Conquering Cagbalete for Less Than Php2000

We went on a trip to Cagbalete Island last February 27 in the municipality of Mauban, Quezon.

We travelled 5 hours from Jac Liner’s terminal in Kamias, Quezon City to SM Lucena. The bus fare cost Php259. Then another 45-minute ride to Mauban port in a UV Express for Php60.

To get to the island, you’ll need to register at their local tourism office just a couple of minutes away from the port. Good thing the driver of the van was kind enough to take us to the office. You’ll need to pay Php50 per person for the environmental fee at the office.

Conquering_Cagbalete23This is how it looks when it’s cloudy.

We were surprised by how the waves violently struck the port. I personally thought it would be a bad idea to push through with our plan. However, locals assured us that it’s fine. Besides, the coast guard wouldn’t let the boat leave without clearance that it’s safe for them to set sail.

Conquering_Cagbalete24Mauban Port, Quezon Province

After another 45 minutes on a boat, we finally made it. It was indeed my worst boat ride ever, but then it turned out to be the best!

Conquering_Cagbalete25The boat fare is Php100 per person.

The staff of Dona Choleng camping resort is very accommodating. They took care of unloading our stuff from the boat and had a shuttle waiting for us just a few minutes away from the beach to take us to the resort.

Conquering_Cagbalete02The shuttle fee is Php15 per person.

Conquering_Cagbalete11Entrance fee is Php50 per person if you’ll be booking a room, but it’s Php100 if you have your own tent.

Rosemarie, a volunteer tourist guide, took care of us. From making sure that we have a place to pitch our tent to making sure that we have everything we need to spend the night.

Conquering_Cagbalete12Rosemarie is a volunteer tour guide who arranged our boat tour and shuttle service. She’ll pick you up at the beach.

Conquering_Cagbalete14Space for your tent has a rental fee of Php250 per tent.

This is when I started to really enjoy the trip. Even if the sun is not shining, you’ll be amazed by how warm the locals are.

We decided to call it a day and rest since it has been a tiring trip. We were chilling by the beach when we started to see something going on at the center of the resort. Curious, we went to see what’s happening and were thrilled to see fire dancers heating up the mood.

Conquering_Cagbalete22Unfortunately, the sun sets on the other side of the island.

Conquering_Cagbalete16A local performing a fire dance.

We started our day with a boat tour around the island for Php2500. The package includes snorkeling, a visit to a nearby sand and mangrove forest, and the boat ride going back to Mauban Port. This saved us Php100 per person for the boat fare going back.

It turns out that Cagbalete has more to offer than its white sand and crystal clear water. The locals are so accommodating that they made us feel at home. We will surely be going back for more.

Conquering_Cagbalete01Photo by Brien Matthew Benitez.

We managed to end the trip at a total of Php1910.50 per person. You may add a little extra if you want to snorkel and/or avail of a boat tour to a nearby mangrove forest.

Here’s a breakdown of our budget for the whole trip:

  • Bus fare – 259 x 2 = 518
  • UV Express fare – 60 x 2 = 120
  • Boat fare – 100 = 100
  • Shuttle transfer – 15 x 4 = 60
  • Environmental fee – 50
  • Resort entrance fee – 100
  • Tent space rental – 250
  • Boat tour and transfer – 2500 / 8 = 312.5
  • Food and beverages – 400

You can get in touch with Rosemarie at 0949 719 7897 or visit Doña Choleng Camping Resort’s site.

Here’s a video from Edgardo Red Jr. the sums up our trip:

This video features the song “Verge” by Owl City ft. Aloe Blacc.