I never imagined myself setting my foot on this golden sand island. It was only a dream for me after all the blogs I’ve read on how hard it is to reach the place. I thought it will be one of the last island i’ll tick off on my list. Looking for a life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, I asked my “not so adventurous” office mate if he’s willing to take the risk with me. I got a YES and thought it will be exciting if we’ll give it a go. I made a last minute itinerary to finally made the dream a reality. Call time was 5 in the morning at Raymond Bus Terminal in Legarda, Sampaloc. We rode a van going straight to Infanta, Quezon which will pass by Real. Travel time is about 3-4 hours. Fare is P220. Worried that we won’t catch the only boat boarding at 10:00 AM, he transferred us to a different van which is leaving at 6:00 AM. Voila! We got off at Real at exactly 9:45 AM. As soon as we reached Ungos Port, I asked the boatmen to guide us to the boat going straight to Jomalig but there was none. We’re doomed. The only way to get to Jomalig is to ride a boat going to Patnanungan and then charter a boat to Jomalig Island. I called Ate Malou (Tourism Officer) to help us out. She said she’ll send a boat from Jomalig Island to fetch us once we reached Patnanungan. Boats from Patnanungan to Jomalig is a bit pricey which may cost P1500 (one way). We got ours for P800 only. So after all the negotiation, we’re all set and ready for the 4 hours bumpy boat ride. The boat started to sail off at exactly 12 in the afternoon. Don’t expect the boat to be all that grand. It’s a public boat. Most passengers are locals of the island. Expect live chickens and big luggages next to your seat. I tried to sleep as I was all awake the entire road trip going to Real but I can’t as I started to feel sea sick. Good thing the boat crew offers free food! Yes, free food! It’s the typical “ulam and kanin” meal. We had Pinakbet and rice for brunch designed for cowboy people. I fell asleep right after eating. It was the longest 4 hours of my life.
I got a call from Ate Malou around four in the afternoon. Her exact word was “Ma’am, ika-kaon ko po kayo sa isang bangka, hindi niyo na po kailangan bumaba ng Patnanungan.” Ang nasabi ko na lang ay, “Okay po.” It was deep Tagalog so I was not sure what she meant when she said “Ika-kaon”. When we’re about to reach Patnanungan Port, the boat crew called everyone’s attention. He asked all the passengers bound to Jomalig to transfer to a small boat right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
My eyes were all shocked. I even asked myself “Tama ba tong ginagawa namin?” Haha. Anyways, we immediately transferred to the small boat. Literally a small boat that can only board two passengers. From there, we met the very jolly Kuya Jun-Jun. I hurriedly asked him “Ilang oras po papuntang Jomalig?”, he said “Mga dalawang oras pa po Ma’am, malakas po ang alon” I exhaled a big YES and told Kuya Jun-Jun “Let’s do this Manong!” Huge waves greeted us.
I will be a hypocrite if I say it was not scary at all. It was not as huge as what I’ve encountered the first time I went to Calaguas. We we’re soaking wet as we battle through big waves, good thing our bags were water proofed. Two hours feels like eternity that time. It was almost 6 in the evening when we arrived at Tejada’s Beach Resort. We were warmly greeted by Nanay Aida and Tatay Rudy, owner of the resort. They were kind enough to serve dinner as soon as we entered their house. It was a long tiring day. We decided to rest the whole night and just explore the island the next day.
We woke up early to catch the sunrise at Salibungot Beach. We were accompanied by “Kuya Boy”, our habal-habal driver. It’s only a 10 minute ride from Landingan to Salibungot Beach. Fare per head is P100 (one way). Nanay was so kind to offer their beach house near Salibungot Beach so we can cook our lunch there. It was a typical hut but it’s damn huge as it can accommodate 15 to 20 people. It’s beachfront and is surrounded by pine trees. We headed straight to the beach. The minute the sun struck the golden sands, I was just staring at it and finally said to myself “Eto na talaga sya, dati sa Google ko lang nakikita” I suddenly felt euphoric. It was totally different from the islands I’ve been before. It was literally gold in color. We brought our beach essentials with us. Nothing beats having a good company and drinking near the shore with endless stories. It was indeed a sweet escape!
Jomalig Island is located on the southeast part of Polillo Islands in the province of Quezon, Philippines. It’s a very small island making it the least populated municipality in the province. According to Nanay Aida (Tejada’s Beach Resort) the word “Jomalig” was derived from the word “Humalik”. It’s about a young boy who was challenged by a princess to roam the island in one day. The lad failed to do so. Hopeless, he asked the princess the come with him. Everyone witnessed what happened. The people then shouted “Humalik!” and that’s how the story ended. LOL. I asked Nanay Aida, “Why did the boy ended up dead?” Sabi ni Nanay Aida “Namatay sa pagod!” Haha!
