All Hail! The Golden Island Paradise of Jomalig

Jomalig is an island which is unknown to me until I accidentally saw it while browsing Google maps, in search for a nearby island/beach from Manila. It caught my attention because of visibly white sand and blue waters from satellite view and because it’s also near Balesin Island, which is until now is just a dream since it’s exclusive to members. After a few search, only then I realized that it wasn’t that near at all. We’ll not as far as our famous beaches, but to think how hard the island to reach, makes it so far and it feels like it’s already the last island on the edge of the Philippines. Aside from that, what I thought an island of white sand beaches, wasn’t white at all but it’s coastline is uniquely gold. Something I never experienced yet!

The Golden Sands of Salibungot beach.

There were not so much information of the island except for few other blogs which in summary they all mentioned about the long travel time and how rough the sea it would get just to reach the island, and how it’s so worth it. Just by those, Jomalig immediately earned a spot on my bucket list. A dream probably not all my friends, especially not all my “not so adventurous” friends would understand. It took a long time before the Jomalig dream became a reality. At first I was determined to go there solo, but thoughts of I will be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, in a very remote island. “Or will I ever reach the island?”, makes me want to back out for a bit. Until then a friend from the office took the challenge with me so we finally give it a go.

The Road to Jomalig

There were no concrete plans. I took few days time off from work including my rest days, just for us to make sure that we have enough time to explore the island and to make the long journey worth it. We don’t even know how long we’ll going to stay on the island. I have a list of what I want to see from all the blogs that I’ve read but aside from that nothing else, who knows we’ll discover more of the island when we get there. We planned to leave Manila as early as possible going to Real Quezon. When we arrived in Legarda in Sampaloc that’s when we found out that the vans doesn’t have schedules. Only when they only have around 8 passengers, before they leave Manila. We were so worried not to catch the one and only boat leaving to Jomalig between 10am-12nn. Thankfully, another van needs to be back to Real, due to prior commitments, so we left Manila even though there’s only the two of us plus another 3 passengers en route to Famy Laguna and Infanta Quezon. Our driver also promised that we will reach Real just in time before the boat leaves. The total van travel time is 3 1/2 hours. Our van driver took us to Ungos port and helped us on asking the locals where the boat going to Jomalig is. We found a small port, not really the kind if port I pictured out with a huge cargo outrigger boat. This is the boat that ships seafood in Real which will then be brought to Malabon fish port. Unfortunately, the boat is under repair and will leave Real early in the morning the next day. One of the locals advised us to take a passenger boat going to Jomalig’s neighboring island, Patnanungan, and then we can charter a boat to Jomalig. We paid 300 for the fare and 5 pesos for a small boat to take us near the big boat (they do not have those little bridges). The boat is huge with car seats which are soft and comfortable plus they have life jackets just in case. After loading some cargo and passengers we finally left Real at around 11am. The waves on Polilio straight and Lamon Bay is usually rough during the “ber” months up to January but the boat is huge enough to handle it but to be sure, take meds for sea sickness. It’s also fully closed with glass windows so no worries of getting wet plus they serve a humble lunch on board. Do not expect a restaurant quality of lunch, during our trip, they served stir fried vegetables and 1 cup of rice. We arrived in Patnanungan Island around almost 4pm. From there, we transferred to a small flat-boat because the big boat can’t dock near the port. This is also where we need to negotiate for a boat going to Jomalig. That’s when we were surprised that it costs 1500Php but we agreed at 1200Php since there were only the two of us. They said that the reason why it’s that expensive was because the waves around Jomalig are usually very rough and it’s really the standard pricing per group. The boat I think can take around 10 passengers. So then we were warned… my research says it’s not advisable to go to Jomalig during this season (we went in January), and as expected we were greeted with huge waves, probably the biggest that I close encountered with. At some point, I thought this is the end of my life but when I looked at our boatman, they were so relaxed and probably saying, “This is just normal”. We were all wet, as in really wet. Good thing our boatman waterproofed our bags. I am already chilling because the air is quite cold as well. It was the longest 1 hour in my entire life. When we finally reached Jomalig in Salibungot beach, I almost kissed the shore. It’s already sunset when we arrived and it was so beautiful. The blogs were right that the golden sands changes into shades of pink during sunset. But even though it’s so beautiful we had to leave right away before it gets dark going to our home stay.

