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Getting to Know Quezon Province: Cagbalete Island

When it comes to beaches that are near in Manila, Batangas is on top of our mind. But there is another province that is also near in Manila that is home to beautiful beaches. The province of Quezon has these amazing beaches that are quite comparable to the beaches in the Visayas. One of them is Cagbalete Island in the town of Mauban.
Cagbalete's beach

How to Get There

By public transportation, and coming from Manila, ride a bus bound for Lucena City in Quezon. Jac Liner, Jam Transit, Lucena Liner, and Ceres Transport are several bus lines that have the Lucena route. Terminals are in Buendia, Kamias and Cubao. Bus Fare is around PhP 210.00 and approximately 3-4 hours travel time. Jac Liner also has a two scheduled (5 am/12 pm) direct trip to Mauban, the fare is PhP 270.00.

When you reached Lucena, you can either ride a non-air conditioned Lucena Grand Terminal for almost 2 hours or the air conditioned bus in SM Lucena for less than an hour going to the town of Mauban. The fare for non-AC buses is around PhP 50.00 and PhP 80.00 for AC buses.

Official town seal of Mauban, Quezon
In Mauban, you could just walk or take a tricycle going to the Port/Tourist Center. You need to pay first an environmental fee of PhP 50.00 per person. The Tourist Center will offer you boat rides going to Cagbalete Island. There are public and private boats available.
Tourist registration and ticketing area
Environmental fee tickets
Boat trip schedules and price
Tricycle that can give you a ride to the passenger loading area (PhP 10.00 per person)

For public boats, the first trip starts at 10 am and the last is at 4 pm. One way fare is PhP 50.00. Upon arriving on the island, you will have to walk around 15-30 minutes to get to the resort but, some resort has also a shuttle service also. Private boats are much expensive. It would cost around PhP 1500.00 - PhP 5000.00 depending on the passenger count. But it is much more convenient since it takes you directly to your resort. The boat ride is around an hour to an hour and a half.

If you are bringing a vehicle, there is an available secured parking area near the port for PhP 100.00, these are accredited by the tourism office. You can also ask your resort if they have one.
Port in Mauban
Boarding our boat to the island
*Quick Tips:
  • If you're taking the public boat, be sure to be on the port very early to catch the first trip in 10 am. You can't be sure what time the next trip will be, especially if there are many passengers.
  • Look for another group that is also taking a private boat to share with. You'll meet new people and lessen the expense.
  • Be sure to buy all your needs like food and water in the mainland since prices in the resort's stores are higher.
Port in Cagbalete Island

Where to Stay

Before, there are only a few resorts on the island, but with the sudden gain of fame of the island, new resorts opened. We really have no idea where will we stay in the island, so we asked our tricycle driver which resort he would recommend. He told us about "Doña Cholengs" so we check it out. It's a nice place to stay, they don't have that many rooms, but you can also camp in a tent. Good thing we bought our tent because the place is fully booked.
Resort reception

Their cheapest room is PhP 2000.00 good for 5 pax (no AC), air-conditioned rooms for 2 is PhP 2500.00. If you're camping out, you need to pay PhP 100.00 per pax and either rent a tent for PhP 500.00 or bring your own and just pay PhP 250.00 for usage-fee. You can check their Facebook page or contact them at this number +63 910-882-3346.

Other resorts you can check out are here:

Beach of Villa Cleofas

Where to Eat

Most of the resorts have their own restaurants. But, of course, prices are higher than usual and you will only have a few options on what to eat so I suggest that you should bring your own food and water. Before going to the island, you can make a stop at Mauban's Public market to buy some food that you can cook. Cooking utensils can be borrowed from the resorts, but be sure to bring your own stove or charcoal. In the island's "bario" or town area, there are several eateries, you could dine in and they could also cook for you ("paluto").
Snacks, meals and refreshments are also available in the tourist center
Pancit Habhab
10 pesos pancit Habhab

The Island

We reach the island around 11:30 am. It was low-tide so we need to transfer to a smaller boat to reach the shore. It was an additional PhP 15.00 for the short boat ride. Cagbalete is not that big and the resorts are just close to each other. The beach is a long stretch and has a fine creamy white sand, with bits of corals. 
Approaching the Cagbalete Island
Transfering to a smaller boat since it's low tide
Shorelines
At the other side
What a view

Best time to swim is in the afternoon since it is high tide so you won't walk too much to reach the deep area. Other activities on the island, aside from beach bumming and swimming are skim-boarding, kayaking, beach volleyball, stargazing, camping, and snorkeling. Boatmen and resorts offer snorkeling and tour to Cagbalete's sandbar for around PhP 1200 - 1500, just try to haggle with them.
Going to the sandbar
The sandbar
Creamy white sand all over the place, and a rainbow
My obligatory pose
Time for some snorkeling
The gear they provide was not complete, so I suggest to bring your own
Though corals are not that many, It's still a good snorkeling area and fishes aren't hard to spot
The perfect way to end the day, beer, beach, bonfire, and marshmallows!

I'm sure I haven't experienced all of Cagbalete during my overnight stay here, but I truly liked and enjoyed the place. Definitely a nice place to unwind and relax even just for the weekends. So what are you waiting for, plan ahead, travel and remember, leave nothing behind and take only selfies!
Sunrise in Cagbalete Island

Expenses for Overnight Stay:

  • Roundtrip Bus Fare Manila - Lucena: PhP 210.00 * 2 = PhP 420.00
  • Roundtrip Bus Fare Lucena - Mauban: PhP 50.00 * 2 = PhP 100.00
  • Environmental Fee: PhP 50.00
  • Roundtrip Boat Ride: PhP 50.00 * 2 = PhP 100.00
  • Resort Entrance Fee: PhP 100.00
  • Tent Fee (bought our own, paying only half): PhP 250.00 / 4 pax = PhP 62.5
  • Food: PhP 500.00 (estimated contribution of 4 pax for lunch, dinner and breakfast)
  • Tour: PhP 200.00 (discounted for 8 pax - we shared with another group)
  • Total: PhP 1532.5

Cheers from Cagbalete!

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Hey there, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading my article and helped you out with some travel tips and ideas. Please do leave a comment if you have some comments or suggestions and I'll gladly answer it. Cheers!

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