Monday, October 1, 2018

Jomalig Island DIY Travel Guide 2018

At the Pamana beach

Like most courageous adventurers, I always prefer a DIY (do-it-yourself) trip rather than availing a travel package whenever I'm taking a leisure travel.

It's more liberating, more fun, and more fulfilling. There's a lot of discovery to unearth and a lot of things to learn while mapping plan for the trip.

Aboard MV Jessa from Real, Quezon to Jomalig  

DIY trip allows myself to delve better into the essence of adventure and self-discovery. So many lessons to learn while exploring the places on my own.

And to the far-flung islands when no travel agencies are available to cater the adventure, being a DIY traveler helps a lot.

So here's what every traveler needs to learn when planning a visit to one of the most secluded islands in the Philippines, but one of the most beautiful, Jomalig, on a DIY trip.

Welcome to Jomalig island!

Where beach adventure is off-the-beaten track and where the natural  treasure  of the seaside is timeless.

Jomalig port

Until recently, Jomalig remains unknown to most travelers, even to Filipinos. Its remote location near Polilio group  of islands  keeps it hidden from the public eye.

It is not an everyone's typical island destination. Its  position in the middle of the rough seas gives traveling a real hell of a challenge.
Golden sand beach
Isolated, unexplored and not yet fully developed, it's not for the faintest of the heart. Travelers need to endure the threat of bellowing waves aboard a fishing boat for five hours to reach the island.

This is not to scare adventurers but just a friendly reminder that traveling to Jomalig is a serious business that requires a serious preparation.

And a courageous heart.

Boat transfer for Jomalig 
You also need to be resourceful. Because the island doesn't seem to have travel packages from  reputable travel agencies. Preparation is always do-it-yourself.

There are sources online, but mostly  not focusing on details - where to stay and what to do once in the island offer fewer information.

The scarcity of information online about traveling to Jomalig island is understandable somehow.
Golden sand beach 

This remote island off the coast of the Quezon province is rarely visited by tourists and not yet fully developed, so details about this place is so sparse.

Only those who love the essence of adventure and the thrill of exploring exotic beaches find it interesting.

So this article is for DIY trippers. I want to be as detailed as possible to provide a clearer picture about the island, how to go there, what to do once there and the budget.

About Jomalig

Jomalig is correctly pronounced as "Huma-lig" by the locals, and located southeast of Polillo group of islands. It is considered one of the smallest municipalities of the Quezon province, and the farthest.
Lingayen cove, Jomalig
 

It takes 5 hours by boat, usually fishing vessel types, to reach the island from the Ungos port in Real, Quezon. With scary waves crashing the boat in-between.

It is mostly agricultural land dotted across its 21.87 square miles area, inhabited by more than 7,000 population. It has five barangays with Talisoy being the poblacion. 
Little Boracay in Jomalig
with Rapid and Mikko

Due to the distance, Jomalig is considered one of the riskiest islands in the Philippines to visit. Travelers will have to endure the ordeal of facing the rough sea.

Waves during bad weather are harsh. And even during sunny day, the open sea can still be threatening, spewing big waves that rock the boat unsteadily.

However, despite the danger it poses, Jomalig remains one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines that should be in everyone's travel bucket list, especially those who love beaches and the natural calmness of sea.
Golden sand beach 
Jomalig offers a picture-perfect experience what it feels like living in a remote island with nothing in-between but forest-clad mountains and deep blue ocean.

It's super relaxing with the real essence of calmness and serenity that the island life brings.

Jomalig is so terrific! Endless treasure of wonders will greet travelers everyday. As if the world stands still.

Lingayen cove

It also resonates romance.

Jomalig has a beautiful legend of love. Its name itself is a variation of a Filipino term "Humalik", which means "has kissed".

Folk story has it that during early times, there was a beautiful girl lived in the island who was kissed by a courageous suitor despite the warning of her father.
Pamana beach 

When the people saw the scene, they chanted "Humalik!", which then evolved to "Jomalig" as centuries rolled. 

