We won't have time to go to Boracay or any of the other famous Philippine beaches, so I am hoping that there are other great ones within driving distance of Manila. We will only be staying for 2 nights and intend to spend one night on the beach and then head back to Manila for our flight home. Any recommendations? - Nick Ray – Guest
Laiya Aplaya is probably the closest, located in San Juan Batangas, a few minutes from the capital city of Lipa (1.5 to 2 hours from Manila via bus). It will be perfect for your length of stay, and you will still have plenty of time for side trips. Other worth visiting beach sites, albeit farther from the metro include Anilao (also in Batangas), which is a famous scuba diving Mecca, and the coves of Nagsasa, Anawangin, and Silanguin in Zambales (4 hours from Manila).
My favorite is Barretto Beach, which is quite nice and quieter than what you will find in Batangas, at least when I was there. Beachfront resorts line the beach, and rates are reasonable at around $80 a night. You can also stay in cheaper hotels in Olongapo City if you're on a budget, but that means you have to pay a daytrip fee to access the beach. So in my opinion, staying in a beachfront resort is a better-value choice.
I have also been to Dungaree Beach, known previously as “Dog Beach” to the American military men who used to live here (Subic was once the largest American naval base in the world, in case you didn't know). It's somewhat isolated and is surrounded by budget hotels, so if budget is a concern then this might be a better choice.
If you have a car, you can drive to nearby attractions like Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure, the riding stables, Subic Treetop, etc.
Note that the beaches near Manila do not have white sand, but the water is clean and warm. There's nothing like the beaches of Boracay and Palawan, but if you really have no choice, go to Subic.
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