So what are the best islands to live in the Philippines? There are currently 7640 islands located across the Philippines; the question remains what are the best islands to live in the Philippines as a foreigner and as a local?
Best Islands To Live In The Philippines
1 – El Nido
Located in the northern part of the mainland of Palawan is El Nido. It is 7 hours away from Puerto Princesa by bus. This is the best island to live in the Philippines if you love Ha Long Bay in Vietnam because of the Bacuit Archipelago, which is located off the coast of El Nido. This archipelago has islands clad with mountains, limestones, and jungles.
El Nido became more known because of the increasing number of European visitors. As a result, more amenities and good nightlife have been established on the island. Furthermore, the local government has put much effort into preserving the environment here because of the gained popularity.
2 – Bohol
Bohol is no doubt a beautiful island in the Philippines because of the tarsiers there and Chocolate Hills. Because it is the 10th biggest island in the country, you can do many things if you opt to live here. You can enjoy the island by riding a scooter or going on day hikes. You can enjoy waterfalls and jungles rather than snorkeling and beaches in Bohol.
3 – Panglao
Located in the northern part of the Bohol Sea, you can access Panglao from Bohol by driving to a bridge. Therefore, it is considered one of the most accessible islands. Panglao is ideal for divers because the waters there have vibrant fish and other sea creatures to explore. Sea Kayaking and snorkeling are other known activities on the island. In addition, people can enjoy the best nightlife there during big holidays and on weekends.
4 – Apo Island
Within the Coral Triangle is the volcanic Apo Island. It is found in the southern seacoast of Negros. Snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities are what this island is known for. That is because there is a fish sanctuary and protected marine reserve around the island. Therefore, there is much marine and coral life here.
The beaches in Apo island are majestic, as well. They are made from white ground coral, which is comfortable enough when you want to sunbathe. However, if you are active, you will enjoy the trails there with Mount Talinis and Negros as your backdrop.
This quaint island is located near the southern coast of Bohol and Cebu. People who do not like crowds will enjoy Siquijor because it is not very famous among visitors. Siquijor has a land area of 337.49 square kilometers. From Bohol, it takes 1 ½ hours to reach the island by riding a ferry.
Some of the highlights of Siquijor are its pretty corals, amazing waterfalls, and immaculate beaches. This is one of the best islands to live in the Philippines if you like friendly locals. Cliff diving is one of the most famous activities on the island. You can dive into pristine water by jumping 10 meters high from a cliff in Salagdoong Beach. If you enjoy sunsets, you can enjoy them at white and sandy Paliton Beach.
6 – Siargao
Siargao is in the territory of Surigao del Norte. Its area is around 386.87 square kilometers with a coastline length of 171.13 kilometers. You will see a lot of palm trees on these laidback islands. Aside from beach and island hopping, Siargao is popular for surfing. You can spend a relaxed day here when living on this island in the Philippines by riding a scooter and swinging on coconut trees.
7 – Boracay
Boracay is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines and across the globe. The island is located near Panay Island and part of Aklan.
If you want a magnificent panoramic view, you can go to Mount Luho, which is 100 meters high and the peak point of the island. White Beach and Bulabog are the beaches worth noting on this island. The White Beach got its name because of its fine and white sand. In addition to living on this island in the Philippines, you will see the lush rainforest and clear blue waters. Bulabog is great for surfing or kitesurfing during the windy season (from November to April).
People can do virtually all water sports on the island. You will see many bars and restaurants along the coast. Nightlife is unforgettable and fantastic in Boracay.
8 – Caramoan Islands
Caramon Islands are a faraway cluster of islands in Camarines Sur. Therefore, there are many deserted islands to discover. Adventurous people can enjoy searching for secret beaches, peaceful snorkeling areas, and hidden coves. However, aside from the fishermen, you will not see a lot of people here. That is because traveling from Manila to Caramoan Islands is not easy.
Nevertheless, the difficult accessibility of the islands makes sure that the majestic white beaches are preserved. This is also a way to keep the status of the island as a destination for adventure seekers. Another interesting fact about Caramon Islands is that the popular US TV show, Survivor, was filmed here.
If you like bird watching or nature walks, this is an island you can consider settling. The national park has many local greens on the trail.
