Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon

Photo by Allan Barredo

It is frustrating that most posts on Cagbalete are reduced to meaningless pictures of people. Most filipinos probably take that "picture is worth a thousand words" thing too seriously - or just too lazy to make a proper informative entry. In any case, I hope this won't trun out to be one of those meaningless posts...

This is my first time to go to Mauban( GPS coordinates 14°11'17"N 121°43'50"E). It may look like a big city on GoogleEarth but its small and most streets barely fit two vehicles side by side. We took two cars and parked them in the garage of our host and owner of Villa Cleofas Mr. Tonet Reyeg.

Public transport leaves the Mauban port at 10am and then at 4pm (twice a day).

The fee is 30pesos per head. We brought about 100kilograms of gear with us. This includes food rations for 3 days, tents, cooking and eating paraphernalia, charcoal, gas lamp etc... and personal belongings.

There is no extra charge for bringing a lot of stuff but give the head port carrier a little something for loading it all into the banka.

It is only about 13kilometers from the Mauban port to the Cagbalete public transport drop off. However, since the banka has to go directly against the current (waves are large so prepare to get wet), the travel time from Mauban to Cagbalete totals approx. 50minutes. Whereas the travel time back to Mauban will only take about 30minutes.
Please understand that these estimates are valid only during the (RP)summer months when the wind blows from the East.

Disembarking from the boat on Cagbalete Island is similar to the way one disembarks from a banka on Boracay when there used to be a Station1,2 & 3. The public transport banka is huge and can carry about 50 people with ease. A boat this large cannot dock properly without a docking port and there is none on this island. Both the Neneng(bigger boat owned by Lito Durante) and the Arthur2 stop a distance from the shore and passengers must disembark onto a small dinghy and proceed towards the shore.

It is sad that the Cagbalete port is overrun by what can only be considered as "squatters". This is one of the best parts of the island because water recedes only slightly during the low tide thus making the shores an excellent swimming area.

The squatters have filled the shores with garbage and one even setup a pigpen (babuyan) right on the shoreline. What a waste of prime beachfront. What are the local government units doing about this I wonder? Locals must be taught not to indiscriminately throw garbage around.

As you can see from the map above (taken from Google Earth), one needs to hike about 1.4kilometers to reach the resort from the port of Cagbalete. We rented a small boat where we loaded all the gear for transport(300pesos one way but you can negotiate if you plan to arrange pickup from same boat) to the Villa Cleofas resort while the rest of the group proceeded on foot.

(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 28, 2007)

Sulit na yung 300 as you can see from the third image that the route from the port or sabang to villa cleofas totals approx. 10 kilometers as the boat has to go around the shallow portions.

(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 28, 2007)

As usual, low budget lang kami so we brought camping supplies like food and tents. It turns out they were renting a small open cottage good for 8 for only 900 pesos. They also had about 6 common toilet and bath on the resort. We rented one open cottage and setup our camp by the shore instead of opting to sleep in the cottage.
What I like about this resort is that the wind never stops blowing. In fact, I heard that studies have been done on the feasibility of erecting wind powered generators. Yes, the island is without power and relies on portable diesel generators which are shut down at about 12midnight.
Another plus is that the resort owners recognize the need for silence. Loud booming noises are not allowed after 10pm.

(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 28, 2007)

There are no corals to be seen around any of the resorts. One needs to take a banka to nearby locations to enjoy those. We did not do that this time so I cannot comment on whether or not they have good snorkling areas. The wide open space left by the low tide is great for playing soccer as some parts are pure sand with little or no rocks at all.

It would be a good idea to charter a banka to bring you further up the island. I have not tried this myself but there seems to be some good beaches over there.

(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 28, 2007)

The beachfront sand is very soft and "white" for the most part. One can take a long stroll along the beachline on a moonlit night as the sand, because of its good quality, is pretty much illuminated even by a quarter moon just like in Boracay.

(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 29, 2007)

Prices are about the same on both resorts I know. Ambiance is better at the Pansacola resort but it may get a bit hot in the evenings there as they are situated on the south-side of the island and the wind blows from the East. However, the Pansacola resort structures are all made of wood. Their big room is rented out at 2,500 (good for 20pax), medium rooms at 1000 to 1500 (good for 8 to 10pax) and small open sleeping ground at 500pesos(good for 4pax). All come with free tables and cooking area. Toilets are shared. The owners's name and contact numbers are found below
Rommel Pansacola
Cagbalete Island Beach Resort

cel# 0928-505-8633
(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 28, 2007)

Villa Cleofas accomodations may be seen here http://www.cagbalete.com/accommodations.htm
The host and hostess of villa cleofas are truly very kind and attentive to their guests. As I mentioned before, I really like their resort because the wind never stops blowing so its very nice and cool even when the sun is at its hottest. The only setback is that the water recedes half a kilometer from shore on both resorts during low tide.
Tonet/Tess T. Reyeg
Villa Cleofas

landline : Home (+632) 928-7934 Office: ( +632) 754-1063
mobile: (+63) 917-8140496 /(+63) 917-8143475
E-mail: Winston.Reyeg@pmintl.com
(photos below by AllanBarredo on NikonD50 April 28, 2007)

Directions to Mauban can be seen here http://www.cagbalete.com/howtogetthere.htm