Budget Getaway: Cagbalete Island

Budget Getaway: Cagbalete Island

Sigh…summer is officially over…

On the off-chance that you have one more free weekend before you stow your pool floats, bikinis, and tanning oil, then consider going to Cagbalete Island.  Let me tell you why…

It has unbelievably clear water!

The raw beauty of the island should be enough reason to see it.  But what caught my attention first was the water.  As I was approaching the shore from the bangka that took us from the main town to the island, I could not stop exclaiming how clear the water was.  It was almost as clear as tap! – especially near the shore where there was nothing but sand and stone beneath.


It’s an easy commute

I did not want the hassle of having to drive all the way to Quezon.  So my friends and I took the 1:30am bus to Lucena.  This schedule was a good choice because it allowed us to sleep through most of the trip.  We woke up 5am just in time for the bus to drop us off.  We then took a smaller (almost retro) bus to the town of Mauban where the port to Cagbalete Island was located.  This was a 1-hour scenic drive through the province.  It was good to be awake to enjoy the view!


You can have a great time on the cheap!

For the whole trip, I spent P1,820 or roughly USD38. – and that covered everything!!! Yup, that’s our accommodation, boat trip, too much food, drink, and other refreshments, fee for the cook to make all our meals, tips to the boatmen and handlers – just about everything!!!


The crazy thing was – my group wasn’t even scrimping!  We rode a private boat to and from the island – which was way more expensive than the public option.  We also picked a private room when we could have roughed it out in a tent and save much, much more money.  So for the fairly comfortable trip, it was really cheap!


It feels really private

The entire island only had 6 resorts, 2 of which are very new.  So you cannot exactly take a leisurely walk and expect to stumble on other people checked in nearby resorts.  It feels like you and a handful of other resort-guests have the island all to yourself.



The best moment in Cagbalete was watching the sunset while soaking in the warm clear waters far from the shore with my group of friends. I was not able to capture that moment on camera, but it was definitely one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.

Cagbalete Island is not for the traveler seeking luxurious accommodations and other creature comforts of an island resort.  There is no fancy resort in the island.  In fact, there is no electricity except from 6pm to 6am.  But its raw beauty is a luxury all its own.



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