The next morning, I can see from our room how bad the weather is. I started to feel paranoid. We have to be back that night as we have work that day. I got a text from Ate Malou minutes after our breakfast. No boat is scheduled to sail back. The waves were crazy huge. I told my friend to just “accept and absorb” Haha. Accept the memo and absorb the “sermon” LOL.
That’s actually Day 1 of our misadventure. I don’t have any plans that day. The only itinerary I have is our way back to Manila. I asked Nanay Delia (Tejada’s Caretaker) if there’s any place we can visit through an outdoor walk. She immediately said “Santuario!” Landmark to Santuario is near the airport runway. It’s only a 10 minute walk from Tejada’s Beach Resort. The place was amazingly magnificent. It’s facing Pacific Ocean so the wind was hella strong. It’s surrounded by huge rock formations too. We couldn’t help but pose and take pictures of ourselves. Though there’s no spot for us to sit back and relax, we opted to just stay for a little while to appreciate the place. We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon though at Salibungot Beach.
Day 2 and counting. Second day and we’re still stranded. I woke up early to check the weather. It’s the same as yesterday. I broke the news to my friend to wake him up from his deep sleep. Still no luck. We have to stay for 1 more day. With no plans at all and our budget running out, we don’t have any choice but to enjoy. We decided to just roam around the island and check for other few spot to explore. We met Ate Malou for the first time! Haha. She just live across Tejada’s Beach Resort. She told us that by next day, there’s a boat scheduled to sail back to Real. Along with us would be 13 other backpackers. It was a good news to start Saturday.
Sabe nga, “Kill nothing but time” Haha. We did sari-sari store hopping. Looked for ingredients in prep for lunch and dinner. We planned of going back to Salibungot Beach to spend the rest of the afternoon but we opted to stay at Tejada’s beach front. We drank the night away with fingers crossed that next day will be a good day for us.
Day 3 and the wind was still going crazy. I thought we’ll have to stay for one more day. But I got a news from Nanay Aida that the boat is ready to sail aboard by 7 AM. We had free breakfast prepared by Nanay. We’re ready to bid goodbye to the island who brought us excitement and one of a kind adventure. It was hard to leave but we have priorities. Like what Lisa St. Aubin de Terán said “Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” 🙂
Our bags were all packed and we’re ready to go. Fare going back to Real was P400 that time. It’s a cargo boat which means no decent seat. We picked the upper deck and lay down for 5 butt numbing hours. Finally, after eternity we’re back at the mainland. We had a quick stop at a small kitchenette and boarded a van going back to Manila for P220.
It was a nice and a wonderful experience though. I am proud of myself to have overcome all the worries I had the entire trip. Jomalig is a true beauty. It’s packed with wonderful scenery, people and community. This by far serves a #4 spot on my list. With its unique golden sand and teal clear waters, I can see myself going back to this place to explore all the untouched beauty of the island.
Sample Expenses – 5 days 4 nights DIY Jomalig Trip
Van from Legarda to Real Quezon (3-4 hours) – P220
Tricycle to Ungos Port – P10
Ungos Port to Patnanungan Island – P300
Boat from Patnanungan Island to Jomalig Island – P800/2 – P400
Environmental Fee – P100
Entry Fee- P20
Port Fee – P50
Tejada’s Transient House – P500/night*4 nights = P2000/2 = P1000
Jomalig Island to Ungos Port – P400
Tricycle from Ungos Port to Bayan P10
Van to Manila P220
Total = P2730
*This was our actual expense. Food not yet included. Boat and Transient house is divided into two. Budget can still be lessen. It depends on your itinerary. If you’re lucky enough to catch the boat going straight to Jomalig, actual boat fare is only P350. Habal – habal may be a little expensive. Naglalakad lang kame from Tejada’s Beach Resort to Salibungot Beach. It’s a little bit far, mga 20 minutes walk, pero kung sanay naman maglakad, double deal na yon, you burned calories and at the same time, naka-save pa kayo! You can opt to camp at Salibungot Beach too if you have your own camping gears. Tejada offers their Beach House for 2,500 for night. This is suitable for large groups.
Tejada Transient house – 09992027532
Ate Malou (Tourism Officer) – 09299573655