Half of 2016 are already gone, a lot of adventures happened and many challenges have conquered for the last 6 months. And now that we only have 6 months left in 2016, let’s all make the most out of it. Be free, explore, challenge yourself, do things that you wanted to do because no one’s stopping you – only YOU can stop YOU.
So, to start the 2nd half of 2016, I go to Cagbalete Island with some friends to relax, unwind, to travel and have some fun. 😀
So here’s my Cagbalete Island: Travel Guide and Suggested Itinerary.
How to get there.
From Jack Liner Terminal in Kamias, Quezon City, ride a bus going to Mauban, Quezon. They only have 2 scheduled trips to Mauban, 4:30 am and 12:00nn, but they have 2 or 3 bus that will depart on that scheduled trip depending on the number of passengers.
Bus fare to Mauban – Php 270.00 / head
When in Mauban, you need to ride a tricycle to Mauban Port, wherein you need to register first and pay for the environmental fee.
Tricycle – Php 10.00/ head
Environmental Fee – Php 20.00 / head
Public Boat Ride – Php 50.00 / head (one way)
Public boat will start operating at 7am and last trip in the morning is 10am, they still have one public boat that will depart in the afternoon at 4pm.
Private Boat Ride – Php 2500.00 good for 6-8 heads (two way)
Once you are on the Island, you have the option to walk/trek to the beach resort where you are booked or ride a motorcycle or carabao.
Motorcycle ride – Php 40.00/head
Carabao ride – Php 200.00 good for 6-8 heads
How we get there? – Our experience in going to CAGBALETE
It took us more than 4 hours of bus ride, due to the 2 accidents that we saw along the way, that cause traffic and delays our arrival; we arrived almost 10am. When we arrived at Mauban port, after paying our environmental fee, the last public boat is already fully loaded and are about to depart. We do not dare to ride because we think it’s overloaded and the coast guard will not allow additional passengers for that boat. We have no choice but to rent a private boat, Php 2,000 good for 5 people and it’s already two ways. 😀
At Sabang port, our guide is already waiting for us; he’s a staff at Villa Cleofas, and he’s the one that gives us the option for a carabao ride, it was a nice ride though.
Accommodations / Resorts in the Island
There are 7 resorts in the Island; you can check TripAdvisor for a good rating resort or google otherwise.
We are booked in Villa Cleofas, because it’s one of the accommodations that is cheap but has good ratings. The accommodation is very beach in ambiance, as their rooms are like a cottage house made of woods and bamboos and people can choose if they want to use the tent. 😀
Cottage rental – Php 3,000.00 good for 6-8 heads
The Island has no electricity during the day; they use solar panel for electricity, they only activate it from 6pm to 6am.
The resort has a common kitchen for cooking, but every visitor has an option if they want to cook using gas stove or thru ‘uling’/grill.
Gas stove rental is Php 50 pesos for 30 minutes.
Our Villa Cleofas experience
The cottage is enough for 8 people, but small for 10. The hosts and staffs are very accommodating, but there are a lot of hidden charges, like the rental for eating utensils and the products that they’re selling are expensive. So if you will visit, bring your own food and eating utensils – you’ve been warned. 😀
On the weekend we went to CAGBALETE, the resort is fully booked, so we’re not able to own the whole resort facilities. Haha 🙂 But our cottage has some space before the next cottage, I can say that we had privacy and since we are a little bit loud during the night because of some card games, we’re happy that we did not cause disturbance to the other visitors. 😀
The place is also good for star gazing, as in! Just go out of your cottage, put some cloth in the sands and BANG, the stars are so beautiful, so close yet so far.
Food and Water
REMEMBER THIS! Bring your own food and water for a budget stay, because foods on the Island are way more expensive than the food you can buy in town or city.
You can buy foods that are easy to cook or ready to eat food.
Another thing that you need to bring is your own cooking utensils such as pan, casserole, etc. and eating utensils like plates, spoon, fork, cups or mugs. Why? Because you don’t want to spend on renting those things in the resort, it’s a bit expensive.
What to do in the Island?
They have different activities in Villa Cleofas that will be interesting to their visitors, activities like Banana Boat Ride, Kayaking, Jet Ski, and Island Hopping among others but some are seasonal.
