Zambales is located in the North West of Luzon, facing the Philippine Sea. This province is one of the most visited provinces of the north in terms of great beaches because of its fine white sand. The high altitude ranges of the province are also in the eyes of many mountaineers for hiking purposes. Some of the famous are Mt. Tapulao, Mt. Balingkilat and Mt. Cinco Pincos. Aside from these ranges, the famous Capones Island, Nagsasa Cove, Anawangin Cove, and Potipot Island are situated in the province which attracts tourists. Tourism plays a huge factor that contributes to the economy of the province.
In addition from what I mentioned above, introducing Magalawa Island. An island that will suit your need and I am sure, you’ll place it on you bucket list. This island is located in the town of Palauig, Zambales which is a six hours travel from Manila. It might be a long travel, but the experience and your journey heading to this place will be a perfect story to tell. The island has two great resorts; Ruiz and Armada Resort.
Photo above was taken at Ruiz Resort (where we stayed.) There are cottages and rooms for rent, each unit are made of bamboo, wood, sawali and nipa for an affordable price. This resort is covered with green trees that cover the area, making the resort so relaxing and comfortable to stay with.
At the back of Ruiz Resort is the fishermen’s village, it’s a residential area where the families of the fishermen are located and fishing is their primary mode of income. Every morning you can ask the villager where to buy fresh sea foods like fish, lobster, crabs and other sea creatures. If you’re lacking supplies, stores are available in the village. I also found a volleyball court at the back, so you can bring your own ball. The people of this village are accommodating, kind and approachable. Even though, they have their native language, they can still converse in English and Filipino. At the back of Ruiz Resort, you can find a volleyball court that you can use to add activities, just approach the care taker.
Aside from cottage and rooms, tourists can also pitch tents on designated areas for 200 pesos per tent. In pitching tents, please be reminded that the area has palm trees with fruits that might fall, so it is advisable to choose a space near the cottage.
I was able to witness the “Supermoon,” happened on July 13, 2014. While we were on the shore having our socials, I captured this photo (on the right.) Magalawa Island has a 24/7 power source connected from the main land. Locals constructed two huge columns, one from the mainland and one on the island; these connect the power cables crossing few meters above the water level. It was a great experience seeing that this small island can give enough electricity to all the villagers and the resorts visitors.
While on the boat, because the water is really clear, I easily noticed that this island also has great corals. The colorful sea grass and weeds that serve as the home of those sea creatures like fish, star fish, sea urchin, and others. Snorkeling is another activity that you can enjoy to see this gorgeous underwater beauty.
Armada Resort is another option on where to stay here in Magalawa Island. There are cottages and tree houses which are available for rent. The leaves of the trees give shade to the wide area of the resort. You can enjoy the fresh air and the relaxing green surroundings. A line is the only boundary that separates Ruiz to Armada.
As what you can see on the photo above, this resort is well maintained by a caretaker. But take note, the caretaker told us that: “if you are from Ruiz Resort, taking photos at Armada Resort is NOT ALLOWED.” But good thing that the owner and manager of Armada Resort wasn’t there at that time, so we were able to get a great shot! Personally, that's not a good indication that in the near future
the sand bar
The “sand bar” is another feature of Magalawa that you need to consider. It is an extension of the shore which is pure white sand. Every low tide, the sand bar became longer and wider, which is a perfect background for you cover photo.