Cagbalete is a 1,640 hectares island located in municipality of Mauban, Quezon and it is one of precious island assets of Quezon Province, Philippines, among others are Jomalig, Minasawa, Borawan, Alabat and Kanaway islands. It is patched in the Lamon Bay fronting Pacific Ocean which is home to a diverse ecosystem. With unique variety of rich marine life, birds and the abundance of unique species of plants, the island is a complete paradise for all travelers, nature lovers and beach bummers. Pretty white sand patterns and rocky Bonsai island are among the prettiest sites that you could see during low tide.
How To Get There in Cagbalete?
via public transportation
Cagbalete is located in municipality of Mauban, Quezon, and it can be reach via Lucena City from Manila. Catch a Lucena bound bus from either in Cubao, Kamias, Alabang or Buendia. Buses like JAM Transit, JAC Liner, Lucena Lines and Ceres Transport leave the Manila terminal every hour everyday bound to Lucena terminal. Fare is approximately more or less P250 for a three-hour bus ride. From Lucena bus terminal, there are two ways to get you in Mauban. One option is to take mini-bus (non-aircon) from Lucena terminal bound to Mauban market with a fare of P50-60 for 1.5 hours travel (last trip is at 6pm). Other option is to take a van in terminal of SM Lucena bound to Mauban with a fare of P80-90 for a 45-minutes travel (last trip is at 9pm). Upon getting off in Mauban proper, it is only a short walk going to Mauban port and take a boat ride with fare of P50-60 for a 1-hour trip heading to Cagbalete Island.
via private vehicle
There are two route options in getting to Mauban, Quezon from Manila.
1. Through SLEX and Star Toll expressways, have an exit to Sto. Tomas and drive by the provinces of San Pablo City (Laguna), Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya, Tayabas and Mauban (Quezon).
2. Through SLEX expressway, have an exit to Calamba and drive by the provinces of Los Banos, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan, Cavinti, Luisiana (Laguna), Lucban, Tayabas and Mauban (Quezon).
Upon reaching the Mauban port, there are lots of parking compounds within the area which is usually reserved for tourists who brought their owned vehicles. Parking fee for an overnight depends on the type of vehicle to be park. Usually fees are amounting to P100 and P130 for sedan car and SUV respectively. Parking compounds are secured with local security. From there, hire a boat heading towards Cagbalete.
Where To Stay in Cagbalete?
The common and popular destination of the guests is at the south eastern part of the island where known resorts like Villa Cleofas Resort, Pansacola Beach Resort, and MVT Sto Nino Resort are located. You can choose in either of the mentioned resorts you would like to stay. In other part of the island, there’s few resorts already being started to exist. If you’re a camper and love to explore its huge and serenity island, camping is also allowed but traveler have to provide their owned tent.
What To Do?
You can enjoy the serenity and beauty of Cagbalete by having an activities like; swimming, beach hopping, snorkeling/scuba diving (just bring your own equipment), fishing, hiking, camping, picnic, bird watching, beach volleyball, frisbee, and watching the sunset. The only difference of this island with other islands in the country is that, the condition of its seawater depth. For every 2-3 hours, the depth of the water varies that affects the view of the island. Usually during low tide, numbers of sand patterns occur even in the middle of the sea which travelers can enjoy doing like walking to the nearby Bonsai island, walking to rocky shores of the island, skim boarding (bring your own skimboard), and taking photos in the sand bar (white island).
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Cagbalete Island Trip
My colleagues and former officemates which tagged as “Growing Family (GF)” are usually having an annual out-of-town trip which started since last year where we invaded Potipot Island in Candelaria, Zambales. This year, before the entrance of summer season, all of us were stoked and ready for another set of adventure. We created a draft list of some places to be invaded by the group. Places like Baler and somewhere in Bataan were among those options until we ended to decide in Cagbalete in Quezon. Initially we set the trip schedule in the mid of April until it was moved to May then suddenly moved again until such time it was finalized this June 20-21, 2015 due to schedule conflicts in most of us.
We booked for a reservation at Villa Cleofas Resort for an overnight stay and they provided us 1 big and 1 medium rooms that could accommodate us (more than 20pax). Pickup and drop-off at Mauban port was inclusive on their service offer. After 3-hours of travel from Manila, we arrived in Mauban port.The first thing we did was to register all our names in the tourism office and paid an entrance and tourism fees amounting to P50 each both. This is a must for all travelers and tourists before heading to Cagbalete.
We took one-hour boat ride when we arrived in Cagbalete beach front of Villa Cleofas Resort. Since we landed in the island at a low tide hours, we forced to walk for about 20 to 30 minutes within the exposed rocky and sandy path.
We were welcomed by a bit warm-up of adventure through a 1-kilometer walk from our boat to the resort. As we arrived at the resort, we spent certain hours to prepare our lunch and ourselves as well before exploring the island.
We learned that Cagbalete Island has a unique characteristic to showcase its beauty. We were amazed by its varying water depth from low to high tide condition. I personally appreciate its natural beauty especially during low tide as it exposes the hidden sand pattern and rocky flooring beneath the sea water, where it glances and bounces back the sunshine reflection during day time.
Accommodation is a big factor to comfort the travelers after the island touring and exploration, we chose Villa Cleofas Resort during our island stay. I browsed different blogs over the net about this resort before we left Manila, most of reviews and feedbacks on them were good and excellent. Upon staying in this resort, personally, there’s no ‘wow’ factor about the place when we arrived. Given that the island is an inhabitant where no electricity during day time, room accommodation is just a plain and simple to comfort travelers in certain time or days. It’s just for sleep over and bathing purposes only. It’s just like a typical houses in the rural provinces. The only problem I encountered was during our stay at night upon raining, there’s a portion in the room where certain rain droplets were dropping into the floor near my bedding. Luckily, the rain had stopped after a quarter of an hour, whew! The resort has a limited blanket and electric fan to offer, so bring your own if you’re planning to stay there. Also, using their kitchen wares will charge you on a certain amount.
There are different types of room the resort could offer their guests depends on their preferences. Rooms like big cottage, medium cottage, studio-type room, bamboo hut, and beach hut are among the accommodation options to stay, having tent at the beach front is also allowed at the resort.
Villa Cleofas Resort (with 5-stars as the highest)
No hesitation in spite of our marked scheduled trip, considering that it was already a rainy month. We’re all game and luckily, we’re still able to enjoy our Cagbalete Island trip. The weather was a bit gloomy during our island tour, but rain was encountered only at night. Overall we had fun, island bumming and bonding with my colleagues were totally a blast.