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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cagbalete Island vacation with my friends


It is 1am and my phone beeped. My friend texted me that it is time for us to meet and get a cab to Buendia bus station. We met at a lugawan along A.Francisco st. Manila. After a few minutes off we go!

Getting to Cagbalete, Quezon
We arrived at the JAC liner bus station around 1:20am and thought that we'll get good seats in the bus heading to Lucena. Surprisingly, there were only 6 seats available! We ended up seating at different parts of the bus, I'm near the front, Ambie is in the middle, Pearl, Ahra, Cyril and Adrian were scattered in the back of the bus. The first bus trip is scheduled to leave the station at 2am but since all the seats are taken the driver decided it is time to start the journey at 1:36am. The fare was 209.50 to Lucena.

"Turbina! Sino bababa sa Turbina!" The conductors voiced boomed, breaking my half-asleep state around 2:30am. I was surprised that we're already in Turbina, Batangas within one hour. Someone from the back of the bus alighted and so I moved to his seat. I dozed off the remainder of the bus travel.

"Lucena terminal na po!" the conductor announced around 4:30am. We were a few hours ahead of schedule so my besties and I decided to eat breakfast first.

We got into the ordinary mini-bus going to Mauban, Quezon at 6am, and paid 50 each. The cool morning wind made the ride was so relaxing. My friends took the opportunity to sleep whereas Ambie and I chatted all the way. An hour and a half later, the mini-bus entered a small terminal and told us that the tricycles will take us to the port.

We got 2 tricyles and paid 10 each. The ride was less than 10 minutes. The port is nothing like Batangas pier, the waiting area is really small and you have to ask where the outrigger boat to Cagbalete Island docks.There are numerous stores and a market near the port so we took the opportunity to buy food and water, while waiting for the boat. We bought a 5-liter distilled water for 78pesos, only to find out that the same water is being sold at Villa Cleofas for 50pesos.

The boat arrived at the port around 9am and we took the chance to get the best seats, at the back. We were advised not to sit near the front of the boat if we don't want to get wet. I thought we'll be the only guests and a few locals that will go to the island. A few more guests arrived just a little before 10am and when the boat is full we left the port.

The 1-hour boat ride to the island is exhilirating! The waves are huge and the water splashes a little even though we're way at the back. The boat crew installed covers in the front to prevent the guests from getting wet. We paid 40 pesos each for the boat ride. We chatted with a woman carrying a small kid about the island. We learned that Villa Cleofas is nearest to the shore and Mr.T resort has its own videoke machine.

It was 11am when we reached the island. The tide was so low that the outrigger boat cannot go near the shore. We need to ride a small flat boat that will bring us to the shore, this is free. While we were waiting for our turn, young boys asked if we need help in carrying our things. We bought a lot of food and water for our overnight trip so the bags are heavy. Three boys took our bags to the small flat boat while they swam to the shore.

We were so excited to see the resort. Every corner we turn, we took pictures. After a few minutes, we got tired and kept on asking the boys "Malayo pa ba?". Of course they said, "Malapit na po.". The sun was scorching hot so it felt like forever to reach the resort even though the walk only took us 30-minutes.

Arriving at Villa Cleofas
We saw the roof of the cottages and said "Ayan malapit na talaga!", around 11:30am. Our heart sank when the extremely long stretch of the sand welcomed us. We wanted to bad to jump into the water after the long walk but we can't since we have to walk again to reach the water. We gave 150 pesos to the three boys who carried our things and their eyes went huge!

We stayed in one of the open cottages worth 1000 pesos (see the picture above) and decided to eat lunch first. The cottage was clean, with one table and chair and is located near the shared bathroom and toilet. We asked one of the boys to buy ice for us because the resort ran out of ice. He went back to the island shore to buy the ice for us and we gave him another 50 pesos for his service.

We rested for a few hours before we went to the shore to take beautiful pictures. I think it was around 3pm when the water started pouring in, signaling the end of the low tide. Ahra cooked dinner for us in the resorts kitchen which we paid 150 per use. After dinner we showered and talked for a while before they decided to open the bar. They gulped alcohol while I ate endlessly as we joke and laughed our brains out.

Around 12midnight everyone decided to sleep. I got sleepy by 1am but saw the biggest lizard ever on the ceiling of our cottage. I think it was 8 inches long! I got scared and so did Ambie. She woke up Cyril because the mega lizard is on the beam directly on top of his open mouth. One by one, our friends woke up because the mega lizard decided to go down. A few screams and scrambling out of the cottage after, Adrian went out to get a tree branch to get the mega lizard out of the cottage.

Quiet time at last! We expected the lights to go out at 12mn but they stayed on.

I woke up at 4am due to the cold wind blowing. I immediately got Pearl's sarong which she lent to me, and wrapped it around my trembling body. "Uy kain na!" Ahra woke us up so that we can eat breakfast. After breakfast, we went out to take another set of great pictures. The tide was high and that's when Pearl baked herself while we appreciated the cool seawater of the island.

We said farewell to the resort with tanned skins and a heavy heart around 12noon. The 30-minute walk was reduced to 20-minutes because we are afraid that the boat will not wait for us. We gave the two boys who helped us with our bags 100 pesos. Ahra chatted with on of the boys who carried the other guests bags and asked how much he received from the guests. Guess what? He only received 10pesos for carrying the heavy bags the whole 1.5km walk. It's so sad how some people flaunt their expensive looking clothes and gadgets but would not pay enough for the services they received.

Going back to Manila
The boat ride back to Mauban, Quezon was reduced to 45 minutes. The tricycles are waiting on the port to take the guests to the mini-bus terminal. The mini-bus ride lasted for 2-hours because of the stops were passengers will board and alight at certain parts. Back at the Lucena terminal, we decided to grab a late lunch before riding the bus back to Manila. We boarded the bus at 4pm and it left the terminal barely 30 minutes after we took our seats. The bus ride to Manila took 5 awful hours because of the heavy and slow traffic everywhere.

Overall, the trip to Cagbalete was awesome!

I am so grateful for my husband because he allowed to go with my friends. Thank you honey!

Summary of my transportation expenses and travel time

Amount in Php Time to CagbaleteTime to Manila
JAC liner (one way) 209.50 3 hours 5 hours
Mini-bus (one way) 50.00 1.5 hours 2 hours
Tricyle (one way) 10.00 10 minutes 10 minutes
Outrigger boat (one way) 40.00 1 hour 30 minutes
Walk to resort na 30 minutes 20 minutes
Tip to carrier boys (my share) 42.00 na na
Open cottage rent for 1 night (my share)167.00 na na
Resort entrance 50.00 na na
Totals Php 878.00 8 hrs, 17mins 8 hrs, 25mins

* Food expenses will depend on your appetite
* I travelled with 5 of my friends so the I divided the Tip & Cottage rent to 6 to determine my share.
Cottage rent P1000 / 6 = P250
Tips P250 / 6 = P42

An ye harm none. Do as ye will.

Blessed be.


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