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Is there a (good) beach within an hour of Manila?

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

good beach near manila
There aren't exactly beaches within an hour's drive of Manila, but there are beautiful hidden coves you can visit within 2 to 3 hours of the metro, and still have an entire day to waste lazing around the sandy coasts and enjoying the water and surrounding nature. Batangas in South Luzon is one of the best provinces to go beach-hopping and most locations are only within 2 to 4 hours from Manila.

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).

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I personally like the beaches in Subic more than those in Batangas. Subic is easier to reach from Manila via NLEX, whether you're renting a car or taking the bus. The journey takes around 3 hours on a Sunday, and the road conditions are good.

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. 

There are some fantastic beaches in Morong, Bataan. They\'re not exactly "near" but they are perfect for weekend holidays, when you\'re not in a big rush. Coming from Manila you can take NLEX and SCTex to reach the SBMA Morong Gate. I quite liked the vivid rice fields and mountain views along the way. We ended up staying at a place called Montemar Beach Club.

Mat Bush
I agree with Mat. But there is a route more scenic than SCTex. Via NLEX, take the Gapan-Olongapo Road -- Layak Junction & Tipo highway Junction and so you can go on side trips to tourist attractions like the shrine on Mount Samat and the nuclear power plant that was never used. (EDITOR\'s NOTE: Thank you, Agdis. The shrine you refer to is called Dambana ng Kagitingan.)

Agdis G.

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