Top things to do in the Philippines
Discover all the adventures you can experience in the Philippines
The Philippines is a tropical paradise laid with powdery white sand and crystalline waters. The country has become known worldwide for its stunning white sand beaches in Boracay and Palawan, but there are more natural wonders that can be explored around the the Philippines' 7641 islands.
If you’re itching to swim in crystal clear and turquoise-colored waters, a lot of natural attractions await you when you book all-inclusive vacation packages in the Philippines. Alongside the rocky coastlines are the country’s best-kept secrets, including the natural swimming pools that appear during low tide.
Here are some of the best natural cave pools, rock pools, tide pools, and lagoons in the Philippines that you should explore soon!
Photo by @mirenthesirena on Instagram
First on our list is an enchanting sight in the island of Bohol in Central Visayas, home to the famous Chocolate Hills. The Combento Cave Pool is a tidal pool that nestles in Anda municipality east of Bohol. Surrounding its clear and natural spring water are limestone formations and a high rock ceiling.
The entrance of the cave has a cemented stair leading you to the tidal pool underneath. Its opening is wide enough to let light penetrate and illuminate the crystal clear waters of the natural pool. The water can get neck-deep or shallower depending on the shifting tides. During low tide, no saltwater gets inside the cave, so the water is safe to drink.
Photo by RC Hutspot
Across the vast seascape of the Visayas mainland is a small group of islands, the Camotes Islands, featuring white-sand beaches and a hidden cave pool with crystal clear freshwater. Timubo Cave nestles in the lakeside municipality of San Francisco in the island province of Cebu.
Unlike other caves with big openings, the entrance to Timubo Cave is a small hole in the ground. It’s a hidden treasure, and you’ll be surprised to see that despite the small opening, there lies huge stalactites and stalagmites inside the cave. Surrounding the six feet main pool are sharp rocks, so be extra careful when swimming.
Lake Danao, dubbed as the Lover’s Lake, is a nearby famous attraction in the area. Even so, Timubo Cave is also accessible via the Lake Danao Walking Trail. Tourists love taking a relaxing cruise along the lake after spelunking in Timubo Cave.
Apart from its unspoiled white sand beaches, Bantayan Island in Cebu has several hidden treasures. Inside this quaint island paradise are various inland attractions that are worth a visit. A Bantayan Island tour includes some of the majestic cave pools in the Philippines such as Ogtong Cave and Sto. Nino Cave Pool.
Ogtong Cave is a small natural pool cave that lies inside Ogtong Cave Resort. It has clear blue waters that are open for swimming. Another magnificent marvel on Bantayan Island is the Sto. Nino Cave Pool, which is bigger than the Ogtong Cave. An entrance fee is required for guests to access the 8-hectare resort's spring-fed pool, zoo, and fish spa.
Sorsogon is famous for the whale sharks in Donsol. But, aside from swimming with these gentle giants locally known as Butandings, travelers can also visit the white-sand shores of Paguriran Island in Baranggay Sawanga, Sorsogon. Enclosed between jagged rock formations of the island is a stunning mini lagoon with clear emerald waters stretching toward the shore.
It is best for swimming since the water remains shallow despite the shifting tides. The turquoise-colored lagoon is knee-deep and only rises to 4 feet when the tides are high. Paguriran Island Lagoon is a sight to behold, and the view is even more striking when the waves hit the shore.
One of the smallest inhabited islands in the country is the Simunul Island in Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost island province in the Philippines. The island covers only 15 barangays with over 30,000 residents.
Dotting this small island are stilt houses, mosques, white-sand beaches, and powdery sandbars. There are also cold freshwater sinkholes and cave pools scattered on the island. Around 36 of them have been discovered on Simunul Island. These natural pools are safe for swimming since most of the sinkholes are shallow.
Photo by @jeff.windt on Instagram
While the island of Siargao is famous for surfing, this laidback island paradise is also home to natural attractions like the Tayangban Cave Pool, which is 22KM away from General Luna and can be explored when joining Siargao tours. Canyoneering adventures are popular for tourists who want to discover the hidden marvels of the cave.
Freshwater pools surround the cave with at least waist-deep water. Bats are hanging from the ceiling beside ancient stalactites shaped like ice pinnacles. At the end of the cave lies a stunning emerald green rock pool with hanging vines around it. The first cliff jumping spot is about 2 meters high, while the second is 5 meters deep.
Bohol is home to white-sand beaches and pristine diving spots in the Visayas. For those planning to take the Bohol countryside tour, you can take a side trip to the Cabagnow Cave Pool, a 5-meter deep sinkhole with crystal blue waters fed from the nearby mountains. This stunning gem hides underneath tall trees in Anda, Bohol.
