Imagine an endless stretch of powdery white beach as far as the eyes can see, only to be interrupted by a vision of the most beautiful azure blue sea. You are lounging in a hammock under a swaying palm tree on a balmy afternoon, watching the glistening water gently crash on the edges of the beach, while a sense of calm prevails all around you. A perfect setting for a romantic getaway with your partner, don’t you think?
The archipelago of the Philippines, with its 7,000+ islands, is the ultimate hotspot for finding remote, almost virgin islands, offering unmatched travel experiences. The real charm of the Philippines’ islands lies in the fact that you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot to find a great beach and marine life.
When the list of options is so long, it’s no easy task picking out just a few islands, especially when the contenders are all equally beautiful. However, for the purpose of this article, we have narrowed it down to four islands that we think are perfect for a couple’s retreat in the Philippines. With so many gorgeous islands to discover for a romantic getaway, it’s time to look beyond Southeast Asia’s popular islands and to take a look at the Philippines.
Boracay – Luxury, adventure and pristine nature at their best
Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, Boracay is easily one of the most famous islands in the country and also on this list. Named the “world’s best island” several times over the years, Boracay’s claim to fame was its 3-mile long stunning White Beach, surrounded by crystal-clear water that is teeming with underwater marine life. Perfect for couples looking to get away to pristine natural surroundings but still want creature comforts like luxurious resorts or a bit of beach-side shopping and nightlife, a few days in Boracay will definitely convince you to see more of the Philippines.
As tempting as it is to spend all your time lazing on the beach in Boracay, taking in all the beauty around you, there are lots of things to keep you on your toes. Take a parasailing trip with your partner-in-crime and get a bird’s eye view of the island, an experience that is truly hard to beat. For a rush of adrenaline, try cliff-jumping from the famous Ariel’s Point and end the day watching a glorious sunset.
How to get there: The most convenient way to reach Boracay from Manila is to fly there. Low-cost airlines like AirAsia and Cebu Pacific run direct flights between the two destinations. In order to reach Boracay, there are two airports you can consider flying from: Kalibo or Caticlan. While Caticlan is only a 30-minute ferry-ride away from Boracay, the travel time from Kalibo is almost 2 hours by car.
Palawan – The real gem of the Philippine archipelago
If there is one island in the Philippines that often gets compared to a paradisiacal land, it is Palawan. Located in the Mimaropa region of the archipelago, Palawan island is home to some of the most beautiful and well-known beach towns in the world – El Nido, Coron, and the capital city of Puerto Princesa.
Unlike most other exotic islands that you may have come across, Palawan is not only huge but also diverse, with lots to see and do. Glide through El Nido’s unreal, emerald green water, past jagged edges of limestone cliffs jutting out of the water, or go on a boating adventure on the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River for an out-of-this-world experience that will take you through the deep, dark underbelly of limestone caves located underneath the St. Paul Mountain Range. If travel is said to bring people together, it’ll be hard not to fall in love with your partner all over again at a place this beautiful!
How to get there: Palawan island has four airports, in El Nido, Puerto Princesa, Taytay or Busunga, making it extremely convenient for travelers to fly in from other cities like Manila, Cebu, and Boracay. An alternative to flying is taking the sea route to Palawan from Manila, which takes about 20 hours on average to cover the one-way distance. If you are not in a rush, this is a great way to travel through the archipelago.
|From – To||Type of transport||Frequency|
|El Nido – Puerto Princesa||Ferry||Up to 10/day|
|Manila – El Nido||Flight||Up to 3/day|
Bohol – Taking the path less trodden
Flanked by the Cebu Strait on the west and the Bohol Sea to the south, Bohol is one of the Philippines’ most underrated islands, rarely making an appearance in a tourist’s itinerary. That’s probably where its appeal lies. Known for its serene, white sand beaches, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists and its gorgeous coral reef, head to Bohol for the perfect setting to reconnect with the love of your life.
Bohol is particularly famous for its intriguing landscape. Spend a day marveling at the Chocolate Hills, a 50 square kilometer (19 square mile) area made up of more than 1,200 small hills, or take a journey into the fascinating Hinagdanan Caves. If that seems like a lot to do, go on a snorkeling trip to make the most of the rich coral formations around the island and to get a peek into the underwater world.
How to get there: Bohol can be reached from Manila both by air and sea. If you want to take a flight, you can either directly get to Bohol’s Tagbilaran airport or fly to the nearby Mactan-Cebu airport. If you do the latter, you’ll also have to take a 2.5-hour ferry to reach Bohol island. Alternatively, you can also sail from Manila to Bohol, a journey that takes almost 28 hours one way.
Bantayan – Taking lazy beach time a notch higher
If raw and untouched is how you envision romantic islands, Bantayan is the island you should head to. Although located close to the much bigger and popular Cebu island, Bantayan remains fairly off the beaten track, even for domestic travelers. The island is often dismissed for having limited options for adventure activities, but the gorgeous, pristine beaches more than make up for it.
Perfect for the laid back couple looking for some downtime, Bantayan makes for an idyllic getaway, without the chaos of the more popular islands. However, if this is the kind of getaway you are after, experienced travelers will warn you to stay away from Bantayan the week leading up to Easter (Holy Week) because the quiet island turns into a hotspot for a mad fiesta and festive celebrations.
How to get there: Given its proximity to Cebu, the easiest way to reach Bantayan is to take a direct flight to Cebu from Manila, Palawan or Boracay, followed by a 1-hour ferry ride to the island from Cebu’s Hagnaya port.
Home to some of the best beaches and islands in the world, the Philippines makes it easy for you to charm your way into your partner’s heart. The list of islands here is far from being exhaustive but that’s the dilemma of having to pick and choose favorites out of the Philippines’ innumerable islands! Whether you love an action-packed holiday or you want to spend your days sipping tropical drinks on the beach and doing nothing else, we are sure you will find an island that fits your bill.