Every summer has a story, and here’s ours.
Date: April 22-23, 2017
Location: Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon
Summer is always the best time to enjoy a long, well-deserved vacation, go for an island hopping, appreciate the beauty of nature and is the best time to go somewhere we haven’t been before.
Trying out and discovering something new always makes our hearts flutter and always gives us the adrenaline that we crave for!
To beat the summer heat, Madj and I, together with our college friends, went to have a quick getaway in Cagbalete Island, located in Mauban, Quezon.
Cagbalete Island is one of the jewels of Quezon Province. It is a 1,640-hectare property located in Lamon Bay, fronting the Pacific Ocean. It is a paradise surrounded with white sand that is well-exposed during low tide. Needless to say, it is a complete haven for adventure and nature lovers.
We’ve heard numerous good feedbacks from our friends and officemates who have been here before (not to mention the blogs we’ve read); thus, deciding to get here this summer was the easiest decision to make.
What’s more exciting was Madj’s birthday falls under the summer season as well. This was a sweet excuse to have a summer getaway-slash-birthday celebration.
(Madj was born on April 20, and we celebrated it at our favorite go-to Korean buffet restaurant in Makati, Matgalne Korean Buffet. I posted our birthday celebration video on our YouTube account. Please do check it out.)
This Cagbalete Island escapade is also considered as Madj’s birthday adventure. So, how did her birthday adventure go? Please read our complete adventure below.
Manila to Cagbalete Island
We arrived at the South Station Terminal in Alabang at five o’clock in the morning. Unfortunately, we lost the chance of riding the first trip going to Lucena. So, to kill time and to save ourselves from famish, we took our breakfast first while waiting for the next trip.
From Alabang to Lucena Grand Central Terminal, the estimated travel time is 3-4 hours. It’s 109 km. away from Alabang. Best thing to do while on a long trip? S L E E P.
(There are other options you may choose from to reach Lucena – you can either ride a bus from Buendia, Cubao or Alabang. There are also helpful blogs that offer a detailed guide to Cagbalete Island. You may click the following links for more help: thejerny, awanderfulsole, thelostkids.)
In our case, we came all the way from the South, so we took the Alabang route going to Lucena.
Tip: JAC Liner – Cubao and Buendia Terminals have direct trips to Mauban. Just check out the scheds.
Upon arrival at the Grand Central Terminal in Lucena, we headed directly to the bus terminal going to Mauban Port.
Mauban Port is an hour and a half away from Lucena Bus Terminal. Ordinary bus ride is the cheapest way you may take going to Mauban.
When we reached Mauban Port, we rented a tricycle going to the Mauban Public Market and to the Tourist Registration Center. You may choose to either walk or to ride a tricycle going to the market because this is only a few blocks away from the Port. Since we had lots of bags, we chose to ride a tricycle. This cost us Php10.00 each person (roundtrip), and since we were six (6), we paid Php60.00.
As required by the Department of Tourism in Cagbalete, we needed to register and pay an environmental fee of Php50.00. Glad that when we arrived at the Mauban Port, the ferry, which has a capacity of 70-80 persons, would depart in a few minutes. It seemed that we were the last group who arrived before the ferry departed. Thank God we needed to hire a private boat (which costs more than 3 times this ferry ride) no more!
Yes! We made it! The travel time was just an hour, reaching Cagbalete Island. Fortunately, it was shorter than we expected. Even before the ferry finally docked, the sight of the sea already made us so eager to dive in and swim. The water was so clear and green, the sand oh so fine, and the long stretch of island with multiple sandbars was so enticing.
From Cagbalate Tourism Port, you got two options, either ride a habal-habal (back-ride motorcycle) which costs Php50.00/person or ride a roundtrip boat which costs Php600.00 for 6-8 persons.
Before this trip, my friend Jack already reserved a room and a tent at Villa Cleofas Resort.
From the above mentioned options, we opted to ride a roundtrip boat. We got a heavy baggage because of our groceries, packed lunch, and heavy backpacks, so we needed transportation that would carry all our baggage without any hassle. A few minutes from the Port, we arrived at Villa Cleofas Resort safely. Thanks to Kuya Adonis, Sedfrey (Kuya Adonis’s son) and Bumbay (Kuya Adonis’ son’s friend) for the quick and safe ride.
Woaah! We’re here! Chow time!
Our Stay in Cagbalete Island
We arrived at Villa Cleofas Resort at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. (For the complete and actual itinerary, please refer to the bottom of this blog post)
Villa Cleofas Resort was the place where we stayed overnight. Good thing about this resort is it has its own sandbar named as “Pulong Ibon Sandbar.”
Got hungry from our looong trip. Very glad that we were able to eat immediately. Thanks to Emdi who brought our lunch – adobong puti and of course, Asians, plain rice. Grazi to her father as well for helping prepare the food!
After the much-needed meal, it’s now time to cook for dinner! We bought the following at the Mauban Port Market:
- 1 1/2 kilo Bangus
- 1/2 kilo Tilapia,
- 1/2 kilo hotdog
- 3 kilo rice
- itlog Pula and kamatis
- calamansi, sili, and sibuyas
- paper plates, disposable spoon and forks, and cups.
