5 Super Remote Philippine Beaches That Will Amaze You

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The intense tropical heat the Philippines gets during summer may have brought you to a couple of favorite beach destinations in the country. From heading to favorite spots in Pagudpud, Boracay or Gumasa Beach, getting away and enjoying the beach is really a whole lot easier to do in a country like ours.

But with the massive crowds that some of the popular beaches get during the Holy Week and Labor Day breaks – not to mention the trash, the party smell of beer and the loud music booming from huge speakers, it’s not surprising to wish for a more serene vacation spot.

If you are one of those who did not find #Laboracay attractive, you likely prefer a more tranquil place to relax, a place where one communes with nature. Maybe you’d rather listen to the soothing sound of chirping birds, the sway of trees, the splash of gentle waves and the whistle of the warm comforting sea breeze.

If you’re an adventurous beach seeker willing to go far and wide to experience a piece of solitude you have long dreamed of, then I suggest adding these 5 remote Philippine beaches on your bucket list.

1.Bugsuk Island, Balabac, Palawan

Philippine Beaches: Bugsuk Island,  Balabac, Palawan, Philippines

A broad, flat island situated at the southern tip of Palawan undoubtedly hosts the longest and finest stretch of white sand beach in the country — finer than Boracay and longer than the famous Long Beach of San Vicente.

Bugsuk Island Beach, Palawan, Philippines

The beach along Barangay Sibaring on the southern part of Bugsuk Island is so fine and powdery that it will make your feet sink with every step. Local beach worms called wakwak thrive in this wide expanse of white sand, and for the Pala’wan tribe who inhabits the area, these worms dipped in vinegar translates to a snack! Yum?

Bugsuk Island Worms

Life here is so laid-back; no electricity, no restaurants, no reliable phone signal, no luxurious villas, nothing. Just paradise. So if you like to unwind and detach yourself from the chaos of the world, this island is highly recommended!

White Beach on Bugsuk Island, Balabac, Philippines

How To Get To Bugsuk Island

From San Jose Terminal in Puerto Princesa, ride a bus going to Rio Tuba. A non-aircon bus takes 6 to 7 hours to reach Rio Tuba with fare costing around ₱275.

Bugsuk Island, Balabac, Palawan, Philippines

From the port in Rio Tuba, a 2-hour boat ride will take you to Bugsuk. For boat hires, contact Sir Rene Principe at +63 929 140 3125. His family owns a parcel of land in Barangay Sibaring. Camping is possible, just bring your own tent!

2. Saluag Island, Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi

At the extreme end of the archipelago lies an island so simple and quiet it will deliver anyone into a state of instant tranquility. Get ready to be pampered by the sight of hovering sea eagles, soft waves, and the soaring coconut trees which all utterly complement the bright sunny sky.

Philippine Beaches: Saluag Island, Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

Saluag, the southernmost island of the Philippines, is home to two indigenous tribes: Tausug and Sama Dilaut, who live together in perfect harmony with the sea. Their main livelihood includes fishing, boat making and seaweed farming.

Seaweed Farming on Saluag Beach

In a place where time seems to stand still, a busy and stressful day is probably the last thing you’ll experience. And with the bluish green to emerald water adorning its shore, a visit to Saluag will surely be worth the long travel.

Beach on Saluag Island ,Tawi Tawi

How To Get To Saluag Island

Cebu Pacific Air flies daily from Zamboanga City to Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.

Map of Saluag Island

From the airport in Bongao, hire a tricycle to Chinese Pier and look for the ferry going to Barangay Tandubanak in Sibutu Island. The ferry ride takes 3 hours and costs ₱200 one-way.

Alternatively, look for the ferry that goes to Sibutu town proper (4 hours ₱250 one-way) and from here, hire a motorcycle to bring you to Tandubanak (30mins).

Ferries going to Tandubanak and Sibutu proper don’t have definite schedules so it is important to confirm trips at Chinese Pier.

From Barangay Tandubanak, a 30-minute motorcycle ride brings you to Barangay Tandu-owak. From here, Saluag is just a short 40-minute boat ride away.

For further assistance please contact Ma’am Salve Pescadera of Tawi-Tawi Tourism Office at +63 910 671 6367 or +63 905 154 7865.

3. Olanivan Island, Sarangani, Davao Occidental

Philippine Beaches: Olanivan Island, Sarangani, Davao Occidental, Philippines

Situated at the south-central edge of Mindanao, close to the maritime border with Indonesia, Olanivan is undoubtedly a remote island where one could enjoy a long stretch of white sugary beach without worrying about the crowd, the noisy music and the crazy group of teenage party goers.

