Magalawa Island Zambales DIY Travel Guide

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Magalawa Island is a slightly off-the-beaten-path travel destination that has everything almost perfect. (1) Beautiful sand and crystal clear water which are very ideal for beach bumming, (2) Relaxing wooden benches and expansive camping grounds with picnic tables under shady trees, (3) Calm ambiance soothed by the cool breeze that blows from the West Philippine Sea, (4) Hyperborean water that negates the heat coming from the proud sun, and (5) Every single thing that you would ask for a travel destination.

Compared to other known beaches which are only photogenic, Magalawa Island is more alluring in its naked state. It is indeed a very exciting treat as it has both a white sandy beach and great marine ecosystem. You can absolutely relish and appreciate the solitude of the island as well as the placidity of the atmosphere while you lazily sit under the shades of trees as your feet play with the creamy white sand. 

If you prefer a more challenging vacation than a laid-back one, you can do other island activities such as island hopping, snorkelling, and diving. There is a marine sanctuary between Magalawa Island and San Salvador Island where the splendid coral garden can be found.

Two days on the island is indeed very invigorating.

How to Get to Magalawa Island

Private Transportation

  1. The fastest way to reach Zambales from Metro Manila is by taking Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Travel time is 4 hours and toll fees cost less than P500.
  2. When you reach the National Road follow the signs to Iba, Zambales.
  3. Head north towards Amungan Triangle (Palauig Junction 1) as you pass by Iba Market.
  4. Keep right towards Banlog Triangle (Palauig Junction 2).
  5. After the Salaza Bridge, you will see the sign at the right side of the road that says “Welcome to Pangolingan.”
  6. Look for the rough road with a waiting shed and tricycles situated at the left side of the road.
  7. Turn left and take the Veritas road going to Oslet Armada fish dealer compound if you are going to Armada Resort and at Veritas compound if you are going to Ruiz Resort in Brgy. Luan. You can leave your service there. Parking fee is P100.00
  8. Take the 15-minute boat to the island that cost PhP100 per person (roundtrip).

Public Transportation

  1. From Manila, take a Victory Liner bus bound for Sta Cruz, Zambales. The terminal is in EDSA, Pasay. When buying your ticket, inform the ticketing officer that you’ll get off Palauig; else you will be charged the full amount of the Caloocan – Sta. Cruz ride (₱450+ instead of just ₱350.00 each). Travel time is around 6 hours.
    2. Alight at Veritas Road at Brgy. Pangolingan in Palauig. The landmark for the jump-off is a small waiting shed.
    3. Hire a tricycle to Oslet Armada fish dealer compound if you are going to Armada Resort and at Veritaz compound if you are going to Ruiz Resort in Brgy. Luan (₱100-₱200 per tricycle).
    4. Take the 15-minute boat to the island that cost ₱100 per person (roundtrip).


Where to Stay in Magalawa Island

There are two resorts operating in the island – The Armada Resort (where you can find the sandbar and the floating restaurant) and The Ruiz Ocean Beach Resort (where you can do water activities like kayaking, island hopping, and snorkelling); the latter is bigger the first one. You may directly contact Grace Armada at 09209483303 or Mulo or Bing Ruiz at 09294670505 and 09423636915.

To avoid the hassle, you can take advantage of the packages offered by these resorts. Packages include rooms, boat transportation, entrance fee, snorkelling or rafting, and all meals. See rates below for Armada Resort. Ruiz Resort has a package that already includes van transfer from Metro Manila (call/text them for more details on this.)

Magalawa Island Zambales Rates

Helpful Tips

  1. You can bring your own tent and pitch it on shaded and grassy parts of the island facing the vast blue water. This accommodation option is the cheapest. 
  2. Air-conditioned rooms, standard rooms, and cottages are available. Make sure to make a reservation as the influx of tourists, especially during summer, can easily fill up rooms.
  3. Although the tent is cheaper, it is still best to rent a cottage especially if you have sensitive skin. I noticed little insects swarming around the sand especially at night. They are locally known as nik-nik which bites are really itchy and can sometimes cause blisters.
  4. There are stores and cafeterias on the island. Plates of seafood are commonly prepared for guests. If you have seafood allergies or if seafood is not your taste bud’s favorite, better bring your own. You can also request the island staff to cook a dish that you fancy for a certain charge.
  5. Bring your own drinking water.
  6. If you chose Ruiz resort, there’s a ₱50 entrance fee to Armada resort to access the sand bar.
  7. Bring mosquito repellant especially if you are camping.
  8. Electricity is only available from 6PM to 7AM.
  9. There’s a rip current beside the sandbar so be very careful when swimming around the area. 
  10. If you’re feeling rather exploratory, rent a boat for ₱1,000 to so island hopping and visit the nearby Potipot Island. 

Enjoy wandering!

Help us to keep this article up-to-date by leaving comments below. If you have suggestions on how we can further improve this travel guide, leave a comment, too!

Also in Zambales – CRYSTAL BEACH RESORT 


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