Quezon Adventure: Cagbalete Island

Our adventure today takes us 98.6 kilometers southeast of Manila. Cagbalete Island is a tourist destination found in the jurisdiction of Mauban, in the province of Quezon.

Cagbalete Island is defined by its white sand beaches, turquoise waters, mangrove forests, and picturesque scenery. Aside from that, it is surrounded by waters that are teeming with multitudes of colorful marine life. It's interior on the other hand is quite opposite from its picturesque beach fronts. It is full of shrubs and cogon grass. There is also an eerie forested part where only the muddy time beaten trail hints the existence of man. 
The beautiful sunset in Cagbalete Island
The equally beautiful sunrise as seen from the island
The island is home to about 60+ thousand people. Most of their homes are concentrated around the areas near Sabang Port in the southwestern part of the island. There are also several resorts in the different parts of the island particularly in its eastern side. 
Riding a boat in Mauban Port
boats usually leave the Mauban port when it's full...

Although not that remote or far from the town of Mauban, Cagbalete Island's natural beauty is quite preserved due to the fact that it is still undeveloped. As a matter of fact, there are no clear port structure in the area they call Sabang Port. It is just an area where the boats drop off locals and visitors alike by transferring them to a small banca that would eventually bring them to the beach. 
You'd transfer to this kind of banca
This is Sabang Port
If you're going to ask me, the best part of the island is its eastern side. That is where most of the resorts are situated and also where the beautiful beaches are found. During my visit to Cagbalete Island, my group stayed in MVT Sto. Nino which is on the northeastern side of the island. It is one of the furthest resort from Sabang Port. To get there, we chose to walk inlands from the port. Lucky for us, a local volunteered his son to guide us to the resort. The walk took us around almost an hour before we got to the resort. Others would probably chose to be shuttled there by a boat which would of course cost them extra fees.
Our guide bringing us to MVT Sto Nino via inland trail
Cagbalete's interior
While in MVT Sto. Nino, I discovered that electricity only runs from 6PM to 6AM. (You won't hear wannabe singers belting out songs the whole day.) We rented out a hut near the beach and I found out that it would be better if we brought our own tent. What's great about this resorts however, is that the people manning it are very accommodating.  Aside from that there is also this area a few meters from the resort where the sea water is only 1/4 of a foot deep. It extends to about half a kilometer and probably more during the low tide. On the contrary, you would be disappointed by the numerous dogs that are loitering around the resort vicinity. These dogs are sometime territorial and those with pups are quite aggressive and moody so beware.
Can you count the dogs in this picture?
It you want to tour the other parts of the island, you should talk to a boatman or the resort owners/caretakers but usually they are the ones who would initiate these talks. 

Here are the places that you should see when you visit Cagbalete Island:
Fish sanctuary
Bonsai Island
Mangrove Forest
Mini shoal
The long stretch of white sand beach on the eastern side of the island

Things to do:
  1. Rest, relax, and reconnect with nature
  2. Swim, snorkel, and dive
  3. Collect sea shells
  4. Camp
  5. Walk around the island
  6. Walk from one side of the island to the other via inland trail
  7. ride a banca
  8. drink beer under the full moon
Don't forget to befriend the locals
Getting there:

From Manila, Cubao, or Alabang, ride a bus going to Grand Terminal in Lucena. From there, transfer to a bus going to Mauban's Terminal. Once there, proceed to the pantalan and pay the necessary fees before riding the boat. The boat would then drop you off at Sabang Port or you may chose to pay extra for the boat to drop you off at your resort.

2-Day Itinerary:

Day 1

5AM -Departure from Manila
9AM - ETA Grand Terminal Lucena City/ transfer to a bus bound to Mauban
10AM - ETA Mauban/ head to the pantalan
10:25AM - Process fees in the pantalan and board boat
11:25 - ETA Cagbalete Island/ proceed to the resort/ check in
1PM - Late lunch/ rest
3PM - Explore the resort vicinity / arrange tour
7PM - Dinner and socials
9PM - Lights off or drink under the moonlight

Day 2
5AM: Rise and shine adventurer
5:30AM :Prepare for tour /breakfast
6AM: Check out / Tour around the island
12NN: End of tour/ head to Sabang Port*
1PM: Departure to Mauban Port
2PM ETA Mauban Port/ Departure for Lucena's Grand Terminal
3PM ETA Lucena's Grand Terminal/ Departure to Manila
8PM ETA Manila**

* during the peak season (summer) boats frequently ferry tourists and locals to and from the island however, during off-season boat trips are scheduled. 
**snacks, lunch, and toilet breaks not included

Estimated Budget:
P2500 All-in Transportation cost
P2000-P3000 Overnight hut rental (bring your own tent cost only P300-500)
P1000 food (but you can save by bringing your own food)
Overall, bring at least P6000 - P7000 pesos pax but keep in mind that the more people in the group the more you guys save. (We were 4 in the group and my budget was only P3000)

Overall rating


  1. Neil,
    Amazing photos and beautiful location!!
    Hope some day I make to this Island.
    I ll get in touch with you in case I am there :)

    1. Thank you so much!
      Please do keep in touch. =)

  2. This is one of my favorite beach destinations in mainland Luzon.

    1. This place will surely be the next Boracay of the Philippines.

  3. Hi we are planning to vidit the island this weekend. However i would like to ask if what time does the low tide occur.? Hope we can still swim despite we will be arriving at 8am.. Thanks

    1. Hello Hennidyn. When we visited a year ago, I clearly remember that low tide was early morning until 8AM. I'm sorry I'm not really good with the tides but rest assured the waters around the island offers you a great swimming experience regardless of high tide or low tide.


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