7 top campsites in the Philippines

Our insiders share their favorite places for wild camping, from mountain peaks offering excellent stargazing to under-the-radar tropical beaches  

By Monica De Leon

Mt. Gulugod Baboy, Anilao, Mabini, Batangas
Chosen by Lost and Found blogger Julian Rodriguez

 

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Location. Anilao, Mabini, Batangas, 130km south of Manila
Why go. It's near Manila and the camp site is all of three mountain peaks with a  spectacular 360 degree view of Batangas Bay and Balayan Bay. The area is big enough for you to find your own private grassy spot to pitch your tent.  Both sunset and sunrise views are breathtaking but the latter is even more amazing. You drive up to the parking lot from the base of the mountain, and from there, it’s a five- to 10-minute walk up a hill.
Amenities. A convenience store, locally called a Sari-sari store, and parking. No toilet and water source. The nearest hotel is Philpan Dive Resort, just a tricycle ride away.
How to get there. Take a JAM Liner bus from Buendia to Cubao in Manila to Batangas Pier in Batangas City. Get off the Batangas City Grand Terminal and ride a jeepney to Anilao Port from where you can take a tricyle to  Philpan Dive Resort, the jump off point to Mt. Gulugod Baboy. The resort which charges from P2,000 a room night is also a good stopping off point to refresh and get showered before heading back to Manila.

Bonbon Beach, Lubang Island, Occidental Mindoro
Chosen by Lost and Found blogger Julian Rodriguez



Location. 180km southwest of Manila. Bonbon is in Lubang Island, part of the seven islands that form the Lubang group of islands on the northernmost edge of Occidental Mindoro. It’s also on the fringes of Verde Island Passage, considered a center of the world’s marine biodiversity.
Why go. Aside from the camping, get ready for some great snorkelling. Bonbon, a sandy beige beach, is set in a small grassy cove planted with coconut trees, and home to impressive reefs. The place is pretty much off the tourist radar which makes it a real gem. A shallow reef extends to about 100 to 150 meters from the shore all the way to the trench where the boats dock. You can swim in the trench, an abrupt drop of up to 50 feet deep. Both ends of the cove have rocks you can climb on to soak in the sights. The waters are so clear you could see the reefs’ crevices where fish take shelter to protect themselves from the current. 
Amenities. Outdoor toilet with walls made from palm leaves. Water is supplied, but it's not potable.
How to get there. Take a BLTB bus from LRT1-Taft/EDSA Station in Manila to Wawa pier in Nasugbu. From the pier, take a ferry or fast craft to Tilik port in Lubang, and from there, hire a tricycle to take you to Bonbon Beach, a four- to five-kilometer ride. To reserve boat tickets contact Mina for Wawa pier at +63939 567 3653, and Ana Fe for Tilik port at +63920 206 1375. 

Cashew Grove, Busuanga, Palawan
Chosen by Lost and Found blogger Julian Rodriguez

 

The view from our hut last week. #philippines #busuangaisland #cashewgroveresort

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Location. Northeast of Busuanga, about 20km from Busuanga Airport, 49km from the main town of Coron. 
Why go. Just because there's nothing more perfect than sleeping and waking to the sound and smell of the sea. Part of the sandy-pebbly beach is occupied by Cashew Grove Resort so you have to walk to the end of the beach to get yourself a secluded spot for camping.The shore leads to healthy shallow reefs that stretch for up to 100 meters. Lots to do besides camping. Hire a boat to take you to snorkelling sites or rent a motorcycle for a scenic tour of Coron, all the way to the main town, a two-hour drive. Head north to Lakdayan Beach early morning for a breathtaking view of the sunrise. 
Amenities. None. You will have to arrange with Cashew Grove Resort access to toilet and other facilities. 
How to get there. Take a Skyjet flight from Manila to Busuanga, and from the airport, take the jeep to Coron Town. From Coron Town, take the 11am scheduled commuter jeepney to Barangay Cheey where Cashew Grove Resort is situated. 

