Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon



Cagbalete Island
By: Mark Nickson P. Garcia


It’s the time of the year when most people, especially beach lovers, look forward to escaping the metropolis with their backpacks on - summertime!
With my classes that are finally over and office that is at Shutdown Break for a week, not to mention that PAGASA has already declared the start of the summer season, what activity could be more exciting to do than to hit the beach? And, yes, i did.

My original plan was to go somewhere far from Manila, but due to a tight budget, and because not all of my friends are not on a Shutdown Break, i thought that a two-days-and-one-night itinerary would be just fine. After researching online, I decided to travel to Mauban, Quezon ane explore the well know island called CAGBALETE.


The Journey
It was on the morning of 23rd of March 2013 when I, together with my girlfriend (Gizelle) and friends (Angie, April, Hermil, Joan and Maibelle), met at JAC Liner Bus Terminal in Kamias corner EDSA-Kamuning to board the 5:00am bus bound to Mauban. It was supposed to depart at 5:00am, but for unknown reasons, we left early at around 4:30am.

We arrived at Mauban, Quezon at 9:15am and rode a tricycle to Pantalan port. JAC Liner’s terminal is far from Pantalan port, therefore it would be much better to ride a tricycle especially if you’re carrying some loads.

Since some of my friends are newbies with boat rides, they thought that we would ride a small boat (a fisherman’s boat) on our way to the island. Passenger boats, with a minimal fee, and rental boats are available at the Pantalan Port. If someone is unable to board the passenger boats, then better rent a boat.


At Pantalan Port

We depart at around 11:00am due to some boat difficulties. The boat ride can be very rough and waters will keep plunging the boat. Funny thing is, I never knew the rationale behind the big plastic tarpaulin in front of the boat until the boat sailed and served as a protection from the hammering waters.

As we near the island, kids swam towards the boat and offered to be our guide/porter to our destined resort. Upon arrival, a small boat served as the transfer from the passenger boat to the island itself for free.

We hired guides/porters to take us to Villa Cleofas which is on the other side of the island. There are no minimum charges to be paid for the guide/porter and it all depends on how much you are willing to give them.

There are two barangays at Cagbalete Island (Cagbalete I and II). Stores and markets are everywhere so if there are some provisions you forgot to buy then you can still buy it here.


Kilometre walk to Villa Cleofas


BP Nick with the guides

 After a kilometer trek within the fields of Cagbalete Island, we finally arrived at Villa Cleofas and gave the kids money. Since we are on a tight budget, I brought my own tent and opted to rent additional (originally) two tents.


“Girls” just wanna have fun


BP Nick
Ready to snorkel



TENT
It was a sunny afternoon when we swam the waters of Cagbalete. Gizelle and I decided to do some snorkelling while the others decided to take a rest on our respective tents. After snorkelling and having chit chat with my friends, rained poured. When it rained, we noticed that the rented tents were not durable at all. Zippers are broken and rain waters are dripping inside the tents. We were forced to abandon the rented tents and some transferred to my tent. While some of my friends are inside my tent, I was very confident that no water can enter my tent and I kept on telling them “Huwag kayo magalala, tried and tested yan sa ulan”. Suddenly, they began shouting “Binabaha na sa loob!”. I was incredulous at first because I knew that I never had that experience since using it, even during rainy season climb.  After Hermil talked to the management, we were then transferred to the bamboo hut.


Sunrise




BONSAI ISLAND
Waking up to see the sunrise is a must do at Cagbalete Island. We (Hermil, Gizelle and I) woke up at around 6:00 to catch the sunrise and took some pictures.

My plan was to try kayaking with Gizelle but when I looked at the waters, it subsides into knee deep making it impossible to do kayak.  Due to low tide, we saw the Bonsai Island.

After our breakfast, while the rest of my friends stayed at the cottage, Gizelle and I walk for a kilometre towards the island. It is said that during low tides, the island can be seen and visited. There is nothing much to be seen in there but rocks and small trees, but it’s amazing to know that there is another island just in front of our resort. Now the only question is…would that be considered Island hopping? (Hahaha!)


