Under The Radar: Islands to visit in the Philippines
Wanderlust is defined in a myriad of ways across several dictionaries, but they all center around one thing: a strong desire to travel. For most people, this means getting lost somewhere in Europe, Asia, or the Americas (North or South). For some, it’s as simple as a getaway to somewhere you have not been… like an island.
If you’re looking to satisfy your wanderlust, then check out our list of five under the radar islands in the Philippines:
1. Fortune Island, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines
PHOTOGRAPHER’S HAVEN. Our own version of Acropolis + sunset/sunrise = beautiful scenery. Photo courtesy of idreamlikecrazy via flickr.
Fortune Island, located 15 kilometers off the coast of Nasugbu, Batangas is a travel photographer’s dream. It’s been compared to the Acropolis in Greece, thanks to the Parthenon-like structure perched on top of the island. Apart from the tons of photo ops, you can also go trekking, cliff diving and swimming. Best way to enjoy: go on an overnight trip with a tour group.
Tour packages are available on the internet for just under P3,000 per person with Go PH Travel and Tours. You can save more if you go as a group, but there are packages for solo travelers (you’ll be placed with another group).
2. Calaguas Group of Islands, Camarines Norte, Philippines
BALABAG BEACH. One of the reasons you go to the Calaguas Group of Islands. Photo courtesy of Charizsa Tikmang via flickr.
Most of you may or may not have heard of Calaguas, Camarines Norte, hence it being considered under the radar. It’s about 2 hours away from the mainland of Camarines Norte, and is quite known to those infected by wanderlust because of its pristine beaches. Mahabang Buhangin (Long Beach) is where you’ll most likely stay, as it’s the most frequent camping site for tourists.
Calaguas is perfect for those who are looking for a bit of solitude, due to its untouched beauty. Calaguas full board packages are available for around P4,000 – P6,000 per person with Calaguas Hullabaloo (bus transfers from Manila to Daet will be P1,000 extra per person).
3. Palaui Island, Cagayan, Philippines
THE WONDERS OF PALAUI. Cape Engaño, one of Palaui’s main attractions, is highlighted by this stunning photo of the lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Rawan Balmaña via flickr.
If you’re a fan of untouched paradise islands, then Palaui Island in Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley is for you. A National Marine Reserve since 1994, it’s home to a wide variety of plants and birds. It’s perfect for adventure, especially if you take the trip to Cape Engaño. The lighthouse is a favorite among travel photographers. Take a side trip to Callao Cave on your way back to know why it’s called the Caving Capital of the Philippines.
There are no resorts or hotels on the island, so your best bet is to pitch a tent in Punta Verde or look for a homestay. Ecotourism Philippines offers different packages for Palaui Island sans boat rentals.
4. Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon, Philippines
PEACEFUL SUNSETS. That’s just one of the things in store for you in Cagbalete Island. Photo courtesy of Soshi Perez via flickr.
A recurring theme in this list is that most of these islands are rather quiet, secluded, and most likely for those in tune with nature… or are a bit active. Cagbalete Island in Quezon Province is no exception. It’s home to pristine beaches, a sandbar that you can walk on when the tide is low, and a bit of bird watching. Quite simply, Cagbalete is an escape from the daily grind of having to work without spending an arm and a leg.
People recommend Doña Choleng Resort if you’re looking to get the best accommodations on the island. You can also opt to pitch your tent (or rent one from them). For transportation, Jac Liner is your best friend. They have buses running everyday to Mauban (closest town to Cagbalete Island) at 4 a.m. and 11 a.m.
5. Malalison Island, Culasi, Antique, Philippines
UNTOUCHED BEAUTY. Though there might be a commercial building on its way, it’s still underdeveloped by tourism standards. Malalison, or Mararison to locals, is still as pristine as it was before it got hit by Haiyan. Photo grabbed from Katahum Tours Facebook page.
It’s often overlooked thanks to its exceedingly famous neighbor (looking at you, Boracay), but Malalison Island, Antique. Then again, thanks to Boracay’s popularity, Malalison has been left virtually untouched (since Typhoon Haiyan hit, people have said commercial buildings are being put up). The island is home to some unique flora and fauna, like pitcher plants. Go on a trek and explore the island (best done with a guide), swim and snorkel in the surrounding waters, or visit Nablat Islet.
As of this writing, homestays are the only available form of accommodation on the island, unless you have your own tent. However, most people opt for a day tour, specifically with Katahum Tours. Flights are available to get to and from Aklan and Ilo-ilo, so you won’t have that hard of a time getting close to Malalison.