Where to Stay

Jomalig doesn’t have any hotels or hostels; the only place where you can rent a room is at Tejada’s place in Sitio Landing for 500 pesos a night with common bathroom. Just in case the boat docked in Sitio Landing when arriving to Jomalig, it’s just few footsteps away. The room has air conditioner but we didn’t use it. Besides, the island only has electricity from 6pm – 1am, supplied by generators from NAPOCOR. They also have a room with own bathroom but we forgot to ask how much. The owners Tatay Rudy and Nanay Aida were really hospitable. They also have another resort near Bigwangan Lake with a huge cottage that can accommodate large group for only 1500 a night and you get the whole resort all to yourselves. Camping is allowed in Salibungot beach which is our original plan, but because we didn’t know if there is a source of freshwater near the beach we decided to take the home stay instead. For inquires about Tejada’s place, you can check out Lakwatsero’s page. This is where we got the contact number of Tatay Rudy and Nanay Aida.

What to See and Do

The island can be toured by boat, but since we experienced the terrifying boat ride from Patnanungan to Jomalig, we said no for the boat this time. Instead, we hired a motorbike to take us around. It’s quite expensive for 100Php per way, but thinking how hard goods like gasoline to reach the island, I think it’s pretty much acceptable. And besides, we plan to only see 1 spot in a day, so spending around 200Php going there and back is not bad at all.

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Bigwangan Lake during sunset.

Salibungot Beach

This is probably the premier beach of Jomalig with long stretch of neat golden sands and a forest of agoho trees. There is a community near the beach but on the widest part, there is none. The sand is so golden and the color is even. It’s not fine but close to be bead-like or sesame seed-ish. It’s so soft that your feet will sink a little bit.

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Desert meets the ocean vibe of Salibungot beach.

The beach is so quiet that day, I think were the only tourist on the island. It’s still early in the morning and a little bit cloudy when we arrived but the water is still insanely blue. I wished for a sunny day to see the beach better. Then my wish was granted. I was so excited to immediately take photos. We went for a swim but when we found out that the water is so deep and the waves were quite huge, I backed out. But thankfully, we brought life vests so we were able to swim or just float I think. I am not a surfer but I think, with this kind of waves, this has a potential to be a surfing spot.

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The forest of Agoho trees which resembles of pines, along the shores of Salibungot beach.

Then I heard from a local that there were some American tourists who just visited to surf on what they thought were deadly waves. I initially planned of just lay down on the sands and read a book but surprisingly, the mobile data signal is incredibly strong and fast for both Globe and Smart. The 3G signal I think is even faster compared to Manila. Probably since there is no much of competition with other users. By then, I just turned on Spotify and we just listened to relaxing music the whole day with the beach, the sand, trees… perfect.

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When it gets too hot, no worries… Just stay under the agoho trees.

Kanaway

The other beach that I wanted to see is the one in Sitio Kanaway, which is like the one in Cagbalete that exposes it sands during low tide. Kanaway is quite far from our home stay so we have to charter a motorbike for a day to take us there and back. It’s 600Php per motorbike but it’s only good for 1 person so we ended up getting 2. DSCN2072

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A mini sandbar.

Travel time is approximately an hour passing through some concrete roads and a lot of muddy off roads, but the view of the field is beautiful. The beach in Kanaway is not as appealing compared to the one in Sitio Salibungot but not bad at all. It’s more swim-able (if that’s the right term), since waves are milder and the water is shallow.

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The shores of Kanaway. During low tide, it exposes it’s natural sand ripples.
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Typical Jomalig Parking area.

But from afar it’s very visible how high the waves were. No local would brave going there, but according to them, some foreigners go there to surf. We spent few hours just to swim and take some photos and then we hired a paddle boat to take us to nearby Pulong Maliit. There is no standard amount for the boat. Just give any amount you think will be enough.

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Mangrove forest along the river near the beach.
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A fisherman on his daily routine.

Pulong Maliit

It’s a little piece of paradise. Too little that having 20 people in the island will make it looks like crowded already. Good thing no other tourist were there that time. The sand is white and fine with live rocks in the middle of the island, which according to our boatman, there used to be a small cave before, but after the discovery of golds and after it was taken by some foreigners it was then collapsed and the live rocks were also being harvested. There were some little trees (or bush) to provide some shade when it gets too hot.

