach it from Manila in just 4 to 5 hours!
How to get here: Ride a bus going to Lucena Grand Terminal. Get off at the terminal and transfer to a bus going to Mauban. Upon arriving in Mauban, book a boat ride in the local tourism office. You will ride a tricycle to reach the port where the boat going to Cagbalete Island awaits.
12. Morong Beach (Morong, Bataan)
Morong Beach is a family-friendly destination, south of Olongapo. Like most beaches in Bataan, Morong Beach has fine gray sand and calm waters.
Aside from the beach, you can also drive around to visit other historical wonders like the magnificent Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac or the Bataan National Park. You can also beach hop to Nagbalayong Beach, which is adjacent to Morong Beach.
How to get here: Ride a bus bound to Balanga. Get off and transfer to a bus going to the Morong Public Market. Alight and ride a tricycle to the resort you booked.
The best beaches in the Philippines near Manila allow you to enjoy some Vitamin Sea without the need to file for a vacation leave. A weekend getaway to these magnificent shorelines is a great experience on a budget.