Wandering Quezon Province: Cagbalete Island + Lucban

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Every summer vacation since I started to earn my own money I visit Zambales to feed my vitamin sea, but this time I try to go southern part of Luzon. As part of my summer bucket list challenge I decided to travel in Quezon Province to experience the famous Pahiyas Festival and camping out in Cagbalete Island. This summer is the most memorable to me because it is my first time to do a solo backpacking trip. 

I research first all the necessary information like mode of transportation, accommodation, prices and fees. Then I packed all the things I need for my 2 Days and 1 night adventure.

Day 0

My Day 0 starts travelling from Cubao, Quezon City and take a bus. I went to JAC Liner terminal in Cubao with LUCENA Grand Terminal. I paid around P 218.00. It is my first to ride JAC liner bus but I'm impressed because the bus is clean and spacious  plus the air-conditioned is strong and free wifi. My travel time from Cubao to Lucena takes around 3-4 hours because the bus leaves around 1 AM.

Day 1: Cagbalete Island

After I got to Lucena Grand Terminal around 5 am. From Lucena Grand Terminal I catch the non aircon bus NCR Rienton with signboard Mauban. I paid P 54.00. Travel time is almost 1- 1 1/2 hour. 

Arriving Mauban around 6 am, I ride a tricycle to take me to Tourism office. Fare is P 10.00. Pay again for environmental fee and terminal fees which I remember is P 20.00 and P 30.00. The tricycle driver waited for me and asked me if I still need to buy some food but since I was going to Cagbalete Island solo I availed the food package of the resort I'll be staying. So we went directly to port. At first I thought I will wait until 10 AM for the public boat. I don't want to hire private boat because I was solo travelling and don't want to pay extra just to get there. But to my surprise, there are a lot of people waiting in the port area. I asked some bangkeros and told me that since it is peak season the usual schedule of the public boat is not followed. The public boat leaves as soon as the boat is full and the travel time from Mauban port to Cagbalete Island takes around 1 hour back and forth means you have to wait for 2 hours.

Good things they have coordinator to advised the passenger to form a line first come first serve basis. While waiting on the line I met some new friends because they will also go to Nilandingan Cove the farthest resort in Cagbalete Island.

My new found friends taken on the public boat to Cagbalete Island

So after waiting around 30 to 45 minutes finally we ride on the public boat. One kid asked where are we going to stay in Cagbalete Island, I answered Nilandingan Cove and offer us private boat transfer for P 800 because he said that if we opt to walk that will take around 1 hour of walking. Because I was too exhausted and my new found friends were also tired we agreed. Good thing we were 8 so is just pay P 100.00 for one way trip to Nilandingan Cove.

Nilandingan Cove is the farthest resort in  Cagbalete Island
Welcome drinks given for every guest, the old lady in pink cardigan with umbrella is the owner of the resort.

I learned that during mid morning the tide is low so the motor banca can't go beyond the shoreline of the resort, you need to walk for 10 minutes. The bangkeros will carry your luggage for free. The owner is really friendly and she takes time to welcome us to the resort. She said that they were fully booked but we said not to worry because we have our own tent. Supposedly you need to make a reservation for accommodation and if you want to avail their food package, but Ms. Isabel said in my case since I am solo she will just make a paper reservation and list my name. For my new found friends although they were 6 plus 1 kid they didn't know but still Ms. Isabel accommodates them. I really like this resort for being flexible plus the warm welcome they have given us.

Low tide in the morning and the motor boat can't get through the shoreline
Never mind the 5 hour bumpy boat ride and the transfer finally I landed on this beautiful island. I can finally feed up my vitamin sea, breath fresh air plus I can totally see the diverse ecosystem of the island.

Life is better at the beach

Long stretch of white sand beach

During low tide you can go to the famous Magic Tree, mangroves and sand bar.

Kubo/ Nipa Hut Accommodation

Comfort room, 2 Boys and 2 girls.
Decent comfort room with running water
Kitchen sink with running water
Sari sari store and sports equipment rental. They sell halo halo too.

Obligatory post, me with the sand castle
My coleman tent pitch near shoreline

Fire Dance to entertain the guest for the night
Things I like about Nilandingan Cove:
  • Hospitality, warm welcome, crews were polite and accommodating.
  • The whole resort is amazing. It has mangroves, swamp and trees.
  • The best laing I've ever taste.
  • My first time to eat longganisang lucban.
  • Hands own owner and her daughter.
  • Perfect sunrise and beach bumming.
I will surely go back to Nilandingan Cove, I regret not to explore other places such as Magical Tree, Sand Bar, Bulas Swamp, Mangrove and the oldest balete tree.

Reminder before going to Cagbalete Island:
  • During peak season, the boat schedule is not applied. First come first serve basis. During off peak Mauban Port to Sabang Port (Cagbalete Island) 10 AM & 3 PM Sabang Port to Mauban Port 8AM & 1 PM. Be there 1 to 2 hours before the schedule boat trip to secure a seat.
  • Waterproof your gadgets and other important stuff, get ready for a bumpy boat ride.
  • If you want to try solo backpacking it is cheaper to ride on the public boat, the tricycle driver told me that tourism officer really want those who travel in groups to avail the private boat because they were  given commission. So for the group traveler please refer to the No.1 reminder for the schedule of public boat trips if you don't want to spend more.
  • Ask for some staff or the children they can guide you to all the nearby places to visit like Bulas, Magical Tree and the oldest Balete tree.
Day 2: Lucban Pahiyas Festival

Around 9 am I already packed my things and say good bye to my new found friends because I needed to visit Lucban for Pahiyas Festival hoping there are still decorated houses. At 11 am I manage to join other guest who were also leaving so I could share a boat ride to Mauban Port. I pay for P 150.00 to the bangkero.

Then I hire a tricycle to get me to the terminal. Took NCR Rienton again going back to Lucena Terminal transfer to jeepney with Lucban signboard pay P 30.00.

I eat lunch first then I asked tricycle driver to take me to decorated houses.

Pahiyas Festival which is also known as San Isidro Pahiyas Festival is held every May 15 to celebrate bountiful farmers to San Isidro the patron saint of farmers.

Aside from this colorful decorated houses, they have also Tiyangge sa Lucban. You can buy all the local products here like lambanog and the famous longganisang lucban.

Peryahan sa Lucban

Tiyangge sa Lucban

Lucban Products you can buy.

I'm really glad that my first solo backpacking trip was successful and I'm looking for more adventure. 

Expenses for 2D/1N:

JAC Liner Bus Cubao to Lucena -                                  P 218.00
NCR Rienton Bus Lucena to Mauban -                          P 54.00
Tricycle to Tourism Office -                                           P 10.00
Environmental + Terminal Fee -                                     P 50.00
Public Boat Mauban to Cagbalete Fare -                        P 50.00
Private Boat to Nilandingan Cove - P 800/8pax -          P 100.00
Nilandingan Cove (Pitching Tent+ Food Package) -     P 1,200.00
Private Boat Direct Cagbalete to Mauban Port -            P 150.00
Tricycle to Bus Terminal -                                             P 10.00
NCR Rienton Bus from Mauban to Lucena -                P 54.00
Jeepney Lucena to Lucban -                                          P 30.00
Tricycle Jeepney Terminal to Lucban Plaza -               P 10.00
Lunch -                                                                          P 100.00
Pasalubong -                                                                  P 500.00
Tricycle to Jeepney Terminal -                                     P 10.00
Jeepney Lucban to Lucena Grand Terminal -              P 30.00
Bus Lucena Grand Terminal to Boni -                         P 218.00

Total: P 2,794.00

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