Boasting 7,641 islands and a coastline that is twice the length of the United States, the Philippines can rival many a country in terms of magnificent white sand beaches and marine biodiversity.

Of the total islands that make up the country, only 2,000 are inhabited, whereas 500 islands are larger than a square mile. So it may come as no surprise that various unchartered territories and unspoiled landscapes remain undiscovered by both locals and tourists alike in the Philippine’s vast archipelago landscape. And perhaps the best part is, some places are much closer to our bustling capital than you’d ever imagine.

We’ve rounded up some of the most idyllic beaches near Manila for those travelers looking for a quick, budget-friendly getaway over the weekend.  So pack your gear and head on for a breathtaking adventure along the white sand coasts of Luzon and get your dose of vitamin sea!

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1.  Talisayin Cove, Zambales

Talisayen Cove
Talisayin Cove. Photo taken by The Wandering Architect.

Talisayin Cove Package Cost: 500 pesos

Includes:  Entrance fee to the island, tent (good for two), kitchen utensils, five gallons of mineral water, back-and-forth boat ride, and a side trip to Anawangin Cove.  Cottage rental is at Php200.00.

How To Get There: To get to Talisayin Cove via public transportation, ride a Victory Liner bus from Manila to Iba, Zambales.  Alight at San Antonio, Zambales and hail a tricycle to Pundaquit Beach, and then take a boat ride to Talisayin Cove.  Talisayin Cove is approximately 3 – 4 hours away from Manila.

Contact: Kuya Joven for other inquiries at 09159599595.

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If you’re craving silence and solitude, drive north to Talisayin Cove in Zambales — a less-trodden destination nestled between famous coves, Anawangin and Nagasa.  It’s easy to miss this rustic place because the shoreline is showered with the same volcanic ash and lined with the usual agoho trees that are indigenous to the province.

Talisayin Cove
Another view of Talisayin Cove. Photo taken from Trip Advisor.

However, one distinct offering that the island can give is — silence.  The island has no electricity; it runs only on a makeshift generator. And don’t bother using your cellphone, signal is weak to non-existent in Talisayin Cove.

Communing with nature is easy in the bucolic surroundings as the place does not offer any resort or lodging for tourists. However, guests are more than welcome to stay in beach huts which are used as rest spots and camping sites.  Be sure not to miss the three-level grotto that offers a panoramic view of the place for tourists.  A serene respite, indeed, for some weekend reverie!

Talisayen Cove
Camping in Talisayin Cove. Photo taken from The Wandering Architect.

2.  Magalawa Island, Zambales

Magalawa Cove
An aerial view of Magalawa Cove. Photo taken from Pinterest.

Magalawa Cove Package: Php100.00 as entrance fee to the island.  Overnight use of cottage for five pax is Php1,500.00.  Tents that are good for four pax is worth Php500.00.  The back-and-forth boat ride is priced at Php200.00.

Contact: Kuya Mulo at 09294670505 for other inquiries.

How To Get There: Take a Victory Liner bus headed for Iba-Sta.Cruz, Zambales.  Tell the bus conductor that you will alight at the tricycle terminal to Luan Port/Radyo Veritas at Pamolingan, Palauig.  Then take a boat ride to Magalawa Island.  Magalawa Island is approximately 6 -7 hours away from Manila.

Located off the coast of northern Zambales, Magalawa Island offers creamy white sand beaches on both sides that extend and meet at the sandbar.  The island has two resorts  that offer accommodations at modest prices.

Magalawa Island is a discreet location and isn’t as commercialized as other beaches in the area, which means restaurants are a distance away.  You may bring your own canned goods, fresh produce, rice, and charcoal for cooking as cooking stations are provided in the area.  Cookware can also be borrowed for free.  One of the locals can also cook food for you for a certain charge.

magalawa island
Magalawa Island. Image taken by Gino Mempin.

The resorts offer roofed balsa rides where you can relax, or use them to go to an estuary for some snorkeling activities.  Watch out for sandflies while in the water though!  They’re harmless, but the bites definitely sting!

You can also do island-hopping to see San Salvador Island, Matalvis Island, and Potipot Island.  A mangrove forest is also available for viewing, along with the attractions at Masinloc.

magalawa island
Camping at Magalawa Island. Image taken by Charmaine of Sharkmaine.com.

3.  Dinadiawan Beach, Aurora

Dinadiawan Beach.
Dinadiawan Beach. Taken from Trip Advisor.

Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life and drive to Dinadiawan Beach, named after Barangay Dinadiawan in Dipaculao.  A stark contrast to its neighbor Baler with the absence of raging waves, Dinadiawan Beach boasts pristine waters and a trash-free shoreline. While it isn’t the main attraction, tourists and locals alike recommend the place as it offers a spectacular view of the Sierra Madre mountain range and other rock formations.

Dinadiawan Agri Beach Resort offers refuge and other amenities with its cottages and tree houses, at rates that can be split among the members of your traveling group, but if you want to be one with nature; you may also opt to camp in a tent under the stars.

Dinadiawan Beach
Dinadiawan Beach. Taken from Weekend Side Trip.

How To Get There: Genesis Bus Transportation is the only direct bus from Manila to Baler and Dipaculao.  The road trip is good for five to six hours.  You can take shots of the picturesque shoreline of Aurora as you near Dipaculao.  Take another bus or rent a van going to Dinadiawan proper.  Dinadiawan Beach is approximately 6 – 8 hours away from Manila.

4.  Lukang Beach, Pagbilao Quezon

lukang beach
Lukang Beach. Taken from WordPress.

Cost: If you plan to explore its neighboring island Borawan, a boat ride at day time is priced at 150.00 and Php220.00 for an overnight trip. Tent rental is worth Php500.00 with an additional charge of Php200.00 if you want it pitched. A day trip to Dampalitan Island is worth Php80.00 and Php100.00 for an overnight trip. A day trip to Kwebang Lampas is Php80.00, whereas an overnight boat ride rate is at Php160.00. Although a boat ride package of Php1500.00 is also available for island-hopping.  Lukang Beach is approximately 4 – 5 hours away from Manila.

Contact: For more information, you may contact Kuya Chris J at 0905560 5947.

How To Get There: To reach Lukan Cove, ride a bus going to Lucena City from Manila. Travel time is around three hours. Take another bus ride to Unisan that is good for an hour and a half. Tell the conductor to drop you off at QCRB Bank in Padre Burgos Town. Ride a tricycle going to Aplaya. Inform the driver that you will alight at Borawan. From Aplaya take a boat ride going to Pagbilao.  Lukang Beach is approximately 4 – 5 hours away from Manila.

Lukang Beach is a relatively unchartered territory that is around 150 kilometers south of Manila. It’s free off commercial establishments, so you have to bring your own food, drinks, and equipment in order to cook and eat.  If you intend to stay overnight, pack a tent and a lamp.  A few beach huts are present for rent.

The quaint destination cradles white sand, crystal clear water, lush flora and fauna, and unique rock formations, with an atypical view of the Pagbilao Power Station’s red and white chimney that protrudes amidst the rural surroundings.

pagbilao power station
Pagbilao Power Station at Lukang Beach. Taken from Flickr.

At the end of the small island is a plant owned by Team Energy Corporation. The plant does not allow unauthorized marine vessels,  a rule that has aided in the propagation of marine life.  Various small fish can be seen from the knee-deep level of the water.  It is indeed heavenly to swim and snorkel in the crystal clear water of the island or do a little trekking and caving at Kwebang Lampas, which is an undersized cave at the edge of the cove.

Lukang Beach
Another view of the Pagbilao Red and White Chimney. Photo taken from Spot.ph.

5.  Dampalitan Beach, Quezon

dampalitan beach
Dampalitan Beach. Taken from The Backpackers.

Cost: The entrance fee to the beach is at Php100.00.  Tent rental is at Php500.00.  The cottage that is good for eight pax is Php800.00, whereas for 20 pax is at Php1,500.00.  They offer a bangka ride for eight pax to Sandbar, Puting Buhangin, and Borawan at Php2,500.00.

Contact: Ate Mercy or her daughter Ate Azel at 09195306590 for other inquiries.

How To Get There: To reach Dampalitan Beach, take a bus to Lucena City.  Travel time is around three hours.  Get off at Lucena Grand Terminal and take another bus to Unisan.  Travel time is about an hour and a half.  Take a tricycle to Aplaya, and tell the driver you will alight at Borawan.  Rent a boat going to Dampalitan.  Dampalitan Beach is approximately 3 hours away from Manila.

Another underdeveloped but scenic beach is Dampalitan Beach in Padre Burgos, Quezon.  Its long stretch of white shoreline is lined with pine trees and the usual coconut trees— similar to Anawangin Cove.  A few nipa huts and cottages are available for rent.  You can walk along the mangrove area during low tide or island hop to the Sandbar, Puting Buhangin, and Borawan. Remember to come prepared to Dampalitan Beach as the island does not have electricity. Meanwhile, food is available but quite expensive since it’s far from town.

Dampalitan Beach
Dampalitan Beach

What are your favorite nearby beach getaways? Share with us in the comments section below!

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