Beaches Budget Travel

Magalawa Island | A Short Travel Guide

Monday, April 08, 2013Ryan Mach

There's a little island called Magalawa off the coast of Palauig in Zambales. It features a nice white sand beach that runs 7 kilometers around its shore.  It's not very far from Manila so it can be an ideal weekend destination for those who are looking for a quick escape this summer.
Getting There

There are a couple of ways to get to Magalawa Island but I'm only familiar with the route we took during the weekend. From Amungan, Iba, Zambales, we rode a jeepney bound for the town of Masinloc. Why Amungan? It's where our cottage was located and a getaway to Magalawa wasn't originally part of the plan but we didn't have any activity in mind so we asked a random boat man at the beach how much it would cost to go to Magalawa. He quoted a whooping Php4,000 for a day's rent. Malayo daw kasi. Our host thought that if we opted to go to the town of Masinloc and rent a boat from there, we could save big on the boat fare. And we actually did.
[Near the port in Masinloc]

Enroute to Masinloc, we met some elderly woman who was kind enough to point us to the right direction. Instead of dropping off at Barangay Pangolingan, we were advised to go to Masinloc town proper. She even accompanied us to the wharf and talked to a boat owner who charged us Php1,500.00 round trip. The boat wasn't particularly big but it was safe enough for the 10 of us. It didn't have a tarp nor a shield; we almost got toasted for about 45 minutes under the late morning sun.

[Approaching the island]


There are two resorts on the island: Ruiz Resort at the eastern part and Armada on the western side. Entrance fee at Ruiz is Php100 per person. Pitching of tents is allowed on designated areas of the beach, mostly under the shade of big trees. There are also private nipa huts scattered around. We learned that they offer a package deal inclusive of rooms, food and snorkeling for Php1,500/pax (2D/1N). As we were only doing a side-trip, we didn't avail any of their rooms. The guide of the resort let us use one of their nipa huts so we didn't pitch our tent. Common comfort rooms were available (but too basic - no shower, only a pump well and a tabo).

The Beach
Let these photos do the talking.

Will I go back to Magalawa? Not very likely. The beach is nice, yes, but it's not worth the distance from Manila. If you have business in Zambales though it's definitely a good side-trip.

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