Sunday, August 19, 2018

JOMALIG ISLAND: Quezon's Hidden Gem


I find it quite amusing to travel to any of the 7107 islands of the Philippines and be astounded every damn time. My current favourite is an island that only very few people know at the Quezon province called Jomalig Island. To date, it's the most beautiful and most peaceful island i've ever been to in the Philippines by means of land transportation. If you've been to Potipot Island in Zambales and found that quite serene and relaxing, all the more would you enjoy Jomalig as it has more to offer than just beach-bumming. Read more to see complete details on how to make your DIY itinerary.



Day by day, more and more underrated islands are being discovered by tourists. This is good in sense as it brings livelihood to the locals. However my worry is that the more tourists come, the more commercialised it becomes, thus with the possibility of losing its natural beauty sooner or later. I really hope Quezon continues to preserve the beauty of Jomalig Island


How do we get there and how do we go back? 


To date, not much tourists travel to the island as some claim that this is due to the difficulty in public transportation. We actually found it quite easy to go to as we simply plotted Ungos Port on waze, which is the jump-off point for Jomalig Island. This is located at Real Quezon and it took us about 3.5 hours to get there. There are also buses that go directly to real, then from the bus stop, you can just take a tricycle to get to the port. Just look it up on google.


We left at around midnight and we arrived at the port at around 3:30 AM. When we got there, tickets were already sold out even if it wasn't peak season. There are only about 1 to 3 small boats that travel to the island in a day, and according to the staff, there isn't really a definite time. Sometimes the 6AM boat leaves for 7 or 8AM. The best option is to get there before 3AM, get a number from the front desk as a reservation for the ticket, then go to the ticket counter at around 5AM to buy the actual ticket. Kinda complicated right? But I tell you, it will be worth it!


Now, the questions is, where do you leave your car? You can park your car at one of the staff's houses or at the port if there is an available parking. Some would say that it's not allowed to park at the port, but just continue to insist until they agree. They will ask you to leave your car keys, but it's not necessary. 


There are days when you won't be allowed to go to the island due to big ways, but if you do, enjoy the 4-7 hour boat ride with complimentary fisherman's meal. The travel time via boat will vary depending on the waves and as well as the type of boat. Some boats sail slower than the others, just hope that you won't get this one. If you wanna go back to the port, you can simply ask the resort staff to help you arrange this. They are also the best to ask about boat timetables


EXPENSES

Ticket with meal and Terminal Fee (one way): 410 PHP
Parking: 150 PHP/ day


What can we do if we miss the boat?


If you miss the boat just as we did, you need not to worry. The show must go on. You'e gotten this far, right? You will find a quaint resort just along the coast en route to Ungos Port. We didn't see a sign or anything, but we simply searched for huts along the road that had no signs of any tourist.




The name of the resort is Nature's Valley where you can rent a hut and relax by the water while waiting for your boat to depart for Jomalig




The beach was rocky, but we were able to achieve our tranquil goal - to get a tan, and of course to get drunk. It was a good thing we brought loads of alcohol, a cooler, and some snacks. You may also ask the caretaker if he sells fresh seafood which they can cook for you.  


How about accommodations?


You can book accommodations online, but if you can't find any, you can simply ask the boatman before you depart and he will be able to recommend a place for you. We asked him for a place with a nice beach and away from all the tourists. He recommended a resort called Porakay. Unfortunately, I don't have their contact details cause it's that secluded, but you may ask the boatman to contact them for you to arrange pick-up once you arrive in the island. 




I was really happy with the location as there was minimal to almost no tourists in the area. The sand was golden and it was the perfect place to watch the sunset as well. They have fan rooms available with shared toilet, but we decided to pitch a tent instead to be closer to nature. 




You can also ask them set-up a bonfire at night and to cook food at a reasonable cost, and with varied choices.


EXPENSES


Environmental Fee: 170 PHP
Habal Habal to Porakay: 80 PHP  
Pitching own tent: 100 PHP/ person
Meals: 100-150/ meal per person
Bonfire: 200 PHP


Where do we start with our Jomalig Island Adventure?



Personally, an overnight stay would not be enough to explore the island. I would suggest allotting at least 3 days and 2 nights to maximize your trip, if you want longer, even better! 




