Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Jomalig Island. An Off-the-Beaten Track Adventure

Four brave souls taking adventure in Jomalig island

As a travel blogger for eight years now, I am always on a quest for a new adventure, and thirsty for a unique outdoor grind.

It's always in my bucket list to try something new and explore new places and learn from the experience. It pumps my desire to write more and tell stories to the world how wonderful life is.

Lingayen cove in Jomalig

Wanderlust drives my travel passion to search and explore more destinations. Something that feeds my curiosity about the environment, about the world, about life.

Traveling offers a whole new experience of discovering what's on the other side of life. That's why I always considered it as an excellent breather from a monotonous existence. Never a luxury.

While admittedly, I am a country girl by heart who loves a scenic view of the countryside and the poetic atmosphere of the lakes and the valleys, beaches, nonetheless, fascinate me.

The soothing scenery of the seaside calms my tired spirit. And the breeze rolling from the ocean relaxes my weary mind. It's still the most awesome place to chill and get rid of the kinks of everyday life in the city.

At the Golden sand beach in Jomalig

I've seen beautiful beaches, probably more than anyone else in my circle. And had spent my growing up years in a place nestled between beaches and mountains.

I was born and raised in the province of Surigao del sur, in a small seaside town where I would regularly wake up at the terrific view of the Pacific Ocean. And where waves crashing in the seashore like thunders during monsoon season.

Pamana beach 

So, I'm no longer stranger to a beach atmosphere.Harsh waves, irresistible aquamarine sea waters, rugged coastline, sun-kissed powdery sand. And  all those beach frills everyone is dreaming about. I've full of it in my childhood years.

However, it did not stop me from dreaming to explore other islands in the country. I feel there are more I need to experience when it comes to an island adventure. Because beaches are always awesome, no matter how many times I've come to see one.

It always offers new excitement and memories to keep. New adventure, new experiences, new discovery to unveil. The more I discovered new things, the more learning I got, the better life is.

It is through these reasons that I joined  colleagues on a risky trip to Jomalig island, one of the remotest of all islands in the Philippines.

Pamana beach 
Lingayen cove

Isolated. Less traveled and still unspoiled , with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, picture-perfect long stretches of coastline, Jomalig is a great destination for beach adventure junkie.

It's a stunning island wonder that offers a sense of calmness and serenity. It's location in the middle of the rough seas provides abundance of ocean view and endless sea delights.

Its relaxed countryside scenery dotted by rugged terrain, verdant tropical trees and agricultural land provide travelers with an exciting experience of exploring hinterland and beaches.

Golden sand beach

Located off the coast of the Quezon province, in the southern most part of Polillo group of islands, it is home to incredible seaside scenery with sparkling turquoise waters.

And because it is directly facing the open sea where horizon meets, it offers the most spectacular sunset viewing one could ever experience. Indeed, Jomalig is a perfect place to get lost in paradise.

Its sun-kissed white sand, washed off by a powdery sand that ranges from shimmering gold to creamy white, offers fun and thrills of adventure. A perfect island to enjoy one's privacy and stride back in time.

Kanaway beach

It is isolated and rarely visited by tourists so no one interrupts with your beach moment, a great place indeed to slow down and lay in the sand whole day.

It's a perfect place to get tanned, at the same time to collect thoughts and create memories. With its tranquil atmosphere, balmy surroundings and a post-card seaside view, Jomalig island is a perfect sanctuary for a tired soul. A breather from the sordid life in the city.

While other popular beaches in the Philippines have been deluged by tourists whole year round and already on the borderline of redundancy, Jomalig preserves its immaculate existence.
Pamana beach

Tranquil, peaceful, breezy, where smoothness of the afternoon perfectly blends with the essence of the sun going down at twilight, it's a spectacular place to relax and enjoy a peaceful island living, and loosen up.

It's where time stood still. And life finds its balance again. The tropical environment and the countryside scenery will make you believe once more that the world is at peace.