So visiting this island is like exploring  the romantic scenery of nature the natural calmness of the countryside.

Best Time to Visit Jomalig

Due to rough travel by the sea and the rasping waves that may scare the hell out of you, the best time to explore Jomalig is during sunny weather. Summer time is a perfect moment to plan a trip to this stunning island.
Boat ride going to Jomalig 

However, it's not always the case. We visited the island last Sept.29 to October 1, where typhoons frequently rock the country. 

Days before our trip, there was a forecast of a terrible weather, and some of our companions (we were supposed to be eight in the group) already back-out. 

But we are four brave souls whose appetite for island adventure is stronger than everyone's fear for the looming typhoon. We pushed through with our plans despite everyone's warning not to proceed.

Timing is the key.

When we reached Ungos port, the weather was very fine and the sun was at its brightest. Anxieties  ultimately gone. 😄

Upper deck of the boat

So the best time to visit Jomalig never depends on season (Philippines has only two seasons - dry and wet), it depends on the environmental atmosphere.

Just plan your trip ahead. And be vigilant with the weather. Try to have a contact with someone from the island, caretaker of the resort where you would be staying, to get an update of the weather in the island. 

You need to have an arrangement ahead of the trip with the resort in Jomalig to reserve an accommodation for you.

And yes, the best time to visit Jomalig is during sunny weather to make the most of the experience. Opt also for an inland tour with the habal-habal (motorcycle) arrangement to explore the entire island.

You are not only visiting beaches, but also be acquainted with the rural, agricultural life of the place.
At the Golden sand beach
  

How To Get There?

Go to Raymund bus terminal in Legarda street, Sampaloc, Manila, and look for a trip going to Infanta, Quezon province.
At Raymund bus terminal 

This route passes at Real. When buying a bus ticket, tell the cashier that your destination is only in Real.

Tell the driver or the conductor also to drop you off in Real where tricycles bound for Ungos port wait.

Raymund bus has a trip every hour for Infanta but don't rely too much with this setup. During our travel, the only available trip was at 3:30 in the morning and it was a regular bus!

In case you detest the idea of riding a regular bus (non-aircon) for a long trip, and there's no available trip for its air-conditioned bus, you may opt for a van instead, it is just around the bus terminal, but a little expensive, and you might wait longer before it will depart Manila.

Travel time from Manila to Real takes around four hours during early morning. It will follow the route via Rizal and Laguna provinces.

Alight in Real, Quezon and hire a tricycle bound for Ungos port. Travel time is around 10 to 15 minutes.

Then proceed to secure a boat ticket for Jomalig at the Port Passenger Terminal.

During off-season, however, boat trips to Jomalig are very rare. The route usually is for Patnanungan Port, a neighboring island where boats going to Jomalig await in the middle of the sea. This transfer is quite scary.

It is highly recommended to have a contact person from a resort in Jomalig ahead of your trip so that they can arrange a boat transfer from Patnanungan to Jomalig.

Aboard the fishing vessel 

Boat travel from Ungos port to Jomalig takes 5 hours. In case of a connecting ride, Patnanungan is roughly four hours from the Ungos port, while Jomalig and Patnanungan has a distance between 45 minutes.

It's a little tiring to undergo this kind of arrangement, but if you are an adventure junkie and always on the look for a new discovery in traveling, this setup is an exciting experience.

Prepare for any inconveniences during the transfer. During our trip, we did not dock in at the Patnangungan port, the transfer was facilitated in the middle of the sea! We just jumped off from one boat to another with the full view of an open sea.

Where to Stay in Jomalig?

Jomalig is an isolated island. It is not yet fully developed as a tourist spot. Unlike Boracay, Palawan and Siargao, Jomalig offers no luxurious villas and suites.

Accommodations only range from kubo huts to simple dormitory bungalows or pitching a tent.  It's just a simple island life, very rural in its purest form, without any frills of a Bali-style getaway.

