With over 7000 islands and 81 provinces, Philippines is without a doubt a crowd favorite when it comes to vacation and traveling because of the breathtaking sites it offers. In this Philippines travel guide, we will share 15 Philippines off the beaten track destinations.
We are sharing as our off the beaten path Philippines destinations mostly beaches and islands. Calaguas Island, Pagudpud and Dumunpalit Island are our favorite ones. Click here to book activities in the Philippines with Klook!
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Philippines Off The Beaten Track Destinations: Luzon
We have to say that most of the tourists skip North Luzon skipping Manila and they go Palawan, Siargao, Cebu and Boracay. But keep reading these off the beaten path Philippines destinations.
We have been visiting twice Pagudpud so far and it’s one of our favorite Philippines off the beaten track. It’s so quiet and great place to take pictures. Most of the tourists are locals. The beaches are so beautiful and the sunsets are so colorful. Plus there are many places to visit around Pagudpud which keeps us busy for a few days always that we go to Pagudpud.
Read here our best things to do in Pagudpud!
BANGUI WINDMILLS, ILOCOS NORTE
Bangui Wind Farm is a wind farm in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. The wind farm is created to supply electricity to the province. Thus, the windmills are not only beautiful to look at; they are also useful and environmental tools used to supply electricity.
The beach is so windy an ideal for taking pictures. To get Bangui windmills from Pagudpud is 25 kilometers ride and you can do by tricycle.
Read here Ilocos Norte tourist spots!
Vigan is a city in the Philippines located in Ilocos Sur. It’s known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture. And because of its beauty and its well-preserved Spanish-era streets,
Vigan has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Great place to walk around, try local food and visiting museums to know more about the Filipino history. It’s popular for locals but I would say is off the beaten path for foreigners.
Read here our favorite things to do in Vigan!
3. HUNDRED ISLANDS, PANGSINAN
This group of 123 islands is a popular destination in the Province of Pangasinan. Apart from enjoying the views, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling and there is a pilgrimage island.
Most of the tourist are locals and you can even enjoying overnight camping if you wish. This destination isn’t very popular for foreigners. Just make sure that you aren’t coming on a weekend it could be crowded.
Read here to know more about Hundred islands!
4. CAPONES ISLAND IN ZAMBALES
Capones Island is next to Camara island and also an eye view from Pundaquit beach. It’s ideal for lunch or staying a couple of hours swimming, overnight or even trekking to the lighthouse. It’s a good place to spend a few hours, especially if the water is calm. Read here beaches in Zambales.
A very beautiful island hopping in Zambales just 3 hours North Manila and you can try camping in Anawanging Cove. Prices are so affordable and avoiding holidays and weekends isn’t crowded.
Read here our 18 favorite things to do in Subic!
5. DONSOL, SORSOGON
This place is famous because it is known as the home of Butanding or the Whale Sharks. When you visit Donsol, you shouldn’t miss diving and swimming with the whale sharks.
People are usually visiting Oslob in Cebu but they take care better of them in Donsol and is much less croded.
6. CALAGUAS ISLAND, CAMARINES DEL NORTE
Calaguas Island is a group of islands located in the Province of Camarines Norte in Luzon close to Bicol. The water is clear and blue and it’s a great place for snorkeling. I would say one of our favorite Philippines beaches.
You will have to get a boat for two hours from Paracale port. It’s not easy to access but we were spending one night alone. Prices are affordable, no electricity during the day and no phone signal. But we can totally recommend it.
Read here things to do in Calaguas Island!
7. CARAMOAN, CAMARINES DEL SUR
Caramoan is located in Camarines del Sur. An amazing island hopping is waiting for you and the area sin’t very touristic yet. You can go to Naga from Manila in a night bus. And later you have to get a van or a bus to reach Caramoan. A full blog post how to get from Manila to Caramoan.
Caramoan is so popular between locals but not for foreigners. There aren’t many options for accommodation but there are two days for island hopping that are amazing.
Read here Caramoan tourist spots!
8. SUBIC BEACH IN SORSOGON
We recently visited the southern part of Luzon and we got surprised to visit Subic Beach. It’s popular because of the Pink colors in the sand with blue waters. You can get there in the island hopping in Matnog. And we totally recommend to spend the day in this beach for us is one of the best off the beaten path Philippines destinations.
These pictures above are the last shots of our drone who went into the water. But despite of this we have the best memories of Pink Beach to have it for ourselves.
Read here Sorsogon tourist spots!