Beach on Olanivan Island, Sarangani, Davao Occidental, Philippines

Instead, you will be delighted to share the island with its gentle locals belonging to the B’laan tribe. Their modest dwellings dot along the western coast while on the other side, a white abandoned lighthouse stands amid the warm daylight.

Lighthouse on Olanivan Sarangani

A visit to Olanivan will not only let you feel serenity in isolation, it will also introduce you to the interesting lifestyle of the B’laan people who consider this charming paradise as their home.

Olanivan Sarangani Beach

How To Get To Olanivan Island

Olanivan Island is one of the three major islands in the Municipality of Sarangani in Davao Occidental. Balut Island, being the center of the town, is the most common gateway to Olanivan.

Map of Olanivan Island

From General Santos City, a passenger ferry leaves for Balut Island every day except Sundays either from Lion’s Beach Port (M/V Frederick, ₱370 one-way) or Puting Bato Port (M/L Nieky and M/L Sabhan, both ₱300 one-way) between 10:00 PM to 12:00 MN. Travel time is from 7 to 9 hours depending on the weather.

Ferry schedules frequently change so I suggest confirming this with the Philippine Ports Authority Officer in Balut, Sir Tata Masid at +63 906 901 2505.

Boat rentals may also be coursed through Sir Tata. From Mabila Port in Balut Island, Olanivan Island is roughly an hour away using a regular outrigger boat.

4. Omapuy Island, Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi

Philippine Beaches: Omapuy Island, Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

An island surrounded by hectares of seaweed farms set in the emerald sea, with hundreds of stilt houses seemingly floating over the shallow waters — Omapuy is one secluded destination where visitors have a glimpse of the astonishing aquatic life in Tawi-Tawi.

Beach on Omapuy Island, Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines

As one’s boat gets closer to the island, the emerald color of the sea slowly shifts to turquoise, then to sparkling white as the vessel continues to approach a pocket of white powdery beach spread on the southern tip of Omapuy.

Omapuy Island

A chance to interact with the local Tausug and Sama Dilaut people as they harvest tons of seaweed awaits all aspiring travelers to the island; an excellent opportunity to be acquainted with their rich traditions and to feel what it’s like to live right next to paradise.

Omapuy Island Sitangkai

How To Get To Omapuy Island

Cebu Pacific Air flies daily from Zamboanga City to Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.

Map of Omapuy Island

From the airport in Bongao, hire a tricycle to Chinese Pier and look for the ferry going to Sibutu town proper (4 hours, ₱250 one-way). There is no definite ferry schedule going to Sibutu town proper from Bongao, but there are at least three trips per week. It’s important to proceed to the Chinese Pier and inquire about possible trips to Sibutu town proper. From Sibutu town proper, Omapuy Island is an hour away by regular outrigger boat.

For further assistance please contact Ma’am Salve Pescadera of Tawi-Tawi Tourism Office at +63 910 671 6367 or +63 905 154 7865.

5. Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan

Philippine Beaches: Onuk Island, Balabac, Palawan, Philippines

A precious gem hidden at the far end of Sulu Sea, an enchanting paradise worthy to be called the crown of all Philippine beaches – this is Onuk, an island in southern Palawan which is perhaps the closest one could think of as heaven.

Onuk Island, Palawan

Despite being a private island, Onuk is open to visitors who are willing to attempt to reach it. And perhaps one will be surprised to know that a tour around this majestic place is free of charge! All you need is to secure an access pass from the Mayor’s Office.

Onuk Island Beach

Photo by George Tapan

Sauntering along its fine, spotless and powdery white sand will surely make a beach lover exclaim in pure amazement. Add the turquoise water which extends through the horizon, the sea encircling Onuk is definitely like a gigantic swimming pool. And as you dip in the sparkling water, be ready to greet dozens of pawikan swimming their way in and out of the island. It has been a habit for these adorable sea creatures to lay their eggs on the dreamy shores of Onuk.

Onuk, Palawan, Philippines

How To Get To Onuk Island

Onuk Island is a private island so in order to gain access, you must ask for permission from the Office of Balabac Mayor. This request must be accompanied by a formal letter of request. Balabac LGU has a satellite office in Puerto Princesa located at Pajara, Barangay Sta. Monica in front of Bible Baptist Church.

Onuk Island Map

Once you’ve been granted a permit, Balabac LGU will be will assist your group from Puerto Princesa all the way to Onuk. All applicable fees including boat transfers apply. For more details, please contact Ms. Lorna at +63 917 553 2845 or Ms. Fatima at +63 921 777 6645.

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About Author

Harly Limlingan Marcuap

A young Filipino geologist and travel enthusiast, he is the writer behind Akrosdayunibers. He likes diving, mountain climbing and exploring remote islands across the Philippine Archipelago. His passion is to discover new places and share it with everyone!