10 Captivating Sandbars in the Philippines

The heat index in the Philippines can range from 36 to 52 degrees Celsius during the summer. It is as bad as it sounds and definitely sweltering enough for the Filipinos and tourists alike to hunt for the utmost refreshing escape, seascape rather, there is.

To help you cool off your body temperature, not to mention your electric bills, we gathered 10 beaches with the best sandbars in the Philippines that’s worth lounging around in and braving the (heat) waves for right here, right now.

Related story: 10 Natural Pools in the Philippines 

Kalanggaman Island, Leyte

Photo by Krichelle Hernandez

The devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda has always been top of mind when Leyte becomes the topic of conversation, but the now sought-after Kalanggaman Island is currently changing the game. The island got its name from a local dialect meaning “bird,” mainly because its sandbar comes in the shape of a bird’s wing. Interestingly, a part of the island has an underdeveloped ecosystem of birds, has an intimate chapel, and its sand seasonally turns pink due to the strong concentration of red corals!

Thankfully, the tourism in Leyte is responsibly keeping an eye on the management of the island. “The tourism is locally managed. They strictly implement the island’s carrying capacity (YES, this is important)… Every group is given trash bags before leaving the mainland and the boatmen are instructed to bring the trash with the group back to the mainland,” Maymay Balatayo of Gawad Kalinga shares through a 360-degree video footage on Instagram.

Other points of interest in Leyte: Yellow Door Hostel, the longest bridge in the Philippines San Juanico Bridge, Leyte Landing Memorial, Ormoc Bay

Islas de Gigantes, Iloilo

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Iloilo wouldn’t be dubbed as the City of Love for nothing, and the illuminating Isla de Gigantes or Island of the Giants testifies to this. Folklore has it that the island was named such because it was believed that giant human remains were found in Bakwitan Cave long ago. It also has 10 islands and the beautiful stretch of its sandbar can be found in the island of Bantigue.

“Indulge yourself in paradise beyond measure from pristine beaches with waters rich in scallops cooked into different recipes you never imagined. Hindi ako maka-move on! For PHP 1 lang kasi yung scallops, ready to eat na,” Joanna Gallucci of Philippine Airlines shares to Live To Explore.

A side trip to Tangke Salt Water Lagoon is also a must when in the island. It’s a natural salt water pool hiding behind the limestone rock formations. Here, it was also believed that mystical creatures guarded and kept the lagoon clean.

Other points of interest in Iloilo: personalize your mugs at Madge Café, feast on authentic La Paz Batchoy in La Paz Market, Agho Island in Concepcion, Jaro Cathedral in Jaro District

Related story: Cabugao Gamay Island, The Face of Islas de Gigantes

Related story: Hideaway Tourist Inn: A Paradisiacal Resort in Islas de Gigantes 

Related story: Spelunking at Bakwitan Cave, Iloilo 


Sumilon Island, Cebu

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Sumilon Island is one of the many pristine water worlds found in South Cebu. It does not only boast of its vanishing sandbar, but also of its alluring turquoise water that will make you plunge in right after alighting the boat. Just be sure to to come right before the tide gets high to be able to have a better view and appreciation of its sandbar!

Other points of interest in South Cebu: sardine run in Moalboal, snorkel in Pescador Island, and canyoneering in Kawasan Falls

Related story: Moalboal, A Diving Paradise

Related story: 10 Cebu City Sites For Your Sight

White Island, Camiguin

Photo by Jesse Hollman

On top of Camiguin’s famed Sunken Cemetery that got buried underwater when Mt. Vulcan Daan erupted in 1870’s is the White Island that’s quite comparable to the beaches of Hawaii, probably because of the volcanoes surrounding it. After all, Camiguin wouldn’t be tagged as the “Island born of fire” for nothing.

Best thing to do on the island? Buy some fresh vegetables and fruits at the Camiguin market before you head to White Island and feast over on some good food while lounging on the sandbar!

