So while I’m waiting for Hali’s photos of past events, I’m going to reminisce a little about our visit in Jomalig Island in Quezon Province last April 2015, just after holy week.
If you haven’t heard of this place, that’s totally understandable and also now that you do, congrats! This place is totally awesome. If you have heard of it before, two things may come to mind: golden sands and a tiring 6-hour boat ride from the mainland.
Jomalig Island is the least populated municipality in the Quezon province, according to the 2010 census. It can be reached via passenger or private boat. All in all, it takes about 10 hours of travel time from Manila: 3-4 hours of land travel from Manila to Quezon and then another 6 hours of boat ride to the island. If you’re the type who prefers easy travel then I’m warning you, just forego this one.
P.S. I have updated this post to include a DIY Guide to Jomalig.
3 Days in Jomalig: Outreach and tour
Jomalig Island is significant to me because it’s where I met Hali (his cue to say “Ayiii”) and because this is the first outreach event of our group, which will later be known as Alon ng Pag-asa.
Because we were carrying tons of donations — and I mean tons, we have several large boxes containing school supplies, groceries, medicines and whatnot — as well as personal luggage such as tent bags, cook set and food ingredients, we opted to rent a private boat for, in my personal opinion, a hefty price (see above). Hopefully there will be discounts for groups doing outreach programs in the future.
After much eating, sleeping in the boat and watching the seemingly endless sea, we had an exciting glimpse of the beach.
From thereon we stayed at Salibungot beach, which according to locals is the best place to stay in the area. We pitched our tents under the shades of agoho trees, about a 15-min walk from the local houses where we would wash after bathing in the sea. Another group of travelers opt to pitch beside the houses, as the golden sands are soft and would sink as one steps into them, making even a short walk tiring especially for those who spent the afternoon playing in the waters.
We brought prepared meals for a day and then ingredients to last during our 3-day stay.
As I said, this isn’t just a beach-bumming tour. Our group, Alon ng Pag-asa, is in essence promoting voluntourism AKA traveling with a purpose. Thus, our stay in Jomalig island in Quezon Province included a half-day outreach to 250 children (and several more not in our official list).
Donations, both in cash and kind, outpoured. We had school supplies for elementary and high school students, school bags, groceries including cereals and bread, hygiene kits, loot bags (with a few pocketed by Ryan), a hundred or so toys, slippers and used clothes (I don’t get why people call them pre-loved).
We also held games and a feeding program. It was very heartwarming. The barangay officials said that they were thankful we chose their community because their area would get overlooked by outreach organizations in the past.
Before and after this short event, we were able to enjoy the untouched beauty of Jomalig Island in Salibungot beach. Apart from another group of travelers mentioned earlier, we had the whole beach for ourselves. The water in Jomalig Island is one of the clearest I’ve seen as of yet. The sands were a golden color, and it was nothing like I’ve seen before.
Aside from swimming, my companions also enjoyed jumping from the second story of the boat to the sea. (Meanwhile, I was in a life vest being drifted away by the waves.)
Another thing that I enjoyed was the fresh coconuts being sold by the local kids. I simply love coconuts. (Hali calls me takaw-buko). I don’t think we have enough of them in the metro. I call the coconuts in Jomalig self-refilling because there’s so much coconut water inside that it’s difficult to have two.
The sunset in the island was equally amazing. When night came, we lit bonfires and looked up in the sky — the stars were bright, as they often are in provinces.
The boatmen were nothing but nice to us. I do wish, however, that they — as well as the local government who oversee the transportation — become more environmentally aware. We were confused and shocked when the boatmen threw our thrash bags into the open sea. When asked about it, they said that’s their usual way of disposing garbage. Ah, the poor turtles and sea creatures that are going to suffer in whichever part of the ocean the trash bags will end up in.
Still, we are very grateful to our boatmen. This trip was supposed to be held during the holy week, but due to a warning of a super typhoon, we had to reschedule the following week. Our numbers trimmed down to less than 20, which means we were on a tighter budget than planned. On our last day, we were supposed to take a public boat back to Real, and the boatmen insisted that we still ride on their boat without paying the fee for private ride. They simply called for more passengers to offset the cost. They also cooked us free lunch.
Our outreach event in Jomalig is one of the most memorable trips I’ve had. Thanks to everyone who helped!
Also, here’s our video for the outreach in case anyone is interested. This gives so much feel-good vibes and will always be one of my favorite videos of Hali.
Travel guide to Jomalig Island, Quezon Province
I’ve added this section as response to all the inquiries we’ve been receiving after posting this article.
How to get to Jomalig Island
Option A: Via Real, Quezon
To go here via commute, go to Legarda Terminal in Manila and ride a Raymond bus bound to Infanta. You can ride the buses scheduled at 11:30PM – 1:00AM or wait ’til morning for the 4:00AM schedule. Alternately, you can also ride a van. Prepare P200+ each for fare. Alight at Ungos Port in Real. Travel time is 4-5 hours for bus and 3-4 hours for van.
In the port of Real, get on a fishing boat heading to Jomalig Island. Boats normally leave at 10AM-12noon. The boat ride takes about 6 hours and costs P350 per person.
Option B: Via Atimonan, Quezon
Go to Kamias or Cubao bus station and look for a bus en route to Lucena City. Fare is P250 per person. From the grand central terminal, take a bus or jeepney to Atimonan for P75 each. Ride a tricycle to the old port and look for MB Nicole, Mary Rose lines or other boats headed to Jomalig Island.
3 Days Itinerary to Jomalig Island
Here’s a sample 3-day itinerary for Jomalig Island:
4:00AM Bus ride to Real, Quezon
8:00AM – 9:00AM Arrival in Real, buy supplies
9:00AM Ride trike to Ungos Port
10:00AM – 4:00PM Arrival in Jomalig Island, set camp
7:00AM Breakfast, break camp
11:00AM – 4:00PM Boat ride from Jomalig Island to Ungos Port
6:00PM – 10:00PM Bus ride back to Manila
Where to stay in Jomalig Island
Salibungot Beach is the premier beach in Jomalig Island in Quezon Province, and this is where we camped our tents. Now there are lodgings and homestays in the area.
Here are some of them:
Tejada’s Resort has 2 locations in Jomalig Island. Room rate ranges from P300 (common CR) to P500 per night. A transient house is also available, good for 15 people.
- Contact details: 0939 9097 532
Madi’s Island Beach Resort
Contact details: 0918 415 7376 or 0949 948 9210, Facebook page here
Island hopping tour in Jomalig Island
While in Jomalig Island, you can also island hopped to Kanaway Liit and Kanaway Laki islands by hiring a private boat. Rate costs P1200 to P4000 depending on the size of the boat. You can also tour the island via habal-habal and visit the following locations: Sadung river or brown beach and little Boracay. A habal-habal tour costs about P450-600.
During ber-months up to January, waves can be rough and as such it’s not recommended to visit during these months. Although you can visit Jomalig Island on a weekend, I recommend staying there for at least 3 days to compensate for the long travel time.
Prepare a safe budget of P2500-3000 per person for 2-3 days stay. The more you are in the group, the lesser the expenses.
Any inquiries not included in this short guide, you can ask the tourism officer below. We haven’t availed the services of the guide below, but he’s been mentioned a few times in online forums.
- Ms. Malou, Jomalig’s tourism officer: 0929 957 3655
- Kelly Bautista, Quezon Province Tourism Office: 0922 949 1145
- Kuya Rommel, habal-habal guide: 0909 112 145
Have you been to Jomalig Island, Quezon? Let us know in the comments below!