Roughing it Out! 10 Beach Camps Near Manila

April 02, 2011 Beach Camping

It's summer, and we are all headed to the beach. With Anawangin always teeming with people, I made a list of alternative beach campsites near Manila.


1) Borawan
Padre Burgos

Borawan, a portmanteau of Boracay and Palawan, offers a unique blend of the white sands of Boracay and the picturesque rock formations of Palawan. This beach is ideal for adventurous souls.

There are small cottages for rent here and there is a comfort room available, which is about a three-minute walk from the campsite.

Better to arrange freshwater to be delivered to you from the caretakers for washing up. Be careful of sea urchins, and pack enough food. Check out the fresh catch of local fisher folks; you will be surprised at how cheap you can get those fresh seafood.

2) Dampalitan Beach
Padre Burgos

The first time we went to Padre Burgos, we camped at Borawan and we were toasted to a crisp. So, the better campsite is Dampalitan Beach, with Borawan as a side trip. There are lots of trees in this area, a good comfort room, and cottages for socials. There is also a small sari-sari store in case you run out of supplies.

3) Puting Buhangin or Lukang Beach

Either trek to this place from Pagbilao or ride a boat from Padre Burgos and make this part of a beach-hopping itinerary together with Borawan and Dampalitan. I heard camping or overnight stay is already allowed in this place. 

Last year, because of a land dispute, camping was not allowed. The sands here are really white, as in really, and it stretches 70 meters long. Waters are cool, but be careful of sea urchins. There are cottages and comfort rooms available. There is a small cave near the beach called Kwebang Lagpas.

How to get here?

From Manila, take the South Superhighway. Head to Bondoc Peninsula. Padre Burgos is the first town of Bondoc Peninsula, approximately 160 km from Manila, around 4 to 5 hours' drive. There is a small rotunda there, and on the right is a road leading to Aplaya where boats may be arranged. The boat ride is short, but it is scenic. 

Watch out for this...

Some more tips: We usually leave Manila at 1 am so we can be at Padre Burgos at first light. We take our breakfast at the Padre Burgos public market while waiting for the goods to arrive. This is a small market, which I think is just enough for the small town of Padre Burgos, so don't take so long in deciding what to buy as they will easily run out. Try also to bring a mineral water container so it can be refilled here for your drinking water supply in the islands.

4) Cagbalete Island

This island is listed as one of the must-visit summer destinations in the country. We usually stay at Villa Cleofas. There are cottages available and comfort rooms. They also have a small generator at night. The island is known for its white sand, which stretches far, especially during low tide when water moves really far, exposing more white sands, rocks, sea creatures, and corals.

During low tides, guests can walk to the island in front called Bonsai Island.

From Mauban, Quezon, there are public boats available, and they have two morning schedules. Then, it is a short leisurely trek to Villa Cleofas. If traveling in a big group, Villa Cleofas has a boat, which guests can rent. Meals may also be arranged with the resort owners. Of course, not us, we love cooking our food. It is part of our socials.


5) Nagsasa Cove

This is Anawangin's twin sister, a good alternative, with fewer people. So, if you miss the pine trees lining the beach of Anawangin, the verdant cove and cool, deep blue, there is Nagsasa. 

There are cottages and comfort rooms available here. This is like Anawangin also. You can trek here or take a boat ride from Pundaquit. It is approximately an hour more from Anawangin.

6) Magalawa Island

Quite a long drive but a very short boat ride. Magalawa is located in Palauig, Zambales. It also has everything—white sand, a sandbar, pristine blue waters, and some creature comforts like cottages and comfort rooms. 

Potable water is available on the island, but for safety, bring your own. There are also sites here for snorkeling. What I like about Magalawa? Trees are everywhere, so it is cool even during hot summer days.

Boats are available at Oslet Compound, at I think Php 100.00 per head, round trip. From Banlog Triangle, keep right. You'll pass by Mt. Tapulao signage and Salaza Bridge. After the bridge, slow down as you need to turn left to the Veritas road going to Oslet Compound.


7) Lhasa Cove

This is one of Guys4Mountains' favorite getaways, well-promoted by our friend Kel. I think they hiked when they first went here, but you can take your vehicle near the beach. Just a small descent from the parking lot to get to this cove. 

It is also a white sand beach. What I like about this beach? The water is so cool and gentle; it is like swimming in freshwater. Cottages and comfort rooms are available here.

Camarines Norte

8) Calaguas Island

Oh, Calaguas! I think I shall never find sand as pink as thee (until I get to Sta. Cruz Island). How I love your azure waters and creamy white sand beach that looks pink to me. The sands are so fine. 

There is a deep well where guests can wash up and tables for socials. Everything else, including water, you have to bring from the mainland. Thing about Calaguas, it is quite far, about an 8 hours' drive and 3 hours' boat ride, but hey, nobody said going to paradise is easy.


9) Digisit Beach

Of course, Aurora will not be missed in this listing. The difficulty here is choosing. 

Since Digisit is special (Trails to Empower Kids or TREK's campsite after our outreach, which was also my birthday celebration 2 years ago), it is included in this list. Coconut trees line the beach, so be careful in pitching those expensive tents. 

The rock formations on the beach are just so magnificent. Best about this beach, potable water is available so there's no difficulty in cooking and mixing chasers.

Like Calaguas, this is far, but less than 8 hours' drive. This is near Baler, and there are nearby sites to explore like the waterfalls, Ermita Hills, and PAGASA station.

10) Canawer Beach

We discovered this also because of TREK. 

We arrived in Dilasag, Aurora, nighttime, so we were not able to appreciate the beach. Actually, with a bucket filled with lobster at a terribly low price, it is really hard to focus on anything else. The next day, we went on a short trek in a grass-covered, gently sloping Parang hill to get to this super awesome beach, filled with rock formations, some forming small pools of water.

With the roads fixed, Dilasag is only about four to five hours' drive from Baler. Still, this is something reserved for a long weekend. Visitors may also include Casiguran in the itinerary, which is as beautiful as Dilasag. 

(Some photos by travel buddy Ailene Mae Leal)

Other Good Travels


  1. Nice list of beaches nea Manila. Now I know where to got through pag may balak akong mag outing with family and friends.

    See the amazing all season destination Thunderbird Casino

  2. I love this list! I'm looking for a nice camp out place other than Anawangin. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. this is amazing, your list sure comes in handy!

  4. Hi Kelly. I'm wondering if you might have posted the wrong pictures for Puting Buhangin by mistake? It seems different from the one that I remember when I was there. You have an interesting list of camping beaches btw. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. I checked the album ... Hhhhmmm... Maybe it is time for me to go back. Thanks for your comment

  5. Hi Kelly would you still happen to have any contact details for Lhasa Cove in Bagac? Will be going there end of th emonth. please e-mail Salamat po! ;)

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  8. ahas ba yun? gusto ko din magpunta diyan pero hanggang dito na lang muna ako
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  10. Thanks! Looking forward to exploring that part of Palawan.

  11. This is a damn good travel, thanks for the info :)
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