A beach weekend at Cagbalete
Notes and considerations
To get to Cagbalete Island from Manila, you have to drive 4 hours to Mauban in Quezon province. From there, you have to register at the tourism center before taking a 30- to 45-minute boat ride to Cagbalete. Take note that – especially during the peak season – you’ll have to wait at least an hour for your boat to arrive. We waited at least two hours at the tourism center and then another twenty minutes or so at the port area.
We ended up at Villa Noe because our preferred resort was booked for the weekend. A cottage for 8-10 persons will set you back Php 3500./ night. It comes with 4 bunk beds, 2 beds that can snugly fit 3 persons each, an electric fan, and electricity from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Their food package per person (3 meals and 1 snack) is Php 1000. You can just opt to cook your own food in their grill area, though. It might be a cheaper option. Plus, this option allows for healthy eating if you’re into that. Cooking utensils can be rented at the resort for Php 100./day.
Honestly speaking, we weren’t wowed by the beachfront. I was with friends at Burot beach in Calatagan two summers ago, and that particular beach in Batangas had whiter sands and bluer waters. The advantage Cagbalate has is that it has resorts that allow you some creature comforts. Our resort offered massages for Php 300., kayaking for Php 200./ hour, the aforementioned 12-hour electricity window, etc.
By the way, low tide on the island is between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Those coming to and from Cagbalete via private boats during that time period will have to walk a few hundred meters to get to and from the island (see the second to the last photo). We asked our boat to pick us up at around 4:00 p.m., so we took advantage of the low tide to skimboard and play Frisbee.
So is Cagbalete a good summer destination? It depends. If you want an okay beach with spartan facilities, then Cagbalete is a good option for you. If you want a good beach with no facilities (read: consider this only if you’re okay with the idea of really roughing it), then head on over to Burot beach in Calatagan.
Villa Noe’s reservation numbers: 0929-217-6971, 0905-205-4348, 0909-524-1773, and 0910-416-2536.
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