Legislation Team Outing

Finally, team outing! 🌊

We've been planning for this activity since October last year, however, due to schedule and work routine, the plan was postponed several times, until last month, December, when our team lead and technical coach stood firm to have it realized this month, January.

Enjoying the warm afternoon in the sandbar

Scouting for a venue where to held our outing was not really difficult since we already agreed ahead of time to have it done in a beach, either Batangas or Zambales.

We chose Zambales.

This Philippine province has been known for its gorgeous white beaches and spacious beachfront for team building. And it is home to several coves and beach resorts, ideal for adventures.

Our team lead suggested Magalawa Island. One of the farthest in Luzon, but one of the loveliest, most relaxing islands in the Philippines.

It sounds ideal for a weekend getaway for the team. Remote location. White sand. Wide beachfront for outdoor activities. Great destination indeed for a team that's been aching for a long time to have an island adventure. 😀

White beach and clear waters and only 15 minutes boat ride from the nearest port of Palauig, the island is not yet smothered by beach trippers unlike most of Batangas beach resorts.

Armada beach resort in Magalawa island

Welcome to Magalawa Island!

Where weekend is calmer and night is quieter.

Magalawa is a secluded island off the coast of Palauig, Zambales in the northern side of the Philippines. Spanning across 56 hectares of tropical land and white beach, it is also dubbed as the island of the stars due to its abundant starfish species.

One of the rooms in Armada 

It is bounded by the South China Sea on the West (although yes, the correct term is really West Philippine Sea) and hugged by scallop mountains on the east. It's accessible by boat from barangay Luan.

The beach front 

Magalawa is known for its ivory sand, long coastline and aquamarine clear waters. And as with most islands in the country where marine species are abundant, corals and starfish are prominent in the area. Just take precautions when taking a dip.

There are two known beach resorts in the island. Ruiz Ocean beach resort and Armada beach resort. We chose Armada because, according to online sources, it's the most ideal place to stay in the island.

Calm atmosphere 
Beach front of Armada resort

Armada beach resort

A calmer place to stay in Magalawa island.

The idyllic atmosphere provides beach trippers with a well-deserved retreat from a busy life in the metropolis. A good place to loosen up and recharge from work.

Due to its indirect access to the open sea on the northern side, the beach line is not threatened by harsh waves.

However, due to the rip current on the left side of the sandbar, visitors are warned not to go beyond the identified point limit in the sea water.

relaxing nipa hut in Armada beach resort

Most people who have previously visited the island recommended Armada because it has a spacious beachfront, a wide sandbar, an elongated shoreline and accommodation is more private. Armada imposed strict rules to maintain a quieter environment especially at night time.

We chose Armada beach resort for this outing to make the most of our team building.  Its wide area can accommodate larger groups for fun activities. The area where our room is located has a spacious ground and a large camachili tree, comfortable enough to enjoy our weekend bonding.  

The resort offers packages for those who want to stay overnight, and even for day trippers, but we opted to just book a large room and just cooked our own food for a cheaper island trip. Bringing of food has no corkage fee anyway.

Heading to Zambales

I have never been to any islands in Zambales so I have no idea how long it will take to get there. My assumption is five hours since we hired a van for this trip, but others claimed it will still take up to six hours despite being in a private vehicle.

We wanted to reach the island before noon so we agreed to leave BGC, Taguig at 4:30 in the morning on January 19, Saturday.

However, uncertainty arose just before midnight. With just less than five hours before our scheduled departure, the first van we hired dithered. And ultimately back out without providing us an alternative vehicle. For a large group going to the island, this circumstance sounded insane. 😱 

Just imagine the pressure and the magnitude of stress experienced by the entire group, especially our team lead and technical coach, scrambling to look for another vehicle. 

Around 2:00 in the morning, our team lead finally closed a deal with another van to take us to Zambales. Oh, God Thanks!

By 4:30 in the morning, we're crunching on the road and headed north. Despite the momentary blunder over that antagonistic man and his van for hire, we basked with delight as we left Metro Manila.

It was a wonderful day, warm sunshine and cool atmosphere greeted us as we approached Zambales province, so we resolved not to dwell on the mishap anymore. 

The Long and Winding Road

To reach Armada beach resort, guests must travel to Oslet Armada Fishdealer compound in sitio Luan to catch a boat ride to the island.

During this trip, the road going to Luan was bumpy, like we've been rocked inside the van. Portions of the winding road still not developed, making our journey a bit slow. It was close to noon when we arrived at the port.

After fixing everything we needed for our island adventure, we left the port at 11:30 in the morning aboard the fish boat. Life vests were provided but with just a 15-minute ride going to the island, plus the fine weather, boarding this type of boat was not nerve-wrecking.

The Island View

The island formed like a fishtail in the middle of Zambales Sea. The glimmering turquoise water beckoned an exotic beach adventure thrill.

Scallop mountains dwarfed the island, but while the exposed area shimmers under the blistering January sunshine, coconut and camachili trees dotted the beach line, protecting guests from the sweltering heat of the sun.

Armada beach resort has a long ivory coastline, stretching from the docking area to the intersection where Ruiz beach resort cut the tip of the boundary.

And the most awesome part of this resort is its wide sandbar tearing between the beach line of Armada. If you're a guest from Ruiz beach resort, going to the sandbar requires you to pay for Php50.00.

The sandbar in Armada beach resort

Unlike other famous sandbar in the country's top beaches, this version at Armada never sinks during high tide. It's still prominently intact during high tide and guests can freely frolic around without fear of being trapped by the rising water.  

The wide beachfront can accommodate fun activities of the group, though staff warned us not to create too much noise. Cottages and room units are closer to each other and other guests might detest a loud environment. In fact, the resort has no karaoke for rent to maintain silence. During our team building we only had a lone activity that lasted for 40 minutes. Haha!

  Fun in the sandbar 🤣

The resort has a restaurant area but has no souvenir shop. Guests who want to take souvenir items upon their return must reach the fish port first to buy goodies. But basic grocery items like toiletries, mineral water, softdrinks are available in the resort.

However, food selection is limited since most guests avail meal packages. In our part, we brought items to cook during our stay. Grilling equipment will be provided but you have to bring your own cooking utensils.

Memorable team outing in the island!

The Accommodation

We did not avail the complete package of the resort, we opted to cook our own food. It has no corkage fee and no restrictions what type of uncooked food to bring. We shopped for meat and rice (others brought their own) and other grocery items at the Luan market.

The cottage we rented

The resort provided us a grilling equipment stalled in front of the cottage we rented. So we had a smooth day, light moments with the team, enjoying home cooked meals.

The group for this adventure

We were 16 in the group embarking to this island trip, and we rented a large room good for 14 (double deck beds, dorm style), fortunately, the staff didn't charge us for two excess occupants.

This room has a rate of Php5,000.00 per night. Our accommodation, however, has no  towels and toiletries inclusion. Only pillows and blankets. Sort of backpacker or hostel room style. But this is fine and beds are comfortable.

The legislation team
Outside the cottage we rented

For visitors who do not want to avail a package,  there's an entrance fee of Php300 per head and Php100 for a round trip boat transfer.

Check-in and check-out time both at 12:00 noon. The resort requires guests a down payment of Php1,000.00 to confirm the reservation.

So it's best to contact the resort ahead of the visit for the arrangement. Contact number is 09209483303 and look for Michelle.

The complete package for an overnight stay is Php2,300.00 per head, this includes entrance fee, boat transfer, room, four set of meals (lunch-dinner-breakfast-lunch), island hopping to Salvador island and snorkeling activity including the gear.

At the sandbar

The resort has a restaurant for those who don't want to avail a package and won't cook their own food either but expenses can be a little higher since food in the resort is always pricey. In our case, since we were 16 in the group, we spent only Php1,735.00 per head (all in all).  

