Magalawa Island in Zambales

I was born but not raised) in the quaint town of Cabangan in Zambales. Both my parents were from that town but they decided to raise their family in Quezon City. People would often ask me how to go to Potipot or Magalawa or Anawangin or the surfing spots in San Felipe and San Narciso all in Zambales. Dumbfounded, I decided to explore Zambales more because of the pressure from other people I just felt the need to. The hardest part is to write a post about it (up until now I haven't written any post on Anawangin and its neighbors even though I've been there a lot of times). So okay...

It was a long weekend when me and the family went home to Zambales to take a breather. During lunch with the cousins and other relatives I asked them pointblank if anyone had been to Magalawa Island in Palauig (two towns away from our town). Silence for a few seconds. Apparently, almost all of them have heard about it but never attempted to go. Maybe because it's near. Or maybe because we were just lazy to go to nearby towns. Or maybe we were too occupied in renting huge videoke machines or play tong-its and bingo for leisure. And besides, we've got our own beach a few kilometers away from our place. 

And then I told everyone that I am planning to go there the next day. They got excited and thought that it was an open trip but then who am I to resist the deal of an all expense paid trip from one of my cousins (my relatives are far more mayaman than I am). So in a matter of minutes, we were all set to go to Magalawa island the next day.

The call time was 5:00 a.m. at my cousin's place to have some breakfast first before leaving. We were a group of 10 on board a pick-up truck (one didn't join us on the island but brought his bike - sumama para mag-bike pauwi... nganaman). They all left their kids on their husbands. I chose to stay at the open part of the truck. The morning breeze was so refreshing. It was a good 50-minute drive from Cabangan to Palauig. We made a left turn at the Veritas Road (look for a waiting shed with "magalawa resort" on it) and traversed on a very very rough road. Good thing our pick-up truck was able to manage the bumps very well. 

If you plan to commute, take note that Victory Liner bus is the only company that services the whole province. Their Caloocan terminal has the most number of schedules going to Zambales. There are Iba-bound and Sta.Cruz-bound buses. For a straight trip to Palauig you should catch the Sta.Cruz one (fare is more or less 400 pesos) and tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off at the Veritas Road or just tell them that you are going to Magalawa - alam na nila 'yun

Just remind them when you are in the town of Iba. But if you get to ride the Iba one (fare is more or less 350 pesos)you should alight at the Iba bus terminal and then ride an ordinary bus going to Sta.Cruz and again tell the conductor that you are going to Magalawa. From there, you can ask some tricycle drivers for the rates on getting to Luan port which would be the jump-off point to the island. I heard that they charge 75 pesos per person per way. 

We then reached the fishing village at the Luan port. There were loads of trucks loading some fresh seafoods - you can buy some there if you are planning to grill it on the island. We then went to the parking lot for Armada Magalawa Resort. Apparently, my oldest cousin Ate Joy had a classmate with the surname "Armada". We just couldn't confirm yet at that moment if her classmate is related to the owner (or the owner) of the resort. We paid a parking fee of 100 pesos and asked about a boat to the island. They texted the owner and told us to wait for the boat to arrive. But I must say that the port is filthy. I can't even imagine how I did cross the shore to get to the boat. It was that dirty. 

ice anyone?

The boat trip to the Armada Magalawa Resort was a good 20 minutes. And by 7:30 a.m. we were early birds on the island. We were immediately greeted by Ate Grace - the owner. Ate Joy immediately asked her if she knew Richie and Ate Grace said that it is her older sister (which arrived later in the afternoon). Then another cousin approached Ate Grace and told her that they were batchmates during highschool - an instant mini-reunion for the Zambales National High School alumnae. It's really a small world after all.

with Ate Grace

There is an entrance fee of 100 pesos each person for daytrippers. Ate Grace also warned us on the strong water current on one area of the island. She also asked us if we would like to have a lunch on the resort for 200 pesos each person - we all agreed. We chose our spot and explored the resort and the island. We first checked the sand quality. It's not cream/ivory/white, as expected, but it is totally not as gray as other Zambales' beach. The sand was also course. The water was not that clear. There were seaweeds and starfishes around. I don't really get excited upon seeing starfishes and I don't even wanna touch them but my playful cousins played with them and let me hold it. I dunno if it's bad for them (malamang) but I did return it right away after the photo ops.

water is not that clear

good thing I brought this camera - forgot the other one
At around 10:20 a.m. we were told that our early lunch was served and so we went to the restaurant of the resort. They served us Steamed Rice, Chicken Curry, Sinigang na Hipon, Calamares and a soda plus a dessert. The shrimp was the best of the bunch.

After the early lunch, we were set to go home (some of my cousins have commitments in the afternoon). Ate Grace asked us if we would like to ride the balsa and go for a snorkel for free! Well, who are we to turn down that kind of offer. Thank goodness for the alumnae mini-reunion. And I must say that Ate Grace is a hands-on resort owner. Armed with her fab camera, she usually checked on us and took some group photos (which she posted on their facebook account).

cousins (everyone resides in Zambales - sarap)
The free snorkeling was the highlight of the trip. I was so happy to see some of my cousins do well with the snorkel even if it's their first time. I loved the smiles on their faces after each dive. At one point, we removed all the vests and the masks and did swim just like we used to do when we were younger - careless and free. Going back to the resort, we asked the boatmen if we could hang on to the balsa and they obliged.

We can't help but compare the beach from ours (Cabangan town). Or maybe we are just biased. But this trip was special because we went out for a day without the nieces and the nephews and the aunts and the uncles and the husbands. It felt like we were kids once more. Nothing to worry about. No one to interrupt our endless chismis moments for 5 whole hours. Just so wonderful. 

Magalawa Island Armada Resort
Palauig, Zambales
Contact Number: (+63) 920.948.3303
Email Address:


  1. I haven't been to Zambales except for Olongapo. I must explore the province more. :)

    1. hi michy! you should! bilang ang lapit lang nito sa metro:)

  2. just got back from San Felipe Yesterday... love the surfs!

    1. never tried surfing in Zambales... too bad... pagbalik ko for sure!

  3. I love this island! Kung may isla sa Zambales na talagang binalikan at babalik-balikan ko, eto yun. :)

    1. Hi Di! ako naman mas bet ko ang potipot... have you been there? :)

  4. Gusto ko magisland hopping tuloy! :-)

  5. I miss family outings! I have relatives din sa Zambales (San Marcelino). Nung bata ako lagi kami nandun for the holy week hehe. Nakakapag-Ilocano ka? :D

    1. hi mica! talaga?! sa sanmar? galing... konting ilocano lang pero medyo fluent sa Zambal - ang yabang lang. hehe.. Zamba adventure tayo minsan. yung mga tagong lugar... :)

  6. bigla akong naging tomboy dun sa picture mo na nakatwo piece lang hahaha :)

    - sana starfish na lang ako ... hehehe

  7. isa pa ito mga gusto ko mgawa, as usual isa lang ang pumipigil sa akin, ang hindi marunong sa paglangoy, gusto ko magawa din to. heheheh.. nakakinggit..

    1. may life vest din naman jerome :) hehe

    2. life vest life vest pa maam, parang hindi enjoy pag alam mong may nakapulupot sa katawan mo. =)


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