Bantayan Island, quieter version of Boracay
Bantayan Island is a hidden gem, and is sometimes dubbed as the quieter version of the popular but more busy Boracay. It has the same fine white sands and clear light blue waters, minus the busy night parties of Boracay.
A couple of friends and I went to this island a few years back and stayed at the Ogtong Cave Resort. The resort grounds are wonderful, with a well-kept landscaped garden, a pool and individual cottages. There is an actual cave below the resort grounds, where you can go and wade in the waters inside the cave. Or you can opt to swim in the pool. But the best is of course is to enjoy the white sand beach.
The usual jump off point is Cebu, a one-hour flight away from Metro Manila. You then take an almost 3-hour bus ride from North Terminal to Hagnaya then hop on a 75 minute boat (about Php130) to Santa Fe, Bantayan. You can also opt to take a private van or taxi especially if you're in a group as you can split the cost (about Php2,500) and have a more comfortable and faster ride. Folks might be put off at the long travel time, but it's well worth it especially if you're looking for those off the beaten track gems.