It’s Nice to Meet You, Magalawa Island!

** This was written sometime in May, right after this trip.**
Magalawa Island is located in the municipality of Palauig, Zambales Philippines. It’s a small island where you can rent for accommodations or pitch your own tents and cook your own food. We visited the place last weekend and it was a perfect weekend getaway. 
How to get there from Manila:
  • Take the Sta. Cruz bound bus at Victory Liner Caloocan. You can take the LRT 1 to Monumento then walk to the back of Victory Mall to get to the terminal. Else, you can always take the cab. :p
  • Drop off at Barangay Pangolingan, Palauig Zambales. This is at corner Radio Veritas Road. The bus drivers are familiar with the place so just tell them that you’re alighting there and you won’t get lost. Travel time is 6-7 hours, including stop overs.
  • Ride a tricycle that will take you to Oslet Armada Fish dealer compound in Brgy. Luan. When we went there last weekend, fare was Php 150.00 per tricycle with 2 pax (so that’s Php 75/pax).
  • From the compound, take a mini boat going to Magalawa Island. Since we availed of the package, boat fee is already included so I’m not sure how much they charge but I’m guessing that would be around Php100.00/pax. Travel time is approximately 10 minutes.
Then, welcome to Magalawa Island!
Estimated expenses is at Php3,200.00 but this is because we availed of the package which already includes accommodation, 4 meals, boat transfers, bamboo rafting and snorkeling (snorkeling gears were provided with no additional fee). This can be much lower if you bring your own camping gears and cook your own food.
Playing loud music is prohibited. People should use earphones if they wish to listen to music.
If you’re looking for a quick and relaxing weenend getaway and you don’t mind the long travel time, try Magalawa Island.
For our booking, we contacted Ate Grace. Here’s their Facebook page.
And I leave you with these photos 🙂
Pictorial with the star fishes. Don’t worry, we brought them back to the water after :). Oh, don’t mind my long sleeves. I didn’t want to get more tanned since I was somewhere else almost all weekends of the summer!

 Off to the snorkeling site with the beautiful, amazing friends and the little niece. Teenager niece didn’t want to join us anymore. We were being pulled by another boat! Very exhilarating! When we got to the site, the little niece and I transferred to the boat. Didn’t snorkel coz I had to babysit :p.

Enjoying the waters with the little niece. My arms were hurting after this outing. My niece wanted to practice swimming so I had to hold her everytime she wants to practice ker kicks :p.

Conversation with Kids

After our Quezon trip where I brought my nieces with me, I showed her our pictures that were already uploaded in FB. While viewing, she had some comments that really cracked us all up. I placed all her comments in FB as well and my friends and I all had a good laugh. Here are those pictures:

V: Apay ag-ung-ungetak (Why was I angry)?
Me (In a teasing tone): Makabis-bisinak! Makabis-bisinak
(I’m hungry! I’m hungry!)
* This was where she told me that she was hungry but we had no food at hand hihi. Good thing she was shy so we were just whispering when this episode happened-her almost crying because of hunger and me, trying to pacify her hahaha.

V: Nagkatawa akon ta mangmanganak. (I’m already laughing because I’m eating.)
* She really was hungry! Hahaha!

Lessons Learned from the Quezon Trip

I was with my nieces aged 8 and 14 when we went to Quezon Province. Being single my entire life and as it was my first time to bring with me my family in an outing with friends (where there are no other family members to take care of them), I was clueless and wasn’t ready :p.

  • Be ready to carry even the kid who can already walk. My 8 year old niece is used to walking because she lives in Baguio and walking is normal for her. I just didn’t foresee that I need to carry her when we went to the river because she didn’t want her feet to get wet on the way back. The water is cold. So I had to carry her on parts that we need to walk in the water. And since that’s a river, I had to carry her for the most part. *Tiring* 
  • Be ready with food. I’m not used to eating snacks unless I’m so hungry so I did not have any snacks with me. I did not foresee my little niece to go hungry on the way to Kwebang Lampas because we had breakfast earlier. After the boat ride, two minutes after we stared walking, she told me she was hungry. I told her to wait a little because we were already near the beach (even though I know that we are not really near yet :p) and we don’t have food with us because some of the guys volunteered to carry it for us so they are nowhere to be seen and we don’t know who had it. And yes, the food I’m referring to is my friend’s which she graciously shared hihihi. Anyway, good thing that my niece was discrete enough and did not show her tantrums to everyone. But I was crossing my fingers that she won’t ask me to carry her again because she’s too weak to walk hahaha. So there, lesson learned. I should be ready with food anytime when I’m with kids.

Rise and Shine and Get Ready for Kwebang Lampas!

