20 Boracay Beach Alternatives: Underrated and Must-Visit White Sand Beaches in the Philippines

20 Boracay Beach Alternatives: Underrated and Must-Visit White Sand Beaches in the Philippines

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Kalanggaman Island and Malcapuya IslandKalanggaman Island in Leyte and Malcapuya Island in Coron, Palawan

When it comes to white sand beaches in the Philippines, there’s none more popular than the shores of Boracay Island. It has remained one of the top Visayas tourist spots and one of the best places to visit in the Philippines, even in the middle of the pandemic. A visit to the Philippines is incomplete without a trip to White Beach in Boracay and other Boracay tourist spots

Thanks to the island’s popularity, many smaller beaches from emerging tourist spots all over the Philippines are nicknamed Little Boracay or Mini Boracay because of their similarities with Boracay’s famed beaches.

If you’re looking for a Boracay alternative to add to your itinerary for when you tour the Philippines, here are some beaches from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao that you can consider.

Boracay Alternatives in Luzon

Luzon is the country’s largest island and has a coastline that is more than 5,000km long. The popular destinations and tourist spots in Luzon include the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, the Banaue Rice Terraces in North Luzon, and the walled city of Intramuros in Manila

There are many other places to visit in Luzon like Baguio or the City of Pines, Ilocos Norte known for Pagudpud beach and windmills, and Ilocos Sur known for the heritage city of Vigan, Albay, the small but picturesque island of Batanes, and the hanging coffins and caves of Sagada and it is also home to numerous beaches including those in El Nido in Palawan, Batangas nearby Manila, and Pangasinan’s Hundred Islands. If you’re coming from outside the Philippines, the easiest way to get to Luzon is via a flight to the Manila Airport.

Calatagan (Little Boracay of Batangas)

Calatagan, BatangasThis alternative to Boracay has become a popular getaway near Manila thanks to its accessible location in Batangas. While the beaches in Calatagan are some of the most visited beaches near Manila, a sandbar called Little Boracay has risen in popularity thanks to its white sands and crystal clear turquoise waters.

Because it is a sandbar, it is best visited during low tide so you can enjoy lounging in the sand and wading in the cool, shallow waters.

You can easily book a day tour in Batangas, like a Little Boracay Calatagan Batangas beach day tour, to experience this Little Boracay, or you can extend your stay by booking a room at the nearby Batangas beach resorts.

Pagudpud or Boracay of the North (Ilocos Norte) 

A hammock by Saud Beach in Pagudpud, Ilocos NortePhoto by the Department of Tourism

In Pagupud, Ilocos Norte, travelers can find Saud Beach (also known as Pagudpud Beach), which is often called the Boracay of the North, thanks to its fine white sand beach and clear waters. 

Like Boracay, it has also been hailed by some travel magazines and online publications as one of the best beaches in the whole world. Here, you can swim, snorkel, and even surf during the wet season aside from exploring other top tourist spots in Pagudpud.

Unlike Boracay though, while there are resorts, restaurants, and shops in the area, Saud Beach is quiet and not commercialized, making it perfect for those looking for a peaceful beach getaway. 

Boracay de Cavite or Katungkulan Beach (Cavite)

Katungkulan Beach, nicknamed Boracay de Cavite, is located inside the Gregorio Lim Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite. While its sands are not as white as Boracay’s, it is definitely as fine and powdery as those found on the best beaches in the Philippines.

It is one of the popular Cavite tourist spots and, like Boracay, can be crowded during holidays and long weekends. The beach is also pet-friendly as long as owners clean up after their fur babies.

Plan ahead so you can secure a cottage during your visit, as these are usually booked in advance by those on day tours from Manila.

Borawan (Quezon)

Borawan Island, QuezonThis beach in Quezon got its name from two famous destinations in the Philippines. Boracay for its white sands, and Palawan for its towering limestone formations. There are cottages near these limestone walls that you may rent for day use, but you may also rent tents (or you can bring your own) if you want to camp overnight. 

