Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Go to Cagbalete Island

The other day, I gave you a sneak peek into this wonderful paradise we’ve visited over the weekend — Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon. On this post, I am going to share with you how we were able to go there on a tight budget but with memories and experiences full of sunkissed glorious moments. It all began about a month or two ago when my girlfriends and I planned for an island getaway. Koryn was the one who recommended the place since she has already been there with her family over the summer. She was telling us how nice, serene and “virgin” the place was. It’s not intended for vain travelers as we would need to just simply commune with nature and let go of all the luxuries we’re used to in all the other beach resorts we’ve visited before (like nice toilets and shower rooms). We all said “game!’ and the planning began. There were supposed to be around 7 of us. But as the intended date of departure from the city (Nov. 14-15, 2009) was nearing, attendance boiled down to four (Peter, Koryn, Danes and moi). Since we originally budgeted P2000 per person, we presumed that our budget would go up to P2500 or even P3000 per head. Well, we couldn’t back out anymore. We’ve waited for this moment and we were raring to go! We coordinated via email and the final budget and  itinerary was as follows (emailed by Koryn, intended for five people):
Hi guys! Eto na!  Eto na! 
Here’s our budget breakdown for the trip: 

Ferry (to island)40
Rented boat (from island to town)1,500300
Hut (with no bathroom)1,500300
Set meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 snacks 0700
Drinks, alcohol, etc.500100

Inclusive in the 700-peso meal package are the following:
Snack 1
Snack 2
 Masasarap food nila, promise!  Think lutong-bahay and fresh seafood. 
 Because we’ll arrive at the island around 11:00am, the serving of meals will be as follows:
Snack 1
Snack 1
And here’s my proposed itinerary:
3:30am  -    Call time at Peter and Jen’s in Alabang
4:00am  -    Departure from Peter and Jen’s
                 *We can just eat breakfast on the road
                 *Travel time to Mauban is 3-4 hours pero I gave ourselves some time allowance for breakfast, photo ops, and possible
                   confusion in directions hahaha.
9:00am  -    ETA Mauban, Quezon
            -    Park Car at Rommel Pansacola’s (my contact) house
9:45am  -    Head to pier
10:00am-    Ferry departure from pier
11:00am-    Helloooooo, Cagbalete Island!
3:00pm-    Departure from Cagbalete Island
4:00pm-    ETA Mauban town
          -    Pick-up car from Rommel’s place
9:00pm-    ETA Manila

On Sunday, we’ll be riding a rented boat back to town.  The ferry kasi leaves at 1pm so naisip ko baka mabitin lang tayo kasi magmamadali tayo, hahabulin pa natin yung sked kasi one trip lang yung ferry.  But if you do want to leave earlier so we can arrive in Manila a little early also, let me know para I can tell our contact.

* We decided to stay until 4 pm on Sunday so we added P200 each for Sunday lunch. ^_^. We also gave tip of P100 each. So total planned budget went up to around P2700 per person.
Finally, Nov. 14, came. I was so excited! We all were! I’m all packed since Friday the 13th. Peter arrived at 12 midnight from work, packed in a flash and slept for a few hours. At 4:00 a.m, Koryn and Danes were here at our home and we were all set to go. We left our house and was on the road by 4:30 a.m. Below is the map we followed from Muntinlupa to Mauban, Quezon.

