Gateway to Laaw Lagoon in Kinatarcan Island
Gateway to Laaw Lagoon in Kinatarcan Island

10 Underrated yet Stunning, Must-visit Islands in the Visayas

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Condé Nast Traveler recognized three Philippine Islands, Boracay (1st), Cebu (2nd), and Palawan (4th), as among the five best islands in Asia on its latest readers’ choice awards. Two of them are from the Visayas.

Boracay and Cebu are undoubtedly two of the country’s most popular. Both receives significant number of tourists, and many more are aspiring to visit.

Whitebeach Boracay, Aklan
Whitebeach, Boracay Island

Malapascua Island, on the other hand, may not be able to make the cut but is already an internationally recognized dive spot. It is a haven for deep sea scuba divers, especially those who wanted to see the thresher sharks swimming underneath its waters.

Langub Beach, Malapascua Island
Langub Beach, Malapascua Island

Meanwhile, Kalanggaman Island in Leyte is already making rounds in social media. In 2014, Kalanggaman received it first cruise ship guests. The island had been part of the MS Europa 2 Philippine itinerary since then. The long stretch of white sandbar is primarily the tourist driver.

Other popular small islands in the Visayas include, the island provinces of Guimaras and Siquijor, Bantayan Island, Islas de Gigantes, and the private Lakawon Island Resort.

Unknown to many, there are equally awesome islands that are spread across central Philippines. They are relatively underdeveloped, sometimes hard to reach, but offers stunning stretch of white strip, mangrove forest, and coral reefs.

1. Kinatarcan Island, Cebu

Kinatarcan or Guintacan Island is the home to three beautiful white strips, namely: Pasil, Langub, and Bitoon Beaches. Aside from that, awesome cliffs, fascinating coves, and a mysterious lagoon dot its edges.

Pasil Beach, Kinatarcan Island
Pasil Beach, Kinatarcan Island

The gentle summer breeze, the exuberant inhabitant faces, the slow-paced lifestyle, and the warm sunshine kiss complimented well with the homy, rustic reception. You’ll definitely enjoy the getaway.

Laaw Lagoon, Kinatarcan Island
Laaw Lagoon, Kinatarcan Island

For more information, go to A Travel Guide to Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island: The Rise of the Once Unknown.

2. Carnaza Island, Cebu

A powdery, white strip and calm, turquoise deep will greet you once you arrive in Carnaza Island.

Carnaza Island's Skull Cove
The Skull Cove features a short white strip, aquamarine deep, and stunning rock formations.

When you explore further, you will find Liog-liog Cove. It features a twin beach, a tidal cave, and a natural pool. The Skull Cove, on the hand, boast a small cavern, a short white beach, aquamarine waters, and an abandoned helipad. And, by the way, the gorgeous Kailina Beach is a perfect spot to beach camp. It provides daily dose of spectacular sunsets.

Angel Pool at Liog-liog Cove
Taking a dip at Angel Pool in Liog-liog Cove

For more information, go to Carnaza, La Manok, and Dakit Dakit Islands: A Travel Guide.

3. Danjugan Island, Negros Occidental

Danjugan Island is situated three kilometers off the cost of Barangay Bulata in Cauayan, Negros Occidental. It measures half a kilometer on its widest point and 1.5 kilometers long.

The island is made mostly of limestone, covered with saline water-sustaining vegetation, and dotted with white, pebbly strips on its edges.

Typhoon Beach, Danjugan Island
Typhoon Beach, Danjugan Island

Being an ecotourism destination, Danjugan Island brings you closer to nature while feeding your thirst for adrenaline-pumping activities. The island will revive your passion for environmental protection and fortify your love for Mother Earth. The experience will surely inspire you to participate in other ecological advocacies.

Moray Lagoon in Danjugan Island
Moray Lagoon in Danjugan Island

The island is also very close to Sipalay, so make sure you include it in your Sipalay itinerary.

For more information, go to Danjugan Island Travel Guide: More Than a Wildlife Sanctuary.

4. Apo Island, Negros Oriental

Apo Island is a marine sanctuary and a popular dive spot. In fact, the island was listed on the 2008 version of Sport Diver Magazine’s top 100 diving spots in the world. Despite of the fame, the island remains rustic and underrated.

Apo Island Dive Resort
Apo Island Dive Resort

Guests spend most of their time exploring the depths of its surrounding waters to meet and greet with its inhabitants. Vast coral conglomeration, gentle swimmers, and colorful forage circle its deep.

The underwater communities thrive as they are protected by the Philippines laws, and of course, with the help of the cooperating island locals.

Rock Point View Deck, Apo Island
Rock Point View Deck, Apo Island

For more information, go to Apo Island Travel Guide: From a Non-diver’s Perspective.

5. Sipaway Island, Negros Occidental

Sipaway Island floats off the coast of San Carlos City in Negros Occidental. It is a home to fascinating white sand beaches, lush mangrove forests, and centuries-old trees.