While there are some small stores along the beach, it’s best to bring your own food, water, and other necessities for a hassle-free experience.

You can also rent gear here so you can try snorkeling and kayaking. Visitors may also enjoy the waters on the beach, but they must be wary of the jellyfish that call the sea their home.

Patar Beach or Little Boracay of the North (Pangasinan)

Patar Beach, PangasinanThis beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan is home to inviting, clear turquoise waters. While the powdery sands here are not exactly white, its light golden hue can sometimes be mistaken as such. In Patar Beach, you can enjoy swimming in its waters or wait for the sun to set for stunning golden hour views. It can also be enjoyed as a day trip destination when staying at Pangasinan resorts.

Those who are not a fan of big crowds will love this Little Boracay of the North, because while it has cottages and rooms for rent, it’s usually not as crowded compared to other popular beaches in the Philippines.

Nacpan Beach (El Nido, Palawan)

Drone shot of Nacpan BeachOne of the famous beaches in El Nido, Palawan, Nacpan Beach boasts 4km of golden sands bordered by blue waters and tall coconut trees. It’s a nice place to spend a whole day in, as you can sunbathe in the sand in the morning and enjoy a delicious lunch by the beach at one of the restaurants in the area. 

You may also enjoy swimming in the cool waters, but don’t stay too far from the shore, as the current can sometimes be strong.

Travelers who want to experience a different kind of accommodation can try glamping in the Philippines by booking a stay at the nearby glamping resort or book a stay at the best El nido resorts and explore other top tourist spots in El Nido

Malcapuya Island (Coron, Palawan)

Shoreline of Malcapuya IslandThis island in Coron, Palawan can rival Boracay’s white sand beaches and turquoise waters. It is often included in Coron island hopping tours and is a great spot for swimming and snorkeling, thanks to its shallow waters.

Don’t expect Boracay-like facilities though, as the island is home to much simpler establishments like small shops that sell snacks and drinks like fresh coconut juice that you can sip from the shell. If you’re lucky enough to visit it on a lean time, you will be able to enjoy a serene retreat.

Calaguas Islands (Camarines Norte)

Aerial view of Calaguas IslandLike many places on this list, Calaguas boasts white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. What makes it stand out is that it's actually a group of islands home to several different beaches that you can actually visit in one go via an island-hopping adventure.

One of the most popular ones is Mahabang Buhangin or Long Beach, which is over 3km long. Save for a few cottages and stores, there aren’t a lot of establishments along the beach but you can enjoy activities like swimming, snorkeling during your visit.

Take a lot of photos if you want, but since this remote island doesn’t get strong mobile signal, you may have to wait a while before sharing your snaps to your friends and family.

Boracay Alternatives in Visayas

The geographical features of the Philippines has allowed it to have many stunning beaches, and like Boracay, many of them can be found in the Visayas. Apart from beaches there are also several must-visit tourist spots in the Visayas in places like the historical Cebu Island, Bohol that is also known for the Chocolate Hills, Iloilo with its unique cuisine and friendly locals, and Bacolod known for being home to the best chicken inasal.

If you want to go directly to Visayas, you can skip Manila and fly into the Philippines via the Cebu Airport or the domestic airports of Visayas destinations. 

Paliton Beach or Little Boracay of Siquijor 

Paliton Beach, SiquijorApart from its powdery white sand, Paliton Beach is often called Little Boracay of Siquijor thanks to its calm blue waters that are perfect for swimming and coconut trees that provide visitors shade. The difference is, Paliton Beach is less crowded and less commercialized than Boracay. 

Siquijor is a small island near Dumaguete, a famous Philippine diving destination in Visayas. Siquijor is popular for mystical stories, but beyond that, it’s also home to beautiful natural wonders. If you want to enjoy nature without a lot if distractions, Paliton Beach is a good option to do so. This simple charm has made it one of the most popular tourist spots in Siquijor.

Spend the day lounging on the sand or in a hammock and then head to a café or a bar along the beach in the late afternoon and watch the beautiful sunset with a drink in hand.

