With 7,100 islands comprising the Philippine archipelago, it’s no wonder the country is blessed with miles of shorelines, dazzling beaches, and spectacular dive sites. Some, like Boracay, with its white-sand beaches, are popular among many foreign visitors. Others, such as the ones on our list, are more obscure and have yet to come under the spotlight.
Located 5 kilometers off the island of Mactan in Cebu, Olango becomes the pit stop for migratory birds during their annual voyage from Siberia, Japan, and Northern China to Australia and New Zealand. About 97 species of birds flock to this wildlife sanctuary, which also include resident birds of the island.
The best time to go here is during the months of September to May, and at least 2 hours before high tide to see the largest concentration of birds. Better still is during the peak migration months of November to February, where approximately 40,000 migratory birds visit Olango Island.
Aside from bird watching, few people know that Olango Island is also a dive spot. In fact, it has three sites where you can explore the amazing residents of the sea. Olango boasts one of the deepest wall dives in the country.
Removed but not too remote best describes Calaguas Island. So it will come as no surprise if many ask what or where Calaguas is. And despite the island’s lack of accommodation, vacationers still travel to experience its powdery white sands and crystalline waters.
Interested? You’ll find this unspoiled, off-the-beaten-path paradise in Camarines Norte. Of particular interest is the island of Tinaga where the famous long beach or Mahabang Buhangin is found. Be prepared for hours of travel and a 2-hour boat ride from Vinzons or Paracale in Daet. You’ll be rewarded, though, for your effort.
Supposedly named after sweet potatoes by the Spaniards who came to the island and asked the natives what they were harvesting, Camotes is a group of 4 islands in the Visayan Sea. It is largely untouched by tourism and is the perfect place to experience the idyllic charm of a small, rustic town.
Here, you will also find the enchanting and secluded beaches of Santiago Bay and Mangodlong, which boasts clear blue waters, spectacular views, and white sand. Meanwhile, the islet of Tulang offers the best area for diving and snorkeling.
Away from the shores, though, you’d find a host of other activities to enjoy. Try kayaking on Lake Danao, or biking and hiking in Lake Danao Park. Then marvel at the imposing stalactites and stalagmites of Bukilat Cave.
Of all the 4 islands on this list, Siargao is perhaps the most recognized–though still largely undeveloped–especially among surfing enthusiasts. Surfers were among the first tourists who came to Siargao and discovered an amazing break in Tuason Point, which they called Cloud 9. It’s now a surfing mecca in Mindanao and many Australian and European surfers flock to the island to experience its 9-shaped waves.
Game fishing is also a well-known activity in Siargao, so much so that a yearly fishing event is held here. The coast teems with tuna, marlin, mackerel, sting rays, crabs, and squids.
So, if you find yourself looking for somewhere new to take a holiday, then try these little-known gems in the Philippines. Accommodations, such as hotels and resorts are available in most of them.