Magalawa Island | Travel Guide + Budget Tips
Magalawa Island is one of the highlight destinations of tourists exploring the northern side of Zambales. Its claim to fame is its tiny but pretty sandbar plus a camping by the beach experience.
Just off the shores of Palauig in Zambales, Magalawa is actually an island barangay mostly inhabited by sambal-speaking locals. While it has always been there, it only gained popularity in the recent years when access roads became available.
Magalawa Island: Everything You Need to Know
Along with Masinloc, it’s one of the nearest towns to the controversial Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal that China is falsely claiming to be theirs. But don’t worry, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter them as you bask in your bikini on Magalawa Island.
How to Get There
By Public Transport
- Hop on a Victory Liner bus either Iba bound or Sta. Cruz bound routes. These trips are available from Cubao, Sampaloc & Caloocan stations. You can also book your tickets online at victoryliner.com
- If you take the Iba route, transfer to a jeepney bound for Masinloc. Do not take the Palauig-bound jeepneys because it goes to the town proper. The jump-off point to the port is along the Iba-Masinloc route.
- However, if you take the Sta. Cruz bus, get off at Radyo Veritas at Pamulingan. Tell the bus conductor to get you off at the trike shed for the port.
- Then from the trike terminal, endure the 30-minute bumpy ride to the port.
- Transfer to a boat for Magalawa Island at the wharf.
By Private Vehicle
- Take the usual NLEX-SCTEX route from Manila to Zambales.
- Head north to Masinloc, past the town of Iba. When you reach Palauig, keep right at the first junction towards Banlog. Turn right to Banlog Triangle, then to Pamulingan.
- As soon as you find the trike shed by Radio Veritas, turn left. Drive uphill to the port.
- There’s a pay parking at the port. So relax.
Where to Stay at Magalawa Island
There are 2 resorts on Magalawa Island: Armada & Ruiz. Armada Resort on the western side has a fantastic beach line. Also, this is where the sandbar is. They have modest amenities, accommodations & cheerful service.
Overnight stays at Armada comes with an all-inclusive package. This includes food, accommodation & boat transfers. They also rent out activity gears at minimal price. Check the rates below. For updates & bookings, click here.
On the other side of the island is Ruiz Resort. If rustic stays are your kind of getaways, this spot offers so many chill spots. They also offer packaged tours for your convenience. Click here to connect with them.
Activities on Magalawa Island
Just like any other beach resorts, the island offers staple activities like snorkeling, boating, raft cruises & beach camping. And for guests with extra budget, you can try their floating restaurant.
Important Things to Remember
- You have to tell your boatman which resort you are billeted. This way, they’ll dock you in at your resort.
- If you plan to buy your provisions before heading to the island, better get off at Iba. Only sari-sari stores are available after this town.
- Magalawa Island is not as sophisticated as other islands in the country. Here, everything is on the rustic side.
- Bus fare on Victory Liner begin at 300+. Fare adjusts depends on where you are getting off.
- Trike fare from the jump-off to the port is about P150 per head.
- Cooking utensils may be borrowed from the resort.
- Both resorts have canteens but stuff could be a little higher than in mainland.
- Boat fee is at P100 per person. But if you availed of the packaged rate, this is already included.
- Be mindful of sandflies & dogs stealing food.
- Everything is completely DIY-able. Budgetarians, this is your game!
Magalawa Island is also available for daytrips.
Click here to find hotels & resorts in Iba, Zambales
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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