9 – Batanes Islands
Located between Taiwan and the Philippines, The Batanes Islands are another remote place you can consider living in. This is considered the most isolated area in the country. The Batanes Islands are recommended if you like to experience the most authentic local culture, weather, tradition, and language. When you go to Batanes, some reports suggest you will feel like you are in a different era.
There are only 3 places in Batanes where people can permanently live. These are the main island, remote Itbayat, traditional Sabtang, and Batan. All of these islands are different from each other. There is a combination of undulating hills, jungle-like volcanoes, farmlands rich with cattle and yan, and white beaches.
Even though the islands are a perfect paradise, the photos showing the Batanes do not reflect how often typhoons occur here. You do not need to worry if you consider settling here. That is because homes and buildings are designed to withstand different weather conditions. People use thick limestone walls, grass roofs, and slight stilts to build their homes.
10 – Camiguin
Another small island in the Bohol Sea is Camiguin. Its 241.44-square-kilometer land area has many shining lagoons, white beaches, and rugged volcanic terrains. Similar to Caramoan Islands, this is a great place for adventure-seekers who wish to live on an island in the Philippines.
Despite its size, what makes this island interesting is that it has more volcanoes for every square mile compared to other islands in the world. Activities you can enjoy here are water activities such as snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving. If you like adventures, you can enjoy trekking to jungle waterfalls and climbing volcanic summits.
11 – Malapascua Island
Located in the Visayan Sea and off the Cebu coast, Malapascua Island is great for scuba diving and snorkeling. Divers can see manta rays, pygmy seahorses, blue-ringed octopus, thresher sharks, and shipwrecks underneath.
Malapascua Island is gradually becoming more and more developed. Therefore, you can experience local fiestas or events on the island frequently. People who enjoy beach vacations will love staying in Mapalscua Island because of the palm trees found on the perimeter of the beaches.
12 – Bantayan
Bantayan is an isolated Visayan Sea island in the west of Cebu Island. You may consider living on this island in the Philippines because of its uncrowded and enchanting white beaches and laidback vibe. If you find lazy and quiet days relaxing, this is a great place as there are not many events on the island (https://www.zenrooms.com/blog/post/bantayan-island/).
Another aspect that makes the island laidback is the presence of a few cars. Exploring the island on a scooter is ideal. If you consider settling on this island, you can check Santa Fe. This little village has many bars and its own beach. You can also go snorkeling, food tripping, skydiving, and island hopping here.
13 – Mindoro
Mindoro is a wild island in the west-central Philippines that has not mainly been developed. Because it has a lot of preserved natural wonders underwater and on land, you can enjoy scuba diving experiences, exploring wildlife, and frolicking on the beaches.
The island is divided into 2 provinces by dense high rolling mountains. These provinces are Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental. The latter is more developed. Nevertheless, the whole island is perfect if you want to have a tropical escape. You can enjoy diving at Puerto Galera, snorkeling at Apo Reef, and experiencing the unique culture of the Mangyans.
14 – Malcapuya
You can reach Malcapuya by riding a boat for an hour from Coron Town in Palawan. Malcapuya is another one of the best islands to live in the Philippines because it will make you feel you are far from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can experience paradise on this island because of the bobbing boats, white beaches, crystal-clear waters, cashew trees, and coconut palms.
The main appeal of the island is how underdeveloped it is. You will not see any hotels here. Malcapuya is highly recommended if you love camping on a castaway island and lounging on traditional beach huts.
Which Philippines Island Is Best To Live For You?
The best island to live in in the Philippines will depend on your lifestyle. Each island of the Philippines has its own unique charm, and there are plenty of pros and cons geographically and financially.
For example, Boracay is a beautiful and fantastic option for many travelers and foreigners who wish to live in the Philippines on an island; however, due to the tourism from locals and international travelers, the total living expenses will likely be on the high end of the scale compared to other islands which are located around the Palawan areas, for example.
Nonetheless, one of the great things about living on an island in the Philippines is that most islands are situated close to other areas, many of which are highly accessible by local ferry or a quick boat trip.
Statistically speaking, the cost of living on the islands in the Philippines is much higher than in the cities. This is because a lot of produce needs to be shipped over, including daily living expenses and raw materials, but this is not always the case.
Some smaller islands in the Philippines that are less populated can provide a very cheap standard of living, but this again goes back to the individual lifestyle. For example, Western food prices may be much higher if you live on a small island. On the other hand, if you live on a much larger tourist island, there will likely be more competition and price differences.
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