Island Hopping in Matnog, Sorsogon: How to Get Here, Rates, etc

Tikling Island in Sorsogon
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Sorsogon is one of my favorite provinces in the Philippines. Since I’d gone island hopping in Matnog twice already, I thought it’s high time that I write about it! Here’s Guide to Island Hopping in Matnog, Sorsogon.

Here’s a little background about Matnog.

Matnog is a 3rd-class municipality in Sorsogon Province. Matnog Port is considered one of the busiest seaports in the country, as it’s used to travel to the southern area (such as Biri Island in Samar).

It’s also the jump-off point for island hopping tour in the area.

Island hopping in Matnog is one of my favorite experiences. When I started traveling sometime in 2014-2015, this is one of the first trips I’ve taken. During our outreach mission in Sorsogon, we stayed in Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary and then island hopped to other attractions. The beaches and underwater life here is beautiful and the locals are generous & welcoming! This is why I feel that Sorsogon is one of the most underrated places in the country.

P.S. Don’t forget to read our list of Top Things to Do in Sorsogon.

How to Get to Matnog, Sorsogon

There are different ways to get to Matnog. Here I’ve compiled the easiest routes.

By air

The nearest airport is Legazpi Airport. From there, it takes another 3-4 hours to get to Matnog.

  • Take a flight to Legazpi Airport.
  • From the airport, ride a tricycle to Legazpi terminal. Fare is P50. Then ride a bus or van bound to Sorsogon. Fare is around P100 per person.
  • From Sorsogon, ride a jeep to Matnog. Fare is P90 per person.

By land

There is a direct bus from Manila to Matnog.

  • From Manila (Cubao, Buendia, Pasay, Alabang), ride a bus bound Matnog, Sorsogon. Travel time is 14 hours. Fare is P800-1300 depending on the bus/seat type.

Island Hopping in Matnog

Register at Matnog Tourism Office which can be found near the market. You will be assigned a boat operator that will take you on an island hopping tour.

Here are the places you can visit during your island hopping tour in Matnog, Sorsogon.

Tikling Island

This is a privately owned beach with beautiful azure waters and pinkish sand. Yes, a lot of the beaches in Matnog are pinkish due to the presence of crushed corals.

There are no infrastructures in Tikling Island except for the native cottages where the caretakers live. There is a poso (water pump) that you can use.

Tikling Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon
The alluring waters of Tikling Beach. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)
Tikling beach in Matnog, Sorsogon
The perfect vacation spot? (Photo by Hali)
Tikling Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon
Wind on my face, salt in my hair, sand on my toes, oh la la. (Photo by Hali)

Tikling Island is one of the most beautiful islands I’ve seen. Based on my experience, it’s also less crowded compared to other beach getaways. On my second visit here, I was surprised to see that it was almost empty except for us despite it being mid-summer. I have no complaints, seeing as we get to enjoy its refreshing water for ourselves!

No entrance fee is required, but donations are encouraged.

Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary

Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary is a popular attraction in Matnog, Sorsogon. This marine sanctuary is managed by Kuya Alex. It’s home to various species of fish, clams, sea cucumbers, starfishes, and other sea life.

Islet in Juag's fish sanctuary, Sorsogon
An islet across the cottages in Juag’s fish sanctuary. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)
Juag Lagoon Marine Sanctuary, Sorsogon
Holding up a giant lobster in Juag Lagoon Marine Sanctuary. (Photo credit to Hali)
Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary in Sorsogon
Feeding the fishes in Juag fish sanctuary. (Photo by Hali)

You can ride the raft to get to the cottage of the marine sanctuary and buy fish feed for the fishes. On non-busy days, Kuya Alex allows tourists to swim here. (Take note: sunblocks are not allowed due to toxic ingredients). The best time to swim here is in the morning, when the water is clearest during the day.

During summer especially on weekends, expect a huge volume of people in Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary. That saying, I really recommend that you do not skip it as it’s an enjoyable activity and it also helps Kuya Alex care & maintain the marine sanctuary.

Subic Beach

Subic Beach is also called the Pink Beach of Sorsogon. Similar to Tikling Beach, the sand here is fine & white, but on closer inspection looks pinkish when wet.

Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon
Aside from swimming there’s also a snorkeling spot in Subic Beach. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

Subic Beach is divided into 2 adjacent coves: Subic Laki and Subit Liit, which are divided by a small patch of land. Subic Laki is obviously wider and it has airconditioned and open cottages for day tour and overnight guests. Subic Liit meanwhile is smaller and quieter.

Boats normally drop tourists in Subic Laki beach.

Again, this is a beautiful beach with fine, powdery sand. There is also a snorkeling area here where you can see small fishes.

Calintaan Cave

Calintaan Cave is located in Calitaan Island. The cave entrance is submerged in open water and leads to a small pebble beach inside. It’s only accessible when the water condition is calm; otherwise it’s difficult to swim inside.

Calintaan Cave in Matnog, Sorsogon
View of the cave entrance from the cave pool. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

This is one of the highlights of our island hopping tour in Matnog. I remember that Kuya Alex was the one who led our tour. He brought a salbabida (life buoy) so the non-swimmers in our group can hold on as he led everyone inside the cave. It was my first-time going inside a cave pool and I was truly amazed. Hali and I both had an amazing time here. (There is a similar attraction in El Nido called Secret Beach, but this one for me is better.)

If you get the chance to see inside Calintaan Cave, consider yourself lucky!

Calantas Lighthouse

This is Japanese-era lighthouse built in an islet in the middle of the sea. Some people simply refer to it as Matnog Lighthouse.

Calantas Lighthouse in Matnog, Sorsogon
Matnog Lighthouse. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

The islet is filled with small boulders and corals. According to sources online, you may also find walong-walong snakes. If so, do not approach them as they bite when threatened. On both times I’d been here, I wasn’t able to see any snakes.

Due to the location of the lighthouse, boats can only dock here on reasonable sea conditions.

Matnog Island Hopping Rates

Here are the current rates for island hopping in Matnog, Sorsogon. Rates are as published by Matnog Tourism Office.

  • Environmental fee: P70 (Filipinos) / P320 (non-Filipinos)
  • Island hopping: P1800 for day trip / P2000 for overnight stay (good up to 10 pax)

Island fees:

  • Tikling Island: No entrance fee, but donations are encouraged
  • Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary: Entrance fee – P200 per person / fish feed – P200 (optional)
  • Subic Beach: No entrance fee / cottage for day tour – P500
  • Others: none

Where to stay

You can go on a day trip or stay overnight in one of the islands/resorts.

  • Subic Beach
  • Isla de Blas

Isla de Blas is a fairly new attraction in Matnog, Sorsogon. It’s a private resort featuring cottages built on stilts.

There are also accommodations back in the mainland.

Reminders and Tips

Here are some information you need to know before your trip.

  • Walk-ins are welcome. The tourism office will assist you in getting an accredit boat operator for the island hopping tour. During weekends & holidays, you may want to reserve in advance.
  • Island hopping starts from 6PM to 5PM. The tour duration depends on you. It’s best to tour early to avoid other day trippers. Overnight tour starts from 6AM to 10AM the following day.
  • The best time to visit Matnog is summer months.
  • Check the weather before your scheduled trip. A lot of the places in the itinerary may be inaccessible if the sea conditions are not good, so it’s possible you may not visit all spots.

What to Bring

  • Bring enough cash.
  • Bring food and water. There is market near Matnog Port. You can also buy snacks, coconut, and water in the islands.
  • Bring your own snorkel set. The boat operators will not be able to lend you one.

Contacts

Here are some useful contact information:

Has this Guide to Island Hopping in Matnog, Sorsogon, been helpful to you? If you have comments or questions, let us know in the comment section below!

What to read next:

Here are guides about Sorsogon:

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