Sibang Cove, Calayan Island, Cagayan
Chosen by Lakadpilipinas.com travel blogger Christian Sangoyo


Location. Calayan, Cagayan, 500km north of Manila
Why go. Sibang Cove on Calayan Island in Cagayan, northern Luzon, has a white sandy beach and aquamarine waters, and is still off the tourist radar so chances are you'll have the beach all to yourself. Time your stay during a full moon for some great night sky gazing. Then the next morning, head over to Nagudunga Hill for a breathtaking view of its cliffs rising from the sea. The only downer is that you'd have to be prepared for hours of travel to get here.
How to get there. Take a bus at the GV Florida Transport bus terminal in Sampaloc, Manila going to Aparri, Cagayan. Travel time is around 12 hours. From the bus stop, take a tricycle to Aparri Port, where there are boats headed to Calayan Island early in the morning. The boat ride is five to eight hours, depending on the type of boat and sea conditions. From the town center of Calayan, Sibang Cove can be reached via habal-habal (motorcycle) or outrigger boat.

Amazon Beach, Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro
Chosen by Lakadpilipinas.com travel blogger Christian Sangoyo

 

A b r a

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Location. Northern tip of Mindoro Island, west of Puerto Galera  
Why go. For its glorious beach and a chance for some incredible stargazing. You also dont get the crowds because Abra de Ilog in Occidental Mindoro is still pretty much under the radar of most weekenders. Its sandy cream beach slopes gradually and the waters are placid, making for an enjoyable swim. And the night sky is wondrous, with Milky Way in view if you're lucky. Supplement  your camp meals with a treat —freshly caught fish from the local fishermen, best for on-site grilling. 
How to get there. Take a Jam Liner bus from Buendia terminal in Makati for a two-and-a-half hour land travel from Manila to Batangas port from where you can take a Montenegro ferry to Abra de Ilog. 

Kalanggaman Island, Palompon, Leyte
Chosen by Lakadpilipinas.com travel blogger Christian Sangoyo

 

Kalanggaman Island, Leyte - Philippines ?????????????? Picture by @pinoytravelfreak

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Location. Palompon, Leyte in Visayas, southeast of Manila
Why go. The 753-meter-long uninhabited Kalanggaman Island in Leyte has a white-sand beach lapped by gin clear waters and offers good camping grounds shaded by tropical palm trees. The sandy shoreline is  flanked by two gorgeous sandbars. Near the island are excellent snorkeling sites. Cottages for day trippers are available for about P250 ($5). 
How to get there. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air fly daily to Tacloban, Leyte. From Tacloban airport, ride a tricycle or jeepney going to the Tacloban New Bus Terminal where there are vans going to Palompon, Leyte about three hours away. In Palompon, take another tricycle to the tourism office for registration and guides, then get on an outrigger boat to Kalanggaman Island. Travel time is roughly an hour.

Potipot Island, Candelaria, Zambales
Chosen by travel writer and adventurer Chip Childers

 

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Location. 330km northwest of Manila
Why go. Potipot Island, off Candelaria, Zambales holds a special place in the hearts of most local campers, and in particular, Inflight Traveller contributing writer Chip Childers. He said the first time he started going to Potipot with friends, the island was overgrown with impenetratable grass and remnants of an old resort ruined by Pinatubo. Nowadays, under new ownership, the island has been tamed, the grass cut down, huts erected and even a henna tattoo booth put up. A 10-minute boat ride from the mainland, Potipot is a great place to bring tentative first-time campers and even kids. Rent a hut, pitch a tent, or sling a hammock between two trees, take an afternoon nap, and leave the world behind you.
How to get there. Take a Victory Liner bus from their Pasay City terminal to Iba, Zambales bus stop, from where you can hop on another bus bound for Sta. Cruz. Get off at the Candelaria bus stop, take a tricyle to Dawal Beach Resort, from where you can rent a boat to Potipot Island.  

Cover photo screengrabbed from @0517pen.

Published May 2017