Ermita Beach, Sipaway Island
Ermita Beach, Sipaway Island

Places to interest include Ermita Beach, Paraiso de Antonio, Langub Beach, the Mangrove Forest, and Whispering Palms Island Resort.

Paraiso de Antonio, Sipaway Island
Paraiso de Antonio, Sipaway Island

For more information, go to Sipaway Island, Unconcealed but Often Unnoticed: A Travel Guide.

6. Digyo Island, Leyte

Digyo Island is part of the Cuatro Islas island cluster of Inopacan and Hindang, along with Mahaba, Apid, and Himokilan Islands. It is the last stop of the island hopping tour. Normally, travelers spend their night at Digyo.

Digyo Island is the most popular among the four scenic islands of Cuatro Islas
Digyo Island is the most popular among the four scenic islands of Cuatro Islas

Digyo features a good mix of white sand and rocky shorelines. A white sandbar protrudes to its southeastern tip. An interesting beachrock, which was naturally cemented by the tide, adorns the other side of the island. And then, during good season, you’ll have an exceptional vantage of the stunning sunsets and sunrises.

The fine and powdery white sand of Digyo Island stands out again the big crowd of campers
The fine and powdery white sand of Digyo Island stands out again the big crowd of campers

For more information, go to Cuatro Islas Travel Guide: Himokilan, Mahaba, Apid, and Digyo Islands.

7. Bulobadiangan Island, Iloilo

Bulobadiangan Island [also spelled as Bulubadiangan] is one of the three spectacular islands off the coast of Concepcion, Iloilo. A long white sandbar stretches from the northern end of the island.

Bulobadiangan Island sandbar in Concepcion, Iloilo
Bulobadiangan Island sandbar in Concepcion, Iloilo

The mix of pulverized corals and powdery sand blend well with the gorgeous natural greens of the island. It is surrounded with shallow waters so swimming is relatively safe. The island also gives a perfect display of sunrise and sundown.

Another view of Bulobadiangan Island sandbar in Concepcion, Iloilo
Another vantage of the island

When in Bulobadiangan Island, also include Apid and Pan de Azucar Islands in your itinerary

For more information, go to Concepcion Travel Guide: Stunning Island Wonders of Iloilo.

8. Sambawan Island, Biliran

Sambawan Island is the crown jewel of the Province of Biliran. It’s pebbly white sand, scenic hills, and cerulean waters definitely make every island camping an awesome experience.

Sambawan Island in Biri Province with Maripipi Island on the backdrop
Sambawan Island in Biri Province with Maripipi Island on the backdrop

If you are lucky enough to visit on a season where cirrus clouds hover above the island, sunsets and sunrises are extraordinarily vivid and picturesque.

Sambawan Island
Sambawan Island

That photo with Maripipi Island in the backdrop is breathtaking as well.

For more information, go to Sambawan Island Travel Guide: How to Get There.

9. Mararison Island, Antique

According to a legend, Mararison, along with Batbatan and Maniquin Islands, is an offspring of Mt Madjaas of Panay and Mt Canlaon of Negros. Mararison always makes squables with her siblings, which earned her a nickname, Malalison or Mararison. It translates to someone who always engage in word fights. Being a prodigal daughter, she was positioned closer to Panay mainland, so Mt Madjaas can always look after her.

The rolling hills of Mararison Island
The rolling hills of Mararison Island

Legends aside, Mararison offers a beautiful white beach, imposing rock formations, and bewitching rolling hills.

Mararison is a home to some pitcher plan species
Mararison is a home to some pitcher plan species

For more information, go to The Rolling Hills of Mararison Island: A Travel Guide.

10. Biri Island, Northern Samar

The Biri Rock Formations is composed of six distinct rock islands, namely: Magasang, Masapad, Macadlaw, Puhunan, Bel-at, and Caranas rock formations. These six islands float just off the coast of northeastern Biri, where San Benandino Straight and Pacific Ocean converge.

The strong tidal forces that repeatedly smashed these islands for millions of years formed fascinating natural monuments. Some of them feature distinct patterns.

The bewitching Biri Rock Formations and tidal pool
The bewitching Biri Rock Formations and tidal pool

Though Magasang, Masapad, Macadlaw, Puhunan, Bel-at, and Caranas Rock Formations are separate islands of their own right, they are accessible by foot from the main island during low tide.

Biri Island and Rock formations
Biri Island

For more information, go to Biri Rock Formations Travel Guide: The Fascinating Natural Monuments of Samar.

Honorable Mentions

Other notable islands that are worth mentioning are Caohagan, Nalusuan, and Sulpa Islands in Mactan and Pandanon Island in Bohol. They are equally breathtaking and definitely worth a visit.

Depending on the package you avail, these islands may be included in your Mactan island hopping itinerary.

Canigao Island, a treasure of Matalom, Leyte, is known for its abundant fishing grounds, white sand beach, and extensive coral reefs. It is also worth checking out.

You may also check Bohol’s Balicasag Island, Antique’s Seco Island, Northern Samar’s Darsena Island, an Southern Leyte’s Limasawa Island.

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