Dorm style accommodation
at Tejada beach

However, despite this typical countryside living, the island has a number of resorts offering room accommodations that's already conducive for sleeping and resting.

During our trip, we stayed at Tejada beach resort after Ms. Malou, a former Tourism Officer in the island I contacted, recommended it.

Spacious ground of Tejada resort 

It's a modest place but with a spectacular well-maintained ground and a wide beach front. We stayed in a room with two king-sized beds on the upper level of a dormitory style house.

It's a comfortable room for sleeping, it has a veranda that faces the beachfront and pine trees. Guests can choose between a fan room and an air-conditioned room. In our case, we just chose a fan room since the weather was not really hot.

Tejada's beach resort, just contact Juvy Tejada at 09282960103.

How About the Food?

Jomalig has no restaurants, no bakery shops, no supermarket. The only way to have meals is through an arrangement with the resort's staff to cook food for you.

Lunch after the tour


At Tejada, the caretaker, Juvy, dished us with home-cooked meals and fresh catch from the sea in generous servings.

With only Php100.00 per head, per meal, we'd a satisfying set of dinner, lunch and breakfast. Meals were cooked based on our own taste preferences.
Out door dinner time

You can bring your own food, resorts in the island have no restrictions over bringing food, but the long travel is too exhausting to have additional baggage.

The  Island Tour Adventure

Never miss exploring the beauty of Jomalig during your visit. And this can be best experienced via a habal-habal arrangement for only Php600.00 per head.

Inland tour in Jomalig via habal-habal

This is automatically arrange by the caretaker of the resort. They have contacts with motorcycle drivers.

What's good about this setup is that you will see the entire landscape of the island compared to the island hopping option.

During the tour, drivers will bring you to the hinterland, the vast field, the valleys, passing through rugged terrain, down to the dots of agricultural land and verdant trees.

Lingayen cove

The tour will also allow you to see the rural life of the locals as motorcycle passes through barangays, lines of houses, schools and recreational centers. Along the seaside rises the long coastline with almost no breakwaters.

Awesome adventure!

Job fills your pocket 
but adventure fills your soul 

The tour lasts only a half day and it is best to kick off the adventure at day break. Seaside of Jomalig is so gorgeous at sunrise, you will be treated to a spectacular view of the beach turning golden as the sun rises.

The Island Tour Itinerary

Motorcycle drivers will bring you to five beach destinations, each spot takes more than 30 minutes to travel.

The following spots are the usual destinations of the inland motorcycle tour. These are the must-visit places in Jomalig with a corresponding entrance fee.

Kanaway Beach

Morning grind at Kanaway
Kanaway beach at low tide


The troop 😄

It is a long stretch of beige sand that turns gold in the morning during sunrise. It has a sundune to enjoy and rock formations to climb during low tide.
Kanaway beach at day break 

Its seaside forms a curve of a crescent moon and guests can jog around the long coastline to enjoy the wide beach front. Entrance fee: Php30.00 

Pamana White Beach

Splendid Pamana beach 

Also known as the little Boracay of Jomalig Pamana beach resembles the creamy white sand of Boracay. Its clear  waters change from emerald to turquoise on a sunny day.
Pamana beach 

This Boracay version in Jomalig is so breathtaking you wouldn't want to end the adventure. You just want to lay in the sand whole day and enjoy its crystal clear water and powdery sand.

This is my favorite beach in Jomalig, very pristine water that glimmers under the dazzling sun. Super calm and quiet. Entrance fee: 30.00

Lingayen Cove

This is a hidden paradise in the right sense of the word. Imposing bluffs lapped by rushing waves, with irresistible clear blue waters rolling endlessly to the seaside.

It is situated right in the open sea so waves are quite harsh, best spot for adventurers who like surfing and want to ride in the big waves.

Located almost in the hinterland camouflaged by abundant tropical trees, Lingayen Cove is one destination in Jomalig that will pop your eyes in awe.

