I know you’re also looking for an island weekend getaway. And being older and smarter like we are 🙂 , we’re done with crowd and beach parties right? We just want to be in a laidback and calm beach, enjoy and relax.
Well, you don’t need to go to Batangas for the Nth time for an amazing experience near Metro Manila, because there is a hidden jewel in Mauban, Quezon – the beautiful Cagbalete Island.
This 1,640 hectare island is home of pristine beach and sandbar with diverse ecosystem. Before the summer ends, the amazing friends we’ve met in Calaguas invited us for another beach escapade, and this time there were more new friends for us! 🙂
CAGBALETE: HOW TO GET THERE
From Manila, one bus company will take you directly to Mauban, Quezon and that is Jac Liner Bus! So as early as 4Am we were already at the Cubao station of Jac Liner to catch the 5AM schedule bound to Mauban. Fare is about Php 270. If you miss the early morning bus, the next trip to Mauban is on 12 noon.
If that happens,and you need to be in Mauban early in the morning, just ride the bus going to Lucena Bus Terminal (Php 210), and there you’ll find buses going to Mauban for Php 50. The drop off point is the Mauban Public Market.
If you take the direct route the last stop is the Jac Liner terminal in Mauban and you’ll need to ride another tricycle (Php 10) going to Mauban Market.
The port is near the market, just a few meter walk. All travelers are required to pay Php 50 environmental fee and register. It was also a chance for us to rest after the 5 hour trip.
But we need to hurry up. The public boat going to Cagbalete was scheduled to depart that morning at about 10am, depending on how fast it will be filled with passengers. Instead of walking we rode a tricycle (Php 10) going to the port. Luckily, we made it! The boat was huge, able to accommodate quite a lot of passengers.
If you miss this morning trip, there are private boats that you can rent and bring you directly to your resort, just coordinate with the Local Tourism Office of Mauban. Fare depends on the number of passengers. Small boat for 4 people is about Php 2,000 while the bigger boats cost Php 4,000.
After about 45 minute boat ride, we’ve finally reached Cagbalete Island. The port is called Sabang Port.
And since it was low tide the boat was unable to dock near the beach, so a few meters from the port, a raft (like a mini-boat) will fetch the passengers and bring them near the port. That should be the case, but before the raft could even reach us, a number of “bangkeros” with their motor boats flocked to us and offered a ride directly to our resort, Dona Choleng.
They told us that the resort was a long tiring walk from the port that it was better to ride the boat. We were caught by surprise! Everyone was talking and offering, even the people from the public boat were telling us to decide fast because they need to unload the boat fast. To cut it short, we were pressured. LOL! and we didn’t know what was going on it was like a chaos, so we gave in for Php 550 fare for eleven of us. That’s Php 50 each.
Almost all the passengers mostly tourists were also convinced. Not to mention, we all endured the balancing act as we transferred to another boat. We were okay, but this can be terrifying to some.
It was another bumpy boat ride passing through the long shore of Cagbalete until we reached Dona Choleng Resort.
Again, since it was low tide, the boat could only bring us at a certain part of the sea. Yes it was like we were in the middle of the sea, like a hundred meters more from the shore. We all had no choice but to walk going to the beach.
At first, we were excited, but as we went on we then realized it was tiring LOL!
The good part about it was to experience the rich marine life of the sea. But nah! I didn’t actually entertain the idea of sea creatures and organisms there as we wade into the water. It wasn’t fun anymore. LOL!
At the resort, the staff were surprised to know that we arrived from the sea. LOL! They told us that the resort was just a few meter walk from the port, and they even have a shuttle to transport us.
We were all like… “WHAT?!” LOL!
We took a deep breath, remained calm and said, “Where is the lunch?!” LOL! We availed the package meals from Dona Choleng Resort. Food was served after a few minutes. We ate and then we were okay. LOL! Charged to experience. 🙂
So if you’re going to travel to Cagbalete, you know what to do – go for the raft to bring you to the port and walk your way to the resort, better and more convenient.
But then again despite the little inconvenience, Cagbalete is beautiful. No questions.
