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Meet Me In Magalawa | DIY trip

Remember that scene in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where Clementine whispered to Joel to meet her in Montauk? Yes, I’ve been thinking about it for the past weeks while I was planning my quick getaway to Magalawa.

I longed for another moment on the road. I missed the sweeping view of trees, endless concrete roads, those moments where you can drift off into nothingness and just be happy to be away. Being on the road, on a plane or threading across the waters is my kind of escape from the crazy world.

The Cancelled Trip

 All my bags are packed and I’m ready to go. Just a few hours until our 4AM departure to Magalawa, the bad news came.

We have to cancel. Imagine my dismay and disappointment. I felt like crying, hitting someone with the tripod and tent I have with me and sulk in the corner.

My spirit crashed and burned.
I guess we all know the feeling of such disappointment? Nakakadepress no?

The rest of the night was spent stress-eating (as always).

Fast forward.

Meet Me In Magalawa


On Our Way to Magalawa

A week later, bags packed again and I just got out from my 3PM-12MN work — this is it, I’m on my way to you Magalawa. We’ve contacted Mang Mulo to let him know that we’re pushing through this time. Thanks to Mich of Chasing Philippines for her Magalawa guide!

Time Check. 1:30AM – I’m part-awake, part-sabaw already when we decided to head our way to Victory Liner Caloocan Station. Coming from McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio, we have no choice but to take a cab because we are concerned about our safety and Caloocan is quite far to commute. Paalam Php290.

There are two ways to get there via bus. You can take either the Sta. Cruz or Iba, Zambales route. Victory Liner Caloocan offers both routes but I highly suggest you take the Sta. Cruz bus that leaves at 4AM.

  • You can check the schedule and fare HERE.

Be early at the station because they don’t accept reservations for AM trips and as early as 3:30AM, the queue gets long already and tickets are on a first come, first serve basis so chances are you’ll run out of seats if you get there past 3:30AM.

If taking the Sta. Cruz route: Don’t forget to tell the conductor to drop you off at Veritas Road, Brgy. Pangolinan, Palauig, Zambales.

If taking the Iba route: At the Iba terminal, ride a bus to Palauig (~30 min ride) and get off at Veritas Road. I believe there are also jeeps heading to Palauig.

Take your needed sleep on the 5 to 6 hours bus ride to Pangolinan and at the drop-off point, ride a tricycle to the port. I’ve read that the trike ride (good for 2 person already) costs Php150 but our driver asked for Php200.

Be prepared for the bumpy trike ride! πŸ˜€ The road to Magalawa is part-concrete, part-rough road. But hey, things like this makes the journey more fun! Would you agree?

Around 20-30mins of an exhilarating trike ride, you’ll arrive to the port where the boatmen will pick you up at Port Luan for a ~10min boatride to (*drumrolls please*) Magalawa Island! The roundtrip boatride costs Php100.

Don’t forget to tell your trike driver if your heading to Mang Mulo’s place or the Armada Resort. 

If you see the waiting shed with this sign, you’re in the right place!
β€œThough the road’s been rocky it sure feels good to me.” -Bob Marley | I agree.
Port Luan. This is where Mang Mulo’s boatmen will fetch you. Text him before you ride the tricycle so they know that you’re on your way to the port.
~10 minutes boatride and its Hello Magalawa *finally*!
The Magalawa shore. The sand ain’t really that white but at least the grain is fine. Boracay’s sands still holds my heart.

The sand was not so disappointing but the waters…sort of. It was laden with weeds so it wasn’t really enticing to swim. Good thing I’m the kind of person who’s contented with just dipping her toes in the water and sit in the sand.
Our sanctuary in Magalawa.

No fancy resorts in Magalawa. Let your outdoor-sy side wallow in Magalawa’s pure and simple nature, and the best way to spend a night in Magalawa is to — sleep in a tent! Yes, camping!

There is an entrance fee of Php100 and a camping fee of Php200 per tent. You can also rent a tent of Php300.

For those who are not very keen on camping, don’t fret. They have fan cottages available for Php1000.

Open cottages near the shore are for rent at Php500.

I wake up. Take a stroll. Eat. Sleep. Explain buhay baboy. Only in Magalawa.

Water activities in Magalawa is limited to snorkeling, rafting and well… swimming. I saw some people skimboarding as well.
Looking for the starfishes and strolling along the shore was fun too! But what I loved most was waiting for the sunset and witnessing the sun rise. Magalawa is under a lovely sky. β™₯

Another great thing about Magalawa is that you can just lay on the sand the whole day — eat, read, watch a movie or listen to music on your compact players and let the world worry for itself. That’s what I mostly did…and sleep. I tried reading but sleep won. It was the weekend of rest and sleep and taking photos. If you’re aiming to have an adrenaline-pumping weekend, maybe Magalawa isn’t for you. It’s a laid-back beach, so expect passiveness.

I asked D to bring a deck of cards so I can play solitaire or unggoy-ungguyan. πŸ˜› A few rounds of Cheekybingo would’ve been a great past-time too. Board games sounds fun if you can squeeze one inside your bag. Frisbee and volleyball is also recommended.