Expenses for Two Days, One Night

The breakdown of our expenses for this travel in Philippine peso as follows (excluding food expenses along the road and stopovers and souvenir items):
  • Van (two way) - 781.00
  • Boat transfer (two way) - 100.00
  • Entrance fee - 300.00
  • Food - 242.00 (4 set of meals)
  • Room - 312 (5,000/16)
How To Get There?

Palauig is in the northern tip of Zambales province and travel time from Metro Manila is six hours, depends on the volume of traffic along Subic, or the stopover you will take if you are on a private car.

If commuting through a public bus:
  • Board a Victory Liner bus in Caloocan or Cubao going to Sta.Cruz, Zambales. Tell the driver your destination is just in Palauig so that you won't be charged with a Sta.Cruz bound ticket.
  • Drop off point is at the Radio Veritas road in Brgy.Pangolingan, this is part of the municipality of Palauig.
  • Look for tricycle in the area and tell the driver you're going to Magalawa island. Your destination is Brgy.Luan.
  • The moment you reach Brgy.Luan, proceed to Oslet Armada fish dealer compound and call the staff you are already at the port.</li><li>Boat will fetch you at the port. Travel time to the island is just 15 minutes.
If through a private vehicle:
  • Take the NLEX road going to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. Then enter Subic Bay Freeport Expressway and follow signs to Iba.
  • As you pass by at Iba public market, keep right to Banlog triangle or to Palauig junction 2. Then head north to Brgy.Pangolingan, passing Mt.Tapulao signage, crossing Zalasa bridge.
  • Take the Veritas road going to Brgy.Luan and proceed to Oslet Armada fishdealer conpound.
  • Wait for the boat to take you to Armada beach resort.
Island Experience at Armada

Calm and relax. Life is always quieter in the island.

Armada beach resort is just one of the beach destinations I have been into in the Luzon area where seaside is calmer and beach side is wider. 

Walking around the sandbar

Though peebles along the shoreline are somewhat prominent, the beachfront area and the sandbar has a fine sand texture and guests can freely walk by foot without getting hurt.

I've done a lot of beach-side walking during our stay without my footwear on and it was comfortable, my feet were not hurt. It's always relaxing to walk around the beach by foot. It is very therapeutic.

The titas of Leg haha 🤣

Night is quieter, since the resort has a strict rule of disallowing too much noise, in fact the resort has no videoke equipment to maintain a tranquil environment for guests.

Most of the cottages and rooms have its own private bathroom. Public comfort rooms are also available at the back of cottage units.

If you are into a calmer, more private beach adventure and love to frolic at the white sand while waiting for the sunset, Armada is an ideal beach for you. The gorgeous white sandbar beckons with fun and thrill.

Leg team at the sandbar

If you are into a calmer, more private beach adventure and love to frolic at the white sand while waiting for the sunset, Armada is an ideal beach for you. The gorgeous white sandbar beckons with fun and thrill. 

The water in front of cottages is calmer even at night time. No billowing waves even during high tide.

But take precautions when swimming near the sandbar, there's a rip current on the left side of the water. Corals and starfish scattered around the seabed. Be careful never to step on these marine species.

Photo taken by our TL, Daryl Ballarta
The behind the scene shot 
snapped by our TC, Ferds Ragasa 😀

The only downside of this resort is the bunch of corals along the shoreline. Though the beachfront and the backyard are well-maintained, the shoreline has not been cleared off from the scattered corals which is a bit off when taking mementos.

Sunset swimming

Overall, Armada beach resort is a fair destination for beach lovers. Secluded and serene, quieter and calmer, an ideal place to relax comes weekend, a better place for family bonding and team building.

If you love beach adventure without the frills of a noisy night life, this is a great place to choose.

Plus, you will enjoy the wide sand bar, white sand and clear waters.

Great memories with the leg team
Asking if I would still love to go back to Magalawa Island? My answer is YES! It's a wonderful island to experience a relax, quieter life.

Watch our island adventure on the link below.