We visited 1 month after summer, that’s why some of the activities are no longer available. But Island Hopping is not seasonal, so we were able to do it.
Island Hopping – Php 1,500.00 good for 6 heads
They have 3 destinations, (1) Cagbalete Sand Bar, (2) Coral Reefs Snorkeling and star fish party and (3) Bonsai Island for about 3 hours. I could say that your Php 1500.0 is worth spending for the Island Hopping. 😀
Our Island Hopping Experience
Being on a boat for a very long time is not fun at all, it’s scary like you might capsize anytime, but I feel secure because of the people I am with .haha But no, actually, I’m really not afraid because I have my life vest with me. 😀
Anyway, it took us 30 to 45 minutes on the boat just to reach the first destination; the CAGBALETE sand bar. The water is so clear and the sand is so powder-y plus the cool feeling of the water when you dip into it is so refreshing. We took some photos. No. Lot of photos to be correct. 😛 That part of the island has a lot of mangrove and there is this mangrove that is very picture friendly to all its visitors, as this tree is alone and a little far from the group of mangroves.
It’s not yet fully low tide when we arrived, so there are still some sands that are a little bit covered by water, but the boatmen says that when it’s really low tide the sand bar could reach up to 1-1.5 km wide (if I heard them right).
After some series of poses, we go for snorkeling. Our boat captain leads us to a place where there are a lot of corals and fishes that lives inside those corals. Sadly, we don’t have a water proof camera, so we’re not able to take photos of the fishes and the corals. 😦
As I said earlier, I am not afraid of deep water if I have my life vest. But when we go down from the boat for snorkeling, it’s a different thing. I got scared because of the wave; I don’t want to go far from the boat because I may not make it back there. I know how to swim though but cannot float on deep waters plus the wave that is against you, so I look to the corals with my goggles while holding on to the boat 😛
One of our companions in the boat − maybe the assistant boat captain, dive into the water to get some starfish, at first we are so hesitant to touch because we thought it will poison or sting our skin. Haha Seriously! But we end up having a star fish party. Now I know star fish won’t sting you! 😀 😀
Our next stop should be the Bonsai Island, we did stop on side of the Island but because we are already tired we just take a glance and walk towards our resort accommodation as our resort is just in front of this bonsai island and since it’s already low tide, we need to walk to our resort, because the boat can’t go too close to the shore anymore.
The pay is great and the experience is priceless. 🙂
Suggested Itinerary (2 days)
4:00 am – Meet up at Jack Liner Kamias QC
4:30 am – Departure to Mauban *normal travel time is 3 – 4 hours
8:30 am – Arrival at Mauban (go to Mauban port for registration and to pay environmental fee)
9:30 am – To Cagbalete Island via Public Boat *1 hour boat ride
10:30 am – Arrival at Sabang port (you have an option how you want to go to your chosen resort)
11:00 am – Early check in (normal time for check in is 12nn)
12:00 nn – Lunch
1:00 pm – Rest
2:00 pm – Walk to a small sand bar near Villa Cleofas
4:00 pm – Swimming
6:00 pm – Preparation for Dinner
7:00 pm – Dinner
9:00 pm – Free time *there are some teenagers who will go around the resorts to ask if you would like to watch a fire dance, they will dance in front of your house with a minimal fee.
6:00 am – Preparation for Island Hopping / Breakfast
6:30 am – Start Island Hopping
- Cagbalete Sandbar
- Bonsai Island
9:30 am – Go back to resort
11:00 am – Lunch
12:00 nn –Room Check out *you can stay in the resort lounge for 1-2 hours
2:00 pm – To Mauban Port
2:30 pm – To Mauban via Public boat *trip in the afternoon is at 3pm
4:00 pm – Arrival at Mauban (ride tricycle to Bus terminal)
*Jack Liner last trip to Manila is at 2pm, but you can ride a bus going to Lucban, there you can ride a bus to Manila that departs every hour
10:00 pm Estimated time of arrival in Cubao
Cagbalete may not be as stunning as the other Islands in the Philippines, but there is no doubt that it has its own charm that can capture your heart plus the Island is a complete paradise for adventurers and nature lovers.
See for yourself! ❤