What a joy to have KL and Sheila and a few folks leafing through my Cagbalete island images. They say the ornaments of your house are the guests who frequent it. With Chila and Lil’ Mama on the house, mine is fancily decorated. My images however, don’t speak about my blues in Cagbalete.
You see, the moment we set foot on the beaches here, I was already thinking about getting my way back home. (Coming to mind Forrest Gump on a sudden pause after a long jog saying “..I think I’ll go home now”.) The downer here in Cagbalete is this: where’s LE BLEU!?
They ought to start a sandcastle festival here instead. I take it Cagbalete island is neither for swimmers nor for snorklers. Cagbalete island is for photography nuts.
So don’t be lost like this doomed buteteng laot here.
Now I’d like to acknowledge some guys out there whose sites I relied upon pre-Cagbalete trip. First of Jed Rosell, the “cut-rate” traveler. He was right about the 40PHP boat fare. He was right about it THEN. Now, (summer ’12) port officials have raised the fare to a 90PHP, one-way. And even made it to a COMPULSORY 180PHP two-way! And that also means you are obliged to take the same boat on your way back. They say the 50PHP increase goes to Tourism and Environmental concerns wtf. Everybody wants a piece of the pie! But since they are on the start-off level, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on this and see about their environmental blah blahs. And while they’re at it, I would like to spotlight their very
systematic order in handling passengers.
In our experience (and this is the peak season) we got our tickets smooth. Then waited for hours at the station (about a hundred meters from the docks) for our ride. No problem with that. But when the boat arrived, we were dismayed to find it already jampacked with passengers! (Where did this boarding group came from I have no idea) Whatever happened to the first-come, first-served policy. Bad as it may be, your ticket does not guarantee you of a boat ride at your preferred time.
Calling Mauban port officials: if you can’t handle the surge of passengers during summer — try thinking.
Since we can’t afford to waste another couple of hours waiting for the boat’s return, we squeezed our way into the already fully-loaded vessel. Leaving other disgruntled passengers on the port.
DukhangAdbenturera is my other “travel guide” in this Cagbalete sojourn. Diana provides some infos about when and where to catch a bus from Manila to Mauban, Quezon, which is the jump-off point to Cagbalete island. And to update you Diana, JAC Liner Cubao station now has a 5 a.m trip to Mauban. (yes, someday, somebody might want to update my post too)
Lastly, there’s Demeter’s Libot. A comprehensive guide to Cagbalete island. Complete with details from maps to menus. You’ll crack yourself up with some of their ferocious discussions there about resort customers’ frustrations. Mind-blowing. What is there to grumble about the island? IMHO, and let me lay this out to all you prospective Cagbalete drifters: the place is no shangri-la for the finicky types. The island is specked with only a handful of crude beach resorts. Raw and simple hideaways. None of which has the convenience of first-rate amenities. There’s not even a decent supply of electricity here. No ice cold beer. No party-till-dawn. No banana boat. Ironically, the prices they charge here are not too civil with the wallet.
Cagbalete island has yet to have port facilities, and so passengers are taxied off to Sabang shore via this lone, pooped out, priceless dory.
Sabang is the gateway to your haven of choice (Pansacola, Little Prince, Villa Cleofas, MVT Sto. Niño). Another option in getting to the island, or better yet, to your desired resort, is by hiring a private boat from Mauban port. Service ala “door-to-door”. But considering these boats can’t drop you on shallow waters, you have to enjoy your first wade through Lamon Bay.
For the most part, Cagbalete island remains to be a one true unadulterated beauty. The waters pristine, the beaches well-kept and the expanse less populated. Thanks to the absence of excellent accommodations, easy access and commercial conveniences. These things, most of the time, are big destroyers.