With so many beautiful islands in the Philippines, it’s hard to know which one to visit. Why not all of them!? If you want a very remote island with beautiful waters and white sand thats off the beaten path, check out Cagbalete Island.
It has all of the joy of the beach you love, without the congestion of traffic and people that we dont like. Cagbalete island is a privately owned island of 1600 hectares. Its mostly uninhabited by people so there is still a rich amount of wildlife including many birds and plant-life along with a rich marine ecosystem underwater.
How To Get To Cagbalete Island
There isn’t a direct path to get to Cagbalete via public transportation so if you have a large enough group, I would highly suggest getting a private van going to Mauban. If you’re going there as a DIY trip, then here are the ways to go there via public transportation like we did 🙂
From Manila to Lucena
First you’ll need to take a bus from Manila to Lucena which you can take from either the Cubao, Alabang, or Buendia terminals for the bus liners of: Jac Liner, Jam Transit, or Lucena Liner. There are usually buses leaving every hour and the trip costs around P210 ($4USD). Your trip will take around 3 hours from Manila and you’ll want to get down in the Lucena Grand Terminal
From Lucena to Mauban
When you’ve arrived in Lucena, you’ll want to look for a bus or van (you can take any of the bus liners) that are going to Mauban. The fare should only cost around P70 ($1.50 USD) and takes around 2 hours to get there.
From Mauban to Cagbalete
When you get down in Mauban you’ll have to take a short walk to find the passenger boats to Cagbalete island. Trips only run from 10AM to 4PM daily and only costs P100 each person. They will drop you off at Sabang port which is the small town located on the island.
From here you’ll have to locate your resort. Many resorts are not located in the small town, so you can either walk to them or if it’s too far you can hire a small boat to take you from the port to your resort directly for around P400 ($8USD) (but it’s not that large of an island… hike through the jungle!).
Low Tide vs High Tide in Cagbalete is really a big difference!
Where To Stay In Cagbalete?
While the island is quite large, there are only a few different resorts but all of them are quite nice. The island isn’t fully powered though, so it’s important to know right away that during the day-time most resorts do not have electricity.
When nigh-time hits they run power from sun-down until sun-rise so you have lights and can charge up your phone/powerbank.
Here are 2 of my favorite resorts to stay at in Cagbalete:
Staying at Villa Cleofas is incredible because they have 300 meters of nothing but white sand and ocean along with really nice grassy areas for camping on covered by the shade of trees. It’s located on the opposite side from the port, but is only a short walk from the town.
They have an assortment of small and large cottages that range from capacity of 2 up to 35 people. This is the perfect resort for large groups especially for events like weddings and team building.
You can learn more on their website here.
Villa Pila Rosa
My favorite place to stay in Cagbalete is at Villa Pila Rosa because it’s so remote that you’ll feel like you’re completely alone on the island. It’s located at the north-west of the island and has no other resorts around it.
The staff is incredibly nice, but you’ll want to make sure to inform the staff to make your meals every day. They provide amazing family-style dining for you and your group.
Rooms range from small cottages for 2 up to large rest houses up to 20 people. You can also rent the entire resort for up to 50.
Visit their Facebook for more information here.
Activities in Cagbalete
Cagbalete is a large island just off the coast of the mainland and while the island isn’t highly populated, there is so much to do on it for tourists!
Here are some of the activities the island has to offer which you can checkout by walking to, or by asking your hotel staff to schedule a boat to take you around (or go to the dock to book it yourself).
- Swimming in the cool blue water
- Horseback riding
- Bird/animal watching
- Fishing (talk to the locals at the dock)
- Island Hopping – Costs P1000 ($20 USD) for 6 people for 3 hours
- Yang-in Sandbar
- Fish Sanctuary
- Ilog Bukana
- Baliscar Island with lighthouse
- Bonsai Island – walking distance. During high-tide you only see the bonsai, but in low-tide you can walk out on the island from Cagbalete
- Surfing and skim boarding
Additionally, on top of the Cagbalete things to do, I highly suggest on your way home to do some waterfall hunting and visit the 3 waterfalls nearby Mauban including the following:
- Dahoyhoy Falls
- Hagdan-Hagdan Falls
- Alitap Falls
Hopefully you get a chance to visit Cagbalete soon! Remember, this isn’t a fancy resort island – it’s a getaway from the city life with limited(to no) cell signal and an escape back to nature 🙂 Enjoy!