Lingayen cove
An uphill climb
Top of the bluffs 

Its rugged cliff and stunning emerald and turquoise waters earned this place a moniker of being the little Batanes in Jomalig.

The sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks provide a soothing relief to tired soul. Breathtaking!

Over the cliff, you'll see the vastness of the island, the breathtaking view of the ocean, the rushing of the waves. And the best that Jomalig can offer. Spectacular sight to behold!

Lingayen cove

It was high tide during our visit and we're advised by the habal-habal drivers never to go swimming unless we're professional surfers.

So we just took pictures and proceeded to the Golden sand beach. Entrance fee at Lingayen cove: Php50.00

Golden sand beach

This beach has been famous to Jomalig visitors as the area where sand turns golden brown at day time during sunny weather.
Golden sand beach at low tide

Apart from its golden sand, this area also has a sand bar that divides the sea and the river. Water is equally clear. 

Golden sand beach at noon

It was low tide when we arrived at this area. And the abundant, rough sand made our walk a little tiring as our feet buried deeply in every step.

Us four. Warm weather 

A perfect area to pick seashells or take a dip on the warm water. Or you may frolic around the long coastline.

The water here is simply stunning! Clear, aquamarine and no harsh waves. And just like Kanaway beach, Golden sand beach has a long stretch of coastline and wider beach front. A great place for fun activities. Entrance fee: Php30.00

Punong Walang Forever

The last leg of our tour at this bizarre tree.

As funny as it may sound, this tree is called Punong Walang Forever because it stood alone in the middle of the vast field. As though this lovely thing could never have a partner all through out its existence.

A tree without forever 
Rapid emoting at Punong Walang Forever 😁

But it survived and withstood the harsh test of time. It made its existence in the middle of the terrain awesome though. A bit mysterious and poetic.

When you look at it, this tree is not really lonely. It looks so lovely, standing alone in the sprawling field. Its feature makes more intriguing to adventurers.


Just be careful when visiting this area because it has so many wild grass and hay. Visitors are also expose to the grueling sun since the field is somehow deforested so prepare something to protect you from the scorching heat of the sun.

End of the tour: 12:00 noon 

After staying for 10 minutes taking pictures below the tree, we were back  at Juvy's house to take our lunch. She prepared us a sumptuous meal! A fresh catch cooked in a sweet and sour recipe.

Sumptuous lunch after the tour

Above destinations are the must-visit areas in Jomalig. However, the island has still numerous spots worthy to be explored. Just make another arrangement with the habal-habal driver to bring you there.

Expenses in Philippine peso

Here's the actual expenses of our trip:

1. Bus from Manila to Real - 168.00
2. Tricycle from Real to Ungos - 10.00
3. Boat ride to Patnanungan - 400.00
4. Boat transfer to Jomalig - 50.00
5.Habal-habal ride to the resort - 50.00
6. Tourism and envi fees - 170.00
7. Meal (5 meals/100 per head) - 500.00
8. Room (per head for 2 nights) - 600.00
9. Habal-habal tour - 600.00
10. Entrance in 4 beaches - 140.00
11. Boat back to Patnanungan - 250.00
12. Boat ride to Ungos port - 350.00
13. Tricycle from Ungos to Real - 10.00
14. Van going to Manila - 220.00


Safer budget actually is Php3,000.00 if you're on a boat directly traveling from the Ungos port to Jomalig and vice versa, but we overshoot our budget during this trip due to additional cost of our boat transfer.

Take note that the boat ride from Ungos port to Patnanungan and vice versa has already a free fresh meal. I love the food!As though cooked by a real chef.

The actual rate from Ungos port to Jomalig is only Php450.00 with free lunch. However, during off season, boats will take a direct route to Jomalig if travelers are 15.

During peak season (March to June), a number of travelers flock to the island, so boat schedule from the Ungos port direct to Jomalig leaves every hour starting from 7:00 in the morning until 12:00 noon.

At off-peak, you need to hurry and be on time at Ungos port to catch the 9:00 AM travel to Patnanungan.