BP Nick and Gizelle

BP Nick at Bonsai Island


VILLA CLEOFAS
As mentioned above, you will need to walk from the port to Villa Cleofas. It is one of the well-known resorts in the island, the other two being MVT Sto. Nino Beach Resort and Pansacola Resort. According to locals, there are other existing resorts in the island, besides the three mentioned, but since I have reservation with Villa Cleofas, it would be appropriate to just spend the night on it.

A week prior to our arrival, I contacted the owner Ms. Tess Reyes for reservation and she was very nice to me and even shared the different activities and sites to be visited on the island.

The place is quite clean and relaxing because of the colorful designs of the houses and facilities. It looked nicer to the eyes. They offer series of activities for a fee such as snorkelling, kayaking, beach volleyball, videoke, etc (for more details, you can click the link of their website below).


From left to right (Joan, Maibelle, April, Angie, Gizelle, Nick and Hermil)



Restrooms

The cottages

The cottages


Volleyball area





WHAT I SHOULD INVEST
Being at Cagbalete Island (Villa Cleofas) made me learn that there are some equipments that I should invest to, they are:
1. Snorkelling gears
It was my first time to try snorkelling and I love the idea of seeing fishes and corals.
2. Underwater camera
Same as above, I would love to take picture on the creatures of the waters.
3. Portable stoves
It cost us around Php100/ meal as rental for us to cook our food. Imagine the money I saved if I have a portable stove.


BP Nick and Gizelle


IMPORTANT NOTES:
1. JAC Liner bus offers a direct trip to Mauban, Quezon
Schedules are as follows:
Manila to Mauban 5:00am – 1:00pm
Mauban to Manila 4:00am, 4:30am and 2:00pm
Link - http://www.jacliner.com/schedules.html

2. Passenger boats are offered at Pantalon Port.
Schedules are as follows:
Pantalan to Cagbalete Island 10:00am and 4:00pm
Cagbalete Island to Pantalan 07:30am and 1:00pm

3. A kilometre walk to Villa Cleofas would be on an open field and it would be wiser to bring an umbrella for protection from the sun or rain.

4. Villa Cleofas website (rooms/rates/facilities/etc)


5. Be sure to buy everything you need before arriving at Cagbalete. Markets are everywhere at Mauban, Quezon.

ACTUAL ITINERARY:


DAY 1

ACTIVITY
TIME
EXPENSES



Mandatory
Optional
Food Contribution


PhP220.00/ person
Departure - Bus
(Cubao to Mauban, Quezon)
4:30am
Php277.00/ person

Arrival
(Mauban, Quezon)
9:15am


Tricycle
(Bus Terminal to Pantalan Port)
9:15am – 9:20am
Php10.00/ person

Departure - Boat
(Pantalan Port to Cagbalete Island)
11:00am
Php50.00/ person

Arrival
Cagbalete Island

11:45am

PhP100.00 (Hired a Guide)
Walk to Villa Cleofas
11:45am – 12:15am


Arrival
(Villa Cleofas)
12:15pm
PhP50.00/ person (entrance fee)

Php1,500.00 bamboo hut divided by 7 persons = PhP214.00

Cook, Lunch and Wash
12:30pm

Php100.00 (use of gas)
Explore the Beach
2:00pm - 5:30pm

PhP100.00 (use of snorkelling gear)
Cook, Dinner, and Wash
6:30pm

Php100.00 (use of gas)
Lights Out
9:00pm


DAY 2

Wake Up and watch the sunrise
6:00am


Cook, Breakfast and Wash
6:30am

PhP100.00 (use of gas)
Php80.00 (bought water)
Walk to Bonsai Island
8:00am


Departure – Walk
(Villa Cleaofas to Boat)
11:30am – 11:45am

PhP50.00 (Hired a guide)
Arrival
at the Boat
11:45am


Departure - Boat
(Cagbalete Island to Pantalan)
1:00pm
PhP50.00/ person

Arrival
Pantalan Port
1:45pm


Tricycle
(Pantalan Port to Bus Terminal)
1:55pm
PhP10.00/ person

Departure – Bus
(Bus Terminal to Cubao)
2:00pm
PhP277/ person

Arrival
(Cubao)
6:00pm


TOTAL

PhP938.00
PhP1,788.00
(Plus the Mandatory expenses) 
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