Let’s talk about islands in the Philippines. If you have already researched or travelled to the country, you would have a rough insight into how many islands there are to visit! Philippines is a place that caters to all kinds of travellers. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation on a white sandy beach, an enchanting dive with marine life or a hike up an active volcano, you can do it all in this beautiful country! Whether you are interested in island hopping tours, looking for the best islands to visit in the Philippines, or are just roaming around to find your next best travel destination, we’ve got you covered.
Before we jump into the 15 most beautiful islands of the Philippines, let us give you a bit of background. The Philippines is the home to 7640 islands. Yes, you read that correctly! However, only around 2000 of these islands are inhabited. Finding the 15 best islands to visit is no easy task. Thankfully, having visited quite a few of them ourselves, we have made a list of our top choices for the best islands to visit in the Philippines, starting with one of our favourites.
1. Coron, Palawan
Coron is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines. It is known for its wreck-diving experiences where you can dive through ship-wrecks from the World-War 2 era. It is home to a diverse marine life, beautiful karst landscapes and hidden white sandy beaches. There are many island tours you can join to experience the full beauty of Coron. It is a must for scuba and free divers, content creators looking to shoot a few pictures or vlogs, and adventurers looking for new places to relax and unwind. If you'd like to know more about this beautiful gem, we cover everything you need to know in this article here.
2. El Nido, Palawan
Also located in Palawan, El Nido has incredible landscapes, white sandy beaches and impressive lagoons to explore. There are mainly 4 different tours on the island that you can experience to visit some of its beautiful sites. A key favourite experience is kayaking through Miniloc island in El Nido. You will be in awe, as you kayak through the crystal clear turquoise waters with the beautiful limestone cliffs set either side of you.
As of 2022, Siquijor Island is still labelled a hidden gem in the Philippines. It is an island not as well-know as Coron or El Nido, but has plenty to offer. If you have been following our blog, you will already know just how much there is to do in Siquijor. The island is best known for its beautiful waterfalls, coral reefs, as well as enticing adventures such as cliff jumping and diving with a school of barracudas. To learn more about what this island has to offer, take a look at this article that we wrote on it.
Next, there’s Bohol – another island that we have discussed in a lot of depth! Famous for the tarsiers - one of the world’s smallest primates, it is a place to explore if you are a fan of the wild. There are plenty of animal sanctuary's, secluded waterfalls and landscape greenery to keep you hoping from one place to another on the island. Bohol is also famous to a few historical sites and old stone churches dating to a few hundred years ago. More on Bohol right here!
Another very famous island, Cebu - known for its beautiful clear waters, coral reefs, canyoneering and whale shark diving. It has many activities to offer tourists, on land and beneath the water. The centre of the island offers great hikes with beautiful views, whilst the south of the island is known for its mesmerising waterfalls. Here’s more on Cebu!
If you are a diver or keen to explore marine life, then Malapascua Island has something in store for you. There are only a handful of places in the world where you can dive with a parade of thresher sharks, and Malapascua Island is one of these special places. Thresher sharks don't pose any threat to humans and are known for oversized eyes, small mouths and long tails which they use to stun their prey. Live this adventure of a lifetime on Malapascua Island with an amazing story to forever tell.
Located close to Malapascua Island, Bantayan Island is a bit different in that it is not only known as a top beach destination but also as a fishing community. It’s a great place to head over to for picturesque photos and experiences, and is one of the cheapest islands out in the Philippines. The best way to get around Bantayan island is with a scooter. With maximum flexibility to roam around, set yourself to explore the secret beaches, mangroves, cave pools and historic town.
Siargao Island, shaped like a tear drop from an aerial perspective, has been an up and coming destination over the past few years. Labelled as the surfing capital of the Philippines, it has very challenging barrel waves, which attracts many surfers from across the world. However, surfing is not the only highlight of Siargao Island, it is also known for its coves, caves, rock pools and lively night bars. All round the island gives off a chilled out vibe where you can explore, relax and party, all while being surrounded by a picturesque jungle enviroment.
Another island that we have covered in great detail, Camiguin Island is known as the island which was “born of fire” because of its seven volcanoes and many other volcanic domes. To get to Camiguin Island is a bit of a challenge, as there are not many flights that fly into the island and the ferry port is not easily accessible. This also means it sees less tourists, making a hidden gem in the Philippines. We found this island magical, secluded and had alot to offer for a complete vacation. We covered a full article on everything you need to know about Camiguin Island. Be sure to check it out.
Boracay island is famous for a few reasons, but mainly for being the life of the party. It has many water activities to offer, beautiful white beaches, as well as a lively nightlife. With an array of exciting activities and upbeat nightlife, it is an island famous for pre-wedding celebrations. It was even named the Best Island in the World by the International Travel Magazine! Oh, and before we forget to mention, its sunsets do not disappoint! For more info on everything you need to know about the island, you can read our detailed blog here.
Located only a boat ride from Boracay Island, Romblon is a secluded paradise. It is made up of a few islands and it has something different to offer. Its famed for for producing high-quality marble! To learn a bit more about the history of the Philippines, Romblon is a great start. You can learn all about the Spanish era while also enjoying its calming and relaxing beaches, cliffs, caves, rivers, waterfalls and so much more. Located besides Boracay, not many take the trip over, so you are guaranteed serenity without the touristic crowd.
12. The Batanes Islands
The Batanes islands is a group of islands located north of the Philippines. The islands are home to an active volcano that is over 1km high and has not erupted since 1454. This island resembles something opposite to what you would expect in the Philippines. With its majestic hillside scenery and stone houses, this island is a great getaway to separate yourself from the city life.
13. Onok Island in Balabac
This island is best known for its white sand beaches, and undoubtedly one of the clearest waters in the Philippines! It is very small in size, giving you a “stranded island” feel. It has a sand bar, wild sea turtles, and many more beautiful marine creatures to see! Usually the island is accessible via an island hopping tour, and takes a bit of a distance to get to from Puerto Princesa - the nearest airport. Be sure to visit on a sunny day, to make the most of what the island has to offer.
14. Talacanen Island (Floral Island Resort)
This island is a resort located in Palawan. It is a beautiful place to seclude yourself from the world and enjoy an entire island to yourself. It is a great place to host a wedding or a special occasion, whilst still being able to catch a tan, hike, kayak, snorkel and enjoy the surreal beauty around you. The island is protected and the goal is to keep the flora and fauna around the island as untouched by humans as possible. If you are looking to celebrate something special, be sure to check out our blog on how you can rent out the entire resort to yourself.
Balicasag island is one of the country’s most popular diving spots. Many tour operators dock at the island for travellers to head of into the waters and explore the beautiful coral reef and marine life. Located around 6km southwest of Panglao, it has a marine sanctuary with impressive corals and huge sea turtles! On an island hopping tour from Bohol, usually this trip is combined with Virgin Island as it is located a few minutes away from Balicasag. Another beautiful island which has a sandbar and is the perfect place to relax, catch some sun and eat some amazing seafood.
Have you been to any of these islands? Do you have any recommendations? Let us know in the comments below.