Zambales is no doubt one of the best places to go to if you want to enjoy the beach and have a fun summer. You can find here several campsites, islands, coves, beaches and a lot more. My very first trip to the beach this 2020 is one of Zambales’ best beach and island destination – Magalawa island.
To welcome the Chinese New Year and help my friends do their maternity shoot, we headed to Zambales and enjoyed every minute of it.
If you are looking for a not too crowded and new destination in Zambales, check out Magalawa Island.
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Located in Zambales, Magalawa island is a 56-hectare island frequently visited by tourists during the summer. It is quite famous for its sandbar and white fine sand.
Unlike other beaches, Magalawa is pretty affordable and not that crowded. Add to that its turquoise blue waters and you got yourself a paradise to look forward to.
Originally, we planned to go check out Hermana Menor island. Unfortunately, it was currently closed so we looked for other options and found Magalawa island.
It was more than what we hoped it would be. We reached the island during sunrise since we traveled from Baguio at night.
Upon arriving on the island, the first thing I noticed was the clear waters. And as the sun rose up high, the sea became bluer and bluer. And the sand? It’s white and fine. I’ve heard people compare the sand to that of Boracay and apparently the color is the same. It’s only that Boracay has finer sand.
One thing, Ryk and I love about going to the beach is the seafood. Fortunately, we were early enough to buy some fresh fishes from the local fishermen. We even got lobsters and you bet they were yummy!
We grilled and cooked the whole morning. After lunch, we swam around the beach then checked the sand bar as well as Armada resort. It was pretty great.
Our friends, KC and Alex also did their maternity shot at the island and all the photos looked superb – all thanks to PJ’s Huawei Mate 20 pro.
Since we were too tired from last night’s trip, we all slept early and woke up before the sunrise the next day.
Our next destination was Subic so we had to say goodbye to the island. Huhuhu. I wanted to stay some more – maybe a few more days (hahaha) but alas we couldn’t.
All in all, our stay at Ruiz Ocean Beach Resort was amazing. We sang karaoke, ate lots of seafood (the lobster was yummy), and slept under the stars. Oh, and my friends brought their doggies. You can bring yours too especially since there are friendly dogs on the island.
They all loved swimming! Ugh. It was a pretty cute sight. I wish we brought our pup, too. Unfortunately, our baby Noodle recently died (sad) and our Ozzy is still 2 months old. He still has to complete his vaccines before we can bring him with us.
I’ll pretty much come back to Magalawa sooooon (hopefully) and camp under the stars again. Plus, I can easily do my work on the island since the Smart and Globe mobile data is strong.
Magalawa Zambales Beach Resort: Where to Stay
Within Magalawa island, you will find two resorts – Ruiz Ocean Beach Resort and Armada Resort.
Armada Resort has the island’s beautiful sandbar. You will find a floating restaurant here, too.
Rates may change without prior notice. For complete and updated rates and packages, check http://magalawaislandresort.com/rates/.
- Phone Number: Grace Armada at +63 920 948 3303
- Website: magalawaislandresort.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/ArmadaResort/
Ruiz Ocean Beach Resort
Ruiz Resort faces Potipot Island. Unlike Armada resort, Ruiz Resort offers a few activities including kayaking, island hopping, and snorkeling.
Plus, if you’re lucky, you can belt a song or two with their karaoke.
- Entrance Fee: P100 per person for overnight
- Boat Pickup: P100 per person two way
- Cottage: P1,200 per night (maximum of 5 persons)
- Snorkeling: P150 per person
- Island Hopping: P200 per person
- Car Park: P200
- Tent Pitching (Own Tent): P200
- Tent Rental: P500
- Phone Number: Mulo Aragon at +63 928 856 8242
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagalawaIslandRuizResort
Things To Do
Here are a few things you can do on the island.
Rent snorkeling gears, and a life vest from the resort. At Ruiz beach resort, you will ride a floating cottage while a boat pulls you to where you will snorkel. Expect to see fishes and corals.
If you chose Ruiz beach resort, you can go ahead and rent a Karaoke machine for P500 a day.
