Summer time is a great time to let loose and explore. It’s a time wanderlusts like me especially look forward to because that’s the perfect time for us to live out our fantasies. When it comes to fulfilling wanderlust’s dream, I can say that I do it while multitasking. How, you may ask.
Well, last March, I’ve had the privilege of visiting Zambales for its annual Dinamulag Festival. While I had tons of fun with the various activities related to the festival, I can’t pass up the chance to visit Magalawa Island. So off to the island I went after the festivities. Consider this your no-fuss travel guide to the, Magalawa Island.
Magalawa Island is a 56-hectare island on Luzon’s west coast. Seeing as how it’s located in Zambales, which is touted as one of the Philippines’ top spots for surfing and exploring hidden coves, you can somehow anticipate how beautiful the island looks likes. However, I was still amazed when I saw firsthand the island’s fine white sand its immaculate sandbar.
Aside from the fine white sand, which is comparable to that of Boracay’s, ginormous coconut trees likewise adorn the place to underscore the island’s extremely tropical setting. It also boasts of rich marine life, and this bit is not surprising since locals dub the place “Island of the Stars” because of the overabundance of starfish in its waters. Of course, the water is also perfect for snorkeling and diving.
Getting to Magalawa Island
One of the things that sold Magalawa Island to me is how accessible it is. You can reach it both by private or public transportation. If you’re going to use your own car, you can take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to head on to Palauig, Zambales. Make sure you plan the travel well as it will take more or less four hours. Upon reaching Palauig, head right to Banlog Triangle and traverse north until you reach Barangay Pangolingan. From there, turn left to Veritas Road on the way to the port of your chosen resort. You will need to ride a boat enroute to Magalawa Island, which will take roughly 20 minutes.
Should you decide to use public transportation, you can take a Victory Liner bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Get off at Veritas Road and hail a tricycle to take you to the port of the resort you’ve booked. A boat will then take you to Magalawa Island.
Where to Stay when You’re in Magalawa Island
You have two choices as far as accommodations go when you’re in Magalawa Island. First option is Ruiz Resort, and the second option is Armada Resort. I will take the liberty of encouraging you to book a stay at Armada Resort because that’s where the island’s beautiful beach is. Oh, and it encompasses the lovely sandbar, too, so win-win if you stay there. Did I mention that the sandbar is adorned with colorful beach flags and nipa huts where you can stay after an afternoon stroll.
What’s more, the resort offers affordable packages dependent on the length of stay (2-3 days) and the number of people traveling in your group. Prices vary depending on the amenities inside the room. If you want to use your own tent and use a common toilet/bath, you’ll have to pay around Php1,600 per person. The rate hikes up to Php1,800 if you’ll rent the tent from the resort. Rate gets cheaper the more people there are in a group. On the other hand, if you want an air-conditioned room with its own toilet/bath, you’ll have to shell out Php3,000 per head.
I say affordable rates since the prices quoted above are inclusive of round-trip boat transfers going to and coming from the island, the entrance fee, four set meals – lunch, dinner, breakfast, and lunch – and snorkeling activity. So imagine if you’re traveling with a friend by public transportation (fare is more or less Php 500). It will take you a little less than Php3,000 for a 2-day stay at the island.
Meals are an abundance of delectable seafood fares from fish and seaweeds to lobsters. Allergic to seafood? Worry not. The friendly staff of the resort can assist you; just make sure you let them know of your allergy.
Takeaways from My Malagawa Island Experience
Will I recommend Malagawa Island to fellow wanderlusts? Definitely. If you want a summer getaway with a Boracay vibe minus the throngs of people you literally have to bump elbows with, then Magalawa Island is the place to be.
However, please take note that building a camp fire is not allowed on the island primarily because they want to protect the sand. There’s also no need to bring your own food. The place sells affordable and delectable packaged food; thus, littering is avoided. Finally, for your own safety, follow the warning signs on the beach. The warnings, particularly regarding the state of the current, are for your own good.
Overall, I give my Malagawa Island getaway a rating of 5 stars. The place is another testament to how beautiful and naturally gifted the Philippines is.