The Island of Cagbalete, Mauban Quezon
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller
It was in March 2013 when my office colleagues have invited us on a short vacation in time for the long weekend in observing the lenten season. She was telling us a story about an island in Mauban Quezon. The Municipality of Mauban Quezon is a first class community in the province of Quezon, Philippines. The central district of Mauban is 157 km southeast from Metro Manila and some 52 km from Lucena City. An approximately 6 hours of travel by land from Manila to the town of Mauban. There are 3 alternative routes going to Mauban Quezon for private transports.
The first alternative is the South Super Highway road distance is about 168 km. and average travel time for this route would be 3-4 hours depending on the traffic condition. This is a good route when travelling very early in the morning and can take you only 3 hours driving.
The second alternative from Manila is to pass by South Super Highway
The third alternative route is via Antipolo, which can take around 4 hours average. On holidays like during Holy Week, this is an ideal route to avoid traffic in South Super Highway and Los Baños.
And for my co-backpacker on the go the most economical way of transportation is riding a public transport. Public Transport bus ride costs around P300 ( USD6.20)and takes no more than three hours. At the Lucena City Grand Terminal, where all buses drop by, mini buses (no-air-con) bound for Mauban leave on an hourly interval. The one-hour and-30 minutes travel costs around P60 (USD1.20). There are also air-conditioned vans stationed in Lucena SM Mall going to Mauban for approximately P70(USD1.50) and the first and last trip for air-con vans is 9 am and 9 pm respectively. This is faster than minibuses which will take only 1 hour travel time. There is now a direct trip going to Mauban thru Jac Liner at Kamias Edsa station. The schedule of the trip is at 4:30 am and 1 pm only. The fare is around P280(USD6.00).
The island is accessible by boat on an hour and twenty minutes travel from the town of Mauban. You may be opted to choose between a private boat and the regular boat transit. When consists of 10members I suggest to take the private boat for convenience and save up to 30%. Otherwise, you may take the regular boat ride that departs from their local fish port almost every an hour and 30 minutes. The scheduled sailing is limited within the daytime up until 5 in the afternoon. This is because travellers are transported only with the small boat. They can not able to sustain heavy and rough waves when high tides come at night.
When we first visited the island it was recently open for public because the local government of Mauban trying to secure its natural habitat away from exploitation. There was no power supply yet. But there are already a few resorts built but only accepts limited guests. Unlike nowadays it was developed somehow by few investors who establish a business in the island. An overnight experience in the island is entirely astonishing. In fact, we haven’t taken enough sleep. We grab the great opportunity to enjoy the island at its finest. It may look frightening at night because the island seems to dark that it only consumes the moonlight. But what mesmerizes me is the silence of the place where you hear nothing but the waves and sparkling fireflies. Truly a magnificent experience from the southern point of the land.
On the next day, when everybody is up for a swim, we were all shock and shook our heads. We can’t see any water. It was humid and dry. The only things that were left are the traces of watermarks and empty shells on the sand. The island has bedwater in daytime especially when it is low tide. But when you insist on going for a swim you can walk approximately 15-18km away from the shoreline where you find the water. What bothers us is that water only reaches the shore when high tide starts to came on. The high tide is in 5:15 how we are able to cross the island by then. The resort owner suggested us to alter our route. An almost 2 hours hike heading toward southeast could have been the fastest way for us to reach the other side of the island. The front yard of the island facing the town proper of Mauban. Upon arriving at the nearest port of the island, there was no boat available so agree to take a private ride merely to cross the island since it’s getting dark already.
My experience of Cagbalete Island is truly magnificent. Another postcard I treasure on my backpack diary.