Sunday, May 01, 2011

Beautiful Magalawa Island in Zambales

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014!!! Summer is almost here! 
Please call the island caretaker Mang MULO directly at smart numbers 09294670505 / 09288568242. Tell him you were refered by DEMETER or FRANCIS to avail of discounts!!! Reserve early!!

white sands and beautiful coral gardens to boot !!!

I first visited this island 5 years ago during holy week. Back then, I just looked for an island on googlemaps, got the coordinates and let my GPS lead the way. I didn't get a very good impression then because the place was HOT, as in no winds at all. The waters were full of sea grass and I swam for hours without finding any corals or marine life at all. To be fair, the beach was very nice and there were sari-sari stores nearby where we easily got supplies.

(photo below: beautiful coral gardens of Magalawa Island!)

I decided to give it another shot recently and WOW!, I'm sure glad I did! Not only did I find the coral gardens so beautiful but I discovered it was not far at all from the shore! About 50meters or so from the campsite at the front of the island (facing N-NW). Another discovery is that it's pretty COOL at the front of the island afterall!!! (facing San Salvador island) as the winds blow constantly.(photo below: camp site, right:Raymond with coral garden as background)

Beach-goers will find magalawa island to be a real treat as it has BOTH a sandy beach and some great coral gardens. PLUS there is a marine sanctuary between this island and the island called San Salvador where a much more beautiful coral garden can be found. Swimming around the beach front coral garden is free, no charge at all. However, visiting that marine sanctuary coral garden will set you back a couple of hundred pesos per head(plus you need prior permission so pls arrange beforehand).
Most of the locals on the island are quite friendly enough. There are some ready cooked meals you can purchase on the island for abt. 30 to 50pesos and camping grounds you can use if you have a tent. There are also some cottages for rent that can fit 6pax at 1000/night. If you bring your own tent then you just have to pay the minimal 100pesos entrance fee and the 2way boatride from/to the mainland.

What's new is that I noticed that some unscrupulous entities have built a resort on the island I've asked around among the villagers and apparently these people are not even natives of the island but just muscled their way in with neither papers nor permission from the natives nor the owner Madam L.Ruiz. These people led by a certain Grace and Boy Armada, who are essentially squatting on the island, have the GALL to setup a Facebook account and charge 1.8k/pax for their shoddy huts and pitiful fare they call food. (oh, they charge 1.6k if you BRING YOUR OWN TENT... crazy! --prices cited true when this blog was created and may have changed later...) They even demand down payments?(what the...) The beautiful resorts in Anilao,Mabini,Batangas offer 4 buffet meals, a decent bed and coffee all you can for less than that and none of them require a down payment. The resort that these people built, being mere squatters, are located at the back of the island near the mangroves and thus are devoid of any wind. I also heard that once, when the island's owner Madam L.Ruiz visited Magalawa, she ordered the "guests" of this Grace Armada NOT to pay and temporarily closed their resort. wow...

(photo below: Raymond with fresh catch of the day, sandy beaches on Magalawa Island)

There is, however, a very good camping ground located on the front of the island. This is near the small town where you can get supplies PLUS no danger of clashing with the locals as all of them are against this Grace and Boy Armada and their illegal squatting on their island.
My suggestion is that you call Raymond Tordillo at SMART+639294670505 OR (02)983-0432 to help you coordinate your trip.
I suggest you only deal with and talk to the Tordillo Family, namely, Mulo the island caretaker, Mily, Albert, Junior, Christian or Raymond. They are the only ones trustworthy. ESPECIALLY KEEP AWAY FROM THIS GRACE AND BOY ARMADA!!!Respective fees are as followsEntrance fee 100\pax overnight,
. (includes CR and maintenance fees)

Boatpick up (2 way)
. -- 100/pax-kung galing luan
. -- 200/pax-kung galing masinloc

Cottage 1000\night (up to 6pax)

tent rental (300?) not sure, please inquire
snorkel rental(100/2hrs) please inquire

bonfires permitted for a small fee.
Meals available at 100?/meal/pax (set 4meals and 5pax up only)
** starting Nov.,2011 the meal package has been adjusted so pls inquire nalang