- 1.5 soft drinks
Tip: Bring your own food or buy at the Mauban Public Market. There will be no available convenience store in the area and the price is too expensive.
We had everything we needed except for kitchen utensils, so we requested for paluto as per the blogs we’ve read. Php200.00 for paluto + additional Php50 for kawali rentals. However, it was a total disappointment when we learned that Villa Cleofas Resort couldn’t accommodate all the paluto requests we had. They seemed to prioritize their own catering services, which was understandable.
So, we looked for other ways. Luckily, Ms. Grace and Ms. Dennise found a public lutuan around the resort. We asked help from the locals. (Always pays a lot to ask) Ate Leini, the halo-halo vendor lent us their kawali and other kitchen utensils, and things got a little bit easier.
One of the perks of traveling with smart people? You’ll never get home hungry. *wink*
While preparing our food, our cravings for something cold got real intense. *The struggle was real*
Good thing there’s a halo-halo kiosk near the public lutuan.
All set and cooked!
We’re drooling already but I guess there’s time for everything, so we spent the next few hours appreciating the island especially Pulong Ibon Sandbar.
Here are some of our snapshots:
After dinner, we had a chance to see the fire dance show at the resort. It started at exactly 8 o’clock in the evening and lasted for around 15 minutes.
We thought that we could have a good snapshot of the sunrise but unfortunately, the rain poured down heavily with a bit of lightning. We felt saddened for a moment but when we asked our bangkero, Kuya Adonis, he said that it would only last an hour and the sun would soon rise. And he’s right!
“Without rain nothing grows, learn to embrace the storms of your life.”
No time to waste! We only had a few hours left and we still haven’t strolled the long stretch of Cagbalete Island. Time to prepare and pack our things for our most awaited activity – THE ISLAND HOPPING!
After a cup of joe and pandesal, we packed our things up and wore our swimming attire.
For the island hopping, group of 8, we paid Php1,900.00 and here are the activity inclusions:
- Explore the beauty of the largest sandbar in this island, Yang-in Sandbar.
- Snorkel and feed the fish at the Centro Snorkeling Site
- See the mangrove trees located near the Yang-in Sandbar
- Close encounter with the starfish and sea urchins at the Pansacola Starfish Beach
- Tour around Bonsai Island located right in front of Villa Cleofas Resort
- Tour around Pulong Ibon Sandbar in Villa Cleofas Resort
- Goggles Rental for 8 persons only
Aside from the fact that this is the largest sandbar in the island, this place was, by far, the most romantic place we’ve visited in Cagbalete Island. Wanna know why? Check out the photos below. Thank you Jack for these lovely photos.
Mangrove Trees Area
The closest thing about mangrove that I had before this trip was that of the topic I encountered in my high school Biology class. This time, I got a closer look and even had the chance to touch the mangrove trees! How awesome was that?!
This is the spot where the famous lone mangrove tree is located. Sadly, we haven’t got the chance to snap a photo with it. Do you think this photo of Madj with this mangrove(?) could suffice? HAHA!
Snorkeling & Fish Feeding
Time to get wet. This was our chance to see Cagbalete Island’s famous marine biodiversity. We experienced it at the Centro Snorkeling Site near Sabang Port.
To tell you honestly, we expected fish (the normal ones. Hehe) but not a LOT of starfish in Cagbalete Island!
Starfish & Sea Urchins Viewing
After snorkeling and fish feeding, we headed directly to Pansacola Starfish Beach, right in front of Pansacola Beach Resort.. This place was the best place to snorkel because of the naturally clear blue water. If we get another chance to visit Cagbalete Island, we would definitely stay at Pansacola Beach Resort.
As the name implies, this Bonsai Island is the smallest and shortest island in Cagbalete Island. Aside from the Pulong Ibon Sandbar, this cute little island was our view from the resort we stayed in.
Last Stop : Pulong Ibon Sandbar
This island was the last stop of our island hopping. This sandbar is at its best when it’s low tide and uncrowded.
Have a quick look of our travel video in Cagbalete Island :
Woooah! We really can’t put into words how much we enjoyed our Cagbalete Island Adventure. The long journey was all worth it. Cagbalete Island had so much to offer and this island brought us lots of good memories together.
We’d like to thank each and every person who also made this birthday adventure a memorable one.
To our good friends, Jack and Emdi, this adventure won’t be as enjoyable without the both of you. We did catch up, and that’s all we ever needed, right? We really couldn’t remember the last time we had this kind of kulitan and kuwentuhan. Tagal na rin! Years had passed, but nothing changed, aside from our clothing size, I guess? Siguro after 10 years, kapag nagkakuwentuhan tayo ulit tunkol sa una nating island hopping, eto yung una nating maaalala. Thank you for the support and the love you show us of our travels and adventures. We know this will not be the last! Till our next adventure Jack & Emdi.
To our not-so-busy friend Claire, though you didn’t make it until the date of our adventure, we still wish to thank you for being part of the planning process. Thank you for the participation. Sa susunod, kasama ka na ah!
