Travel Envy: Mikael Daez’ Deep Love for the Philippine Islands

In an archipelago of 7, 107 islands, there’s not a more seamless way to explore it than to personally experience and dive in it. Our December-January 2016 cover boy Mikael Daez shares that he is always on the verge of finding the beaches he sees on photos and goes to them.

Here, he takes cue from his virtual beach directory that’s worth a double-tap, a long drive, and a deep dive.

1. Balesin Island, Quezon

Balesin Island makes it easy for us to get a glimpse of Bali, Phuket, Mykonos, St. Tropez, Costa del Sol and Toscana by means of its themed villages. Lamon Bay and, in the distance, the Sierra Madre mountain range on the mainland can also be overlooked while you’re in it. Moreover, a side trip to the nearby whereabouts in a Quezon includes the beaches of Cagbalete, Alabat, Salibungot, and Borawan.

2. Apo Island, Dumaguete

Dumaguete was coined from the term dagit or to snatch back from the time when pirates frequently snatched elementals in the coastal town. Now, there’s nothing more that could snatch your attention than what this beautiful island has to bid.

Situated in Negros Occidental, nicknamed as the City of Gentle People, Apo Island gets hold of the tranquil ambiance reflected from the locals’ vibes. It also shelters hard and soft corals, the breathing place of more than 600 species of fishes and more than 400 species of corals in Apo Island.

Related story: A Quick Guide to the Nicknames of Popular Cities in the Philippines

3. Sumilon Island, Cebu

Sumilon, meaning sumilong or to take refuge, takes hold of its promising character as it was dubbed as the first marine protected area in the Philippines way back in 1974. When in Cebu, also pay its neighboring wonder, Oslob and its gentle whale sharks a visit.

The otherside of Boracay A photo posted by Mikael Daez (@mikaeldaez) on

4. Boracay, Aklan

Overrated as it may seem, Boracay is still, and will never be out of the list when it comes to beach bumming in the country. To make your stay more serene, you just have to explore the underrated, remote sides of it. Might as well engage with the locals, hop on to the more isolated beach, or plunge in to the other side of it like what Mikael did.

Related story: When Locals are the Focal Point

Good morning!! Found this picture and now craving for a good trip #LaUnion A photo posted by Mikael Daez (@mikaeldaez) on

5. Tangadan Falls, La Union

Here’s a beach breather: Tangadan Falls in La Union. Apart from braving the waves in La Union, locals and tourists also make time to chase this hidden waterfall in San Gabriel that is a few minutes away from the eminent Surf Town.

Related story: Now Showing: Jay Abello’s Flotsam and 5 Things We Learned From It

6. Caramoan, Bicol

The 13-hour drive to this unexploited paradise in Bicol sure will ease the exhausted being in you with its sights to behold. More points of interest to visit counts in Mt. Mayon Volcano, Cagsawa Ruins Park, and Calaguas Island.

7. Capones Island, Zambales

Capones Island or Isla de Gran Capon, is a long bone-shaped island boasting of its white sandbars and rocky shorlines. Capones is not your typical commercialized beach resort. When in Zambales, its best to island-hop and visit the beaches of Camara, Anawangin, Nagsasa, and Pandaquit.

Poblacion, Bataan! Had no idea how I got here. Just drove and drove and ended up in this beach A photo posted by Mikael Daez (@mikaeldaez) on

8. Poblacion, Bataan

How surprising it is to have driven miles away not knowing you’ll be ending up with this rewarding destination on your way through? Here, Mikael testifies to the saying that not all who wander are lost. Among all the beaches present in Bataan, Poblacion does not disappoint with its offerings that could definitely go in the line with the overrated beaches in the country. Also, break in your journey at the island of Corregidor while you’re at it!

  A photo posted by Mikael Daez (@mikaeldaez) on

9. Hamilo Coast, Batangas

When barkada, family, and company outing ideas merge, Batangas is always the answer to the short distance getaway to satisfy your doze of Vitamin Sea. Recently, we took Mikael to the peak of Pico de Loro in Batangas with a side trip to its clear blue waters for a total experience. Also check in to the beaches of Tali, Anilao, and Nasugbu when in Batangas.

10. Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Of course, the chart-topper island of Palawan is here to keep our jaws dropped. Garnered 1st place in Condé Nast Traveler as the best island in the world, Palawan houses the world class underground river that’s definitely plotted on everyone’s bucketlist. Luckily, our cover boy has ticked it off from his list. When in Palawan, be sure to let your taste buds meet the exotic delicacy, Tamilok. It is a woodworm that’s technically the longest oyster in the clam world.

Related story: Pandora the Explorer Goes to Palawan

My new favorite bed A photo posted by Mikael Daez (@mikaeldaez) on


We would not mind getting some z’s into this pacifying bed and waking up next to the wonders of God.

Proving he is an island boy, Mikael ironically reminds us not to be contained in one certain attraction when traveling; instead, he insists to go beyond it and explore further wonders as great adventure awaits us. “Kaya dapat laging tandaan, there’s always more to an island than its main attraction, importante ding silipin ang mga lugar kung saan pwede tayong mag side trip. Malay niyo, doon na pala naghihintay ang inyong next great adventure,” shares Mikael on GMA News and Public Affairs Summer Special documentary “Isla.”

Grab a copy of EXPLORE PHILIPPINES Magazine’s December 2015 to January 2016 Life Goals Issue! Available in Buqo, Magzter, iTunes Store, Google Playstore and leading bookstores nationwide! ‪



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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