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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
We arrived in Calauag Port at 8:00 pm and had our trips back home bounded on bus terminals outside the municipal of Calauag.
21:30 – Meet-up at Starmall Alabang,
22:00 – Departure from Alabang to Calauag via AB Liner bus
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You can buy fresh seafood and other stuff that you’ll be needing at Calauag Port.
- Lastly, enjoy and leave no trace.