To Ms. Grace, Ms. Dennise, Cucai and Kristelle, who have been part of the Cagbalete Squad, thank you for the great company! You guys are memorable!
To our kind and accommodating boatman Kuya Adonis, thank you! We will definitely recommend you to our family and friends.
They say all good things come to an end! But if the memories are this good, I am pretty sure they will last longer than a lifetime!
Few Tips :
- Book a reservation to your desired resort as early as possible. Most of the rooms and resorts are already fully booked. Aside from Villa Cleofas Resort, there’s Doña Choleng and Pansacola Beach Resort. If we had a chance to book earlier, we might have a reservation at Doña Choleng or Pansacola Beach Resort.
- Always ask for the schedule of each mode of transportation you may use to avoid delay. Contact Raul (0907-173-9016) for the available resorts, and he’ll be happy to assist you.
- Contact Kuya Adonis (0912-445-6828) if you like to go island hopping. Trust me, island hopping will be the best decision you’d make in Cagbalete Island!
Cagbalete Island 2 Days and 1 Night Itinerary:
0510AM – ETA Alabang South Station Terminal
0530AM – ETD Alabang South Station Terminal to Lucena Grand Central Terminal (Dela Rosa Bus)
0900AM – ETA Lucena Grand Central Terminal
0915AM – Board at the Old School Bus at Lucena Grand Central Terminal
1000AM – ETD Going to Mauban Port
1145PM – ETA Mauban Port
1150AM – Tricycle Ride to Mauban Wet Market
1230PM – ETA Mauban Port Tourism Office
1245PM – ETD Public Ferry to Cagbalete Sabang Port
0135PM – ETA Cagbalete Sabang Port
0155PM – ETD Cagbalete Sabang Port to Villa Cleofas Resort
0210PM – ETA Villa Cleofas Resort
0240PM – Rest and Prepare for Lunch
0400PM – Start to Cook for Dinner
0530PM – Photo Ops Sandbar in Villa Cleofas Resort
0700PM – Back to Room & Prepare for Dinner
0745PM – End of Dinner and Rest
0800PM – Start of Fire Dancing
0815PM – End of Fire Dancing & Wash up
0900PM – Free Time
1100PM – Lights off
0430AM – Wake-up Call
0500AM – Start Raining in the Island
0730AM – Start of Island Hopping
0815AM – ETA Cagbalete Tourism Office or Sabang Port
0900AM – ETA Yang-in Sandbar and Mangrove Area
0930AM – ETD Mangrove Area
1000AM – Snorkeling and Fish Feeding at Centro Snorkeling Site
1045AM – End of Snorkeling
1100AM – ETA Pansacola Starfish Beach
1145AM – ETA Bonsai Island & Pulong Ibon Sandbar
1230PM – Back to room & lunch
0130PM – Wash-up
0220PM – ETD Villa Cleofas to Sabang Port
0330PM – ETD Sabang Port to Mauban Port
0415PM – ETA Gat Uban Park
0500PM – ETD of Van to Lucena Grand Central Terminal
0600PM – ETA Lucena Grand Central Terminal
0630PM – ETD Going to Buendia / Alabang
1100PM – Home Bound
Cagbalete Island Expenses:
Day 1 Expenses
Tricycle Service from House to Alabang = 60 for 2
Steamed Noodles for breakfast, mineral water and sago’t gulaman = 120 for 2
Bus from Alabang to Lucena Grand Central Terminal = 360 for 2
Ordinary bus fare from Lucena Grand Central Terminal to Mauban Port = 108 for 2
Chip-in for food for 2days = 400 for 2
Tricycle Service to Mauban Port / Tourism Office = 24 for 2
Payment for Boat Ride to Cagbalete = 200 for 2
Payment for Tourism Registration = 100 for 2
Gulaman = 20 for 2
Back and forth Sabang Port to Villa Cleofas = 200 for 2
Day 2 Expenses
Island Hopping good for 8 persons = 475 for 2 | 1900 for 8
Room Rental Fee = 800 for 2 | 2400 for 6
Paluto + Kitchen Utensils Rental = 250
Coffee & Pandesal = 75
Payment for ferry ride from Cagbalete Tourism Office to Mauban Port = 200 for 2
Merienda (Habhab , Fishball, C2 , Mountain Dew) = 50 for 2
Van transfer from Mauban Port to Lucena = 160 for 2
Bus transfer from Lucena Grand Central Terminal to Buendia = 420 for 2
Halo – halo = 80 for 2
Pasalubong (Yema cake, espasol, and cheesecake) = 280
Bus food (Pagong Bread) = 35
Total Budget for 2 persons in a group of 8 = 4417.00
Total budget per pax based on our expenses = 2208.5
Kuya Adonis : Bangkero
Halo-Halo ni Leini & Sergio Dumaran sa Villa Cleofas
Jerome : Island Hopping Organizer
Tonet of Villa Cleofas
Raul B. Gamitin
Cagbalete Island TIC Coordinator
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