Pulong Pasig, Calauag Quezon 041517

Sandbar, crystal clear waters, white sand on less crowded island for just Php 1,000 from Manila? Pulong Pasig is an uninhabited island located at Calauag, Quezon Province, reachable via 6-7 hours of bus ride from Alabang and 2 hours of boat ride from Calauag Port. Since it’s not populated yet, there’s no cottage, or any amenities available for the tourist. You can bring and pitch your own tent on the island then walk around it to reach the sandbar. They don’t allow overnight camping yet because there are no locals in charge for the security.

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Panoramic view of the island with the sandbar.

Indeed, Holy Week was one of the most popular time when people opted to go for summer vacations since it provides long holidays/ weekends. Last Thursday, April 13, while having our usual date, we’re really itchy to go and rest on a beach, so we scanned for budget trips on DIY Travel Philippines page and find some unpopular but good beaches near Manila (which is not yet overrated for tourists). There, we found this small island located in Quezon. We never been to any of the beaches on the province so we thought it’s worth to try. We search for other itineraries on blogs to verify the details posted on Facebook and even messaged some of the tourists that has been on the island.

Then just the following day, April 14, we decided to go and visit the place. We met at Starmall Alabang where the terminal of bus bound to Calauag is located. We are already boarded at 9:30 pm then the bus left at 10:00 pm. The conductor told us that we will be in Calauag at around 4 am.

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All smiles for the long ride. God knows how I missed this!

It was a smooth 5 hours ride going to Quezon with stop-overs. At 3 am we are already at the Calauag town proper. (Kahit na lumagpas kami dahil kay kuya na hindi sinabi na nasa Calauag na pala kami at ibinaba kami sa gitna ng kawalan na kami lang ang tao, another first haha, we just rode another bus back to the Calauag stop over which took around 3-5 minutes). Then from there, we just took another tricycle ride going to the Calauag port where boats going to Pangahoy port embarks.

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The municipality of Calauag at 3 o’clock in the morning. We had our breakfast on the nearby 7’11 and quick visit on the church.
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Since, it’s a Holy Week, church is open and we are able to enter and pray for a while (also used their comfort rooms).
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Calauag Port, just few steps from the municipal hall and church. 
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Small boats used to deliver fresh seafoods from the sea.
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Passenger boats going to Pangahoy Port. 
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Passenger boats leave at 6 in the morning. One should lessen their expectations in riding their boats since there’s no life vests and comfortable seats for the passengers (like what we first experienced in Anilao Port going to Masasa beach). Maybe it was just for the locals not yet for the tourists.
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A long two-hour boat ride going to Pangahoy Port. The weather was a bit gloomy. There are rain showers on the middle of the trip but it doesn’t affect the current of the sea. 
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The Pangahoy port where small boats bound to Pulong Pasig can be found. It was just a 5-10 minutes boat ride again going to the small island. 
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The view of the Pulong Pasig from the boat. 

At 8 am, we are already at the island, usually the sand bar is visible when it is low tide (around 9 am- 4 pm) so the boatmen dropped us first on the island where we had our early lunch and quick rest. They just transferred us on the sandbar when it is already visible.

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Walking along the shore of the island. There are parts that are not swimmable because of the rocky portion and mangroves.
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The coconut trees that added up beauty on the island.
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Since we don’t have our tent, we just placed a large fabric mat on the sand where we sat and took a rest. 
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Photo ops along the shore. Less people, so we enjoyed more the photo sessions. 
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One lonely tree at the middle of the sea. Well, when the tides are low, waters here disappear and all the rocks beneath are visible. That is also the time when people who camps here break their tents and transfer on the sandbar just behind the island. 
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The sand bar from a far. It was another 5 minuted boat ride (you can also walk since the water just knee- stomach length). We are not just comfortable walking along the green leaves beneath the water. 
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Finally! It was literally our first time to see a sand bar and it amazed us. Really worth the struggle of boat rides. The cloud was a bit dark, but the weather was just fine. There are moments that the sun comes up then hides again. Just perfectly nice. According to the locals, the left part of the sea was already the Pacific Ocean that’s why this sand bar became invisible when the tides got high.
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It was so far the clearest water that we’ve seen among our entire beach trips. 
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Definitely worth the try.
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Brave and happy lady 🙂

This place wasn’t considered yet as a tourist spot that’s why it has lesser crowd. Almost all the visitors are locals from nearby cities like Cavite, Batangas and Quezon too.  It was an advantage for the island because once it became open and reachable for the tourist, it may affect its natural beauty just like what happen on some secluded-turned-into-public-beaches nearby Manila.

