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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Discovering Magalawa Island in Palauig, Zambales

I've been hearing about this island since early last year.  I heard its a secluded island with no electricity and no accommodation.  Overtime, this island has improved.  There are accommodations available and electricity and water are available 24/7.  I wished I visited this place before it got a little commercialized.

Well, the island is still nice and worth visiting now.  With its improved surrounding, at least one can no longer worry living in such primitive island.  Details about this island, however, is still limited.  When you search about this island in Google, you will only get one result, which is care of Ms. Grace.  But when we were there, there exist other individuals who sends guests to the island.  I'm just not sure who or which resort handles it.  Anyway, we availed Ms. Grace's package.  This includes entrance, boat transfer, accommodation, food and water activities.  Only the tent accommodation was left for us which cost Php 1,300 per pax (min. of 5 pax, overnight accommodation) so some of us brought their own tent and food.  They just paid for the entrance (Php 300 for overnight) and boat transfer (Php 100) per person.  You cannot cook your own food there supposedly but we saw other people grilling their food.  Good thing our DIY companion still brought their cooking stuff even if I told them its not allowed.  If you still want DIY and don't have any cooking equipment with you, you can just buy meals in the carinderia/store available in the island.  I think budget meal cost Php 70 to Php 100.

Before, Ms. Grace offers island hopping that includes the San Salvador island.  But now, they only offer snorkeling and rafting as water activities.  The reason being is that the current can be unpredictable and its no longer advisable to travel from Magalawa Island to San Salvador.  Well the rafting is a different kind of experience.  Before you proceed to snorkeling, you will ride the bamboo raft first which will be pulled by the boat until you reach the snorkeling area.  The rafting alone can be fun.

Snorkeling in the waters of Magalawa Island is not really spectacular but good enough.  There are lots of star fishes and the corals are big.  Although the fishes I saw are still quite small and there are not much of them.  The time we went snorkeling was almost 4pm already.  So by a little past 5pm, we were instructed to go back to the island.  It's quite short activity but maybe if you started early, you can explore more of what's under the sea.

Magalawa Island is quite big.  We no longer get the chance to tour the whole island as both sides have mangroves, trees and lots of branches already.  The sands are not as fine and white as Boracay but its still nice with lot of crushed shells mixed onto the sands.  The water is clean and clear with a few dried leaves on it.  Swimming here is good although there are areas that are suddenly deep even if you're not yet far away from the shore.

The food offered in the package is ok.  We always have at least 2 viands for 5 pax.  It's always seafood and meat.  The dishes cooked were simple, mostly fried especially for the fish.  It's edible though.  I got frustrated with the breakfast as it was only scrambled egg and hotdog.  I would appreciate it more if it was tuyo (sun dried fish) or tinapa (smoked dried fish) instead.

Our tent accommodation is ok as well.  Throw pillows and blankets are provided in the tent.  And you can even request for more pillows and blanket if you wish too.  So you can still feel comfy inside the tent.  During summer, I would recommend to avail the fan or AC room.  Good thing it rain in the evening and so its not so hot inside the tent while we are sleeping.

Fresh water is available in the area via poso or water pump.  You can take a bath inside the "bamboo" bathroom but you must fetch a bucket of water to do so.  Or you can just take a bath outside, near the poso and change clothes in the bathroom.

Overall, going to this island is another experience.  I would still recommend it to my other friends for beach bumming and overnight relaxation.  The travel time is quite long though, at least 5 hours from Manila with few stop overs.  If you want a worry free accommodation then choose the packages offered by Ms. Grace.  They have fan room, AC room and tent accommodation.  The prices are quite fair and competitive.  But if you're budget conscious, then DIY is recommended.  Besides, its always fun and an adventure camping and sleeping in a tent.


  1. this is really nice adventure but i am not sur eif i can do this if i have my son in tow. =)

  2. Sis dapat dito kami pupunta pero di nagrereply si Grace samin even after calling and texting her for a week. So we ended up in Cagbalete. The place looks really nice! Thanks for the post sis! :)

  3. @michelle - sis, if your son can endure the 5 hours land travel, then going here will be no problem.

    @gian - ganyan din sya nung una but i tried calling her at past 6pm, ayun sumagot naman. hehe. i haven't been to cagbalete. borawan pa lang napuntahan ko sa quezon.

  4. Ang saya naman! Hope we can go there someday!

  5. @anney - yup sis, its fun and nice location to relax


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