These beaches near Manila are perfect for your quick getaway

by Gretzel Lantican Additional Text: Karen A.P. Caliwara
May 10, 2019
This is just one of the many breathtaking views that Five Fingers in Mariveles, Bataan has to offer.
PHOTO/S: Mariveles Five Fingers Tour by BWP on Facebook

Obssessing over Boracay's white-sand beach or Siargao's surfing waves or Palawan's world-renowned beauty?

But if you simply want to have fun under the sun, you don't have to book a flight or spend a lot on accommodations.

After all, the country has more than 7,000 islands, and a number of its beaches are near Manila.

Here's a short list:

Isla Verde, Batangas

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This beautiful strip of water between Batangas and Mindoro is a piece of paradise.

It is not as crowdy as Puerto Galera, and it promises interesting spots such as Mahabang Buhangin Beach, Maliit na Nalayag, Sawang Dive, and Kuweba.

Early this year, MERALCO (Manila Electric Company) switched on a 32-kilowatt solar panel microgrid and 192-kilowatt-per-hour battery storage facility, which provides electricity to 30 households in a barangay.

The goal is to give green energy to all six barangays.

How to get there:

1. Take a bus (JAM Transit or JAC Liner) from Cubao, or LRT Buendia Station to Batangas City. Fare is PHP150.

2. At the Batangas City Grand Terminal, rent a tricycle going to Tabangao Aplaya. Fare is PHP300. Or you may also ride a jeepney.

3. Rent a boat heading to your desired sitio. Fare is PHP200.

Travel time: Two hours

Five Fingers in Mariveles, Bataan

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How did it get its name? Search it on Google Maps, and you'll see why.

Cove-hopping tour involves five stops and dips in the beaches.

  • Cochino's Point, which got its name from the Spanish word cochino meaning "pig," is a 20-minute trek that leads to a cave and a lagoon where you can swim.
  • Talaga Point, where you can experience a 20-foot cliff jump to the Natsu (which means "summer") Lagoon and swim in Apatot Cove's beach
  • Hornos Point or Puntang Mahaba, where the Pebble Cave and Nagmandala Rock are found
  • Naiklec Point, where Mawakis Cove is
  • Longos Kawayan Point, where you can experience a 40-foot cliff jump to Tinanlakan Lagoon, and drop by or stay overnight at the Aglaloma Beach campsite.

Aside from the cove and its stretch of white-sand beaches, you also get breathttaking views of rolling hills and rock formations.

Mariveles Five Finger Tours by BWP charges PHP999 per pax for its economy tour, which includes packed lunch and snacks; PHP1,299 per pax for a day tour, which includes a buffet-style lunch of seafood, chicken, and vegetables; PHP1,999 per pax for an overnight tour, which includes three sets of meals. The latter starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m.

How to get there:

1. Take a one-hour ferry ride from Mall of Asia Pasay sea terminal to Mariveles, Bataan.

Fare is PHP499. Then take a tricycle.

2. If you're staying in Mariveles overnight, take the earlier trip from Mall of Asia to Orion.

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Fare is PHP450. Then take the 45-minute free shuttle to Mariveles. From there, take a tricycle.

3. Or take a bus from Cubao to Mariveles. Fare is around PHP280.

Travel time: More than 4 hours

Hundred Islands, Alaminos, Pangasinan

Pangasinan's most famous tourist spot showcases 123 islets, some of which can give you a taste of tropical life.

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You can also explore the caves, limestone rocks, and cliffs, and go kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling.

This tourist destination can also be your jump-off point in case you want to go beach-hopping in Pangasinan, since Alaminos is also near the pristine beaches of Dasol, Agno, and Bolinao.

How to get there:

1. Ride a bus (Victory Liner) from Cubao going to Alaminos, Pangasinan. Fare is PHP400.

2. From the Lucap Terminal, ride a tricycle going to Lucap Wharf. Fare is PHP15.

3. At Lucap Wharf, pay for the Hundred Island Park Fees—PHP20 for day tour and PHP40 for overnight—and registration fees totaling PHP100 (environmental fee- PHP60; entrance fee- PHP30; insurance fee- PHP10). Add PHP60 if you plan to stay overnight.

4. Rent a boat for your island-hopping tour. The smallest boat, which is good for up to five pax, costs PHP1,400. The largest boat, which can accomodate up to 15 people, costs PHP2,000.

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Travel time: Three to four hours

Silanguin Cove, San Antonio, Zambales

Anawangin, Talisayin, and Nagsasa coves have become favorite destinations in San Antonio, Zambales.

Silanguin is the farthest cove, but its agoho trees, ash-colored beach, and view of the mountains make it worth the extra travel hours.

It also has a campsite for those those who plan to stay overnight. You can also make a bonfire.

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How to get there:

1. Take a bus (Victory Liner) from Cubao to Iba. Fare is PHP300.

2. Get off at San Antonio Market.

3. Ride atricycle going to Pundaquit port. Fare is PHP30. Environmental fee: PHP20

4. Rent a boat going to Silanguin. Cost: PHP2,000.

If you want to view other islands like Capones and Camara, just add PHP500. Estimated travel tour is around one hour.

Travel time: Five hours

Puting Buhangin, Pagbilao, Quezon

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From the name itself, Puting Buhangin boasts of its white sand, and has crystal-clear water.

Also not to miss is the Kuwebang Lampas, which is just a swim or trek away from the beach. As you reach the end of the cove, you can go for a dive or snorkel.

How to get there:

1. Ride a bus (JAC Liner, JAM Liner, or Lucena Lines) from Manila to Lucena. Fare is PHP260.

2. Get off at the Lucena Grand Terminal, ride another bus bound for Unisan. Fare is PHP40.

3. Hop off at QCRB Bank in Padre Burgos, take a tricycle going to Aplaya. Fare is PHP350 for 2 pax.

4. Rent a boat going to Puting Buhangin. Cost: PHP800 for 8 pax.

Travel time: Five hours

Alibijaban Island, San Andres, Quezon

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A long weekend at the Alibijaban Island is always a good idea.

This virgin paradise is located at the southernmost tip of Quezon, is surrounded by mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass beds.

It’s budget-friendly, too.

How to get there:

1. Travel by bus either from Alabang or Cubao going to San Andres. Fare is below PHP500.

2. From the bus terminal, take a pedicab going to the port. Fare is PHP20.

3. Rent a boat going to Alibijaban. Cost: PHP600 for 2 pax and PHP1,500 for 10 pax.

Travel time: Seven hours

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This is just one of the many breathtaking views that Five Fingers in Mariveles, Bataan has to offer.
PHOTO/S: Mariveles Five Fingers Tour by BWP on Facebook
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