10 Best Beaches in the Philippines

Consisting of 7,107 islands located in the tropical zone, there is no shortage of great beaches in the Philippines. If you combine white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and pristine nature, you get pretty darn close to an idyllic beach, but fact be told, not all beaches are created equal. So let’s take a look at what I consider to be the Top 10 Best Beaches in the Philippines:

10 – Anawangin Beach in Zambales, Luzon Island

Anawangin Beach in Zambales, Luzon Island, Photo by paul david (busy running!), Flickr
Anawangin Beach in Zambales, Luzon Island, Photo by paul david (busy running!), Flickr

9 – Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao Island

Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao Island, Photo by smallislander, Flickr
Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Mindanao Island, Photo by smallislander, Flickr

8 – Dakak Beach in Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao Island

Dakak Beach in Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao Island, Photo by VisualTreats, Flickr
Dakak Beach in Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao Island, Photo by VisualTreats, Flickr

7 – Pearl Farm Beach in Davao del Norte, Mindanao Island

Pearl Farm Beach in Davao del Norte, Mindanao Island, Photo by jimpg2-->Looking for Peace group moderators, Flickr
Pearl Farm Beach in Davao del Norte, Mindanao Island, Photo by jimpg2-->Looking for Peace group moderators, Flickr

6 – Honda Bay Beach in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Island

Honda Bay Beach in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Island, Photo by jedsum, Flickr
Honda Bay Beach in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Island, Photo by jedsum, Flickr

5 – El Nido Beach in El Nido, Palawan Island

El Nido Beach in El Nido, Palawan Island, Photo by elmarshox, Flickr
El Nido Beach in El Nido, Palawan Island, Photo by elmarshox, Flickr

4 – Camiguin Beach in Catarman, Mindanao Island

Camiguin Beach in Catarman, Mindanao Island, Photo by Roslyn in Starfish Island
Camiguin Beach in Catarman, Mindanao Island, Photo by Roslyn in Starfish Island

3 – Panglao Beach in Bohol, Bohol Island

Panglao Beach in Bohol, Bohol Island, Photo by Pinay06, Wikipedia
Panglao Beach in Bohol, Bohol Island, Photo by Pinay06, Wikipedia

2 – Pagudpud Beach in Ilocos, Luzon Island

Pagudpud Beach in Ilocos, Luzon Island, Photo by Magalhães, Wikipedia
Pagudpud Beach in Ilocos, Luzon Island, Photo by Magalhães, Wikipedia

1 – Boracay Beach in Panay, Panay Island

Boracay Beach in Panay, Panay Island, Photo by Magalhães, Wikipedia
Boracay Beach in Panay, Panay Island, Photo by Magalhães, Wikipedia

Obviously, with hundreds of beaches, the Philippines would likely have one to suit your liking no matter your preference. Some of the most secluded and the least known beaches could easily be better than any of the top 1- ones from the list above, but they’re still waiting to be discovered and enjoyed to the fullest. Or perhaps the fact that few know about them make them so special, in which case we best keep them a secret. Either way, hope this guide to the Top 10 Best Beaches in the Philippines was a good starting point for your journey to this tropical country.

10 Most Famous Festivals in the Philippines

Island nation of the Philippines has a long and rich history. The best way to experience it is through participation in festival which take the old traditions and demonstrate them to the modern world in the most spectacular manner imaginable. Here’s a list of 10 most famous festivals in the Philippines which introduces the best of the Filipino merrymaking through pictures.

10 – Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, Cebu Island

Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, Cebu Island, Photo by Marcelino Rapayla Jr., Wikipedia
Sinulog Festival in Cebu City, Cebu Island, the Philippines, Photo by Marcelino Rapayla Jr., Wikipedia

9 – Pintados Festival in Tacloban City, Leyte Island

Pintados Festival in Tacloban City, Leyte Island, Photo by JinJian, Wikipedia
Pintados Festival in Tacloban City, Leyte Island, the Philippines, Photo by JinJian, Wikipedia

8 – Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, Luzon Island

Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, Luzon Island, Photo by webzer, Flickr
Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City, Luzon Island, the Philippines, Photo by webzer, Flickr

7 – Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon Province

Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon Province, Photo by twinkletuason, Flickr
Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon Province, the Philippines, Photo by twinkletuason, Flickr

6 – Moriones Festival on Marinduque Island

Moriones Festival on Marinduque Island, Photo by ederic, Flickr
Moriones Festival on Marinduque Island, the Philippines, Photo by ederic, Flickr

5 – Maskara Festival in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

Maskara Festival in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Photo by nfocus photography philippines, Flickr
Maskara Festival in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, the Philippines, Photo by nfocus photography philippines, Flickr

4 – Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Mindanao Island

Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Mindanao Island, Photo by webzer, Flickr
Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, Mindanao Island, the Philippines, Photo by webzer, Flickr

3 – Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan Province, Panay Island

Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan Province, Panay Island, Photo by Flipped Out, Flickr
Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan Province, Panay Island, the Philippines, Photo by Flipped Out, Flickr

2 – Higantes Festival in Angono, Rizal Province

Higantes Festival in Angono, Rizal Province, Photo by TheMollyJayne, Flickr
Higantes Festival in Angono, Rizal Province, the Philippines, Photo by TheMollyJayne, Flickr

1 – Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Panay Island

Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Panay Island, Photo by Icqgirl, Wikipedia
Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, Panay Island, the Philippines, Photo by Icqgirl, Wikipedia

Festivals from the list above are celebrated annually, that means one can only experience each of them once a year. They are popular tourist attractions, captivating the eyes and the ears of thousands of tourists who often take a trip to the Philippines just to experience their chosen festival with their own eyes. As the popularity of the festivals continues to grow, the future of traditions they celebrate is certain to remain preserved for future generations.

