January is still a cold month here in the Philippines but nothing can stop me and my boyfriend on going for a beach because January 25th is our anniversary. ❤
This year, we decided to go to Cagbalete Island. Why did we choose it? Well, because we are on a tight budget and we have heard a lot of good comments about the place! 🙂
If you are already thinking where to go for a summer vacation, I highly suggest this majestic place.
Cagbalete is in the vicinity of Mauban, Quezon, which is southeast from Manila. It would take you atleast 6 hours to travel there from Manila. Going there is easy. Me and my boyfriend took the 2 am first scheduled bus trip of Jac Liner going to Lucena Grand Central so we can catch the first boat ride at Mauban Port. Bus fare is 218 php each. (There is also a bus route at Jac Liner straight to Mauban but first trip is by 5 am.) The bus left by 2:18 am.
screenshot from my phone’s “maps” application
Most of the carenderias are open
We arrived at Lucena Grand Central a minute before 5 am. If you are hungry, you can eat on the carenderias open.
Because I know we would starve along the way, me and my boyfriend took our breakfast at Lucena Grand.
As we finished our meal, we immediately looked for the bus bound Mauban and took our seats. Fare is at 54 php per person. If you are not used to riding ordinary bus, sorry, only ordinary buses are available for the Mauban route. No worries, the view is great plus there is no pollution. 🙂 The bus left at 5:45 am and we arrived at Mauban by 7:03 am. No traffic!
Here’s the meal we ordered.
Fried Talong – 20 php for 5 pcs
Tinapa – 7 php
Rice – 15 php
Mami – 30 php
*You will pass by Tayabas’ National Cultural Treasure, Malagonlong Bridge , a stone arch bridge and one of the oldest bridges (136 meters) built during Spanish Period.
As we alight the bus at Mauban Terminal, tricycle drivers were already waiting. These tricycles will take you to Mauban Port. The fare is 20 php
and that is for a special trip already.
It was a quick tricycle ride, we reached Mauban Port at 7:15 am. Locals will lead you to an office where you need to pay for the environmental fee which is 50 php per person. The weather is not good, it’s raining, so I am already afraid if boats were allowed to sail during that day. But the officials there assured me that boats will be able to sail.
There are 2 scheduled boat rides going to Sabang Port from Mauban Port. One is by 9 am and the second is by 12 noon. I wanted to catch the first trip the reason why I took the 2 am bus ride of Jac Liner. 🙂 Plus, I’ll get to enjoy the beach more. Hahaha. We waited for an hour and 15 mins and ohla! The boat came!
The boat can carry more or less 150 persons
There will be someone who shall collect the boat fare which is 50 php each. The boat left by 10 am and as I told you the weather is not good so it took us 2 hours before arriving to Cagbalete Island. Thanks to Kapitan we arrived safely. 🙂
Note: As you arrive at Sabang Port, you will be transferred to a smaller boat to be able to reach the shore. Don’t worry, it’s free!
Locals of the island are already waiting for you when you arrive at the port. They are mostly kids who will help you carry your bags (don’t forget their tip! After all, your bags are heavy. :-p ). Jo and Angelo helped us with ours and also served as our tour guides on going to the resort which I’ve made reservations. This is when the fun starts. I chose Dona Choleng Camping Resort
because they have cheaper rates and also, Ma’am Maybel dearly replies to all my queries when I was inquiring about their resort. (Hehehe. I ask a lot of questions.)If you are going here on summer, I suggest you do a reservation (requires downpayment) because even if it’s January (not part of the peak season), almost all the nipa huts are taken. Here is the link of Dona Choleng’s website so you could check their rates: http://www.donacholeng.com/OTHER RESORTS:
MVT Sto. Nino
Pansacola Beach Resort
Villa Noe Beach Resort
Joven Blue Sea Beach Resort
Okay, as I have said, this is when the fun starts. Because of the rain, going to the resort will make you pass an “obstacle course”. Hehe. Jo an Angelo told us that there is a swamp on our way due to the rain last night and just that morning.. It’s a bit of a long 10-15 minute walk. But it’s okay!
You won’t mind the long walk because your tour guides have lots of stories about the place. I also ask them questions about the resort and Jo and Angelo always has good points to share.
…and at last. We reached this heaven place. I immediately told myself it was a good choice booking in this resort. The “feels” of the province is here. Most of the rooms are nipa huts which as we all know are the native houses of our ancestors. Dona Choleng is a new resort in Cagbalete Island so as we came, there are still facilities that are being developed.
We then proceeded to the reception so we could pay for my arranged reservation for the Bali Hut. I didn’t get to see Ma’am Maybel, it was Sir Ting who accommodated us during the check in. He’s so polite. 🙂
Bali Huts usually costs 2,000 php per night, you’ll also pay for the entrance fee on the resort which costs 100php. Check in is 1:00 pm (but you can check in anytime during non-peak season). It’s really cold that’s why I picked the Bali Hut instead of the Open Bali Hut (1,000 php per night). There is a generator on the resort and electricity [during our visit] is available at 6pm to 6am.
After bringing our bags in the hut, me and my boyfriend Budjie then went to the restaurant to ask what are the available foods. Seriously, I was expecting there would be seafoods (because I heard a lot about it) but as the cook said, there are no available seafoods because fishermen can’t go on sailing using their small boats. 😦 Haaayyyy. I just ordered tocilog and Budjie ordered tapsilog, each costs 100 php. It’s yummy, I even requested for tomatoes with salt. 🙂 Thanks to the cook!
*If you are going to bring foods to cook, you can ask for the use of their gasul, you just have to pay for it. You can also use uling if you want.Now is the time to wander…
great place to stay ❤
Yes, it’s lowtide… But actually I liked it! Imagine how long I was able to walk before reaching the sea. Scary? Nope! Rare experience! 🙂 I love the white sand beach!
i just can’t get enough!
After the long walk and enjoying the low tide, having chit chats with Budjie while sitting on the shore, I took my siesta. 🙂 When I woke up, I ordered Sinigang na Baboy for dinner (it’s cheap!Yey!). And slept again… Hahahaha!
1 serving of sinigang na baboy is for 60 php only
The next day is an answered prayer, the weather is okay and the sun is already peeping. So what’s next? Of course! I went on swimming! Yey!
Each Bali Huts has designated comfort rooms. It’s clean. 😀
I super enjoyed this experience! Dona Choleng is a beautiful resort 🙂 People are so helpful. Bidding goodbye to the place is so hard, yet I know I would come back next time. [And I hope I’ll be able to try the seafoods served on my next visit!] Me and Budjie started packing our things at 10 am because one of the personnel on the boat told us to go at the pampang of Sabang Port by 11:30 am so there won’t be a chance of being left by the boat. Lucky enough we were the first ones to have a seat. Travel by boat only took us 40 mins because the sea is calm already due to the good weather.
*2 boat rides are scheduled on going back to Mauban Port, one is by 7am and the other is at 1pm.
kuya who told us to be early
Heading home is just the same as how you went to Mauban except that you won’t pay for the environmental fee anymore. Hehehe!
The catch: Leaving Cagbalete by afternoon will make you face traffic going back to Manila from Lucena Grand. Don’t worry there is a stop over this time so you could pee. 🙂 Be patient! After all, your stay at Cagbalete Island is an amazing experience!