Tejada resort where we stayed
Pamana beach 

Jomalig is an ultimate, off-the-beaten track fodder to adventure junkies. While its coastline is hugged by rugged landscape, and its beaches boost clear waters and stunning view of the Ocean, its vast terrain is thoroughly agricultural, with most of its land is utilized for farming and melon plantation. Its hinterlands are smothered with verdant trees and greenery.

Perfect island to relax and experience life at its calmest.

The best way to explore this island is through a habal-habal (a Filipino term for a motorcycle ride) to see its entire landscape and experience the essence of rural living. And this was the option we've chosen when we visited Jomalig island last week.

Golden sand beach in Jomalig

Taking time off from work, and to make good of our previous plan to take a beach trip, Mikko, Rapid, Angge and I decided to embark into an ultimate beach adventure despite the forecast of a terrible weather.

It was in fact, very fine when we got there. Atmosphere was balmy and humid and we explored the island under the sweltering heat of the sun.

We left Manila on the early morning of September 29 via Raymund bus, going to Real in the Quezon province.

In contrast to other travel testimonies online, we'd a shorter trip, reaching Real, Quezon only within four hours. Upon alighting from the bus, we immediately hired a tricycle going to Ungos port and bought a ticket at the port terminal.

At 8:00 in the morning we're on board MV Jessa but the sea voyage did not start until 9:30 AM.
Aboard MV Jessa

The boat appeared to be like a fishing vessel than a passenger's boat, taking travelers into a long sea voyage. Despite its expanded wooden rudders and roof deck, it still looked like a vulnerable commercial boat. 

It  seems can't endure a harsh waves in an open, rough sea. Luckily for us, it was a perfect weather when we left the port so the voyage was smooth and stable, albeit occasional big waves rocking the side of the boat, and we almost drenched in the splashing.

However, little inconvenience crept in when we were told that we won't be directly going to Jomalig. Because it was off-season, beach travelers were rare so direct boat trips from Ungos port to the island were not regular.

Four hours later we found ourselves transferred to another boat in the middle of the sea! In great contrast to our expectation that we would be docking in at the Patnanungan port, the transfer was facilitated afloat the mighty sea. Haha!😂

Scary boat transfer in the
 middle of the sea

A bit creepy. There was no ladder to support us, we just jumped off from one boat to another. Scary! However, we got through with it and switched boat without any entanglements. Although rocking nerves made me ponder on my fate in the island.

It wasn't for the faintest of the heart though since the view of the sea seemed threatening.

We undergone another ordeal of facing the rough waves. Though not terribly harsh, it did toss the boat from time to time, enough to give us a little scare.

But we like adventure so we just enjoyed the commotion of the waves against the boat. An hour later, we reached Jomalig port. Thank God!

Welcome to Jomalig!

Days before our trip, we already made an arrangement with Tejada beach resort to book us a room and arrange our boat ride.

Jomalig port

When we disembarked, the resort's caretaker, Juvy Tejada, was already there to assist us. She also secured four motorcycles to bring us to the resort.

It was a long trip. 

We passed at a vast coconut field that seemed leading us to nowhere and a line of rural houses. It was a good breather though since the crisp afternoon wind of the countryside made us feel at ease.

We had a good sleep that night. Dinner was great and the calm surrounding helped us dose to sleep early. Our proper tour kicked off on the following day at 5:00 in the morning.

Start of the Tour - Sept. 30, 2018

At the break of dawn, we're up for the day. We were fetched by the four habal-habal drivers at the resort and dropped by at Juvy's house near the port to take our breakfast.

Then off to our beach adventure at 6:00 in the morning!

Warm sunrise greeted us as we began our journey along the island's rural areas, passing several barangays. The habal-habal drivers also served as our tour guide for this off-the-beaten track adventure.

Inland tour with habal-habal (motorcycle)

The soft glow of the morning sun penetrated throughout the vast field as we traversed the scenic countryside.

It was a cool Sunday morning, beautiful weather spread throughout the serene field. The smoothness of the September morning draped around, ushering an exciting adventure.

We were told that our first destination is Kanaway beach.

1. Kanaway Beach

Our first stop was at this beach. Surrounded with tropical trees, a long coastline and rock formations, Kanaway beach has a wide beach front and a beige sand to make the most of the moments.