Insein Prison in Rangoon, Myanmar

In a strangely morbid irony, the name of Myanmar‘s notorious Insein Prison is pronounced in the same way we would pronounce “Insane Prison”. And as if this game of words was not enough, the pronunciation of the prison’s name is more than fitting. The Insein Prison gained its notoriety after one of their rumoured inmates – Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

Aerial Photo of Insein Prison in Rangoon, Myanmar, Image by Microsoft Map via BBC News
Aerial Photo of Insein Prison in Rangoon, Myanmar, Image by Microsoft Map via BBC News

Notorious around the world for frequent use of both mental and physical torture and less than inhuman conditions, the military junta run Insein Prison is part of the ruling party’s vehicles used to maintain control over Myanmar (Burma). Most of the inmates in Insein Prison are political dissidents or people who otherwise get in the way of the government’s totalitarian rule.

Insein Prison is located in the old capital of Myanmar – Rangoon (Yangon). Myanmar’s human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi is believed to have been held prisoner there on three different occasions – once in 2003, then again in 2007 and one more time in 2009. It was his imprisonment that brought worldwide media attention to Insein Prison and based on the findings of investigative journalists, serving a sentence at Insein often sentenced the prisoner to death.

Insein Prison is overcrowded. At times it holds more than 10,000 inmates yet its capacity is less than half of that. Prisoners are forced to sleep on bare concrete and are deprived of a chance to take a shower. Add to it the fact that they are also often left inside their cells with hand chained to the wall and legs kept wide apart by metal bars, the conditions are perfect for communicable diseases to spread easily and quickly. With only 3 doctors available to assist sick inmates, many die before adequate medical care could be provided.

There really is no surprise that Insein Prison is dubbed “the darkest hell-home in Burma.” Sources from the prison itself confirm that many inmates died within its walls while serving their sentence there. Unfortunately, Myanmar continues being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The ruling party is having themselves an unchallenged lifestyle and is not looking to part with it anytime soon.

It goes without saying that each time a foreigner takes a trip to Myanmar, they are irreversibly supporting this totalitarian government. Unfortunately, while most of the income from tourism ends up in the pockets of the elite, without it the life for the ordinary folk would be even worse. It’s a catch 22 that doesn’t come with an easy way out. As a vacation destination, Insein Prison could be a questionable choice, but given how increasingly popular Thanatourism is getting, it might be an interesting landmark to visit. That if you can get past the fact that while you’re out there taking pictures, somebody inside is being tortured, or is dying due to inhuman conditions they are forced to live in.

The video below was shot just meters away from Insein prison which is normally guarded and any attempts to photograph or film it are frowned upon:

Bat Caves of Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

As dusk falls upon eastern Thailand and daylight starts to shimmer away, clouds of innumerable bats start to fill the skies over Khao Yai National Park. Thousands upon thousands of bats emerge from the caves to feed on small insects, making it look as though a giant shadow from the middle of the earth arose to cover the star filled sky.

Bats Flying Out of the Caves of Khao Yai National Park in Thailand at Sunset, Photo: Nir Nußbaum, Flickr
Bats Flying Out of the Caves of Khao Yai National Park in Thailand at Sunset, Photo: Nir Nußbaum, Flickr

Much of the landscape within the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand contains limestone hills with hollow insides. Over the millennia, small cracks within the cliffs eroded into a labyrinth of caves that created perfect habitat for nocturnal creatures. The agricultural region surrounding the hills is full of insects offering ample supply of food for large numbers of bats who could be perceived as a natural pest control.

Many of the Khao Yai National Park bat caves are revered among the local Thais, some even had a statue of Buddha erected within and receive monks and other Buddhist devotees who come to pay respect to the deity while shriek of countless bats echoes deafeningly from the darkness above.

During the Day, Bats Sleep Upside Down Within the Caves of Khao Yai, Photo: whitecat sg, Flickr
During the Day, Bats Sleep Upside Down Within the Caves of Khao Yai, Photo: whitecat sg, Flickr

Visitors to Khao Yai National Park who arm themselves with patience can stay at the edge of the park until the sun sets beyond the horizon and watch how bit by bit, the bats start to emerge from the caves. An odd one here and there is soon joined by dozens of others until eventually you see a myriad of them seemingly appear from out of nowhere.

Millions of Bats Fly Out of the Caves at Dusk in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, Photo: stijnbokhove, Flickr
Millions of Bats Fly Out of the Caves at Dusk in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, Photo: stijnbokhove, Flickr

Eventually, like a giant shadow of doom from the underworld, a massive cloud of bats fills up the sky as its ever changing shape keeps growing into a river of darkness. The biggest spectacle is to watch the flow of bats exiting the cave split like a fork of fluid to avoid a raptor who dived toward the bats in anticipation of an easy meal. The forked arms of a cloud of bats then come towards each other to become one again in a spectacular fashion resembling twisting ribbon.

Khao Yai National Park was established in 1962. It is the second largest national park in Thailand and is located in the Nakhon Ratchasima Province, about 4 hours east of Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok. Covering the area of 2,168 square kilometres, Khao Yai National Park is home to a wide range of fauna and flora (on top of the vast population of the above mentioned bats) and was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Finally, check out this video a guy recorded at the entrance to one of the bat caves outside of Khao Yai National Park. The video contains a recording of bats exiting the cave. Up to 2 Million Wrinkled Lip Bats exited this cave alone. What an amazing mass of flying power. I bet the man who recorded the video had no mosquito problem whatsoever: