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.
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 for Sorsogon. Fare is around P100 per person.
- From Sorsogon, ride a jeep to Matnog. Fare is P90 per person.
There is a direct bus from Manila to Matnog.
- From Manila (Cubao, Buendia, Pasay, Alabang), ride a bus bound for 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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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!
This is Japanese-era lighthouse built in an islet in the middle of the sea. Some people simply refer to it as Matnog Lighthouse.
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 (Updated as of 2021).
- Environmental fee: P70 (Filipinos) / P320 (non-Filipinos)
- Island hopping: P1800 for day trip / P2000 for overnight stay (good up to 10 pax)
- 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.
Here are some useful contact information:
- Matnog Tourism Office – Facebook
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 our guides about Sorsogon:
- Travel Guide to Sorsogon
- Best Things to Do in Sorsogon
- Island Hopping in Matnog, Sorsogon
- Whale Shark Watching in Donsol, Sorsogon
- Buhatan River Cruise in Sorsogon
- Bulusan Lake in Sorsogon
- Zoe’s Resort and Eco Adventure Park
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).