Other points of interests in Camiguin: Cross marker and Sunken Cemetery, hoard lanzones, Old Volcano Trail

Jomalig Island, Quezon Province

Photo by Kristelle Batchelor

Quezon Province is definitely one of the go-to provinces now when in dire need of a beach getaway near the metro. It has famed islands Balesin and Borawan to name a few, but what is stealing the scene is the Jomalig Island. Though it’s a 5-hour long boat ride, we bet the uniquely gold sandbar fenced by Agoho trees waiting for you will rejuvenate your numbed senses once you get there.

“Jomalig is a virgin island with fine white sand, clear blue waters, and some of the most humble and hospitable local residents you’d ever meet!” Kristelle Batchelor, a freelance journalist shares to Live To Explore.

Other points of interest in Quezon Province: Real Surf, Balesin, Borawan, Cagbalete, Dampalitan

The Twin Sombrero Island, Masbate

Photo by Marian went to town

The Twin Sombrero Island is a set of twin islands shaped like a sombrero or hat resting in the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines, Masbate City. Though it’s near the mainland in Bicol, Twin Sombrero Island is still a hidden getaway as most tourists haven’t discovered this piece of heaven yet. Surprisingly, there are enough cottages with private bathrooms for guests to stay in. Conservation of water is then highly encouraged because of its scarcity and its being sourced out from the mainland.

“Masbate is truly a place that deserves to be explored. They have vast landscapes and pristine beaches that are both captivating and enticing,” Lissa Kahayon of www.lissakahayon.com lures on a blog post.

Other points of interest: Burias Island, Animasola Island, Tinalisayan Island, Burubangkaso Island, Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary, Masbate

Manjuyod Sandbar, Negros Oriental

Photo by Our Awesome Planet

While Manjuyod Sandbar showcases a great 7-kilometer stretch of immaculate white sand, something more breathtaking lies in the island for tourists to see. Amazingly, it is a major stopover for island hopping tours because of the dolphin and whale sightings!

Native wooden cottages are also here to keep you safe and warm throughout your stay.

Other points of interest in Negros Oriental: Apo Island, Tañon Strait, Bird Sanctuary and Mangrove Park, Capiñahan Wharf

Virgin Island, Bohol

Photo by Marc Forné

Virgin Island or Isola di Francesco is one of the many beaches humbly resting in Bohol. It was known to locals as the Virgin Island because it’s still a secret to some even if it was opened to the general public years ago. The number of sea urchins, edible seashell meat, crystal clear shallow waters, and stretch of the white sandbar salutes the great explorers who luckily land on the island.

However, during high tide, a huge part of the island gets suppressed underwater, leaving only the sight of the intact palm trees in the middle of the sea.

“You can’t miss Virgin Island… what a dreamy place!” Marc Forné, a model and student from Barcelona, affirms on a blog post.

Other points of interest in Bohol: Chocolate Hills, Panglao Island, Alona Beac, Loboc River, Loboc Man-Made Forest

Naked Island, Siargao

Photo by Kawayan Siargao Resort

Siargao, a tear-drop shaped island is more than just a surfing site. Here also lays Naked Island also known as Pansukian. Though called naked, it’s not a place for nudes. It’s called as such because there are no sightings of trees, cottages, and even locals in this piece of seclusion; just you, the scorching sun, the pure waters, and the bareness of the sandbar that screams for nothing but simplicity and solitude.

Other points of interest in Siargao: Paglaom Hostel, Cloud 9, Daku Island, Guyam Island

Related story: 7 Must-Visit Spots in Siargao 

Related story: Insider Siargao: Waterbound Teachings 

Carbin Reef, Negros Occidental

Photo by Astraea Longcob

Established in 1999, Carbin Reef is a tongue-shaped island that houses diverse marine species, occasional turtles, and flourishing coral formations. Because of the shallow waters, diving is discouraged, but swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking are A-Okay. However, limited visitors are welcome as this is a protected area.

Other points of interest in Negros Occidental: The Ruins, Calea cakes, Manokan Country, Danjugan Island

Sea you on the islands, yes?


Our journey began with an idea to discover what it means to travel the Philippines, beyond the alluring images of sparkling blue waters and powder white sand. We seek to share travel stories to inspire the wide-eyed traveler, moving them deeper into the destination with stunning images and narratives about its sights, tastes, textures, smells, and local life.

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