It is peaceful, laidback… an experience you definitely need if you want to escape from the hustle of the city especially the stress of the traffic.
That afternoon, we hired the same boatmen (yes we forgive and forget fast!) for an island-hopping experience. The first stop, the popular sandbars of Cagbalete. This beauty is only visible during low tide at around 12 noon to 4pm.
Part of the island hopping tour is the snorkeling. At that time, there was a low pressure area (LPA) coming, so the weather wasn’t cooperative. But still, we tried it, and to cap it off, the snorkeling was a failure. Because of the big waves, the snorkeling activity was seemed like a rescue operation LOL! of people who tried to snorkel but couldn’t take the huge waves.
We were like, “we’re trying our best to get close to the boat, but we ain’t movin’.” LOL!
The best of Cagbalete can be experienced in the morning. People can swim because it’s not low tide, but for us (Eloi and I) it was a chance to just walk on this long beautiful beach, have some good laughs and take some pictures.
Travel Tips to Cagbalete
- Bring lots of water especially during summer!
- Electricity on the entire island is only available from 6AM to 6PM. For some resorts they use generators to extend the electricity until 12 midnight.
- If you’re on a budget, resorts are offering tents for rent for Php 400 to Php 500 per night. Better avail this during summer. If you go there during rainy season, you know what to do, get a room. 🙂
- Swimming time is best enjoyed early in the morning while it’s high tide (or late in the afternoon)
- There’s no loud party or sound system during the night on the entire island.
- Be mindful of the boat schedule in Cagbalete and also the bus schedules of Jac Liner (4AM and 2PM) in Mauban.
- You have the option to bring your own food and cook there, but resorts are also offering package meals. Just contact them ahead of time.
- There are a lot of adventure and activities to do in Cagbalete Island – like swimming, island hopping, snorkeling, camping, playing frisbee or volleyball, watching the sunrise and sunset and even bird watching.
- It is better to do it the DIY way. But there are also some options for tour packages. Just search online.
- It’s better to experience Cagbalete on a weekend 2D1N. Not that fun if you want to do it for day tour.
Where to Stay in Cagbalete?
We stayed at Dona Choleng resort. One of the best in Cagbalete in terms of rooms and amenities. Will create a blog review soon. You may check the room rates and book here (Dona Choleng)
Here are some of the hotels, resorts and accommodation to check out if you plan to experience Cagbalete.
Villa Cleofas – Contact: 09178395852 / 09178143475 – Contact Person: Tess Reyeg – Email: email@example.com – Website : www.cagbalete.net
Pansacola Beach Resort – 09175465901 /09285058633 – www.facebook.com/pansacolabeachresort
MVT Sto. Nino Resort – 09175621106 – Contact Person: Theresa Virrey / Website: mvtstoninoresort.net
Villa Noe Beach Resort – 9292176971 /09052054348 /09095241773 – Website: www.villanoe.com
Cagbalete Island Itinerary
Travel to Cagbalete
Arrival at Cagbalete Island
Tour to the Sandbar
Back to Resort
Beach Bumming in the morning
Back to Mauban and Manila
For more details about the latest weather condition on the island, check Accuweather here.
Going Back to Manila
From Cagbalete Island, there are two scheduled public boat going to Mauban at around 7AM and 1PM. We were able to catch the 1PM schedule. At last, we were able to experience the raft or mini-boat that took us to the big motor boat going to mainland Quezon province.
Once you get to Mauban be sure to catch the Jac Liner buses going to Manila, schedule is 4AM and 2PM.
Verdict for Cagbalete
The best thing about traveling is its spontaneity, no matter how you plan it, there are still some problems that may arise along the way. But what’s important is we learn from it, we grow.
And all in all, Cagbalete is peaceful and beautiful. This is perfect for those who want to just enjoy and relax, not minding about work and the stress of the city.
Batangas or Zambales? I know you’ve explored them enough. Do something different. Go to Cagbalete. Make your weekend more memorable.
Cagbalete Island Map
More island beaches in the Philippines below