Rock formations can be reached by foot during low tide but we did not set a foot there, it looked a bit far from the seaside. We just stayed at the beach front.

Kanaway beach in the morning

As the morning sun slowly rising East, our thirst for adventure was heating up. So we had our moments, exploring this natural treasure all by ourselves, relishing the coolness of the Sunday morning.

Day break at Kanaway beach 


Day break at the beach is always terrific when shared with friends. Entrance fee: Php30.00

2. Pamana beach

The second leg of our tour was at this pristine beach called Pamana. Also known as the little boracay in Jomalig, it offers a stunning creamy white sand and emerald water. 

Its beautiful seaside, unruffled atmosphere and captivating aquamarine water are enough to enthrall visitors. In fact, I was so much in awe when I saw it myself! What an extraordinary gift of nature!

Pamana beach
Little Boracay in Jomalig

Though I've been to many splendid beaches in the Philippines, including Boracay, Camiguin and Pearl Farm, I've never seen such incredible treasure as Pamana beach. Surreal! It's a dreamy place to quest one's thirst for an exotic beach getaway.

Sugary sand, tropical environment, seductive sea water, secluded and quiet spot, nothing beats the allure of Pamana beach.

Sugary sand of Pamana beach


This is a must-visit place! And should be in every beach lover's bucket list. The sparkling clear water and its smooth aquamarine color will really leave you in complete amazement. Entrance fee: Php30.00

3. Lingayen Cove

After staying for less than an hour at Pamana beach, the motorcycle drivers brought us to another breathtaking spot, the Lingayen Cove.

The locals also called it the little Batanes because its landscape is hugged by a rugged cliff overlooking the magnificent view of the ocean, with crashing waves below.

This area left me totally stunned! Breathtaking is an understatement.

clear blue waters at Lingayen cove

Sprawling. Awesome.  Jaw-dropping. Like I was at top of the world where things around me just appeared like a dream. It was completely spectacular.

Gazing at the vast ocean, with waves crashing at the rock formations below, felt like I was totally lost in wonder. 

Life indeed offers treasures we never dreamed we would find in a lifetime. And Lingayen Cove exactly painted that kind of dream into reality. 

Lingayen cove in Jomalig

Water changes from emerald to turquoise at the caress of the bright sun, rushing to kiss the seashore. Such a delightful moment hearing all those bellowing waves, freely rolling from the open sea.

We were advised though to never plunge into the water because of the harsh waves, unless we're professional surfers. So we just pictures and proceeded to our last destination.

4. Golden beach and its sand bar

It was incredibly hot when we arrived at the Golden sand beach. It was almost 11:00 in mid-morning and the sun started to becoming harsh and seemed burning our flesh, but it did not stop us from enjoying the place.

Sweltering heat of the sun at Golden sand beach

Everything was just so vast and endless. So we decided to pass at the knee-deep water, where river and sea water met, to reach the sand bar and to be at the other side of the beach, frolicking around its long stretch of coast line.

By the time we reached the other side of the beach, it was already low tide, but still a good moment to swim. What made this area very interesting is the presence of the rugged sand that turns golden brown when sun is at its brightest. The texture of the sand has rough granules and dazzled at the hot glow of the sun.



So much have been said about this golden sand beach, and it did live to the hype of being spectacular. It didn't disappoint us.

As the hour edging toward 11:00 in the morning with the spiky glow of the sun penetrating the seaside, the sand turned into deeper gold. It served as a perfect backdrop to our pictures.

Scorching heat of the sun at Golden sand beach

The bright sun made the environment wonderful though, the crisp view of the sea and the golden sand made our photos looked terrific haha!

It was in this area that we stayed for an hour. We did soak for a while, enjoyed the water, had so much fun and took as many pictures as we could.

5. Punong Walang Forever!

I had a good laugh when I first heard the name of this tree. I mean what the hell! Why of all monikers this tree earned that not so glamorous term.

It has been a humiliating taunt to people who seem could not find "the one". What's in God's treasure that made this tree a "hugot thing?".


