Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
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I've been all over the Philippines (courtesy of Google Earth Airlines and Youtube Airlines) and it seems that there are 3 types of beaches :
In the middle of nowhere
Resort beaches surrounded by nothing except a couple of hotels
Beaches next to towns, but the towns don't pay any attention to the beach
What I mean by towns that don't pay attention to the beaches is that for example in Spain, it's very common to find towns and cities that are right next to the beach, and the beach is an integral part of the town. There's a road that runs next to it, and buildings right there, facing the beach. The beach gets attention.
It's the same in Italy, Brazil, etc.
Whereas in the Philippines, you get this (middle of nowhere) :
Or this (nothing but a couple of hotels) :
Or this (next to a town, but the town doesn't care) :
Actually I couldn't find any photos, but you know what I mean. The town is right there, but the beach is an afterthought. Examples would be : San Fernando (near Baguio), the area to the west of Olongapo, along the bay, and the built up area by the coast just south of Lucena.
What's going on? Why aren't there any nice towns next to nice beaches, where the beach is a focal point?
People talk about how great some of the beaches are in Phils. I beg to differ. Cus the better beaches are so damn inconvenient. Went to Bohol with a bunch of Taiwanese package tourists staying in an expensive resort. It sucked. Food choices were limited to just a couple restos, Internet was slow to point of not working, and the infrastructure was just lacking in so many ways. Thailand is so much better.
Baloy Beach next to Subic. Awful beach, dirty water, a mess with only saving grace a decent resort or two.
Beaches in some other Asian countries, Mediterranean, Caribbean, and much of South America not to mention Florida and California are leagues ahead of anything in Phils, even Boracay and Palawan if convenience, food, a good layout, and infrastructure matter at all to you.
They may not be big cities but there are beaches in some of the towns.
El Nido Town
Beach at Seagull Resort, Davao (below) - and also there's Samal Island which is about a 10 min boat ride away.
There's a large beach at Sipalay City in Negros, a couple of minutes walk from the main part. Not really a city though, more of a market town.
It all depends what the individual is after. If it's uncommercialized beaches then the Phils is the place to go as it comprises of over 7,000 islands. If it's a beach close to an urban concrete jungle then it's not the ideal place to visit.
Yes, if you want somewhere quiet, away from civilization, the Philippines is great. And those places (El Nido, etc) are certainly lovely, but they're very small and slow paced. I just really wish there were places that were even a bit like Rio, Acapulco, or some of the cities in Spain. Somewhere with a real beach city atmosphere, lots of people, bars, restaurants, clubs, etc. I think it's a cultural thing. Maybe to filipinos, beaches are places that are meant to be out of the way, rather than savoured. It's a shame. They don't make the most of their beaches.
If there was a good, medium sized city next to one of the beaches in Panglao, it would be very tempting. If El Nido was much bigger and they put up a big statue of Jesus up on that hill, they could rename it Rio Ng Jhanido (see what I did there?). Manila bay is a perfect place to build an artificial beach. Instead, what have they got? The mall of Asia.
I agree that it's what someone is after. I grew up in Philadelphia and back in the day, a fun weekend meant going to Atlantic City, the type of beach described by Johnny: large beach, insane numbers of people, scores of hotels and casinos lining the beach, etc. You could not pay me to go there again
I've been to many beaches in the Philippines. Some I liked more than others. Typically I like ones that are less overrun by other tourists, although I did like Boracay somewhat, and loved El Nido. Boracay does have plenty of activity, hotels, restaurants and bars - and a nice white beach as well as the normal island hopping.
At El Nido, it's not just about the beach. It's about the extraordinary variety, the mountains so plentiful they haven't named them all, the many tours you can take. Even the 5 hour van ride from Puerto Princesa to El Nido was incredibly beautiful.
My favorite? Just might have been Moalboal in Cebu. We stayed at a small resort (and resort's barely the word). From our room we could walk down some concrete stairs to the ocean. Not much of a beach really. But the view of the ocean was incredible and for the 4 days we were there, while we were in the ocean for as far as the eye could see there were no more than 10 people swimming - and sometimes there were none - just us - in the warm water, clear to the bottom! I will take that experience over all the hotels and bars - but again that's just my preference.
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I can only be around crowds for short period of time as I find it claustrophobic. Boracay wasn't too bad in that sense as I went in June in the low season although I wasn't keen on Station 2.
I liked El Nido. Nacpan Beach was one of the highlights - amazing beach. Takes at least an hour to walk the length of it and there's not many people around too.
Best island for me has to be Kalangamman Island which is located between Leyte & Cebu and my idea of paradise. Only small with no hotels although I think you can camp overnight.
Another of my favourite beaches is Cabangaoan in Pangasinan. Not many people know about it because of it's remoteness. Takes about an hour on a trike from the main road. When I went with my gf, we were the only ones there apart from an ageing local who was shuffling along the beach. Not the sort of place I could stay for a few days but great for a day out.
Don't let the turquoise water fool you. All the raw sewage is dumped right into the ocean. This accounts for any spontaneous skin rashes you might get.
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