9. DUMUNPALIT ISLAND, CORON PALAWAN
One of the best islands that we have ever seen. It’s almost not getting tourists yet that’s why we include as first one of the list best beaches in the Philippines. You have to go to Maricaban port by motorbike, tricycle or van. From there you can get a boat 1 hour and 30 minutes to Dumunpalit Island. The boat costs 3000 PHP and the entrance fee is 200 PHP per person. The water is so clear and you can stay overnight if you are bringing a tent.
Dumunplait Island we can say is Philippines off the beaten track since is more than two hours from Coron to get there. Not many people have visited yet. Obviously we enjoyed the whole island for ourselves.
Read here how to get to Dumunpalit Island!
Balabac is located at South of Palawan with 40 000 population. Balabac is a paradise to discover in Palawan. There are 31 islands where you will enjoy amazing island hopping. Clear waters, amazing sunsets, great snorkeling spots and our favorite sand bars in the Philippines.
We stayed 3 amazing days island hopping in Balabac with no electricity and no phone signal. Sometimes it was raining but we discovered amazing sandbars, star fishes, sunset and beaches.
Read here things to do in Balabac!
Off The Beaten Path Philippines: Visayas
11. CARABAO ISLAND, VISIT SAN JOSE BEACH
San Jose Beach is a beautiful beach with clear, warm water and white sand. You will find it almost empty anytime of the day. A few kids play around and fishermen go around here as well. We spent most of the time there swimming, taking pictures, playing, and running around. It was so much fun!
The best sunrise from our room and empty beaches around. To get to Carabao Island is only one hour boat ride from the popular Boracay Island.
Read here Carabao Island travel guide!
12. KALANGGAMAND ISLAND, LEYTE
You can visit Kalanggaman Island, an island about 2 hours from Malapascua, which is already an official part of Leyte, Philippines. It will take you an hour and a half to reach the island. You will find a paradise haven where you can spend the day, relaxing, enjoying sea food, walking in an area surrounded by the palm trees, eating fruits and seafood, and of course, you can snorkel to see underwater beauty of the area.
The day trip from Malapascua costs 800 PHP lunch included and you have to pay extra 550 PHP fee to visit the island if you are foreigner, 150 PHP for Filipinos and children with 5 years old get for free! Click here to get your discount booking your tour to Kalanggamand Island with Klook!
GUIMARAS ISLAND, AVE MARIA ISLAND
This place in Guimaras Island is a quiet Sand bar with a Groto where the Virgin Maria isn’t anymore. But it’s one of the best places for pictures since you can see Turtle Island in the front, rock formations and the sand bar and clear water around. It’s also a good place for a swim. We got to Ave Maria Island with the island hopping in Guimaras Island.
It was so much fun the island hopping and Guimaras is mango Province. You have to try the Mango Pizza.
Read here Guimaras tourist spots!
13. Tinalisayan Island, Burias Island
We enjoyed a few hours taking pictures, flying the drone, swimming, snorkeling, taking under water shots before coming back to San Pascual. There are no cottages in this island but there are tables if you are planning to have your lunch there. It was our favorite one in our Burias Island Tour.
Burias Island was an amazing island hopping visiting Sombrero Island where you can stay overnight. But our favorite was Tinalisayan Island for sure.
Philippines Off The Beaten Track Destinations: Mindanao
14. CAMIGUIN ISLAND
Camiguin Island is amazing. A volcanic island where you can enjoy snorkeling and diving, visiting waterfalls. Our favorite places were White Island and beautiful sand bar and Mantigue Island with its crystal clear waters. You can see corals and fish even while riding a boat. There’s a wide variety of fish species that lives in the crystal clear water surrounding the Island. Mantigue Island was our favorite Camiguin tourist spot!
For visiting Mantigue you have to ride a boat from San Roque close to Benoni Ferry terminal that will cost you 600 PHP maximum 6 people and it will take 15 minutes to get to Mantigue Island. There is an enviromental fee 10 PHP and 50 PHP entrance fee for snorkeling. You can also rent snorkeling gear in case you aren’t bringing your own.
Read here full blog post how to get to Mantigue Island!
15. SAMAL ISLAND
Samal Island is one of the best places for snorkeling since the water is so clear. Samar Island is located only one hour far from Davao City in Mindanao. There are many things to do in Samal Island apart from snorkeling you can visit waterfalls and the best way to move around is by renting a motorcycle.
Read here how to get to Samal Island!
Hope you enjoyed our Philippines off the beaten track destinations. Which one is your off the beaten path Philippines destinations? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.