At 1 pm, we already boarded on our small boat going back to Pangahoy port to wash up and prepare for departure. We just payed Php 20 each on one of the locals there to use their comfort room (no public restrooms yet). They are accommodating enough to entertain and provide water for us despite of its inconsistent supply on their area. (Again, manage expectations on rest rooms because most of their water came from deep well and not as clean as on other province).

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The passengers inside the boat.  

We are already boarded at 3:30 pm, although the boat left the port at 6:30 pm. Usually boat departure is 4 pm depending on the level of water. That time, the high tide was late that’s why we waited for it before we gone back to Calauag Port.

This is our first time to travel on water late at night, literally terrifying and uncomfortable since we are in complete darkness at the middle of the sea (thinking about those horror and tragic movies happening while travelling on boats at night,) but according to them, the water is more calm during night time. And actually, that’s true, it’s just took us one and a half ride going to Calauag Port. We still enjoyed it since we are able to watch a lot of stars along the way. Another first, to witness and stargazed at the middle of the sea.

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Kudos to this group where we shared our boat trips from Calauag to Pulong Pasig and back. We just met on the port and agreed to share expenses on the boats. Their group came from Batangas but some of them are originally from Gumaca, Quezon. I enjoyed the hassle way back home with them. Naulanan at naarawan na, awra padin! 🙂

We arrived in Calauag Port at 8:00 pm and had our trips back home bounded on bus terminals outside the municipal of Calauag.

Itinerary

Day 0

21:30  – Meet-up at Starmall Alabang,

22:00 – Departure from Alabang to Calauag via AB Liner bus

Day 1

3:00 – Arrival at Calauag Port, Breakfast

6:30 – Departure of boat from Calauag Port to Pangahoy Port

8:30 – Arrival at Pangahoy Port, hire boat and depart going to Pulong Pasig

9:00 – Arrival at Pulong Pasig. Rest, early lunch and photo ops.

10:50 – Pack things, depart from Pulong Pasig going to the sandbar

11:00 – Arrival at the sandbar, swimming and photo ops

13:00 – Departure to Pangahoy Port, Freshen up

14:00 –  Ready to go home.

15:30 – Boarded on boat back to Calauag Port

18:30 – Depart from Pangahoy Port

20:00 – Arrival at Calauag Port

20:30 – Depart from Calauag, Quezon to Manila

03:00 – Arrival at Starmall Alabang

Budget Breakdown

338 – Bus from Alabang to Calauag
10 each – Tricycle from Calauag bus terminal to Calauag Port
60 (one way) – Passenger boat from Calauag Port to Pangahoy Port
100 – Small boat from Pangahoy Port to Pulong Pasig and sand bar (500 RT good for 6-7 person)
20 – CR
60 – Passenger boat from Pangahoy Port to Calauag Port
10 -Tricycle from Calauag Port to  Calauag bus terminal
338 – Bus from Calauag to Alabang
Php 926 = Total

Notes:

  1. Usual time of departure of passenger boats from Calauag Port to Pangahoy Port is 6 in the morning, while Pangahoy Port to Calauag Port is 4 pm, depending on the level of water. They offer boat for hire if you’re going with a group.
  2. Manage your expectations on their ports/ passenger boats since most of their passenger are locals as well as on their rest rooms since they are not yet a tourist spot and the island was undeveloped.
  3. Overnight camping is not yet allowed since there is no cottages available on the island of Pulong Pasig. But some locals told us that there are some group who spend their nights on locals’ houses at Pangahoy Port. They are that accommodating and they will not state their prices. They will just tell you “kayo na po bahala kung magkano” even rentals of small boat going back and forth to Pulong Pasig, it depends on you on how much you want to pay for their service.
  4. You can buy fresh seafood and other stuff that you’ll be needing at Calauag Port.
  5. Lastly, enjoy and leave no trace.
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A well deserved beach bum after three long months of travel hibernation 🙂
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We’re so  glad we still found a beach with less people despite of the expected mass of crowd on famous and budget travel destinations outside the metro during holiday seasons. Another best experience again 🙂

 

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