Unraveling Polillo Island
Like many island stories, the voyage to Polillo from Real, the mainland part of Quezon would be a boat ride of your life. Crossing Polilio Strait can sometimes be unforgiving. To put one’s heart at peace, it is best to travel to this island on the Philippine Sea on a clear day, just like what we did. Ungos Port in Real is the best jump-off point. It is a 3-hour sailing time on a rather spartan outrigger boat design commanded by captains mostly trained to sail with stars as guide. In-land, tricycles and padyak (bicycle-driven carriage) are the only means of transport. It has modest Inns with good supply of water. Electricity supply is rationed throughout the Island and in Polillo, it is only available between 2PM to 6AM the next day. If you love seafood, it is a sure feast here. However, there are not many restaurants so it is better to have a host family to prepare it for you. The Polilos live a humble lifestyle. It is their cheerful and accommodating nature that creates vibrancy to this place.
- Take the Marikina-Antipolo route to Real, Quezon.
- Drive straight to downtown and just by the main road is a signage that will lead you to Ungos Port.
- Cars may be left at Ungos Port for about P100 per day.
- Buses and V-Hires are available plying the route Manila-Real/Infanta-Manila. Familiar bus terminals are the ones in Araneta Center, Cubao and Legarda, Manila.
- For those taking the public transport, many buses wait for passengers bound for Manila just when you disembark at Ungos Port.
- Take the Pagsanjan, Laguna national highway to Pangil-Siniloan-Famy.
- It’s a long winding drive up to Real, best taken on early morning.
- Although it varies depending on the weather, boats usually leave at 7:30AM and 10AM.
- Return trips are scheduled at 5:00AM and 1PM. The dawn trip is usually a bouncy ride probably due to the tide level.
- There are not many hotel choices in Polillo. Amenities are just basic.
- Seahorse Hotel – (+63 42) 6342859. Price ranges from P1,000-P1,800.
- Herrera Plaza Lodging House – (+63 42) 3148411. Price ranges from P150-P500.
- Tricycle or single motorcycle can be hired to drive you around town or to the nearest beach. There is no fixed price for this service but huddling is not a challenge.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more