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Fine and white sands of Pulong Maliit.

DSC_0116 Its twin Pulong Malaki is also visible from the east side the island but were not able to go there since our boat already left. When we arrived in Pulong Maliit, we can’t hide our excitement. The island is so beautiful and the water is unbelievably blue… literally blue. Although the underwater is not impressive because we didn’t see any corals, I still can’t complain. It’s such an Instagram moment. Unfortunately, there is no cellular signal on this part of the island. DSC_0117

Around 4 pm, we decided to go back to the main island by just walking. It’s already low tide and the water is just knee high. We were not able to see the full exposure of sands with natural ripples because it just didn’t happen that day. DSC_0121

Going Back to Real

Were supposed to leave the island the following day, but because of low tide the boat going to Real can’t sail. So we have take another boat leaving the next day. With no other plan, we just spent the whole day by the beach relaxing and just doing nothing. The next day, we finally left Jomalig on a fish cargo boat in Sitio Moros. By this being a cargo boat, that means that there is no decent seat. You just have to lay down, on the upper deck and we paid 300 for the ride back.

Thoughts

Although we experienced the most terrifying boat ride, we still enjoyed Jomalig. I just love it when everything is so simple and beautiful. The people in Jomalig were also very nice. It’s very rare to see people now who are not used to seeing tourist and people who will not take advantage of you being a tourist. I would say that the island has a big potential for tourism. It already has an airstrip but since there are no commercial flights going there, and to charter a plane is expensive, it would be better if there is a direct passenger boat to the island. While riding a cargo boat is a unique experience, it still wouldn’t appeal to some. Though I do not want the island to be as commercialized like other beaches, I hope when development comes, they would implement some restrictions, so they can still preserve the natural beauty of the place.

PS. There is no ATM on the island. Bring enough money, in case you get stranded. To avoid the rough boat ride, visit Jomalig during summer, according to the locals, the sea is as calm as oil during this season and travel time is shorter.

Updates (As of March 27, 2015)

Starting March 24, 2016, the tourism council of Jomalig is now implementing below fees for visitors. All visitors now are being dropped at Talisoy port. From there habal-habal can be hired to reach Salibungot beach for Php 75 per passenger.

Barangay Fee: Php 50

Environmental Fee: Php 150

Special thanks to my friend Rhan of Rhandomphotography for the new info.

 

 

 

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77 thoughts on “All Hail! The Golden Island Paradise of Jomalig

  1. Hi there! I’m loveing your recent posts!

    I have also blogged about Being a Filipina and traveling (young and traveling) and also my advocacies being a travel blogger ( to stop the discrimination to Filipinos who loves and dreams to explore the world)

    Here’s the link – http://talkaboutbeauty.co/2015/02/23/filipina-and-traveling-why-you-should-too/

    Share your stories and your thoughts. join the conversation and my advocacy while on the road.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Regards,
    Deanna Sallao ( http://www.talkaboutbeauty.co )

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  2. I love your post! thanks for sharing. planning to visit the place soon.
    is there a public transport going to jomalig? HM?

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    1. Hi! Thanks for reading. From Ungos port in Real, Quezon, you can either take the cargo boat direct to Jomalig but I am not sure if it’s available everyday or you can also take the passenger boat bound to Patnanungan Island. Both option will cost 300pesos per person per way. During our visit, we took the Patnanungan route then from there we chartered a boat for 1200(good for 10 persons) to Jomalig.

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  3. Hi! Ask ko lang sana kung magkano ang ginastos niyo for accomodation and sa transpo niyo for tour sa island. Please can we see the breakdown 🙂 parang ang mahal po eh. Salamat!

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    1. Hi Tina, thanks for checking my blog. I’ve been to Jomalig twice, first is with accommodation and the second one is camping. Here’s the break down of expenses for a group of 2 pax. Please note that this rate was last January 2015.

