Ever heard of Magalawa Island? Truthfully, I first heard of this island when a friend of mine (maybe a bit tipsy and sober) asked me out of nowhere if I wanted to join her on their weekend getaway. It was so spontaneous that I couldn’t say no. I asked where, and she said, “Magalawa Island. In Zambales”.
First of all, I have never been to any place in Zambales. Second, I have never been a fan of travelling to the North. If I wouldn’t visit my province in Pampanga, I’ll proll’y only be in Baguio when I say I’m travelling to the North. Anyways, she asked me on a Friday night and we are to leave on Saturday morning. Since it was a very tight schedule, we never had the chance to really research about the place.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Northbound buses most specially, Victory Liner has daily trips to Sta. Cruz, Zambales, which would take 7-8 hours of travel depending on traffic, stop overs and express ways that the bus will take Check out the schedule and bus fare here. Inform the bus conductor that you will go to Magalawa Island and ask to be dropped off at Brgy Pangolingan in Palauig, Zambales. At the drop off point, there will be tricycles waiting for you, hire them to bring you to the resort you are in contact with in Brgy Luan. The 10 min tricycle ride costs us Php 100 per trip. The tricycle would you drop you off at a docking station where your resort most probably pick up tourists to bring them to the island. In our case, since we came at already night time (around 6:30PM), we were charged with an additional of Php 200 for the boat ride maybe because it was sort of a special trip.
If you are bringing a private car, drive all the way to NLEX to SCTEX then take the Subic Bay Freeport Expressway to connect to the national road and follow the signs to Iba, Zambales. As you pass by Iba Market, keep right towards Banlog Triangle (Palauig Junction 2). From there, keep right and then head north to Pangolingan by passing Mt. Tapulao signage, Zameco Electric Cooperative and crossing Brgy Salaza bridge. After the Salaza Bridge you will see at the right side of the road the “Welcome to Pangolingan” signage. Slow down while going up to the road and look for the rough road with waiting shed and tricycle at the left side. Turn left and take the Veritas Road going to Brgy Luan. From there, you should already had taken the directions to the docking station c/o of your resort. Parking areas are available with a fee.
WHERE TO STAY?
There are 2 main resorts in the island, Ruiz Resort and Armada Resort. Our friend had a contact at Ruiz Resort so we were accommodated at their place. The day after, we found out that Armada Resort’s area has better area for swimming and a beautiful sandbar. Based from my experience, Armada Resort has a better service, in terms of security, food and accommodation. Since this was a spontaneous trip, we just brought one tent and paid Php 300 to pitch and rented one for Php 500 in Ruiz Resort.
WHAT TO DO?
There really isn’t much to do here. But that’s what I love the most. Lying beside the beach, relaxing, enjoying the sound of the wave as it hits the island. The sand here is creamy white which I admired the most. Tho, swimming at the side of Ruiz Resort isn’t really advisable as there are many plants near the shore. We tried to go to Armada Resort and they allowed us to enter their side of the island given we will pay an entrance fee of Php 50. Sulit as we say in the Philippines since it had a great sandbar, a wide stretch of plant-free swimming area and security who politely granted our favor of looking out for our things. We really just enjoyed the island life! Of course, the night we arrived, we had a few (or more) drinks.
WHERE TO EAT?
I highly suggest to bring your own food if you’re not staying with Armada Resort since I know that their packages include complete meals. As for us, we brought a bit of canned goods and relied on the sari sari store near Ruiz Resort. We were also able to buy our alcohol there and the next day lunch at Armada Resort. Armada Resort has a mini restaurant that offers silog meals and pasta! Beers are also available.
All in all, I can say that Magalawa Island is the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city tho a bit far, it will be worth it. I would definitely go back to this place (if schedule permits) and stay a lil bit longer. Probably bring my family and love ones along with me.