Palauig, Zambales: Celebrating Birthdays & Beaches in Magalawa Island
November has always been quite a special month for me and my friends since many of us celebrate our birthdays during this time of the year. We’re fond of celebrating birthdays together because joint celebrations mean cheaper expenses. To make this event extra special, the awaited occasion was brought on the sandy shores of Zambales starting with an island off the coast of Palauig. This post is about celebrating our birthdays on the unspoiled beach of Magalawa Island.
Port in Sitio Luan.
Magalawa Island is located at the town of Palauig which is approximately 130 kilometers from Manila. Leaving as early as 3:00 AM took us on 6-hours easy drive including stopovers to reach the jump-off point in the coastal baranggay of Pangolingan. From there, getting to Magalawa Island was only a few minutes away.
Beach front cottages.
No fancy 5-star hotels can be found on the island but rather a small campsite that fit perfectly with Magalawa’s beach and nature ambiance. Pitch tents under the cool shade of luscious green foliage all over the area. But if you prefer a little privacy, enclosed “bahay kubo’s” can also be rented. Adventurous souls would definitely find themselves at home in Magalawa Island.
Having lunch in an open cottage.
Only small sari-sari stores are available in the island. Meat, raw food, and some supplies could be bought from Masinloc, the nearest wet market around Magalawa. Some of our friends, hitched a ride with fishermen bound for Masinloc who were to deliver the day’s fresh catch. Just in time after we settled in our temporary shelters and humble abodes, we began our celebration with a hefty lunch cooked by the very kind host.
Hammocks hung steadily on the beach front cottages.
Afternoon rest in the open cottages.
Beach front cottages served as an excellent respite from the scorching midday sun. Under its thatched anahaw roof you can feel the cool breeze caress your skin as the wind sweeps the shores of Magalawa. Having ice cold drinks or taking an afternoon nap in the open cottages was the best way to kill hours while waiting for an ideal time for a swim.
Ruiz Resort’s beach front.
The boys on the eastern tip of Magalawa Island.
Soft white sand sprawled the beaches of Magalawa while calm gentle waves brushes the shoreline on the eastern side of the island making it an an idyllic place for swimming for both adults and kids. However, clumps and clumps of seaweeds blanketed the seafloor (I don’t really mind seaweeds but what lurks behind gets me paranoid all the time). Fortunately, a seaweed-free swimming area lie on the eastern tip of the island but don’t stray too far out from the shore. Clashing sea currents coming from both sides of the Magalawa Island might be too dangerous especially for non-swimmers.
Locals of Magalawa Island working together to make a small dike to avoid flooding inside the barrio.
Aside from being a tourist spot on the rise, the 56-hectare island of Magalawa is also home to a population of approximately 370 people. The community thrives on aquatic resources, thus, fishing is the primary livelihood in the island. In addition, the two resorts in Magalawa Island also provides extra income to local residents through boat rides, cooking services, caretakers, etc.
Smiles from the residents of the Magalawa Island.
Following the shoreline to the west took me to the local barrio where I found men and children working together to make a small dike to prevent flooding. Not one hesitated a smile as they welcome visiting tourist like me in their humble community. I sat on a docked outrigger boat listening to their exchange of ideas, local gossips, and heartfelt laughter.
Panoramic view of Magalawa from the eastern side of the island.
Beaches are a common denominator I share with my friends. The haven we find in these places binds every individual in this group together. Bringing our small celebration in not-so-faraway places like Magalawa Island adds a little spice to the event making it more unforgettable than the regular overflowing booze party.
Our birthday vacation didn’t end here. Next stop, Iba, Zambales.
Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. If you’re driving to Magalawa Island:
A. Take NLEX-SCTEX route to Subic, Zambales.
B. Follow the National Road bound for Sta. Cruz or Iba, Zambales (Palauig is the next town after Iba).
C. You will pass by two forks after Iba Market, take right on both.
D. Just go straight to Baranggay Pangolingan passing by Zameco Eletric Cooperative and Salaza Bridge.
E. After Salaza Bridge, there’s is a waiting shed on the left side of the highway. Turn left to a rough road (Veritas Road) and you will reach Luan Port at the end.
2. If you’re commuting to Magalawa Island:
A. Take a Victory Liner Bus bound for Sta. Cruz and get off at Baranggay Pangolingan, Palauig.
B. Hire a tricycle to Luan Port.
3. Mang Mulo was our contact person in Magalawa Island. You could reach him via mobile phone. 09294670505
4. Round trip boat ride from Luan Port to Magalawa Island is P100.00
5. Cottage rates were higher than what I usually expect. Maybe you could make arrangements with Mang Mulo. You could also bring your own tents for a cheaper alternative.
6. You could ask them to cook food for you but with an extra charge of course.
7. More Singapore destinations in Biyaheng Zambales
8. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook.
9. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
10. Happy travels everyone.
For some unknown reason, our group photo was missing in my card. Fortunately, Paolo Mariano has a copy.