      220 – Van Manila to Real Quezon
      300 – Boat ride from Real Quezon to Patnanungan Island
      600 – Flat boat charter from Patnanungan to Real Quezon. (1200/2pax = 600each)
      1000 – Accommodation for 4 nights at Tejada’s place (500per night x 4nights / 2pax = 1000 each)
      600 – Motorbike rental from Jomalig proper to Sitio Kanaway (Day tour only. 700 if staying overnight)
      300 – Boat ride Jomalig to Real Quezon
      220 – Van going back to Manila
      _____________________
      2640 – per pax (5 days and 4 nights with accommodation)

      Last summer we revisited Jomalig and decided to camp this time. We also did not take the connecting boat from Patnanungan Island since direct boat to Jomalig is available. Here’s the breakdown of expenses per pax.

      220 – Van Manila to Real Quezon
      350 – Real to Jomalig
      700 – Motorbike rental from Salibungot Beach to Sitio Kanaway (overnight)
      350 – Boat ride back to Real Quezon
      220 – Van going back to Manila
      ______________________
      1840 – per pax (3days and 2 nights) camping

      If camping is not your thing and you want to stay right in front of Salibungot beach (Tejada’s place is a long walk), you can ask the locals if they will accept homestay for a fee. You can also buy seafoods from them and ask to cook it for you. There is no rate yet for that, just give the amount that your heart desires. The locals of Jomalig are one of the nicest we’ve met.

      Hope above information helps. Good luck and enjoy Jomalig when you visit.

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      1. Hi, pag may dalang sasakyan may ma paparkingan po kaya sa Ungos Port? tsaka wala ba fee pag mag tatayo ng tent san po maganda mag tent? may mga paliguan naman po sa island?
        thanks 🙂

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      2. Hi, di ako sure about dun sa parking. Yung camping fee wala free lang sya. Kung san maganda magtent, it depends kung ano trip nyo. For us mas gusto nmin medyo malayo sa community sa Salibungot beach. Pero downside eh walang water source. If magcamp kayo malapit sa community, meron sila CR pero yung water is kukunin pa sa poso na malapit. 😀

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  4. Thank you so much for answering with breakdown pa ng lahat. Ask ko lang sana if yung 700 na rental ay papuntang Salibungot at Pulong Maliit? And, when you say overnight ibig sabihin ba nun nagstay kayo sa Salibungot for one night? Thank you again!

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    1. 700 yung rental ng Motorbike from Salibungot to Kanaway and back. Nagcamping kami overnight sa Pulong maliit then sinundo kami the next morning going back sa Salibungot beach to catch the boat ride back to Real.

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  5. wow! Nice place and nice blog! Saan po kayo sumakay ng van papuntang real? Meron din bang bus na pwedeng sakyan? Thanks! 🙂

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    1. Hi Ash! Thanks for checking my blog. Sa Legarda sa may Sampaloc Manila kami sumakay ng van. Yes meron din bus. Katabi lang ng pila ng van yung station ng Raymond Bus. I think cheaper ung bus but travel time is a little bit longer.

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    1. Yes kaya nman. Mga 20-30mins siguro. Di pa kmi nakakapagtry magboat to Pulong maliit pero ang offer samin last time 2000 good for 10 persons na yata. If you are in a big group, mas mura magboat nlang.

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    1. Hi Summer! Thanks for checking out. You wont regret going to the island. The long hours of travel is really worth it. So far it’s my favorite off beat island destination.

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  6. Hi! Wanna ask if you contacted people or locals prior to your trip. We’re planning to go this coming long weekend. And since marami kami, we wanna try camping DIY style. Mejo mahal kasi pag dun kami sa mga organized trip. We just wanna explore and learn sa island. Thank you. :]]

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    1. Hi! No need to contact anyone if you’re planning to camp. Jomalig can definitely be done DIY. If you want to tour the island just ask any of the locals and for sure they’ll be happy to assist you. 😀

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    1. Hi Rosvelle, thanks for dropping by. My ultimate tip about going to Jomalig is probably for you to bring a lot of patience. Travel time palang halos kakainin na nya ang isang buong araw. Pero I guarantee worth it naman. Aside from that bring enough food kasi hindi consistent na meron mabibili sa island. Siguro for backup lang if in case wala talaga. You can always bring it back nman if my fresh catch na seafoods.
      Lastly enjoy the island, interact with the locals, they’re probably one of the nicest na naencounter ko. 🙂

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    1. Hi Beatrice! You have to bring your own tent. If you don’t want to camp, you can stay at Tejada’s place although it’s a long walk going to Salibungot beach. Our motorcycle driver also told us that the locals in Salibungot beach accepts homestay although I wasn’t able to validate that.

