This is the third and last part of our 3 destinations on a 3-day escapade: Manaoag - Alaminos - Palauig
Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales
The first time we heard about Magalawa Island was when we were searching for beaches somewhere in the North. We saw pictures of this beautiful island in the internet and through research, we found out its name: Magalawa Island.
Who would've thought that Manileños don't need to travel far, even via plane, to find a peaceful and relaxing place?
We originally planned to stay at Armada Resort since they are active in the social media in terms of promoting their resort. Their price is costly, which we thought too expensive for their type of accommodation. Through research and guided by other bloggers, we found out that there is another resort operating in the island: Ruiz Resort. The owner of this resort happens to be the owner of the whole island. We even found out that there's a dispute between these two resorts as Armada Resort didn't get permission from Ruiz Family to operate on their island. There were even court cases filed against Armada, which they lost to, but appealed to continue their operation.
Bloggers' main purpose is to give information about places to visit and to share their experiences and adventure. The bloggers' world gives Armada a big blow because of their expensive accommodation and strict rules and regulations in their resort. Just imagine paying Php400 just to pitch your own tent for a day!
With this information at hand, we decided to go for Ruiz Resort.
We contacted Mang Mulo, the operator of Ruiz Resort (09294670505) and asked to be booked for an overnight stay on April 20 - 21. We asked for their packaged rate at Php1,500/head which includes entrance fee, main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), boat transfer, snorkeling, and cottage accommodation.
|Mang Mulo and Ate Bing at the far right and Ate Beth, who prepares our food|
We waited at their bus terminal for a ride going to Sta. Cruz, Zambales. The bus (fare at Php77/head) left at 8:50AM and we traveled for 1.5 hours. We arrived in Sta. Cruz at 10:30AM then took another bus going to Palauig at Php62/head. Our travel time was 1 hour. We dropped off at Pangolingan Crossing and chartered a tricycle for Php100/head towards the wharf. Don't forget to tell the driver that you are going to Ruiz Resort. The two resorts operating in Magalawa Island have different pick-up points. Travel time via boat from the wharf to Magalawa Island is about 15 mins.
|Get ready for a bumpy ride|
|Our approaching service boat|
|On the way to Magalawa Island|
Accommodation at Ruiz Resort
Mang Mulo and his wife, Ate Bing, are very warm and hospitable to guests. The cottages are basic, with just beddings and electric fan inside. They use common CR. If you've been to Anawangin, the setup is quite like that but better. You can choose your accommodation according to your needs:
~ Book for either a packaged or non-packaged stay at their cottages (package is Php1,500/head, includes entrance fee, main meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner-, boat transfer, snorkeling, and cottage)
~ Pitch your own tent at Php100/tent
~ Rent a tent at Php300
~ Cottages for a day tour which costs Php300-Php500
~ Entrance fee is Php100/head
|Our home at Ruiz Resort|
Our food was served at the right time and it was actually too much for just two persons but we ate to our hearts' content.
Another reason why we recommend Ruiz Resort is because of their location. Ruiz Resort is in front of San Salvador Island, acting as a natural breakwater. This strategic location helps to control the waves and current of the sea. In addition to that the seagrass, which they do not cut off as advised by DENR, disrupts the current of the waters and makes it possible to swim safely farther from the shore.
The other resort is facing the Western Philippine Sea, which is more prone to waves and surge of the sea. They trimmed the seagrass, which is supposed to be growing also in front of their resort, apparently to satisfy some beach goers. In effect, the waters there have stronger current than on the other side.
|Two of the resident dogs of Ruiz Resort|
There is a large coral reef around Magalawa Island. Some, sadly, are dead or fossil corals. Sea stars or starfish are scattered everywhere: on the beach and underwater.
We checked out at Ruiz Resort on April 21, Sunday, at 1PM. We chartered a tricycle for Php75/head. Going back to Pangolingan Crossing is cheaper because the drop off point of the boat is nearer to Pangolingan.
We almost had a taste of misadventure if not for a group of travelers from Magalawa going back to Manila, who thankfully welcomed us to hitch a ride with them:
How to go to Magalawa Island in Palauig, Zambales from Manila via Bus
Before you go there, we sugggest you plan ahead your tour especially if you opt to stay at a kubo in the resort. We recommend Ruiz Resort, the owner of Magalawa Island. You may contact Mang Mulo for your booking schedule.
Facebook Page: Magalawa Island/Ruiz.Resort
Take a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Zambales (Victory Liner or Dagupan Bus) in Cubao. Ask the conductor or driver to drop you off at Pangolingan Crossing along Radio Veritas Road. Fare is not more that Php350 for aircon bus.
Once at Pangolingan Crossing, ride a tricycle to the wharf. Tell the driver that you will go to Ruiz Resort. Fare is Php100/head (too costly, actually). From the wharf, a boat will take you to the island.
From Pangolingan Crossing to Luan Port (and parking area), travel time is 15-20 minutes. Wait for the boat of Ruiz Resort to take you to the island.
To go back to Manila, just follow the route you took in going to Palauig.
Pangasinan - Zambales Adventure Series
Part 1: Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine
Part 2: Island Hopping and Snorkeling in Alaminos: Hundred Islands National Park
Part 3: Escape to Palauig, Zambales: Magalawa Island
1:00 AM ~ departure at Dagupan Bus Terminal in Cubao to Manaoag, Pangasinan (every hour of every day at Php315/head; 5 hours travel time)
6:15 AM ~ arrival at Our Lady of Manaoag Church
8:00 AM ~ Van from Manaoag to Dagupan at Php30/head (45 mins.)
8:45 AM ~ arrival at Dagupan; we had our breakfast
9:20 AM ~ headed to Alaminos from Dagupan via local bus at Php50/head
11:30 AM ~ arrived at Alaminos town proper and took a tryke going to Lucap Wharf (Php60/ride)
12:00 NN ~ arrival at Lucap Wharf Tourism Office for Hundred Islands tour registration; checked in at Villa Antolin
01:15 PM ~ hired service boat for our Hundred Islands tour until 5:30 PM
07:30 AM ~ checked out at Villa Antolin and headed back to Alaminos town proper via tryke at Php60/ride
08:50 AM ~ we left Alaminos via Victory Liner Bus (Php77/head) and headed to Sta. Cruz, Zambales (we had to wait for a bus to arrive at the Alaminos terminal; travel time to Sta. Cruz is about 1.5 hours)
10:30 AM ~ arrived in Sta. Cruz and took another bus (fare at Php62/head) going to Pangolinan Crossing in Palauig, Zambales (travel time is about 1 hour)
11:30 AM ~ arrival at Pangolingan Crossing and took a tryke going to Ruiz Resort pickup point (fare is Php100/head)
01:00 PM ~ checked out at Ruiz Resort and headed back to Pangolingan Crossing (tryke fare is Php75/head since the drop off point of the boat is nearer to Pangolingan Crossing than the pickup point)
02:00 PM ~ headed back to Manila by hitching a ride with a group of travelers who also went to Magalawa Island
9:00 PM ~ arrived in Manila
Backpacking Pinoy Couple 2013