Take note that signal in the island is very low, to almost none. I didn't mind it as it was a great way to get some peace of mind, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.




We booked our tours the moment we arrived at the resort. The only option you have is to go around the island through a motorbike or habal-habal. It's a great way to appreciate the cool breeze, gleaming sun, and alluring scenery. 



Our first day was designated for chilling at the resort. We asked the resort staff to cook us a scrumptious meal of seafood for dinner. You can also order in advanced for breakfast. Seafood is rather cheap during low-season so take advantage of this! We had seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Yum! There are small stores around the island, but it would also be better if you could bring light snacks and alcohol.

Puno ng Walang Forever

Our first stop was an isolated tree right in the middle of a vast grassy land called "Puno ng Walang Forever" (Tree of no forever) which implies that there is no forever in love. Bitter much? It's called such to imply loneliness because it's the only tree right smack in the middle of nothingness. 

Golden Sand Beach

Golden Sand Beach

Golden Sand Beach


We then headed to the Golden Sand Beach, which is called such because of the golden sand. We were here just for some photo ops and we didn't stay too long as the water was not ideal for swimming since it was very shallow and rocky. Here you can appreciate the golden sand and rock formations. You can also walk even farther to explore this part of the island.

Little Batanes

Little Batanes

Next up was Lingayen Cove or what they call Little Batanes, which has a similarity to Batanes' rolling hills, that's why it's called such. It had the most amazing viewing point from the top of a hill which is pretty much easy to hike. It was also a plus that we were the only ones there so we got to maximize our time exploring this part of Jomalig. 

Little Batanes

Little Batanes

Little Batanes

You can swim at the beach despite the strong waves but it was quite rocky. We were also told that there might even be jellyfishes there, so be careful!

Little Batanes

Little Batanes

Little Batanes

Make sure you hike through both viewing points, left and right as it showcases different perspectives of the cove. 

Little Boracay

Little Boracay
Little Boracay

After Little Batanes, we headed to a cove with white sand beach and crystal clear waters that is compared to that of Boracay's, hence it's called "Little Boracay" of Quezon. It was the perfect place to chill out under the sun to get that perfect tan. We were lucky to have the entire resort to ourselves that time. Little Boracay is currently being managed by a resort called "Pamana".

Little Boracay



The resort owner even offered to make us his special drink with a really strong kick! It's definitely a must-try! You can also request for them to prepare for you a spread of seafood for lunch. The lobsters are to-die for!



I'm pretty sure you'd be quite tired after that scrumptious lunch, so the best way to spend the rest of the afternoon is to simply lounge by the beach and continue working on that tan. Our tour guide brought us to a secluded part of the island with a sandbar called Kanaway beach, I think? Honestly, I don't remember the name, but it was the most relaxing part of our day. We entered through a quaint resort that was still being built at that moment. 




We were literally the only ones there so we decided to go skinny dipping (oops!) to get that perfect, even tan. We had to cross waist-deep waters to get to the sandbar, but it was absolutely worth it! Be careful with the current though as it can get pretty strong.



Our last stop was for sunset at Salibungot Beach. It also has golden sand and crystal-clear waters which is perfect for more R&R. The beach is surrounded by lush pine trees which you can smell as you drive through the shore. 

EXPENSES

Motorbike Tour: 600 PHP
Golden Beach Entrance Fee: 30 PHP
Little Batanes Entrance Fee: 50 PHP
Little Boracay Entrance Fee: 30 PHP
Seafood Lunch: 1200 PHP (During peak season) (750 PHP during non-peak) 
Kanaway Beach Entrance Fee: 30 PHP


How can we protect our skin and hair?


We used a variety of coconut-based products from Koconae




Our favourite was the coconut oil which we used all-around to keep our hair moisturized and as well as to maintain that even glow and tan. Koconae has a range of products you can choose from to help keep your skin and hair glowing and healthy. 


KOCONAE

Instagram: @koconaeph
Website: www.koconaephilippines.com
Lazada: Koconae Philippines
Facebook: Koconae PH



People of Jomalig by Bea Reyes


We surely can't wait to be back! If you've been to this island, feel free to give me other tips for our next visit!










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