Last summer, I went on a tour to Isabela Province. What I really wanted is to see the Blue Lagoon and Honeymoon Island. Our group stayed at a beach resort called Bilay Makadawi, which is located in Dicotcotan Beach, Palanan. I loved it that I decided to share it with you guys!
My stay at Bilay Makadawi
Bilay Makadawi means “home to catch a fish”. It’s a beach resort in a half-hectare property in Dicotcotan Beach, with rustic cottages and treehouses as well as a luxurious-feel dipping pool for its guests.
What I like about Bilay Makadawi is that it has a homey feel, but unlike other beach resorts you can tell that there’s much thought given to how the place was built.
For instance, the cottages and treehouses look beautiful, clean and well-kept. There are tiny details like a bamboo bucket filled with water for washing the feet before you step inside your cottage, seashells in the common bathrooms and artistic wooden gates that surround the resort. The open, grassy area beside the cottages are trimmed and well-kept so that, during our visit, the staff could set up a table outside where we could eat.
Our room is a simple cottage, complete with soft pillows and sheet. The resort uses solar energy so electricity is limited, though we were still able to use the fan for overnight. Anyway, the room is airy and we were always out during the day so it wasn’t a problem for us.
For our meals, we’d ask the staff for fish, lobsters (only P500 per kilo!) and other fresh catch for the day. In Bilay Makadawi, food is dependent on the catch for the day. For someone living in Manila, I see this as something good because who wouldn’t want fresh seafood? If there isn’t anything available, the staff may use canned goods instead.
There is also halo-halo and fresh coconut juice available in nearby stores from the resort.
As for things to do, we were often out on the boat. However, there are still activities you can do in the resort. You can swim in the dipping pool or hang out in one of the outdoor areas. Also, the water in Dicotcotan Beach is so clear that when you’re out in the shore, you can clearly see where the sands and seaweeds at the bottom.
There is also a snorkeling area nearby, where you can see huge corals and fishes. I’d missed snorkeling since we were short on time, and it’s something that I regret. However, my friend Peng was able to do it and told me that it was nice. Instead, what I did is go with the group to trek to the Dumagat Village and the lighthouse.
Local kids accompanied us, as well as a good dog.
Trekking to the Dumagat Village is a great activity for those who are interested into cultural immersion and for those like me who want to see a beautiful seaside village that makes me dream about living beside the sea. The beach here is called Diago Beach and it’s finer, whiter than that in Bilay Makadawi. The long walk along the sand to the lighthouse was a leisure. We also saw huge hermit crabs feasting on coconuts on our way.
All in all, Bilay Makadawi is one of the beach resorts I’d been to that made me want to stay for days, just to chill and relax, eat fresh seafood and swim. Although most people who visit here aim to visit other attractions in Palanan, I feel that Bilay Makadawi should be an attraction in itself.
How to get to Bilay Makadawi Beach Resort
Bilay Makadawi is located along Dicotcotan Beach in Palanan, Isabela. For a detailed guide on how to get to Palanan, read our Travel Guide to Isabela Province.
There are different ways to reach the resort.
From Palanan Airport
If you arrive in Palanan Airport, you can avail of the resort’s transfer services. Here are their rates (updated as of 2019):
- P1500 for 1-4pax (1 trike and 1 boat rental)
- P1650 for 5-6pax (2 trikes and 1 boat rental)
This rate is for one-way only.
You can opt to visit the Blue Lagoon and tour the town proper before heading to Bilay Makadawi. If so, you need to pay additional to the tricycle fare.
From Palanan town proper
- From centro in Palanan, take a tricycle to Palanan River (10 minutes) and then a boat ride to Bilay Makadawi (50 minutes).
- Alternatively, you can take a tricycle to the bridge of Palanan River (10 minutes) and then cross the river via a paddle boat. Take a tricycle to Barangay Culasi (30 minutes) and then a boat ride to Bilay Makadawi (30 minutes).
From other ports in the mainland
If you’re in a private van, you can take a boat from various ports (Dingalan, Baler or Disalag in Aurora) to Palanan, Isabela. Then take a private boat to Bilay Makadawi.
What we did is drive until Disalag (about 10 hours) and take a boat to Bilay Makadawi (6 hours).
The following amenities are free for use for guests:
- Dipping pool
- Gazebos and hammocks
- Driftwood lounges
- Beach volley
- 2 common toilets, 2 shower buoys
Here are the current rates for rooms (updated as of May 2019):
- Kayulong Tree House: P2000 / 2pax (up to 3 pax for additional fee)
- Kayuteng Tree House: P2400 / 2pax (up to 5 pax for additional fee)
- Kayugo Cottage: P1800 / 2pax (up to 5 pax for additional fee)
- Kayusor Cottage: P1800 /2pax (up to 5 pax for additional fee)
- Kayudi Cottage: P2400 / 2pax (up to 6 pax for additional fee)
Additional fee per pax/night: P250.
Kayudi Cottage is the only one with a private toilet. The rest have to use the common toilets.
Take note that there is no day tour available in the resort, only overnight stays.
Here are other fees (optional):
- Small rowing boat for 2 pax: P200 / hour
- Snorkeling set: P100 / hour
- Volleyball: P50 / hour
Where to eat
There is a small souvenir shop where you can buy limited food and drinks. For proper meals, you can ask the staff to prepare for your or bring your own (no corkage fee).
There are also sari-sari stores and stalls nearby.
Things to do in Bilay Makadawi
- Relax and disconnect! Actually you have no choice because there is no signal here.
- Swim and snorkel. There is a snorkeling area near the beach resort.
- Trek to the Dumagat Village, Diago Beach and the lighthouse (30-40 minutes). Please practice cultural sensitivity when interacting with the natives!
- Take a boat to visit other attractions in Palanan: town proper, Blue Lagoon, Diago Beach, Disadsad Falls.
Things to know before you go
- The resort uses solar panels so electricity is limited. Charge your devices in the morning and preserve the electricity at night for fan use.
- As of our visit, only usb slots are available for charging.
- There is no signal in the island.
For inquiries and booking, you may contact Bilay Makadawi at the ff:
Facebook | Mobile: 0917 807 5857
You may also book their rooms via Airbnb.
What do you think about Bilay Makadawi Beach Resort? Is it something you’d like to visit as well? Let us know in the comments below!
What to read next:
Planning a trip to Isabela Province? Here are our guides on Isabela:
- Isabela Province: Guide + 5 Days itinerary
- Reasons Why You Should Visit Isabela Province
- Best Tourist Attractions in Palanan (Isabela)
- Where to stay in Palanan (Isabela): Bilay Makadawi Beach Resort
- Blue Lagoon in Palanan (Isabela)
- Dibulo Falls in Dinapigue (Isabela)
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).