If there were more than five of us, we would’ve used the bigger car, the Revo, which consumes more gas than usual. But because there were just four of us, we used our smaller car instead (Toyota Yaris). Full tank of gas cost us P1,200. We hoped to save as much as we could so we can make the most out of this trip.  For directions, here is the text message sent by Koryn’s brother Carlo. You can follow this too:
From SLEX, exit to Sto. Tomas Batangas (going Legaspi/Bicol). Pass through San Pablo going to  Tiaong Town proper (take that). Go straight to the towns of Candelaria and Sariaya. In  Sariaya, there’s this fork going to Lucena, the other going to Tayabas. Take Tayabas (there’s a sign), go straight until you reach Tayabas town proper. Once in Tayabas, find the main road. If it’s one way going to the church, take the second corner from the church. Take a left turn to the main road. Once in the main road, find the Shell gas station. Take the  road beside it. At the end of that road, turn right. That road will already take you to Mauban. It’s quite a long road. You will pass by Pansacola street on your right…a school…. until you see another Pansacola street cor. Quezon street., also on your right. Stop there on that corner. Park your car and cross the street.
Across from where we parked, we saw this house with capiz windows on the second floor and  store/carenderia  below. That’s the house of Mr. Rommel Pansacola (0928-5058633), the owner of the Pansacola Beach Resort in Cagbalete Island. Because we had previous arrangements with him through Koryn, he let us park our car inside his garage and assisted us in getting a tricylce that will take us to the boat station. 
***When you call him for booking, tell him you got to know about his resort through Jen and Koryn, who went there last Nov. 14-15, 2009. You might just get a discount like we did. ^_^

We were there at around 9:30 a.m. We unloaded our stuff and rested a while inside their carenderia. Peter was very exhausted since he hasn’t been sleeping for two days due to his very hectic work schedule. So after a few photo sessions, we let him rest while we waited for our tricycle ride.

The tricycle ride took no more than 5 minutes and cost us only P5.00 per head. The boat station is nothing special. The boats they have are small, something like the boats we used to ride when going to Puerto Galera, only a bit smaller. It was supposed to leave port at 10:30 a.m. but because the captain was trying to fill up all possible spaces with people, food, drinks and other commodities, we waited a bit longer.  Here, you will smell all kinds of possible smell. Like I told you before, this is no picnic. But wait till you get to the island and everything will be worth it. By the time the boat left port, it was already drizzling and we were feeling gloomy. We’re all praying for the weather to be nice at the island and hopefully the sea won’t be as turbulent.

The boat ride took an hour. By the time the boat docked, the sun was already shining. Hurray! However, our calvary is not yet over. Considering that it was low tide, the boat docked not so far from the beach. We still had to wait our turn to ride  (in standing position) an even smaller boat that will take us to the beach. Quite an adventure, I tell you! On the beach, people were asking us where we’re staying. We didn’t mind them coz Koryn already knew where we’re going. But we still had two kids guide the way because it was a bit far from where the boat docked. I can’t say how many kilometers we walked that afternoon. Probably a kilometer or two or even more. I thought it was neverending. But I didn’t complain. I was enjoying the view while I was losing more and more calories every minute. ^_^

  At last! Our first view of paradise!

Then we still had to walk some more…

We passed by the locals’ boats, sari-sari stores and houses and crossed this trail amidst a coconut plantation. Watch out for snakes! Kidding! Teehee!

Just when I thought we still had to go farther, we reached Pansacola Beach Resort. This was the hut we reserved. It is good for 12 people for only P1500. First floor is open air and mezzanine has a small window. Bed cushions were to be placed in the evening. No bathroom. We had to use the common bathrooms scattered at the resort.  We didn’t care! We just want to stay at the beach forever!!! Weee!!!

We were so far from civilization…

 One of the many things we liked here  was the yumminess and amount of the food they served us every meal time! Holy Moley!

 For lunch on our first day, we had Squid in Coconut Milk, Tuna and Veggie Salad, Crispy Pata (so soft and tender…yummy!!!), tons of rice and Leche Flan for dessert. We should’ve taken our bikini photos first before we ate all these wonderfull yummy goodness. Teehee.   

While we were all eating, Peter enjoyed the swing. You know why? Coz he knew we couldn’t eat all that food. So he waited his turn and planned to eat all the leftover when we’re all done. Hehehe.

Watch out for my next post about Cagbalete… Bikini shots coming up!     
 To be continued…

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