Another great advantage going there is that the coconuts and mangoes found on this island and the island next to it called San Salvador island are definitely the SWEETEST and CREAMIEST I have tasted so far. Genuine Zambales mangoes! You must be there during (summer) mango season though...Getting there is EASY! Just ride the Victory liner bus headed for Sta.Cruz and go down at either (PhP360+)Pangolingan,Veritas(before masinloc) or at (PhP380+)Masinloc town itself. I suggest Pangolingan because the boatride will be cheaper. Once at pangolingan just take a tricycle to Luan where you can arrange to meet Mily or Alberto Tordillo. If you go down at Masinloc, take a tricycle or walk the few hundred meters to the market where the port is found and arrange to meet Mily there.

Private Car: directionsUPDATE May 12, 2011:SUBIC Base Gate 3 is NOW OPEN.

DIRECTIONS (private car)From Manila take the NLEX then on to SCTEX. Exit at SUBIC NAVAL BASE and then exit the base via Gate 3 (For those who wish to use GATE2 towards Olongapo, please follow the map on the left).

Then, stay on the national road until you reach Pamulingan, Barangay Veritas.
Turn left towards Luan Port or you can also go straight to Masinloc town and park there. Thats your choice.

Please view the details (pros and cons) of both options below.

OPTION1: Turn left at Pangolingan(Pamolingan) Veritas and head towards Luan Port.
PROs: Boat pickup is cheaper (100/pax, no min pax count), boat ride is shorter (10mins lang)
CONs:Parking is expensive! (200/night), tryc ride also expensive 150/oneway/tryc

OPTION2: Turn left at MASINLOC TOWN PROPER and go to Masinloc Port.
PROs: you can walk the 500meters to the port or hire a tryc cheap!, parking is cheaper (100/night)
CONs: Boat ride a bit more expensive (200@ for the 2way trip, min 6pax), boat trip longer (30mins)

FINAL OPTION: You can hire a private VAN ! Call Raymond Tordillo now (09222688111 or <02>983 0432) to get an estimate for your particular group. For a group of 11pax, you can avail of their ALL-IN Magalawa Island overnight package for only PhP1,600 pesos/pax inclusive of...
1. Manila < > Zambales roundtrip
2. Boat Transfers
3. Entrance fee
4. Cottage accomodation (5-6 in 1 cottage)
5. Driver,Gas and Toll fees included
price also INCLUDES FOOD (4meals)
***starting Nov.2011 food package has gone up slightly so this may have changed a bit, pls inquire
Now THAT's a real bargain I think!

Visit the website of one of the locals HERE! R.Tordillo@angislako.blogspot.comCAUTION:As usual the sand was full of sandflies so I caution the beachgoers to bring the proper repellant. OFF lotion does not work at all on these small bloodsuckers. They sell sandfly repellant on the beach but in case you can't find any just bring some of your own. Its very simple to make. Just mix 1part baby oil, one part alcohol and one part lysol plus add some CITRONELLA oil. Thats it. Shake and apply liberally to your skin.

FINAL CAUTION:DO NOT GO DURING HOLY WEEK! As with all good beaches, the place gets pretty packed! Try to go before or after peak dates so you can really enjoy the experience.

For more information on Things to do, What to bring and TOURIST TRAPS please visit virtualtourist.magalawa.island !

UPDATE November 2, 2011
1. Good news! The Ruiz Resort in Magalawa Island is NOW OPEN for Amihan season 2011-2012!!! Please call Raymond Tordillo for reservations now!!! 0922 268 8111 or (02)983 0432
2. Parking at LUAN PORT in Pangolingan has been raised to a whopping 200pesos / night. However, there is now a guarded parking area in Masinloc Port, Town proper at only 100pesos/night. Please choose which option is right for your group.

3. GATE 3 in Subic Bay Freeport Zone is now OPEN ! (hooray!!!)

I took pictures of the current facilities at the campgrounds. ENJOY!

NEW COMMUNAL TOILETS at the campgrounds! (rightmost image: hooray!!!)