6 of the Most Beautiful Sandbars in the Philippines

Summer will never be over.
by | June 01, 2016

Everyone’s summer state of mind: “Forget about the brick road and give me a beautiful beach and some fine sand!”

Like a floating cloud against blue skies, sandbars have always been picture-perfect. The sense of excitement while walking along a strip of sandbar with a view of endless sea on both sides is fascinating especially for certified beach bums.

What are the most stunning sandbars in the country? We’ve made a list! Some aren’t even popular to tourists so you can have it all to yourself, much like your very own private island.

Vanishing Island (Samal, Davao del Norte)

There are quite a number of tourist attractions in Davao but the Vanishing Island is a paradise for divers and beach enthusiasts. A small strip of white sand just minutes away from the shore of Tambo, Babak in Samal, the sandbar—as the name suggests—is only visible during low tide and disappears as it sinks into the sea during high tide.

The crystal clear waters make it easy to enjoy the underwater view so tourists usually go diving and snorkeling; no wonder it’s touted as the top diving destination in Davao City. If you just want to laze about in the powdery beach, you might as well try buying sea urchins from the island locals. There are boats just near the coast where many locals sell the delicious delicacy.

How to get there:

  1. Get to Davao City via flights from Manila or Cebu.
  2. Take a ferry from KM 11, Sasa Port, Davao City to Barangay Tambo, Samal.
  3. Once there, hire a small outrigger boat to get you to the sandbar.

Kalanggaman Island (Palompon, Leyte)

One of the must-visit islands in Leyte, Kalanggaman is truly a paradise. There are no luxury accommodations but it’s the simplicity that will make you fall in love with the place. One part of the island is dotted with coconut trees with creamy white sands tapering off to the sandbar, while the other side is more rugged with gray rocks and wild pandan trees near the shore. Here you can rent water bikes and kayaks, or you can go snorkeling and swimming to your heart’s content. You might even see a dolphin or two!

How to get there:

  1. Take the flight from Manila to Tacloban.
  2. From the airport, ride a van going to Palompon.

**You can also get to Kalanggaman from Cebu Airport by taking a taxi to go to Pier 3.  Then take the fast boat going to Ormoc or a ship to Palompon.

  1. Once in Palompon, you can ride a bike called “potpot” to go to Palompon Liberty Park to pay the fees for the Kalanggaman EcoTour. From this point, the boat ride going to the island takes about an hour, or 35 minutes for speed boats.

A photo posted by Reyg (@reyg8) on

White Island (Mambajao, Camiguin)

The sandbar is usually C-shaped or I-shaped depending on the waves that hit the island. It’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling because of the turquoise clear waters and fine white sand, but make sure to bring something that can provide shade because there are no trees or shelter of any kind (or you can just rent a beach umbrella). The best time to visit is during the break of dawn when you can take a refreshing dip and take photos with the beautiful Mount Hibok-hibok, Tres Marias and the Mount Vulcan as backdrop.

How to get there:

  1. The easiest way is to fly to Cagayan de Oro. (Camiguin has its own airport but there are no direct flights from Manila so you have to fly to Cebu and then Camiguin.) Once in Laguindingan Airport CDO, ride a shuttle going to Agora Market where you can catch a bus bound for Balingoan Pier.
  2. Once in Balingoan, take a ferry to Benoni Port. The ferries leave almost every hour from 5AM to 5PM.
  3. From there, take a tricycle to the jump off point in Barangay Yumbing. White Island is just 10 minutes away.

Tip: You can stay at Paras Beach Resort as the island is only minutes away via pump boat.

Manjuyod White Sand Bar (Bais, Negros Oriental)

The sandbar, also referred to as Sumapao Shoal, is an idyllic island with soft and powdery white sand that stretches for about seven kilometers. There are no coconut trees in sight and it’s devoid of luxury trappings, but there are native cottages that offer a tropical isle scene like the one in Maldives. The best time to go here is in the morning when it’s still low tide so you can witness how the water slowly emerges from the seafloor.

How to get there:

  1. From Manila, you can book a flight to Dumaguete. From the airport, ride a tricycle and asked to be dropped off at the bus terminal for Dumaguete-Bais buses.
  2. From Dumaguete City, board a bus to Bais City which is 45 kilometers away.

*For overnight stay, Bais City Tourism Office can be reached at (035) 541-5161 or 402-8174.

A photo posted by @gerard199314 on

Panampangan Island (Tawi-Tawi)

The 3-kilometer sandbar is located all the way at the southern tip of the Philippines –quite far from Manila but Tawi-Tawi harbors unspoiled island beaches and refreshing scenery all in its raw state. A treasure trove in tourism, locals even refer to the island as “Virgin Beach” because of its pristine state.

How to get there:

  1. From Manila, you can go to Tawi-Tawi through taking a flight to Zamboanga City.
  2. From Sanga-Sanga airport, you can take a tricycle to Bongao, the capital.
  3. Once in Bongao, you can hire a boat going to the island. Panampangan Island is two hours from Bongao.

A photo posted by @bumblestinger on

Manlawi Island (Caramoan, Camarines Sur)

The island, which is located in the largest of the island group in Caramoan Peninsula, is known for its vast stretch of sandbar. It’s completely submerged during high tide but the one-kilometer wide sand bar during low tide is such a view to behold. The seascape is lovely with mountains on the other side of the island. Save for a few floating huts, the shore is clear which means unobstructed view of the green rolling hills.

How to get there:

  1. Take a bus bound for Sabang port (from Cubao, Pasay or Alabang).
  2. From Sabang port, take the passenger boat to Guijalo Port in Caramoan. Then go to Paniman, which is one of the jump-off sites for island hopping.*A trip to Manlawi is included in the island and beach hopping adventure in Caramoan

 Cresta de Gallo (Sibuyan Island, Romblon)

The deserted stretch of powdery white sand is located at the “Galapagos of Asia” or Sibuyan Island. Although it may not be the most convenient place to visit, the natural resources here will make the trip worth it. The white sand will massage your feet as you take a leisurely stroll along the shore while the coral reefs will give you a reason to snorkel for hours.

How to get there:

  1. From Batangas port, take a roro bound for Romblon then hop on another roro to Sibuyan.
  2. Once in Sibuyan, ride a jeepney to San Fernando, then a tricycle to Azagra, which is the jump-off to Cresta de Gallo.

What are your favorite sandbars? Share them with us in the comments!

Also read: 
Remote Philippine Destinations You Should Put on Your Bucket List
Where Do Broken Hearts Go: Local Destinations for Hurting Millennials
Camping Hits: The Most Accessible Secluded Beaches in the Philippines
Take a Break: Here are 4 Beautiful White Beaches near Metro Manila



  • John Maynard Keynes

    why would you go to Samal or Tawi Tawi and get you head chopped off

    June 2, 2016 at 10:03 pm
  • Robin Nadela

    You forgot bohol

    June 5, 2016 at 8:17 pm

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