For a safer schedule, and not to miss the trip, have a constant communication with someone from the Jomalig resort to keep you updated.
Jomalig at sunset 

Check related blog of our adventure

Actual itinerary of ourtrip

DAY 1, Saturday
2:30 AM - arrival at Raymund bus terminal
3:30 AM - departed Manila for Real
7:30 AM - arrived in Real, Quezon
7:30 AM - tricycle ride to Ungos port
7:45 AM - Ungos port
9:30 AM - Departed Ungos port
1:30 PM - boat transfer from Patnanungan to Jomalig. The boat that fetched us was a pre-arranged trip by Tejada beach resort.
1:35 PM - departed for Jomalig
2:20 PM - arrival time at Jomalig port
2:25 PM - motorcycle ride to Tejada beach resort.
2:35 PM - reached Tejada beach resort. Then we'd our siesta. Supposed we would only take a nap. We're very much exhausted due to our long hours of travel from Manila, but the nap extended to long sleep that I woke up at dinner time. Haha!
7:00 PM - outdoor dinner at Tejada.
8:00 PM - bed time

DAY 2, Sunday. Actual tour
4:30 AM - up for the day. Prepared stuff for the adventure.
5:00 AM - travel to Juvy's house for our breakfast. Motorcycle drivers were already waiting downstairs.
5:15 AM - breakfast
5:45 AM - kicked off of our inland tour
6:20 AM - Kanaway beach
6:45 AM - Pamana beach
7:30 AM - Lingayen Cove
10:30 AM - Golden sand beach
11:40 AM - Punong walang forever
12:00 Noon - back to Juvy's house for our lunch.
1:00 PM - Back to Tejada's beach resort. Siesta again.
5:30 PM - sunset viewing by the beach
7:00 PM - dinner time

DAY 3, Monday
5:00 AM - I woke up early to take a morning dip at the beach while the boys were still in deep sleep
7:30 AM - breakfast time.
9:00 AM - left Jomalig in a fishing boat to Patnanungan for another transfer.
9:50 AM - arrived Patnanungan port. Bought a ticket then walked back to the port.
10:15 AM - left Patnanungan for Ungos
2:30 PM - docked in at Ungos port
2:35 PM - departed for Real.
3:30 PM - departed Real on a van
7:00 PM - arrival in EDSA

Watch our Jomalig travel in our Youtube channel. 
Click this LINK 

Some Important Reminders:

1. You'll encounter rough waves during sea travel to Jomalig so secure your bags with a dry cover. Put your electronic gadgets in plastic pouches. Have something to keep you dry while on the boat just in case you will take your place at the exposed deck.
2. Jomalig is only run by power generator. Electricity is only available between 1:00 PM to 4:30 AM. Bring powerbanks and extras.
3. The island has no restaurants, supermarkets, drugstores or even convenience stores, bring everything you need for a long trip like medicines if you're under medications, snacks, toiletries.
4. If you've food allergies or very choosy what to eat, tell the staff of the resort ahead of time.
5. Bring sunblock. Sari-sari stores in the island don't have one.
6. Bring bottled water during tour to the beaches. The distance between destination is so long you'll be smothered with thirst along the way.
7. We didn't find any souvenir's shop in the island, perhaps because it was off-peak, if you want to buy any memento, ask the caretaker of the resort if there's any store selling souvenir items.
8. At Tejada's beach, the sprawling ground provides a good venue for fun activities, you may bring some equipment for this purpose.
9. During off-season, boat traveling to Jomalig is very rare, be at the Ungos port as early as 8:00 in the morning to catch one.
10. Jomalig island has a stunning scenery of nature with golden sand, ivory beaches and clear blue waters, don't miss every detail in your camera. Sunset is just so lovely to watch at the beach side.
11. Bring extra cash, Jomalig has no atm, nor banks. They only have smart padala.


Watch our Jomalig travel in our Youtube channel. 
Click this LINK

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