Walang Forever is a taunting term used in the Philippines to tease people who have seemed waited endlessly for that someone to cross their path, but to no avail. 😭

It is also used to taunt people who broke up with their loved ones. That yeah, nothing lasts forever, including feelings.  So this moniker of this tree sounded like a joke.


But we did visit this tree. haha! And at the behest of the tricycle drivers, we slipped a coin at its bark.

To make some wish come true and to dispute the name of the tree, that yeah, we can find "forever" if we believe in it. Didn't know if we looked stupid haha!

I asked the drivers why on earth the tree earned that name. According to them, it's because it stood alone in the middle of the fields and its branches seemed reaching out for a companion. 

It survived with the passing of time and harsh storms. It also changes as season rolls over. Its leaves fall during rainy season and has bright red blooms during summer. 

It left me thinking silently. So why this tree has been called unfairly with "Walang Forever", when it extracted some beauty in itself alone that lasts a lifetime?

Rapid emoting at Punong Walang Forever 😁

End of Tour at 12:00 noon

Anyway, fifteen minutes later, after slipping some coins at the bark of the tree (for some wish haha), we left the area and traveled back to the house of Juvy for our lunch.

We had a satisfying lunch! A fresh catch from the sea has been cooked into a sweet-sour recipe. Delectable and satisfying. We had a terrific lunch.

Lunch time, fresh catch from the sea

After this meal we returned to the resort and spent the rest of the afternoon at Tejada's sprawling ground, enjoying the afternoon breeze and the calmness of the environment.

We waited for the sunset at the beach side before spending dinner together.

Sunset in Jomalig

Our Accommodation

We stayed at Tejada Beach Resort during this trip and it was a perfect decision. Such a beautiful place to loosen up.

It has choices of accommodations. There was a kubo for folks who want to experience a countryside life.

The room we rented on the upper floor

There was a modern bungalow for a more luxurious stay, and there was a two-storey dorm for groups. We stayed at the two-storey dorm (picture above) with a veranda facing the beach front.

We rented a single room with two king-sized beds. It has two choices: fan and air-conditioned. We chose the fan accommodation since it wasn't hot outside.

What I love about this place is its sprawling ground with a line of pine trees. It also has a wide beach front that is so perfect for sunset viewing and bonfire.

Guests can also pitch a tent at night time but they should bring their own as the resort has no available tent for rent.

Sumptuous meals at Tejada[/caption]


I would recommend this place for everyone who wants to visit Jomalig island. The caretaker, Juvy Tejada, was so generous, attentive and kind enough to take care of our needs during our stay.

She really took care of us, cooked our food based on our preferences and catered all our whims. She also made an arrangement for our boat ride back to Ungos port.

We're going home. Thanks for the memories!

Such a sweet weekend getaway for the four of us. And some great memories to treasure. Jomalig island offers what other popular beaches in the country don't have, seclusion and tranquility.

It might be a far-away land to explore over the weekend but its untouched, captivating scenery pays off all the risks, challenges and inconveniences, including a long sea voyage, that one may encounter while going to this remote place. It's all worth the exhaustion folks.

How to get there?

If you are coming from Metro Manila, take a bus ride via Raymund bus from Legarda, Sampaloc, Manila. The route should be Infanta, Quezon.

Travel time is four to five hours, depends on the volume of traffic along Rizal and Laguna. You must tell the bus driver to drop you off in Real, Quezon where tricycles going to Ungos port wait.

At Raymund bus terminal

From Real, ride a tricycle going to Ungos, port. Travel time is only 15 minutes. Proceed to the Ungos port  passenger terminal and secure a ticket for Jomalig.

It's also highly recommended to contact someone from the resort, where you'll be staying, ahead of your visit so that they can arrange a boat ride from Patnanungan in case no direct trip for Jomalig.

In our case, the caretaker of Tejada beach resort was the one who facilitated our boat transfer from Patnanungan to Jomalig.

In the absence of this arrangement. The fare of connecting a boat ride could be very expensive. Juvy also arranged our motorcycle ride going to and from the Tejada beach resort, including our inland tour. 

