10 Beaches Near Manila That Are Worth the Drive
You don't have to book a flight.
(SPOT.ph) It’s not a surprise that some of the world’s most beautiful beaches can be found in the Philippines. After all, we’re home to more than 7,000 islands—each with their own color of sand, different flora and fauna, and the most amazing geographical features. You don’t even have to fly out of the Metro just to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf—we're here to help you plan out your future trip. All you need is a weekend off for an overnight getaway or even just a day trip if you wake up really early to these beaches in nearby provinces.
Gas up and check out these beaches near Manila that you can drive to:
Puting Buhangin (Pagbilao, Quezon)
On one of the islands off the coast of Quezon Province is a towering chimney that is part of the province’s power station. But that’s not the island’s only offering; it is also home to Puting Buhangin, a small stretch of beach with white sand and crystal clear waters. It’s remote enough for a getaway where you can pitch a tent and stay overnight and marvel at a clear night sky.
How to get there: From Cubao, board a bus for Lucena Grand Terminal (P250-P260, 3.5 hours). From there, take another bus headed to Unisan (P35 to P40/4 to 75 minutes). From QCRB Bank in Padre Burgos, take a tricycle to Aplaya (15 minutes) and rent a boat to Puting Buhangin. You can also drive for four hours to Pagbilao, Quezon; then rent a boat to Puting Buhangin from Pagbilao Wharf.
Dampalitan Island (Padre Burgos, Quezon)
Another lesser-known beach in Quezon is Dampalitan. It’s bigger than Puting Buhangin, and not as crowded with tourists as Borawan, making it an ideal destination if you’re looking for something low-key. You can stay overnight—whether by pitching your own tent or by renting a beachfront cottage. The island itself doesn’t have electricity, and while that means no sockets to plug your phone, it also doesn’t have much ambient light making it a top nearby destination for stargazing.
How to get there: You can take the same route on the way to Puting Buhangin, whether by bus or private car.
Burot Beach (Calatagan, Batangas)
If you’re looking for a beach that’s a little more quiet, Burot Beach in Batangas is worth an overnight stay. At low tide, the shoreline is wide, giving you great space to stay cool and play with the sand despite high-noon heat. Despite being near a major highway, it still feels peaceful and remote, making you feel like you’re in the middle of nature.
How to get there: From EDSA-Taft, take a van headed for Calatagan at a terminal near Kabayan Hotel (P180). From Calatagan town proper, take a tricycle to Burot Beach (P200). Calatagan is about three hours away from Metro Manila by private vehicle via the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway.
Alibijaban Island (San Andres, Quezon)
You can schedule a week-long beach getaway in Quezon with the number of lesser-known but beautiful beaches they have. Alibijaban, aside from its coarse white-sand beach, has sights worth visiting like floating cottages, snorkeling activities, a sandbar, and even rows of mangroves you can explore.
How to get there: From Cubao, take a bus to San Andres, Quezon. Regular fare is P581, and P465 for students, seniors, and PWDs. The trip takes between seven and 10 hours. Alight at the terminal and walk to the port, paying a P20 environmental fee at the Tourism Office. Take a 15-minute boat ride (P800) to get to the island. San Andres is almost a seven-hour drive via South Luzon Expressway.
Nagbalayong Beach (Morong, Bataan)
Nagbalayong Beach in Morong offers quite a unique experience for visitors. It’s a serene stretch of beach you can spend a relaxing afternoon in, but it is also a nesting ground for pawikans or sea turtles. You can also pay a visit to the Pawikan Conservation Center nearby, or head to one of the fishing boats docked on the shoreline and buy some fresh fish.
How to get there: From Cubao, take a bus to Bataan’s Balanga Terminal. From Balanga, take a minibus, jeepney, or tricycle for Morong. The trip takes approximately three hours, and costs around P200. You can also drive directly to Nagbalayong Beach.
Kwebang Lampas (Pagbilao, Quezon)
Located at the end of Puting Buhangin beach, you can visit Kwebang Lampas early in the day, during low tide. Outside of the low-tide window (from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.), you will have to swim through the cave, which where the spot got its name. The cave is a cool and interesting shelter from the noon sun—you’ll even see birds flying around inside.
How to get there: From Cubao, take a bus headed for Lucena Grand Terminal (P250-P260, 3.5 hours). From Lucena Grand Terminal, you can hire a tricycle (P400-P450, good for four people) that will take you directly to Kwebang Lampas. You can also drive to the Lucena Grand Terminal (three hours).
Masasa Beach (Tingloy, Batangas)
Usually a day trip for travelers exploring the mainland and nearby islands, you can enjoy the charms of Masasa for a few hours or stay in one of the island’s transient houses. You can go swimming, hang out on the beach, go snorkeling, rent a boat for more island-hopping, or trek to the summit of Mt. Mag-Asawang Bato. It takes two hours to trek the trail and arrive at a rock formation atop a hill.
How to get there: You can take a bus from either Cubao or LRT-Buendia bound for Tingloy Grand Terminal. Fare is P185 and the trip takes less than three hours. From the grand terminal, ride a jeepney (P40, 40 minutes) bound for Tagala or Anilao port. From the port, take a boat to Masasa. Anilao Port is about a three-hour drive via Star Tollway.
Crystal Beach (San Narciso, Zambales)
Crystal Beach is one of the favorite surf spots of urban dwellers, especially with all the new highways that easily bring you from the Metro to Zambales. You can choose to stay the night (whether by pitching a tent or by booking one of the resort's rooms) or just pay the entrance fee of P895 (of which P395 is refundable) to enjoy the facilities. Have fun lounging around the beach with the Zambales mountain ranges as your background.
How to get there: How to get there: Hop on a bus bound for Iba, Zambales and ask to be dropped off in San Narciso. From there, you can take a tricycle to Crystal Beach. You can also drive for less than three to the resort.
Isla Verde (Anilao, Batangas)
With Isla Verde’s turquoise waters and white-sand beaches, it’s surprising that tourists haven’t flocked here in droves. Despite the lack of electricity, the island boasts a rich marine life that attracts those who are interested in diving, snorkeling, or spotting the occasional dolphin. From Isla Verde, you can also hop to nearby islands that have caves, rock formations, diving spots, and more pristine beaches.
How to get there: From Cubao, take a bus bound for Batangas Grand Terminal (P157). From the terminal, take a jeepney to Bagong Palengke (P12), and another to Tabangao Port (P17) where you can take public boats bound for the island. Alternatively, you can take a tricycle from the terminal straight to the port for P300. Tabangao Port is about two hours away via Star Tollway.
Talisayin Cove (San Antonio, Zambales)
If you’re looking to see and experience what Nagsasa and Anawangin have to offer, but don’t feel like dealing with the crowd, Talisayin Cove is a great alternative destination. You’ll get a good view of the mountains and greenery. It has a laid-back vibe where you’re welcome to pitch a tent and spend the day or even a night. You can also take a quick hike to get an even more stunning view of the cove.
How to get there: Take a bus bound for Iba or Sta. Cruz, Zambales and get off at San Antonio Public Market (P270 to P360). Take a tricycle to Pundaquit (P40), and then rent a boat to take you to Talisayin Cove (P1,000 to P1,500 for four people). Pundaquit is about four hours away by car.