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  7. Thank you for this blog entry! I just want to confirm one thing before pushing through with this trip. Medyo naguguluhan lang ako about the boat ride, how will you be able to catch a direct boat ride going to Jomalig? Kasi ang mahal pag Patnanungan Island tapos rent ng boat going to Jomalig. So paano kaya pag direct? Do I have to contact anyone for that?

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    1. Hi thanks for reading! There’s at least 1 boat leaving Real everyday. Nagkataon lang na under repair sya the first time we went there so we have to take the Patnanungan route.

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      1. There’s a small community sa Salibungot and as far as I remember there are bathrooms na pwede nila ipagamit sa visitors although yung water kelangan pang kunin sa malapit na poso. Hindi ko pa nakikita yung CR na yun, since we were guys sa poso na mismo kami naligo an nakagamit nlang kmi ng bathroom sa bahay ng nagdrive ng motor for us.

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  8. Balak po kasi namin pumunta dyan ngayong holy week, di po kaya sya crowded? at di po kaya tataas yung fare sa boat papuntang jomalig pag holy week? at magkano po? Thanks sa reply. ❤

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    1. Hi! I haven’t been there during holy week. But compared to other beaches I’ve been to, Salibungot beach is pretty wide to accomodate a lot of campers. Aside from Salibungot beach, there are other beaches as well to choose from. The island is quite large.
      I’m not sure as well if there will be an influx of tourist during holy week since Jomalig is starting to be known now as a destination. The only thing that we are hoping is that not all is willing to take a boat travel that long. Regarding the boat fare I haven’t heard of an increase during holy week however, I’m not 100% sure.

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    1. Glad to help! You can bring your own tent or if camping is not your thing, last time na pumunta kmi my habal-habal driver said that they accept homestay daw. Although that time they said the price is mula sa puso. You can also contact Tejada’s they have a resort with it’s own beach na may malaking cottage for 1500 a day. It’s mga 15minutes away from Salibungot beach. I know another one but it’s located in Sitio Moros.

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  9. Hi been reading ur blog. Question hindi ba kkayanin ng 2 days 1 night? Medyo alanganin kasi if my oras lng yung boat ride. Is there any other way means of transpo for boat? Thanks.

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    1. Hi! I know some people who did 2 days and 1 night so yes it’s possible but for me, medyo bitin sya. Usually kasi around 4PM ka dadating sa island then going back to Real ang alis ng boat is between 10AM-12nn. I’m not sure lang if they added additional trips pero you may charter a boat siguro if you are in a big group. Another way to reach Jomalig is chartering a plane. I heard it’s around 7k per pax for a day tour. 😀

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  10. Hi jem, thank you po for the information about Jomalig Island. Ask ko lang po sana, if may kotse kasama, may idea po kayo saan sya pwedeng iwan? And also Ilang oras po ung travel time from Manila to Jomalig? Thanks po 🙂

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    1. Hi. We haven’t tried na magdala ng sariling sasakyan but I have a friend who did. They parked it sa bahay ng isa sa mga bangkero. Travel time 4-5 hours by land (Manila-Real Quezon), 5-6 hours by boat (Real-Jomalig).

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    1. Hi Lally. If you’re camping in Salibungot beach you may ask the locals living there. If you have a homestay host, I’m sure they can arrange one for you. Enjoy the island, we might also visit next month.

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  11. Wow. Great report! I’d love to visit. Seems a bit remote for a westerner in Hong Kong, but that’s what I love.

    Check out Koh Mak in Thailand. Will seem busy in comparison to Jomalig, but it’s Thailand’s “Goldilocks” island. Wish the Philippines had the same. Perhaps Malapascua counts…

    Keep up the great travels and reporting! Thanks.

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    1. Thanks Fred! I’ve been to Thailand but I only visited the usual islands accessible from Krabi. Would love to visit again and check out Koh Mak. Never been to Malapascua although I was born in Cebu, but I heard it’s beautiful. 🙂

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