Magalawa Island: At The West Edge of Luzon

It took us hours on the road to get to the remote island that is Magalawa Island. When left with no unusual sights, I find that it is easier to more receptive to beauty and even humor when I am with the familiars.

Once again, Zambales is the travel destination of my high school pals this year. And why not? In just one province, we are given a handful of summer activities to do such as climbing a mountain, surfing the waves, or island hopping. This year, we zeroed in on the Western Coast where Magalawa Island is found.

magalawa island

It’s the Spontaneous Trips that Push Through

The trip was close to being unplanned, which is unusual for someone who would gladly be spoiled by itineraries. Calling Mang Mulo of Ruiz Resort in Magalawa Island the night before, we found out cottages and tents are fully booked for the weekend. Meanwhile its rival resort, Armada Resort, is three times more pricey.

At 6AM, aiming to risk not getting accommodation at Magalawa Island, the bus at Victory Liner Caloocan-Monumento only afforded us a chance passenger option. Needless to say, we had to endure the hassle of standing on the estimated four-hour bus ride and being transferred to a bus with no sure seating.

magalawa island

The Long Road to Magalawa Island

Being on the Westmost of the Philippines, Malagawa Island’s surrounding waters is already the West Philippine Sea. The bus ride is long and arduous. It requires a nearly 7-hour patience, frequent stretches, and light-hearted company.

After the bus trips from Manila to Olongapo, and Olongapo to Pangolingan via Sta. Cruz bus, we took the tricycle to Radyo Veritas Port. From there a boat fetched us from Magalawa Island. The cost of travelling roundtrip is a little more than PHP 1,300.magalawa island

Surprise! The risk was worth it, as there is a cottage available at Magalawa Island for the six of us priced at PHP 1,500. Couldn’t be more convenient, being equipped with electricity plugs, electric fan, a bed and a mattress. We quickly tended to our starving tummies by ordering lunch at Ate Leny’s karinderia.

Activities in a Secluded Island

At Magalawa Island, you can go jet ski tubing, snorkeling and island hopping care of Mang Mulo. Beach bums can also enjoy halo-halo at Ate Leny’s and go stargazing by the bonfire by nighttime. There’s zero challenge in terms of amenities as there is a toilet, shower and a water pump within the vicinity and electricity at night.

magalawa island

Beach Rivalry and Plant-Infested Shores

Apparently, the beaches of Magalawa Island are private property and we cannot cross to Armada Resort, which has the finer sand. It is only in retrospect that I realized this rivalry between the two resort damages the reputation of Magalawa Island as a whole.

Sand-wise, Ruiz Resort beach is average. But what I didn’t like about the water is that there were seaweeds, starfish and jellyfish on the beach. Made it a bit icky to swim in.

magalawa island

Obligatory emote pose

It’s kind of a bummer to travel for nearly 7 hours only to find out you can’t cross into the finer white sands, or swim too far from the seaweed-laden shore. The activity we enjoyed the most — that made up for it — was sweating ourselves out with beach volleyball. That, and going on photowalks along the limited shoreline we had.

Sometimes, It’s the People that Make a Trip Worth It

When it took us hours on the road to get to Mt. Magalawa, I find that it is easier to more receptive to beauty and even humor with friends. While traveling for places and not people is still my mantra, I can say that sometimes, a trip is only as good as the ones you are with.

magalawa island

Thank you Wesley Soriano for photos!


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  • Reply
    The Jerny
    May 20, 2016 at 1:29 AM

    Hey Sam! I love your photos! What camera are you using? I have been to Magalawa too with my friends and I agree with the last statement on your blog. Sometimes, traveling is really better with friends and their humor!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 20, 2016 at 2:42 AM

      Hi Jerny! I only use kit lens of Nikon d3100. Very basic. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  • Reply
    June 3, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    Awww, too bad it wasn’t what you wanted it to be. But at least you still got to experience it and with good friends too. 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      June 17, 2015 at 4:00 PM

      Thanks Janice. Yeah, I guess not all destinations are worth the journey. Or at least, it depends on what you’re looking for 🙂

  • Reply
    Chanel Marie
    May 31, 2015 at 11:38 PM

    I love it! Para lang tayong nasa probinsiya na chill lang ang atmosphere.

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    May 30, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    I love beaches and we are looking for a place to have our “huling Summer hirit”. This looks like a nice place.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2015 at 6:11 AM

    It’s annoying that you cannot cross when obviously, water and sand aren’t their property? Anyway, we just had our beach escapade last week at Casa Astiller in Calatagan, Batangas. So serene and lovely beach! Just like you, it would be hard for me to bail out on trips now, knowing how beautiful beaches are. Next trip, Zambales!

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      June 17, 2015 at 3:59 PM

      Hey Millie! Thank you! And yes I went to Casa Astillero too, lovely beach. We also got to play Ultimate Frisbee there 🙂

  • Reply
    May 27, 2015 at 8:46 PM

    Amazing place, I wish to visit Magalawa island one day.

  • Reply
    Jojo Vito
    May 27, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    I’ve been to Zambales for a couple of times , regrets I’ve never seen their Beaches..ang gaganda pala….:)

  • Reply
    Russ R.
    May 26, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    It’s strange that they said you can’t cross to the other resort even if it were private property – the shoreline and the waters aren’t part of the property. No one can own the shoreline and the waters 🙂

    At least that’s what I’ve been told when I was working on a beach project and didn’t want passersby to go the beach property.

    But in any case, I have to find time to visit Zambales. I have been reading a lot of summer getaways this year and most of them were either in Cebu & in Zambales. I’d love to visit Magalawa Island.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      June 17, 2015 at 3:58 PM

      That’s what I know too! I really don’t think they have the right to claim the shores. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    May 26, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    They should really promote Zambales more for tourism as they have a lot of nice places to visit. i would love to see Magalawa island.

  • Reply
    Summer Shayn
    May 26, 2015 at 2:40 PM

    That’s why it’s familiar – tabing ilog. The cottage looks very simple and I only appreciated it after seeing that it’s not a lone cottage. Is blue the real color of the dog? Maybe you went there at a wrong time. It’s hot so I’m really expecting that there wil be a lot of jellyfish in the beaches now. The starfish looks cute.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Oh! I am starting to love Magalawa resort. I think the white sand and the summer vibe can be found in this place. thanks for the travel suggestion!

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      June 17, 2015 at 3:57 PM

      Welcome! Glad to be of help. Prepare your butt though for the long ride

  • Reply
    May 25, 2015 at 11:57 PM

    Yeah, I believe I’m the only person who hasn’t been close to any resorts nor beach this summer. This summer is a bummer! T__T

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      June 17, 2015 at 3:56 PM

      Think that it’s summer yearround. No need go really far 🙂

  • Reply
    michelle co-huertas
    May 25, 2015 at 11:42 PM

    I love the beaches nearby and I used to frequent Zambales, will try this on my next visit.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    I’ve never heard of the Island and now, I have added this to my “To-Go” list. It looks like a great place to relax and just enjoy the beach with friends.

    Unfortunately for me, I spent my entire summer at home. Boo hoo. 🙁

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