You may reach out to her via her mobile phone: 09282960103

Important reminders:

1. Jomalig is only run by power generator so expect a limited supply of electricity. It's only available between 12:30 noon to 4:30 in the morning. 

2. Bring your own powerbank. Boat trip timetable is strictly observed. Be on time. Contact someone from the resort of your choice ahead of your visit. 

3. Inquire for a boat ride and its schedules from Ungos port. During off-season (July to Feb) boat trip to Jomalig from Ungos port is very rare. 

4. Schedule is every other day so expect a boat transfer arrangement. The route is always Patnanungon island.

                   Tejada beach ground as seen from the veranda of the room where we stayed

It's okay to bring food and drinks, resorts in the island have no restrictions over bringing food. Jomalig is a remote island and there's no restaurant or food junction available.

The resort serves freshly cooked meals to their guests at Php100.00 per head per meal. It's worthy since serving is very generous, it feels as though you're just dining at the comfort of your own home.

HERE'S OUR ACTUAL ITINERARY FOR THIS TRIP

DAY 1 - SEPT.29, 2018 SATURDAY

3:30 AM - Departed Manila via Raymund bus
7:30 AM - Arrived at Real, Quezon
9:30 AM - Left Ungos Port via MV Jessa (with free lunch)
1:30 PM - Boat transfer from Patnanungan sea to Jomalig
2:30 PM - Time of arrival in Jomalig
The rest of the afternoon was free. Dinner was at 7:00 in the evening. There was no restaurant in Jomalig, so we made an arrangement with Juvy to cook our meal. What made this setup truly amazing is that she let us decide what kind of food we want. Per head is Php100.00 per meal. And it was all worthy since she offered a generous serving of food. In the morning there was a free coffee.

DAY 2 - SEPT.30, 2018 SUNDAY

4:30 AM - Wake up time
5:00 AM - Breakfast at Juvy's house
5:30 AM - Start of our inland tour through a habal ride
6:00 AM - Kanaway beach
6:45 AM - Pamana beach also known as Little Boracay
8:00 AM - Lingayen Cove also known as Little Batanes
9:00 AM - Golden Sand beach
11:00 AM - Punong Walang Forever
11:30 AM - Back to Juvy's house for lunch
12:00 Noon - Lunch time
12:30 PM - Back to the resort
The rest of the afternoon was free.

DAY 3 - Oct.1, 2018, MONDAY

5:30 AM - Wake up time ( I went alone to the beach and had a morning dip, except for Angge, the two boys were still in deep sleep 😂)
7:00 AM - Breakfast
9:00 AM - Departed Jomalig for Patnanungan port
10:00 AM - Embarked to another boat ride for Ungos Port
2:30 PM - Arrival at Ungos Port
3:30 PM - Left Manila via Van
7:00 PM - Arrival time in Manila

Breakdown of Expenses in Php per head:
1.Bus from Manila to Real, Quezon 168.00
2.Tricycle from Real to Ungos port 10.00
3.Boat for Patnanungan 400.00
4.Boat - Patnanungan to Jomalig 50.00
5.Room per head for 2 nights 600.00
6.Meals (100 each for 5 meals) 500.00
7. Habal ride upon arrival 50.00
8.Habal Inland Tour 600.00
9.Kanaway beach entrance fee 30.00
10.Pamana beach entrance fee 30.00
11.Lingayen Cove entrance fee 50.00
12.Boat - Jomalig to Patnanungan 250.00
13.Boat - Patnanungan to Ungos 350.00
14.Van ride from Real to Manila 220.00
15. Environmental and Tourism fee upon arrival in Jomalig 170.00

We overshoot our budget due to the unexpected boat ride rerouting. Timing is the key to cut the cost. Boat ride directly going to Jomalig is only Php450.00 that is if passenger count reaches 15.

Take note that boat bound to either Patnanungan or Jomalig leaves at 9:30 in the morning at Ungos port so be on time. And since boat exposes you to sea water, secure your bag and valuables with plastic cover. Bring something to cover you during the voyage to avoid getting wet. Waves can be harsh at times.

Check our Jomalig Island vlog in our Youtube Channel





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