Magalawa Island, Zambales

A tiring but fun experience it is.  Located in Palauig, one of the northern municipalities of Zambales, Magalawa Island is not your typical summer destination as it does not possess the crystal clear waters or the fine sand beach.

 Unlike most of our out of town trips that are planned months ahead, this was planned for less than 3 weeks.

There is not much information over the web regarding Magalawa Island. Most of us know nothing about this place. It's not as famous as Capones or Anawangin Cove which we've seen many years ago back when they're still "untouched". Only one resort showed up in the results when I typed in Magalawa. I browsed their website, saw their package rates and phoned in the number posted on the site.

Finally after a few tries, I was able to get in touch with one of their staff. I inquired about their rates if we were to bring our own tent and food. It seemed like he's not ready to answer at that time so he told me he'll call back but he never did. He didn't even pick up the phone even if I tried to ring him a few times.

I got frustrated so I made a thorough research and landed on a few travel blogs like Biyaherong Barat, Chasing Philippines, and Capricho. Thanks to them because I found another option - a cheaper option at that. The Ruiz Resort has no website or facebook page unlike their competitor but I was able to contact Mang Mulo, the caretaker and got all the information I needed.

Aside from having cheaper rates, they allow the ff:

✓ Bonfire
✓ Sound Playing
✓ Pitching of tent near the beach

And so on the morning of March 9 (around 530 AM), the 13 of us left Manila for Zambales. We opted to bring our own vehicles as it is a cheaper option for us. We made a few stopovers and finally reached Iba town proper around lunch time. We bought water, ice, food, charcoal and other supplies from the market as there are no sari-sari stores in the island.

I was in constant communication with Mang Mulo during our trip. True to what other bloggers say, Mang Mulo really is concerned with his guests. From time to time, he would ask our location and would give specific instructions so we won't get lost.

once you get to this fork road, head towards the direction of Masinloc

entrance to Bgy Pangolingan (Radyo Veritas road)

rough road to Luan Port

Luan Port

Mang Manuel, the boatman and his assistant were already waiting at Luan port when we arrived. They helped us load our things in the boat. 

Mang Manuel in yellow shirt

view of Magalawa Island from the port

The boat is big enough to accommodate the whole group.

Armada Resort on the eastern side of the island

trees are abundant here

after less than 10 minutes...

touchdown Magalawa

not fine

welcome to Ruiz Resort

fan rooms and day cottages

more space for camping

fan room that can accommodate 5-6 persons

papag that can fit 2-3 persons

common T&B. 1st door is for the generator. 2nd is for the ladies. 3rd is for the gents.

After settling down, we pitched our tents on the leftmost side of the resort.

Magalawa Island
Photo Credit: Tetah De Leon

We prepared our late lunch - buttered garlic shrimps, grilled liempo, grilled bangus (milkfish), adobo and ensalada.

Cooking utensils may be borrowed for free.

Water supply is not a problem as there is a deep well water pump at the back.

Magalawa Island
Photo Credit: Tetah De Leon
Electricity is turned on by 6pm using a generator and turned off by 6am.

We requested Mang Mulo to set up a bonfire for us so we can have our smores and hotdogs party.

Magalawa Island
Photo Credit: Tetah De Leon
Smores, hotdogs, and beer!

The following morning,  most of us were up by 630am as the sun was peering through our tents.

 We approached the boatman to see what was the catch of the day.

 We had a close encounter with a snake-looking fish. I didn't attempt to touch it. It looks scary.  A friend told me it's called a Moray Eel. Is it?

We had our breakfast and lunch prepared by the folks in the resort so we can enjoy the rest of the day strolling on the beach. 

Magalawa Island
Photo Credit: Tetah De Leon

calm waters on the other side of the beach

Starfish sanctuary on the eastern side of the island.

Magalawa by noon

We left the resort after lunch. I failed to thank Mang Mulo personally for our wonderful stay in Magalawa.  But rest assured Mang Mulo, your resort will be put in the map.

