It was during our extended New Year’s Day celebration when my friend Ruby said one of her 2020 goals was to experience camping by the beach – marshmallows, bonfire, tent, waves, starry skies. Cagbalete Island comes to mind when considering a not expensive weekend trip on a white sand beach somewhere near Manila.
Below is our expenses during our Cagbalete Island experience.
|BUS Manila – Lucena – Manila||514|
|VAN Lucena – Mauban – Lucena||130|
|BOAT Mauban Port – Sabang Port – Mauban Port||200|
|AC Room Accommodation (1000 / 5 pax)||200|
|Pansacola Beach Day Tour||200|
|Trike around Mauban||60|
|Foods and Baon||500|
To maximize this experience, the group should depart Manila by 2 or 3AM. Since some of us work the night shift, this is not possible. By leaving at 10AM, we could still catch up the last boat which departs at 4PM. We were at DLTB bus terminal few minutes before 10AM but the bus departed almost 12noon plus the traffic in EDSA which spelled our doom. Travel time is 3 to 4 hours and fare is 257 pesos.
We reached Lucena around 4PM and went for a quick toilet break before transferring to a van going to Mauban. We were at the tourism office few minutes past 5PM and we were told the last public boat departed at 4PM. Even private boats won’t be allowed by the Philippine Coast Guard to sail so we had no option but to stay in Mauban.
Sadly, we won’t be able to spend the night at the island. We then asked some locals for a resort where we can stay for the night. We were recommended to Lumberio’s Travelers Inn and we found a nice deal for 1000 pesos (divided by 5 = 200 each). There is a nearby barbeque-han and surprisingly, it only costs 15 pesos. I had 3 and a rice for just 55 pesos. Solved. We were up till 1AM drinking and going down the memory lane. I was awakened around 3AM by the heavy rain. It felt like there was a storm. I think it was a blessing in disguise since we planned to only have tent accommodation on the island. Thought it might be an unpleasant night with that rain.
We woke up 5AM for the sunrise and strolled around the beach. We checked out at around 7AM and then went back to Mauban town proper. We bought some groceries and lunch before heading back to the tourism office. At the tourism office, you will have to pay for the Environmental Fee of P50 as well as pay a down payment for your chosen resort. If you wish to contact specific resorts in Cagbalete Island, the numbers are posted below:
On your way to the boat, there are street vendors – don’t forget to try and eat Pancit Habhab which only costs P10.
TIP: Go for the public boat, it only costs 100 pesos per way. First trip is 10AM and last trip is 4PM. Be there atleast 30 minutes before departure since the boat leaves when it’s full. The fare is collected by the crew during the sail.
The boat departed earlier than the 10AM schedule because it has already reached the maximum passenger capacity. Travel time is around 45 minutes. We reached Sabang Port in Cagbalete Island and we were greeted by a staff from Pansacola Beach Resort and he assisted us with our belongings.
Below is the map for Cagbalete Island as posted at the tourism office. If we had plenty of time, I would love to walk and explore the island up to Nilandingan Cove.
Pansacola Beach is 10 to 15minutes walk from Sabang Port. Since we won’t be staying for the night, we only paid 200 for the day tour. They said we can stay on the cottages and we got ourselves a nice one for free. The restrooms and shower rooms are clean and they have good supply of water.
Cagbalete Island boasts white sand beach and is a perfect weekend getaway from Manila. It is also child friendly specially during the low tide.
Our boat will depart at 3PM so our call time was at 230PM. We cleaned our table and then walked back to the port. It was a smooth sail and we safely arrived back to Mauban Port.
We went to buy some raw pancit habhab for pasalubong before hopping to the van bound for Lucena. We dropped by SM Lucena for our dinner at Buddy’s.
We boarded the Jam Liner bus bound for Cubao at 8PM and arrived 1130PM at their Kamias Terminal. I was asleep the whole ride. 😀
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