If the 10-minute boat ride wasn’t enough for you, you can do an island hopping tour. However, you will only go see the Bacala guesthouse which isn’t much. You can also rent a boat to bring you to Potipot island for P1,000.
In the morning, wake up early to go buy freshly caught fish from the fishermen. Just ask around where you can buy these. We were pretty lucky, we got ourselves some lobsters! If that’s not enough, you can rent a boat to Masinloc and buy some shrimps, crabs, octopus, and a whole lot more! Then, grill some seafood for the whole day.
Best Time To Visit
We went to Magalawa island on a February so it’s still a bit chilly and not that hot. During summer and weekends, the place is packed so try to schedule your trip during weekdays. You’ll have the resort all to yourself!
How To Get There
Tip: Before you go, be sure to contact the resort you will be staying in so they can provide you with the exact location of their ports.
- Ride a bus heading to Sta. Cruz Zambales. There’s the Victory Liner bus in Manila, Pasay, and Caloocan. If you want to lessen your travel time, ride from the Caloocan terminal. Fares are around P450+. Travel time is at 6 hours.
Travel Tip: Check schedules and availability of buses to Zambales for booking online with 12Go Asia.
- Ask the driver to drop you off at Veritas Road, Brgy. Pangolingan, Palauig, Zambales.
- From here, ride a tricycle to bring you to the port areas. A few hundred meters from the port, expect the road to be rocky so prepare for a rough trip. From the highway, it will take you around 15 minutes to reach the port. The fare is at P200 for the whole tricycle.
- Ride the boat to Magalawa Island. The travel time is around 10 minutes. Fare is at P100 per person (two-way) for Ruiz Resort.
Via Private Vehicle
- From Manila, take NLEX and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. The travel time is around 4 hours and the toll fee will cost you P429.
- Upon reaching Palauig, turn right at Banlog Triangle and drive to Brgy. Pangolingan.
- Look for the Veritas Road to your left and drive to the ports.
- Afterward, ride a boat to Magalawa. The ports have their own parking area so you have nothing to worry about.
If all else fails, just use Google Maps.
Tips and Reminders
- Bring your own drinking water. There’s not much on the island.
- There’s a sari-sari store near Ruiz resort. However, the prices are a bit high. There are also two stores in Armada resort.
- If you chose Ruiz resort, you will have to pay a P50 entrance fee to Armada resort in order to access the sand bar.
- Bring mosquito repellants if you are camping.
- If you find some starfishes, try not to disturb them or pick them up.
- Electricity is only available from 6 PM to 7 AM.
- There’s a rip current beside the sandbar so you have to be very careful.
- At Ruiz Resort, Smart and Globe have LTE speed when it comes to mobile data. My friend even did a speed test and it shows 73 MBPS for Smart!
Responsible Travel Tips
When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.
1. Respect the environment
Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can. Don’t bring home the sand or any seashell. Leave them where they belong. Missing seashells can have potential detrimental environmental impacts.
2. Avoid single-use plastic
Bring your eco bag and refuse single-use plastic.
3. Always ask permission
Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children
What to Pack for Magalawa Island
- Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
- Light Rain Jacket (especially from June to November)
- T-shirts, a Nice top, and a Long-sleeved Shirt
- Aqua Shoes
- Day Bag
- Dry Bag
- Power Adapter
- Universal Waterproof Phone Case
- Packing Cubes
- Microfiber Towel
- Travel Insurance
- Money Belt
- Sneakers, and Some Flats
- Reusable Straw and Reusable Bag (no to single-use plastic!)
Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)
Our Camera Gear
- Mirrorless Camera: Fujifilm XT3
- Lenses: Fujifilm Fujinon kit lens (18-55mm) | Fujinon 35mm f2 | Fujinon 50mm f2
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- GoPro: GoPro Hero Black 7
- Power Bank: Romoss Powerbank
- Camera Backpack: Case Logic Camera and Laptop Backpack
- Monopod: Ifootage Cobra 2 a180
- Mic: Rode VideoMicro
- Gimbal: Zhiyun Weebill-S
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