When you get to The Philippines you realize just how many islands that you can visit. One of the best ways to do this is to rent a boat from one of the many companies around. One company I tried twice was Islands Banca tours.
The first trip I took was out to North Sandbar. The boat was split between 18 of us and worked out to $26(800 php) each. Roughly 2 hours away it’s by the nicest place I’ve seen in the world. Prettier than Hawaii, and less crowded than Thailand. The boat ride itself is a lot of fun, you bring your own drinks and food so there aren’t extra fees for that.
You do have to negotiate how many ice coolers you are getting on your boat though. They tried to tell us we were only getting one cooler on my second trip with them! With 18-20 peoples worth of drinks and a 39 degree day, 1 ice cooler won’t hack it. Get this in writing!
North sandbar is a sand bar, where they pull up and you can just sit in the middle of the ocean. As the tide rises or lowers there is more or less sand. The water is crystal clear and perfect with the blasting warmth of the sun in the Philippines. It’s just you and ocean for miles. Another trip that you can take is a cruise of the myriad of islands around mactan. This option is around $10 ($300 php) per person. It’s cool you can rent the boat starting at $100 ($3000).
Both times on these island trips of yours, you are going from early morning till late afternoon. There’s no set departure time, more of an estimate because you are sharing a boat. Both times other passengers were over an hour late showing up at the dock. You can always book your own boat but then the cost is similarly up to you. If it’s a choice between the two trips I’d recommend going to North sandbar, it’s prettier and more than worth it. The islands around Mactan also charge you additional docking fees of $2 (php) per person. And they are far more crowded with other boats. Either way though you’ll love the ocean I saw flying fish, dolphins and I swear a manta ray.