We woke up at 7AM and breakfast was already waiting for us. We sure were spoiled by A’s relatives! 😀 By 8:30AM we were already on our way to Kwebang Lampas. We’ve been to Kwebang Lampas 2 years ago for the same occasion so we were a bit surprised with the changes we saw.
  • Before you even reach the parking space (I’m estimating that this is around 3 KM away), there’s a checkpoint/gate where you have to pay an entrance fee. Not sure how much but they charge differently for cars and tricycle
  • You are not allowed to pass by the trail anymore. You need to take the boat to reach the other side where you will trek further to the beach. The charge is Php 10/head. I doubt if they even have the permit to operate those boats. They don’t even have the basic safety precautions such as the life vests and they allow more than 15 people in a small boat, thus you’ll take the trip standing. I was a bit worried because I was with my 2 nieces before who were kids.
  • The caretaker at the entrance was rude. I don’t know the exact details but those who were ahead of us were asked to wait until all of us were complete before he allowed us to enter the premises. What’s wrong with just collecting a fee for those who have gone way ahead of us then collect from those who were behind? Also, don’t be grumpy please. Not a good way to greet your guests, if I may say so.
  • On the way home, we decided to just walk on the same trail we used 2 years ago. Upon reaching the parking area, we were shouted by the people there because apparently, we were not supposed to use that trail anymore. Well, sorry but there was no signage and nobody mentioned it to us when we arrived in the morning so we thought it was ok. But to be rude and shouting was unacceptable to us. We suspect that the reason why they were pissed off at us was because they were not able to earn from us via their boats :p. I do understand but then again…this is supposed to be a “tipid” trip as well :p.
  • They still have water problems and when we requested in advance for water in the morning for our use in the afternoon, they told us that we just request it from them in the afternoon. When we arrived there in the afternoon, there was no water available. Because of the rudeness we experienced earlier and water unavailable, we decided to just leave the place and go back to A’s relative’s place and wash up there.
Oh well, despite all these mishaps, we still had the time of our lives at the beach. I just hope that the people there were friendlier. Their place is becoming popular these days but people may just be disappointed because of how they handle their customers.
Anyway, as agreed, we will just go back to A’s relative’s home for wash up. Unfortunately, when we arrived there, they also don’t have water available! LOL. We tried with their other relatives to no avail. We considered other options and one mentioned that we can try the Grand Central Terminal because they have restrooms there where one can take a bath for a minimal fee. Since we were 15, others had to commute. Unfortunately, those that should be commuting were having a hard time looking for a ride so we fitted everyone in the Inova hahaha. 15 peeps! Whew. Off we went to the terminal where we will later on find out that taking a bath is only allowed from 5 AM – 7 AM. Disappointed a bit because we can’t convince the one in charge for us to bath as well, we just told her that we’ll just change into clean clothes then. But of course that did not happen…and that must have been the quickest bath I took in my entire life :D.
We parted ways after wash up. The others took the bus at the Grand Central and we also headed straight to Manila after that.

Hello Summer, Hello Quezon Province!

** This was written sometime in May, right after this trip. **

It’s my friend’s birthday this 19th of May so to celebrate, we headed to Quezon province last May 14-15. Our itinerary was to have a picnic at Yapak ni Hesus on the 14th, spend the night at her aunt’s place then proceed to Tayabas, Quezon for another picnic on the 15th. However, everyone was more interested in going to the beach so we went to Kwebang Lampas in Brgy. Polo instead of Tayabas River.
I was also with my other friend and 2 nieces (a 7 year old and a 14 year old) on this trip. We met with the gang at around 5 AM and proceeded directly to SLEX where we met up with the rest of the group. We brought private cars by the way. We did not commute. We were supposed to drop by Shell SLEX for breakfast and to buy our lunch from KFC but we missed the right turn. Assuming that there’s also a KFC in Petron, we proceeded there. Unfortunately, no KFC so we just had a quick breakfast at McDo then resumed our travel, now in search for a KFC. We did not find any so we ended up buying chicken from Andoks instead. Not KFC but still chicken :). We also dropped by the market to buy some mangoes and have a CR break.
We arrived at Mang Domeng’s place at around 10AM. After changing into our swimming attires and rechecking items to be brought to the river, we started the trek going to our spot, the mini-falls (mini to me at least :)). It takes around 30 minutes to reach the place. It’s a combination of river trekking and land trekking (if the way is the land beside the river). When we reached our spot, everyone was already hungry so forget 12 PM, we were already having lunch by 11 AM LOL. After a hearty meal, the others went down to the falls while my nieces and I and some friends stayed at the shallower part of the river. The stones were slippery. Maybe because it was not yet raining often during that time so the muds are not yet washed out.
At 3PM, it was time to head back to Mang Domeng’s for wash up. On our way back, the others, including my older niece, entered the cave. At the cave, there’s a pool of water where the local believe to be miraculous. During the first time I was there, Mang Domeng poured water unto our heads while we say our wishes. True or not, it doesn’t hurt to wish right? 🙂
At around 6PM, we were already on our way to Pagbilao, Quezon to my friend’s relatives’ home where we’ll be having dinner and spending the night as well. Other friends and Pastour Emata (yes, the Filipino M.t Everest summiteer) met us there as well. They had prior appointments so they were not able to join us in Yapak ni Jesus and opted to just follow.
Our hosts prepared delish dishes for us! My friend’s cousin’s specialty was . it was with cheese! Would you believe that? A viand with cheese! 🙂 But then again, I love anything cheesy so I may be biased a bit but everyone said it was yummy as well so I was not the only one captivated by it :D. The other dish that struck me was . it was shrimp with grated coconut, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection. Home cooked food is and will always be glorious :).
Of course after that sumptuous dinner was socials-stories, laughter, jokes- over a bottle of beer and of course endless picture taking. We called it a night at 1AM and proceeded to our designated sleeping quarters for a much needed rest.

Me and my nieces
Yummy yummy dinner!
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