Sunday, November 21, 2010

Magalawa Island - A Romantic Getaway

For this article allow me deflect my usual way of writing from a direct and plain way to a romantic travel blog entry.

I am seeing this guy for a couple of weeks. I met him in one of my travel escapades and we’re consistently exchanging messages since then. So when he asked me for a date, I thought of a place we can visit on which we will both enjoy. Knowing that he’s also an outdoor person like me, I stayed away from the usual movie/dinner date instead I suggested beach bumming and Magalawa Island came in to the picture!

November 5th I took care of all necessary things needed – research and communications. He’s the one in charge of transportations and directions. Yes, I want everything planned and organized for this. With the help of Janine (a dear travel friend) I got Grace Armada’s number (daughter of Magalawa’s owner) and everything became swift and easy.

November 6th and 7th – Magalawa Island!

How to Get There

Since I got a travel partner on this day who’s in charge of transportations and directions everything happened according to his plans. We chose 4AM Victory Liner bus at Caloocan going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales hoping to reach our destination earlier.

Tips: When buying the tickets, inform the ticketing officer that you'll get off Palauig; else you will be charge the full amount of the Caloocan - Sta. Cruz ride. That’s what happened to us. We’re charged Php437.00 each instead of just around Php350.00 each.

After almost 6 hours of travelling, alas we reached Radio Veritas Road at Brgy. Pangoligan in Palauig! Absurd as it may seem, the landmark for the jump off point is just a small waiting shed. From there we hired a tricycle that took us to Oslet Armada Fishdealer Compound in Brgy. Luan. Grace told me the fare is Php25.00 per head, but the driver didn’t give a change when we gave him Php100.00. Then I realized it’s the charge for a 25 minutes special trip on a dusty, rough and bumpy road.

From the Oslet Compund the boat that will take us to Magalawa Island was already there. Another 15 minutes of boat ride and we reached the place all right!

Another way to go to Magalawa is through Masinloc Municipality via local motorized boat but Grace said the boat ride form here is more expensive.

Way back to Manila - From Palauig or Masinloc you can take the Olongapo bound bus. Aircon buses are rare so with a limited choice we hopped on an ordinary bus to Olongapo (Php100.00). From Olongapo bus station you can choose among several Victory Liner buses going to Caloocan, Cubao and Pasay (Php265.00)

The Island

Located in Palauig, Magalawa Island is just one of the beautiful beaches, coves and islands in Zambales. Like other Zambales beach appeal, this island promises a beautiful sand (some says it’s cream white, but I think calling it off-white sand is more justifiable) and crystal clear water which are very ideal for beach bumming.

What sets Magalawa remarkable are the ample numbers of starfishes of different colors and sizes scattered at the ocean floor just near the shore! The island is also abundant in water resources. Coral reefs, mangroves and different fishes are just around the area, and thus it’s very ideal to go snorkeling or diving. Just be careful of sea urchins though, because they’re also as abundant as starfishes are. J

Another activity worth trying is island hopping. There’s an island nearby around 15 minutes boat ride called San Salvador where Bacala Resort, Taclobo Farm and San Salvador Marine Sanctuary can be found. (We failed to visit these places as we got no enough time. We need to be back in manila Sunday night. So I just learned about all these from Grace on our way home)

the stars spelled mah name
This island is not as deserted as Anawangin, Nagsasa or Capones. There’s only one private resort in Magalawa owned by the Armadas’. The other side of this 50 something hectare land is inhabited. So do not wonder if you can see community at the other side of the island. The private resort of Armada is separated from the community by a fence and a thick forest, so you really won’t notice the people on the other side unless you wander around the island. The area is safe. There are military people roaming around to check on the security.

The owners of the resort are improving the resort. Cottages, water pump and toilets were built and electricity is being provided (6pm-9pm only) for convenience of their guests.  

Possible Expenses

Since we don’t know how to cook we took the Magalawa package (boat, transpo, entrance, cottage and 4 meals) with a discounted price from Grace. Thank you! Also for the best accommodation from Tatay Boy and Nanay Auring, thank you so much. We couldn’t ask for more!

For accurate list of prices from entrance fees, foods and cottages check out Magalawa’s own Facebook page.

Depending on the number of people; the total cost including bus fare is around Php1000.00 to Php1800.00 per head.

My two cents worth of Thoughts
  • ·         It’s best to rent a cottage than staying in tents most likely if you have sensitive skin. I noticed little insects swarming around the sand especially at night. I believe they are called nik-nik which bites are really itchy that also cause blisters.
  • ·         The island is indeed stunning minus the thick sea grasses extensively growing by the sea shore.

And my Personal Romantic Thoughts

The place is beautiful and the fact of being there with someone you really like makes the picture perfect! Until now I am replaying in my mind the moment when we were lying there at the shore, under the rain beside the hundred starfishes talking about ourselves.

me and him and the silent witness
If ever this thing evolves into something better, the silence of starfishes is the first witness of a love story written in the off-white sand of the island.  


  1. I believe they are called sandflies and, yes, their bite really itches. I blogged about them last 2006 when I wrote about Magalawa Island. The island was very different back then. Totally no material about it on the net yet so I just brought my trusty GPS and looked for the place. The beach areas were very unkept because very few tourists went there. Thanks so much for your blog and updates. I can see that the group of boy armada has setup some small cottages already and are cleaning up the place? Incidentally, two factions are currently fighting for the rights to this island, that group of Mr.Armada and a certain "mississ". Be careful not to get in the middle of this argument as people there feel very passionate about it. There have been some threats and even deaths reported as a result of bickering amongst the locals. If you wish to read what I wrote back in 2006 then here is the link.

  2. By the way, bring fruits when you go there this summer. These will help augment the bland fare they have available on the island.

    Altogether, Magalawa island is STILL truly a beautiful place to go to. Did you know there is a marine sanctuary between this island and Pulo (San.Salvador Island). I saw it once and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! Lots of corals and fish. I believe that prior permission is required and a fee of 50 per head is exacted from tourists who wish to explore there. Please contact the Tordillo family (Mily, Junior or Raymond) at SMART# 0909 341 4621 or 0907 275 6995

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  4. Geez, great words from another blogger! I appreciate. Your blog is great! (salute) Why did you stop writing? You stopped travelling too? Maybe you could join us next time...

    I'll visit that marine sanctuary, thanks for the contacts. Stay in touch

  5. Hi! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving that nice comment. I just love the pictures you posted. Especially the first one of the mangrove trees! Beautiful. Keep travelling to our beautiful destinations! Isn't it great to discover these hidden paradise around us? Life is beautiful!

  6. Unfortunately, yes, I stopped travelling for now. I hope to visit some other hidden paradise and blog about it soon. Thank you again and God bless!

  7. I should be the one thanking you. Life is beautiful indeed! More so if there are people who share the same interest with you. Thank you sir!


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