Falling in Love with the Magalawa Skies  

After an nap-filled afternoon, we woke up just in time for the sunset. Magalawa has quite a stretch of shore and a leisure stroll in the afternoon is perfect to unwind.

The sky is starting to get a gradient that I get giddy over. 

Btw, you can view the sunset at the Armada side but no worries since it’s okay to go around the island. 
You can color my sky blue, orange, yellow and pink anytime.

Make sure you put on some insect repellent before heading out to see the sunset. I forgot to do it so I became a mosquito feast.
I was looking forward to having a stargazing session that night but unfortunately, the moon’s out full so the stars aren’t that visible (shooting the moon was fun tho!). Nevertheless, it was equally satisfying to watch it’s reflection on the water and the speckled sky above.  I had a moment of serenity under the moonlight.

Will You Still Love Me In The Morning?

I swore to wake up early the next day to catch the sunrise. I think I am becoming a sunset-sunrise chaser. πŸ™‚
Mang Mulo’s place (better known as Ruiz resort) on the other hand, welcomes the sunrise on its side.
I set my alarm at 5:30AM and when we got out of our tent, this was the view that greeted us good morning.
Yes, I still love you Magalawa sky.

A number of fishermen are already heading their way back to the shore to see their catch for the day.
It took me quite a while to find you, my star.

Nothing beats spending a morning under the shade of the trees. 

Also, let me share with you a new found beach buddy, the Lagu beach blanket.What I so love about it is that it’s sand-repellent. That means it conserves our beaches from sand erosion! Cool, right? I will write about it for WhenInManila and will have a giveaway too, so watch out for that!

For some reason, we found quite a number of these spiders in Magalawa. A few even decided to stick around on our backpacks until we reached Manila. 

Our canine friend who kept following us around because we have food.

One last look.
The weekend felt like a blur. All of a sudden, it was time to go home.
All my bags are packed, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to go. I was having mixed emotions on how my weekend went. I wanted to stay longer with the sea, the sand and the sky of Magalawa but I also longed for the comfort and safety of my bed. I guess it was because of the unfortunate incident that happened to me the night before, when I had a hyperventilation attack. As to why, let’s just keep that at the dark corners of my brain. 
Maybe next time in Magalawa will be better, I know I’ll go back so maybe meet me in Magalawa again?

You will take the boat ride back to the Luan and from there, another bumpy trike ride until you reach Veritas road. You can ride a jeep to Iba terminal, fare is Php23. There are also buses heading to Iba. From Iba terminal, take your ride back to the Metro. Fare is around Php380 to Cubao.

Thoughts in the bus.
More often than not, bus rides when traveling are my means of recoving from sleep. And I’ve been coined a “masa” (masandal tulog) already due to it. But I find it hard sleeping in daylight, so I always find myself staring outside the window, the rural and urban scenery brushing past my sight like a pretty blur and while I’m on it, surge of thoughts hit me like waves crashing into rocks. A sad or happy memory, a realization, or just that unexplainable feeling of contentment and thankfulness.

  • You can bring your own food and cook it in the island. Bring your cook sets or you can make a bonfire. πŸ™‚
  • If you plan on buying your food there, make sure to buy it in Iba because there are no stores or a wet market when you reach Veritas road. This was our mistake. We asked if we can have our food cooked (for a fee of Php150, rice included) but we forgot to buy the ingredients. Good thing Ate Bing have some canned goods, so we lived by corned beef and tuna that weekend. 
  • If you have specific requests, like seafoods/chicken/etc., let them know before you head to Magalawa because they need to go to the town proper to buy them for you.
  • There is a common bathroom in Mang Mulo’s area and you don’t have to worry because it’s clean and water supply is a-okay. πŸ™‚

So, when are you planning to meet Magalawa? 

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  • love the photos mimai! and i must agree with you with the water – not that nice. but the vibe and feel of the island is a plus. serenity at its finest πŸ™‚

    • Thank you! Yup, Magalawa is not much for swimming. But if you just need the scenery and the serene environment, Magalawa hits the spot! πŸ˜€

    • Destiny

      Nice post! We're planning to go there this month and based on what I've found out online I'm leaning towards Ruiz Resort (Mang Mulo's) than the Armada's. Just a bit curious, you mentioned that it's not much for swimming? Is it because when it's low tide the water is really low? I'd like to know because my siblings and I are into swimming and maybe do a bit of snorkeling while we're there.

    • Hi Destiny! Aside from the low tide at some point of the day, medyo maraming seaweeds the time na nagpunta kami pero sa ibang side/part naman ng island, ok to swim! πŸ™‚ Hope that helped! Enjoy Magalawa!

  • Magalawa is one of the few beautiful islands in Zambales. I saw the very first real starfish here! πŸ˜€

    • Magalawa is really serene! And I really enjoyed looking for the starfishes! πŸ˜€

  • A very nice article indeed. I feel like i have been there already.

    • Thank you Baron! Hope you can visit Magalawa and see it for yourself, too. πŸ™‚

  • Thanks to your blog. This has been one of my guide on our Magalawa DIY. By the way, I borrowed one of your pics but of course i do credited you for it. Visit my blog πŸ™‚

    • Salamat din! πŸ™‚ Sana naenjoy nyo ang Magalawa!

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