San Antonio, Zambales
Beaches: Nagsasa Cove, Silanguin Cove, Anawangin Cove, Talisayin Cove. Their coasts are blanketed with volcanic ash straight from the guts of Mt. Pinatubo. It’s a Baguio-meets-Boracay world out there; thanks to the agoho trees rising from the ashes (literally).
Don’t miss: Fishing! The waters of San Antonio are rich. If you have the skill and the patience (or you just want to give it a try), ask your boatman about fishing tours.
How to get there: Travel by bus to Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales and get off at San Antonio Public Market (P250-P270). Take a tricycle to Pundaquit (P30). From here, boat tours cost P1000 for Anawangin, P1500 for Nagsasa, and P2000 for Silanguin. Add P500 if you want to make a stop at Capones and Camara Islands.
Tour package? Contact Harry Balais of 7107 Islands Tours at +639176274945.
Beaches: Cape Santiago Beach, Burot Beach
Don’t miss: Cape Santiago Lighthouse. Built in 1890, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Philippines that continue to function. The construction began on December 15, 1890, led by Engineer Magin Pers y Pers, and was completed by Guillermo Brockman.
How to get there: At EDSA-Taft, there are vans and buses that carry passengers straight to Calatagan (P200). From the town center, take a tricycle to the lighthouse (P150-P200).
Malabrigo, Lobo, Batangas
Beaches: Malabrigo Point. No white sand here, either, but its beaches are strewn with smooth medium-size pebbles.
Don’t miss: Submarine Garden, where the water is so crystal clear, you can see live corals and other life forms even without goggles. Also, the Malabrigo Lighthouse can be easily accessed from Malabrigo!
How to get there: Board the bus to Batangas City and alight at Balagtas or Diversion (P150-180). From here, ride a jeepney or tricycle to SM Batangas and get off at the Batangas-Lobo terminal. Board a jeepney to Lobo (P53), then a tricycle to Malabrigo (P100).
Beaches: The sand at Bamboo Beach and Tali Beach in mainland Nasugbu isn’t sparkling white (not white at all), but it doesn’t make it any less relaxing. It is also home to Olive Ridley turtles that visit to nest each year.
Don’t miss: Fortune Island, a short boat ride away. It is surrounded by shipwreck diving sites including the Dutch warship Mauritius, which sank on December 14, 1600. Also, the Greek-style ruins are perfect beach selfie setting. (We got you at selfie, yes?)
How to get there: From EDSA-Taft, take the BLTB bus to Nasugbu (P155-170). All the beaches are accessible by jeepney or tricycle. If going to Matabungkay, take the bus or van to Calatagan and tell the conductor to drop you off at the junction to Matabungkay.
Laiya, San Juan, Batangas
Beaches: Laiya Aplaya, laced with White sand spread over a long stretch!
Don’t miss: Batangueno dishes. You’re in Batangas, dig in to a bowl of sticky lomi and sinaing na tulingan!
How to get there: Take the bus to Lipa City and get off at the bus terminal. Ride a jeepney bound for San Juan, and when you reach the town market, take another jeepney to Laiya.