Alona Beach (Bohol)

Alona Beach, BoholStretching around 1.5km, Alona Beach in Bohol doesn’t even come close to half of White Beach’s length of 4km. But in terms of natural beauty and atmosphere, it is one of the beaches in the Philippines that is very similar to Boracay’s.

It boasts white sand, clear and calm blue waters, several Bohol resorts, and plenty of restaurants, bars, and other establishments along the beach and nearby areas. It’s no wonder that this beach, said to have been named after a popular actress in the ‘70s, is one of the most popular beaches in Bohol and the Philippines. 

Kalanggaman Island (Leyte)

Tourist stands on Kalanggaman Island's sandbarKalanggaman Island is one of the most popular tourist spots in Leyte, thanks to its fine white sand that is surrounded by turquoise waters and its almost 800-m long sandbar that changes shapes depending on the tide and weather. It gets its name from the local word for “bird,” as it looks like a bird flapping its wings from above.

It is considered one of the best sandbars in the Philippines and is a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. Although there are no inhabitants on the island, you can spend the night here in huts or camping in tents or just rent a cottage for a day visit. If you're vacationing in Cebu, you can go on a side trip by booking a Kalanggaman Island tour from Cebu.

Bantayan Island (Cebu)

Kota Beach on Bantayan IslandOne of the popular Cebu tourist spots, Bantayan Island is home to a charming fishing village, stunning white sand beaches, azure waters, a sandbar, and a lagoon. It is home to some of the best beaches in Cebu including Paradise Beach, Kota Beach, and Sta. Fe Beach. If you only have time to visit one, head to Paradise Beach. Its calm waters, coconut trees, and chill atmosphere easily explain its name.

You won’t run out of things to do on Bantayan Island. Apart from enjoying the natural wonders of its beaches, you may also visit a butterfly garden, a mangrove garden, an old fort, a lighthouse, and a cave.

Islas de Gigantes (Iloilo)

Cabugao Gamay on Islas de GigantesThis group of islands in Iloilo is composed of Gigantes Norte, Gigantes Sur, and several smaller islands. According to local folklore, giants used to live in Islas de Gigantes, hence the name, which literally means “Islands of Giants.”

Today, a visit to Islas de Gigantes will spoil you with beautiful beach views, stunning rock formations, and serene sandbars. You can easily enjoy an Islas de Gigantes island-hopping tour here, which usually includes stops at Cabugao Gamay Island, Bantigue Island, Antonia Beach, and Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. 

But the one beach here that gets compared to Boracay the most is Tinagong Dagat, and is even called by locals as their mini Boracay. Like Boracay, it boasts fine white sand, crystal clear waters, and rock formations where you can enjoy cliff-jumping.

Basdaku Beach (Moalboal, Cebu)

Basdaku Beach, CebuPhoto by White Beach Oceanfront House

Moalboal, Cebu is famous for its sardine run tours and other snorkeling and diving activities, but it is also home to Basdaku Beach, one of the tourist spots in Moalboal. Apart from its white sand beaches and clear blue waters, it shares another thing in common with Boracay’s White Beach: its name. 

Basdaku Beach is also known as White Beach, and like its namesake in Boracay, it is home to beach resorts, restaurants, and other establishments and can easily be packed as locals also frequent it as well. 

You can visit the beach on a day trip, or you can go on one of the Moalboal island hopping tours that have it in the itinerary.

Boracay Alternatives in Mindanao

While Mindanao beaches may not be as frequented compared to their counterparts in Luzon and the Visayas, there are still many spots here that can be compared to Boracay.

These beaches are located in places like the famous surfing island of Siargao and the vibrant city of Davao, but other tourist spots in Mindanao can also be found in Zamboanga where you can also ride a colorful vinta boat, the whitewater rafting destination called Cagayan de Oro, and the pristine island of Camiguin.

If you’re flying from outside the Philippines, you may travel directly to Davao Airport and book Davao transfers or rent a car from Davao to your destination. 

Little Boracay Sta. Maria (Davao Occidental)

This beach in Davao Occidental is named Little Boracay because its white sand, pristine waters, and palm trees mirror that of the famous island. The main difference is this beach is much smaller and quieter than Boracay. From the town proper, you have to get on a boat to reach this beach, but the trip is well worth it when you see the gorgeous tropical views. 

Here, you can snorkel, swim, or just lounge in the sand, but remember to bring all your gear and essentials because while there is a resort where you can stay the night, there aren’t a lot of other establishments on the beach.

White Island (Camiguin) 

Camiguin's White IslandLocated around 1km off the coast of Mambajao, Camiguin is White Island, a U-shaped sandbar with soft white sand that is surrounded by aquamarine waters. Because it is a sandbar, its shape is affected by the tide, weather, time of day, and even time of year, so visiting more than once is bound to give travelers a different view and experience each time.

You won’t find any trees or man-made structures here, which means you get to have a 360-degree view of the sand, the sea, and the Camiguin mainland from a distance. These features make it one of the top Camiguin tourist spots.

While you’re exploring Camiguin, you can also visit Mantigue Island. This island is surrounded by white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters with rich marine life, making it a great spot for snorkeling.

Daku Island (Siargao)

Man relaxing on Daku IslandDaku Island can be found in Siargao, Surigao Del Norte, the surfing capital of the Philippines. It is the biggest among the three islands that are usually part of Siargao tours, the other two being Guyam and Naked Islands. 

It is one of the top Siargao tourist spots and is often compared to Boracay, thanks to its fine white sand, turquoise waters, and coconut trees that provide shade to its visitors. Apart from swimming and snorkeling, visitors can enjoy lunch here. If not already part of your tour, you can pay locals to cook you a fresh seafood meal. Intermediate surfers can also ride the waves here. 

Dahican Beach (Mati, Davao Oriental)

Dahican Beach, Davao OrientalDahican Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Davao and the Philippines because of its beach views made beautiful by white sand and crystal clear waters. At 7km long, it’s almost twice as long as Boracay’s White Beach! No wonder it’s one of the top Davao tourist spots

Beach lovers will enjoy lounging in the sand or wading in its cool waters, while those looking for fun activities can try surfing or skimboarding. The area is also a sea turtle sanctuary, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot these creatures in the water.

Bitaog Beach (Dinagat Islands)

Bitaog Beach, Dinagat Islands Photo by Bitaog Beach Resort

Located on Unib Island, which is part of Dinagat Islands, Bitaog Beach is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Like Boracay, it has powdery white sand, crystal clear waters, and a chill vibe. It is also home to rock formations similar to those that can be found in Palawan.

Bitaog Beach is not as popular as both destinations, so those who go off the beaten path to visit it are rewarded with a peaceful getaway. Just remember that since it is a secluded beach, apart from simple cottages you can rent, there aren’t any establishments here, so it’s best to bring all essentials from the mainland, including food. 

Malamawi Beach (Basilan)

Malamawi BeachBasilan is one of the most underrated places to visit in the Philippines, which is kind of surprising as it is home to beautiful islands, charming waterfalls, and Malamawi Beach, which is often compared to Boracay. 

Like many other destinations on this list, it’s a lot less crowded than Boracay, and there’s a good chance that you can have your own stretch of white sand beach all to yourself when you visit. Here you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking in the turquoise waters or just hanging out at the beach and enjoying the views.


Go beyond Boracay Island and explore more of the Philippines!

Alona Beach's shorelineBoracay Island may be one of the reasons why you should visit the Philippines, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to one stunning beach destination alone. Boracay is only one of the best islands in the Philippines, and your travel packages to the Philippines would be more well-rounded if you include some of the destinations on this list on your itinerary.

For a hassle-free experience, book your all inclusive family vacation packages, vacation packages for couples, and long stay packages with a reputable Philippine travel agency like Guide to the Philippines.

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