If you’re planning to go to a white empty beach outside Manila this weekend with only less than ₱3,000 in your pocket, consider Cagbalete Island. The road less traveled is always the most rewarding one, and the road to this island seems to be hardly (but not really) traveled at all.
HOW TO GET THERE?
- Bus. You can ride any bus going to Lucena Grand Terminal and ride another bus going to Mauban, Quezon. But if you want to save time and money, JAC Liner (Cubao Terminal) got a trip going directly to Mauban. There are only 2 trips daily (4am and 1:00pm) I suggest you to take the 4am trip. Travel time is around 4 hours and bus fare around ₱270
- When you reach Mauban, ride a tricycle going to Mauban Port. You can ask the driver to take you to the market before going to the port. Buy food and budget your meals wisely! Tricycle fare is ₱10/person and ₱50 if special.
- Pay ₱50 environmental fee at Mauban Port and ₱70 for the public boat ride going to Sabang Port. Travel time is around 45 minutes. If you miss the 10 am public boat ride going to Cagbalete Island, you may wait for the afternoon trip at around 3 or 4pm. But there are private boats that can take you there (they prized higher of course!)
- When you reached Sabang port, you can walk to your resort for about 1.5 kilometers. It’s fun!
WHERE TO STAY?
- Doña Choleng Camping Resort
- Villa Noe Resort
- Villa Cleofas Resort
- Joven’s Blue Sea Beach Resort
- Pansacola Beach Resort
- MVT Sto. Niño Resort
This trip is probably one of the cheapest that I had so far. We left Cubao via bus at around 4:30am and reached Cagbalete Island before lunch 11:00am. I was supposed to go with five friends but I don’t know what happened it ended up with me, Jullius and Alfie. And it was very funny though, Jullius wasn’t able to wake up to his alarm so before we missed the 4:00am bus to Mauban, me and Alfie just went anyway because we have been waiting and calling Jullius for chrissakes.
After 1.5 hours while inside the bus bound to Quezon, we received a text from Jullius that he was very sorry and he was on his way! I laughed and replied back “See you on the island!” and then I went back to sleep because I’ve been awake for quite some time. I wasn’t sure what’s going to happen because I didn’t make a lot of research about Cagbalete Island but all I know that it was going to be fun. When we reached Mauban, we rode a tricycle to the market to buy supplies like foods and water good for 3 days and 2 nights because it’s cheaper than buying supplies in the island. We then took the public boat ride going to the destination!
As we pull up to the shore of Sabang, locals welcomed us and one of them asked us if we have a resort already. I made arrangements to stay at Dona Choleng Resort so me and Alfie walked for about 15 minutes. When we reached our resort, I am impressed how wide, clean and empty the beach there. I remember while waiting for our lunch, we sat in one of the beach chairs and realized that we were the only guests in that resort. It was a very beautiful feeling when you just want to go away, you know; an empty beach is always so good to the soul.
We walked around in that part of the island, talked with locals, and swam all afternoon. I love the people there. Locals would go around the beach and sell you hand-picked fruits, fresh seafoods, delicacies, and even if you refused to buy, they will still smile at you and ask you how did your day went and give you ideas about the island. Very courteous.
The power supply in Cagbelete island is from 6:00pm to 6:00am only. You can bring your power banks and I mean the signal is pretty nice in the island but, how about try to disconnect from it for a little while, why not right? I did bring books and turned off my cellular data. Not that I want to have me-time while I’m with my friends, but to just clear off my mind while they are having their siestas under our hut. I like it a lot when it’s just like 1 in the afternoon but you feel it’s already 4, and you lay there in front of the Pacific Ocean and just go on with your day. It’s pretty much one of my favorite parts when I’m away.
We get drunk that night! The sound of the waves, the clear skies of the Pacific, the smell of the sea all around me. I wasn’t very drunk but I was in the state of tipsiness where everything was just nice and inspiring.
The next day, we rose up early to watch the sunrise and one of the cooks in the resort invited us for breakfast. I recommend swimming in the morning because the tide is low during afternoons at Cagbalete Island. After we had our lunch that day, we went to Bonsai Island by walking through the sand bars. This place is only visible from lunch time until afternoon because it’s low tide.
It was a fun day. Beach front vibe was fun that night because there were a lot of people who were very laid back. You know that scene, lots of tents, bonfires, guitars and beers.
After we checked out, the owner of the resort offered to accompany us going back to Sabang by using their shuttle so we won’t have to trek under the sun. Thank you! Sadly, we missed the passenger boat going back to Mauban port. But thankfully we met a local that has a private boat and offered us a very great deal.
It was a scary 45-minute while on the way back to Mauban Port. The waves were high about 5-6 feet ! I was trying to sleep but I will never forget the faces of my friends!
Back at Mauban, we rode a tricycle going to the vans bound to Lucena Grand Terminal. We ate late lunch before boarding the bus back to Manila. My body was tired when I lay down on my bed that night but my mind was refreshed and inspired. What a fun weekend we had!
P.S. I spent around ₱2,500 for the whole trip (3 days 2 nights) please send me a Facebook message if you have other questions. Have fun!