Sandbars are made of tiny pebbles and sand that have been formed by coastal currents. These are usually found a few hundred feet from the shoreline. The Philippines is not only home to most of the beautiful destinations around the world, but to pristine and secluded sandbars. Here are a few strips of that.
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
Also know as “The Paradise Island,” is a 6-hectare pine tree dotted island that features two long strips of sand veering away from the mainland on either end, stretching for kilometers. What makes this place even more magical is the always-changing look and shape of the sandbars, as they are continuously sculpted by the crashing waves. Another bonus feature of this island jewel is the abrupt drop-off underwater, which houses a vibrant marine life.
How to get there: Fly in to Tacloban and get to the bus or van terminal bound for Palompon. From there, proceed to Palompon Tourism Office and hire a pump boat to Kalanggaman Island. Alternatively, you can come from Cebu and catch a ferry to Palampon.
Manjuyod White Sandbar, Dumaguete
Many call this “The Maldives of the Philippines,” for its soft, powdery, majestic white sand that stretches wide and spans more than 6 kilometers. During high tide, it completely disappears but once the tide subsides, this sandbar appears in its purest form and transforms into a beautiful bright treasure that surfaces form the seafloor.
How to get there: Fly in to Dumaguete and head to the bus terminal. Catch a bus bound to Bais City and get off at Brgy. Calindagan. From there, get a tricycle to Capinahan or Canibol Wharf, which is the jumping-off point for island hopping point to Manjuyod.
Snake Island, El Nido
A natural S-shaped sandbar at the eastern shoreline of Puerto Princesa surrounded with placid waters is this small island that takes the shape of a serpent. Don’t worry, as there are no snakes here. This sandbar is unique not only for its glowing sand, but it literally is a bridge that visibly connects two islands. If you’re lucky to visit when the tides are low, you can walk to the other island and back.
How to get there: Fly in to Puerto Princesa and hail a tricycle to Sta. Lourdes Wharf where boats that go on tours dock. Do the Honda Bay Tour and they will take you to different islands including the Snake Island. Alternatively, if you are coming from El Nido, you can also take TOUR B, which also makes a stop at the Snake Island.
Cresta de Gallo, Romblon
This sandbar is one of the top gems of Romblon. Up to this day, it remains unspoiled by man, despite all the visitors from all over who have been to this epic little stretch of white sand. It is a few kilometers long and it connects two islets via northern and southern tips. This serves as a barrier against the currents of the east, breaking them into a friendlier wave as they roll over to the western side.
How to get there: From Manila, take a bus to Batangas Port and hop on a ferry to Romblon Port what you will catch another ferry to Sibuyan Island. From there, get a tricycle to bring you to the starting point where you can hire a boat to take you to Cresta de Gallo. If you are on a tight schedule, fly in to Romblon instead.
Isola di Francesco, Bohol
Formerly known as Virgin Island, is the hidden oasis of Bohol for its fine sand and crystal clear waters. But like any other sandbars in the Philippines, it is secluded and no inhabitants, especially so because it disappears during high tide. Try and snorkel around when you visit as the underwater surroundings are teeming with colorful marine life too!
How to get there: Fly to Tagbilaran City in Bohol and get a tricycle to Panglao Public Market. From there, ride at the back of a motorbike to Panglao Port or walk if you wish. The Isola management has their own boat service to the island that operates and accepts passengers not earlier that 9am unless the tide is high. However, if you just want to go on a tour from your accommodation, you can do that too.
Manlawi Island, Caramoan
This may be one of the most secluded and stunning sandbars in the Philippines, but to get here requires lots of patience and enthusiasm as it takes a long journey to get here.
How to get there: You can either fly from Manila to Naga City or take a bus. From Naga, make your way to the terminal and hop on another bus or hail a jeep that goes to Sabang Port. Then, ride a ferry to Guijalo port to Caramoan. Take a tricycle to Brgy. Paniman, the departure point for island hopping in Manlawi where you will hire a boat to reach it.
If you haven’t seen any of the sandbars we mentioned, consider our top picks and experience the most surreal moment of your life!