Less than 350m away from Talisay Beach and Cabagnow Cave Pool is another natural wonder, the Tibaw Cave Pool. Unlike Cabagnow Cave Pool, Tibaw Cave Pool is shallower, which is only 3 meters deep. Surrounding these caves pools are edgy limestone formations that are undeniably spectacular.
Photo by @07jayem on Instagram
The Gigantes Islands or Islas de Gigantes, situated off the northeastern coast of Iloilo in the Western Visayas region, is famous for having pristine sandbars, islets, and fine white-sand beaches. Hidden beneath the cliffs of Isla de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo is a natural saltwater pool, the Tangke Salt Water Lagoon.
Among the lesser-known spots in Gigantes Islands is the Tangke Salt Water Lagoon, which features enchanting jade-green waters. It has towering limestone formations comparable to the Twin Lagoon of Coron, Palawan. The water in the lagoon is only waist-deep high, but it reaches up to 7 feet deep during high tide.
Photo by Pangasinan Tourism
Apart from being an emerging beach spot in Northern Luzon and home to the Hundred Islands, Pangasinan is also home to enchanting natural attractions. Among the few booming spots in the province is the Cabongaoan Death Pool. It is tucked away from the more crowded and touristy attractions in Pangasinan.
The pristine white-sand shore of Cabongaoan Beach welcomes you first before reaching the death pool. At the far side of the beach lies the so-called Death Pool, which according to the locals, has a crooked shape that looks deadly and leaves you with a thrilling effect as if the waves are going to wipe you out.
To get there, you have to pass through edgy rocks and giant boulders. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the sound of the crashing waves. It looks frightening to jump, but the experience is exhilarating especially for adventure seekers. There are also small natural pools within the area that are much safer for the faint-hearted.
Photo by @masbatephilippines on Instagram
Masbate is a quaint province located in the Bicol region of the Luzon mainland. One of its natural pools is situated off the coast of the Burias Groups of Islands in San Pascual, Masbate. It nestles on the secluded yet stunning Animasola Island, which boasts a majestic and jaw-dropping rock formation found at the edge of the shore.
The name “Animasola” is derived from the Latin words, “Anima” and “Sola” which means lonely soul. Behind the bedazzling rock formation lies a natural pool with a rock in the middle that is surrounded by clear and turquoise-colored waters.
Photo by @royporio on Instagram
Among the must-see spots in Northern Samar, Mindanao is the refreshing saltwater pool surrounding the picturesque Biri Island rock formations. Bel-At Tidal Pool is majestically formed between massive and smooth limestone formations that are reminiscent of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte.
Despite being the largest among the saltwater pools in the area, its water is only waist-deep high and remains shallow during low tide. Getting there would require you to pass through a boardwalk trail with mangroves and lush vegetation. Magasang Rock Formation is also worth a visit, which boasts sweeping views of the sea and the rugged landscape on top.
Photo by Princess Parubrub
Dinagat Islands are among the most off-beaten spots in the Philippines, which is located on the southern side of Leyte Gulf in the Caraga region of Mindanao. Tucked beneath this small group of islands are white-sand shores, beach coves, and limestone formations.
One of the natural attractions in Dinagat is the Pangabangan Tidal Pool, which is enclosed inside Pangabangan Island. Surrounding the blue lagoon are dramatic rock formations, comparable to those in Coron and El Nido, Palawan. A rewarding view of the nearby islets awaits you when you stand on top of one of the limestone formations.
The waters at the Blue Lagoon are calm and shallow, making it easy to wade through the tidal pool. Adding to the paradise-like scenery is the crystal clear and deep cyan color of the lagoon, inviting you to take a dip.
Siargao is the most sought-after destination in the Philippines for surfers and non-surfers alike. But, more than catching the waves, there’s a lot to discover and experience beyond this tear-shaped island. Most of the popular attractions on this island are part of our Siargao tour package.
One of Siargao’s secluded spots is Magpupungko Rock Pools, an enchanting cliff diving spot off the east coast of Siargao in Pilar municipality. Magpupungko Rock Pools are just 35.6KM away from the tourist road of General Luna.
Magpupungko’s clear turquoise waters and jagged rock formations emerge during low tide. There are also nearby cliffs and caves surrounding these magnificent rock pools in the Philippines.
Plunge into the Best Natural Pools in the Philippines
While countless beaches are dotting the archipelago, what keeps travelers coming back to this tropical paradise are its jaw-dropping marvels hiding behind lush vegetations and jagged rock formations.
If you’re an adventure-seeker who prefers less-crowded attractions, dare to discover the breathtaking tidal pools in the Philippines. Take extra courage to sneak into hidden caves and jump into the deep blue waters of the rock pools. It’s time to start booking Philippine travel packages for your next exhilarating vacation in the Philippines!