I researched for weeks, read blogs, browsed throughout the internet - and all I read was that Magalawa Island is a nice place to visit... quoting bloggers' words "its all worth it". I even learned of the story of the two rival resorts: Ruiz Camp Resort vs. Armada Resort. Plus photos from Google were aaamazing.
Oh well. Those blogs were 90% of the reasons we decided to go to Magalawa Island.
So we planned to go one weekend, fixed our budget and packed our bags. We opted to stay at Ruiz Camp Resort because we cannot contact Armada Resort (no one is answering their cellphone). Its a good thing though, we got the best service from Ruiz Camp Resort.
Our expenses were (for 8 pax):
Gas - P 1,425 (we brought our own car)
Toll - P 816 (round trip)
Parking - P 200 (parking for Ruiz Resort looks safer than Armada's, there is a guard at the entrance of the compound)
Accommodation - P 1,700 per head for nipa hut (4 pax)
P 1,400 per head for tent pitching (4 pax, we brought our own tent)
Included in this package are:
- 5 mins. boat ride from Luan Port (priced at P 100/head but this is free if you will get the package)
- 4 meals (this is supposed to be Lunch-Dinner-Breakfast-Lunch, but we arrived too early at the island and they let us eat breakfast instead of the lunch meal for the next day)
Ruiz Camp Resort personnel and caretaker (Mang Mulo) are veryyy accommodating. I salute you guys! They always serve our meals on time, and every meal there are 3 types of dishes. Even after our snorkeling, they never failed. Its as if they know when we are hungry. LOL.
The beach however, is a different story.
The sand, yes, that's cool. Different from other parts of Zambales which are mostly grey. But the beach itself is MEH.
I don't know if those are called plants or seaweeds but they are yuckyyy.. They even have mold-like thingies on the leaves. They are all over the place. I'm not sure though if these are seasonal, we might have gone there at the wrong season. ITS EVERYWHERE! I guess its because of the lack of waves and movement at the shore. But I still think this could be fixed. The locals could clean this up with a net or whatever, just so as to lessen (if not eliminate) those leaves. Hindi naman ako maarte, kadiri lang talaga yung molds sa dahon. I didn't even dare to cross the deeper part of the sea to get on to the balsa, I was so scared I could step on something deadly.
But Magalawa Island is photogenic. That I can say. We managed to still capture its beauty somehow. Its white sand and its perfect blue green waters.
I'm sorry to say this. I honestly think the island is a bit overrated. No offense. I'm just letting this out for future travelers out there. If you are bringing kids, or love to swim - this island is not for you. Yes, it could be worth it. It is budget friendly, 2k per head. But make sure you bring with you a fun company, you would be dead bored if you wouldn't. Or you might be stung by a jellyfish if you'd insist on swimming.
But in case you still want to experience camping at a budget-friendly price here in Magalawa, I strongly suggest you go with Ruiz Camp Resort.
It could have been better. I just hope the locals in that area would help clean up the shore. I know its not their fault, but they earn from tourism over there, they could at least try. #justsaying