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The Philippines' Best Beaches and Islands [VIDEO]

BEST BEACHES - The Philippines' best beaches and islands
One of the Philippines best assets is its 7,000 islands, edged by white sand buffering turquoise waters filled with some of the world's most diverse marine life. And most of them are relatively unexplored.
Of course, not everyone will agree on which destination is best, but this is a good starting point for coming up with a travel plan:

1. El Nido, Palawan
If Palawan is indeed "the last frontier" of the Philippines, as it's been dubbed, the coastal town of El Nido is the gateway to wild adventure.

2. Boracay, Aklan
Bad times have befallen the jewel in the crown of Philippines beach destinations. In April 2018, the country announced it was closing Boracay island for six months because of environmental damage.

3. Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley
This isolated island is a natural secret -- only the brave and persevering bother to visit.
Glorious white sands surrounded by volcanic rocks on one side kiss blue-green waters on the other. Snorkeling and diving brings you face to face with coral gardens and a rich marine reserve.
Palaui is all about raw beauty. But it takes some work to get there.
Treks should be blessed with clear blue skies, patient companions and trusted local guides.

4. Panglao, Bohol
Once a sleepy island, Panglao is being roused by travelers in search of gorgeous beaches. It's a refuge for those who appreciate a diverse menu of aquatic attractions.
Options include dolphin watching, whale spotting, diving with barracudas, jackfish, sea snakes and brilliant coral formations.
Natural charms: In addition to its beaches, the island of Bohol is famous for its Chocolate Hills, an unusual rolling terrain of more than 1,000 dome-shaped hills. The hills are named for their brown color during dry season, when grass dries up.
The "world's smallest primate" -- the endangered Philippine tarsier -- also inhabits the island.

5. Bantayan Island, Cebu
Courtesy Santa Fe Beach Club
Bantayan has remained relatively untouched by modern life, save for a smattering of foreigners who have taken up residence, sucked in by the island's white sands, aqua-colored waters and red-gold sunsets.
Beers are cold and cheap, townsfolk are hospitable and the dreary troubles of the outside world are easily forgotten.

6. Caramoan, Camarines Sur
Named after the local sea turtle, Caramoan is as scenic as it is secluded.
Stretches of white sand run between huge boulders and rock formations. Scuba divers, island hoppers and beach bums all converge here.
Complementing the beaches are caves, waterfalls, freshwater pools, underground streams and lagoons.
Adventure site: The "Survivor" reality show series and similar international programs have used Caramoan as a shooting location.
Despite the locale's popularity with TV production companies, there are enough beaches to go around for everyone.

7. Samal, Davao
A burgeoning tourist destination, Samal is on a mission to get the word out on its 118-kilometer coastline of white sandy beaches.
You know the highlights: pristine waters, lush greens, rock formations, mangrove and coconut palms. Numerous resorts provide a range of choices for visitors, from luxurious resorts to backpacker options.
The vanishing island: This curious moniker is the nickname of Shanipaan Shoal, a tiny island that literally disappears from sight during high tide. 

8. Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte
Known as the top surfing island in the Philippines, Siargao is often overlooked as a beachcomber's paradise.
There are breaks for beginner surfers, moderate ones and even pros looking for three-meter-high waves. For those with zero surf skills -- and no desire to acquire any -- there are also pristine beaches with milder waves, perfect for sunning and swimming.

9. Great Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga
On Great Santa Cruz Island, pulverized red coral washed up from the sea floor mixes with white sand to produce a pink-hued beach.
It's a different version of perfection: the powdery beach competes with the blue and green shades of the sea. Some parts of the beach are lovely in their undeveloped state. There are signs of civilization -- souvenirs, nipa huts and restrooms.

10. Pagudpud/Bangui, Ilocos Norte
Along the northern tip of the island of Luzon sits the coastal town of Pagudpud. It's a quiet, sleepy and rural community, with little overt commercialism.
Perhaps because it takes time and effort to reach Pagudpud, the wide and inviting beaches are usually empty, making them ideal for those who enjoy mixing solitude with sun, sand and surf.

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