Mang Mulo's contact number: 0929 467 0505

Ruiz Resort Fees:

Boat Transfer RT - 100/head
Parking - 200/vehicle
Entrance Fee - 100/head
CR Fee - 10/head (not per use)
Bring your own tent - 200/tent
Open Cottage - 700/day
Bonfire - 50 (gather your own wood and it's for free!)
Paluto (service only) - 150/service (not per dish)

Fan Rooms - 1200/night (can accommodate around 6 persons)

How to get to Ruiz Resort (by private vehicle):

  • From Balintawak, take the NLEX (P45) and drive towards Dau Toll Plaza - the last exit point. (P173)
  • Take the SCTEX (around 3km away from the toll plaza).
  • Once you passed through the toll booth, make sure to take the left lane leading to Tipo. (right lane goes to Tarlac and Baguio).
  • Pay toll fee of P168 and continue driving until you reach the Subic-Tipo Express Way toll booth and pay P22.
  • Upon approaching Subic Bay Free Port, you'll pass by another booth. (no payment this time, just acknowledgement from an officer.)

Once inside SBMA, be conscious of traffic rules as they are being strictly implemented  there.

  • Drive along Rizal Hi-Way and turn left at Manila Avenue.
  • Turn right at Dewey Avenue and drive towards Kalaklan bridge. You'll see a public cemetery ahead.
  • Turn left at RH5.
  • It will be be another 1-1/2 hour drive along the national road going to Iba. 
  • The next town to Iba is Palauig, where Magalawa Island is located. Now here's the tricky part. Once you reached the fork road which has signs pointing to Palauig Proper, just continue driving towards Masinloc (do not turn left).
  • After a few minutes, you'll pass by another fork road which has a statue of a farmer riding a carabao. Again, do not turn left. 
  • From the fork road, it will be another 4km drive before you see the waiting shed that has a Magalawa Resort sign on it. That will be the second road on the left from the fork road. 
  • Turn left on that road and drive for another 8km through a combination of cemented and unpaved road to Luan Port. 
  • You'll be passing by a small fishing village. Just continue driving towards the gate manned by a security guard. Inform him you'll be staying at Ruiz Resort. He'll be asking for an ID and record it on his logbook. He then returns the ID and opens the gate.
  • From Luan Port, the boat ride to Magalawa Island (Ruiz Resort) is less than 10 minutes.


  1. Glad to know you had fun on your Magalawa adventure. :)
    Oh! And thank you for featuring my blog on your post. ;)

    1. You're welcome! Your blog was such a great help.

  2. Thanks for the info! Been planning to visit the island. Seems cheaper nga compared with the other resort I've been checking out on Facebook.

  3. Hi! I've been reading this blog of yours over and over again because we're planning to go there this Thursday with my family and relatives. A little concern though about sandflies, any experience? may mga kasama kasi kaming bata. malamok ba dun sa area nina mang mulo? 'Yung photo mo na calmer water on the other side of the beach, is it yung side nung armada?

    Sensya na maraming tanung. thanks!

    1. Hmmm. As far as I can remember, we haven't experienced any sandflies during our trip. The place is safe for kids but dont forget to bring mosquito repellent just to be sure.

      Meron lang nangangagat sa water parang mga malilit na white crabs. Parang garapata size. :D

      And yes, the calmer water, the one with lots of starfish, that's the Armada side.

  4. Thank you for the information, your blog is big help! Can I ask if Ruiz Resort offers snorkeling too like Armada. And how much does it cost if there is one. Thank you very much!

    1. I remembered asking Mang Mulo regarding snorkeling. Charge is 200/head. If you availed of their transpo (which is 1,000/head RT), snorkeling fee is free. =)

  5. thanks! this has been a great guide. we went there apr 14-15
    we plan to go back there and bring some more friends, probably may :)

  6. Do you still need to make a reservation here? Because me and my friends just plan to go there without reservations.

    1. I suggest you make a reservation if you're not bringing a tent especially now that it is peak season.

  7. Do they sell food there? We don't cook kasi. Pwede bang sa kanila na lahat pati pagluluto? Thx.

    1. Nope. But pwede magpaluto sa kanila. You either buy the ingredients at Iba Market on your way to Magalawa or lahat sa kanila ninyo na ipaasikaso but you should tell them beforehand kung ano gusto ninyo kainin because they'll have to go to the market.

      So if you're planning to just arrive in Magalawa without any reservation (ikaw ba lahat si anonymous?) baka magutom kayo kung hindi kayo nagluluto. =)

  8. wow finally i saw a blog kung anu pa other resort ng offer sa magalawa since the other resort is not even replying and answering my call,,,,so happy to encounter your sight this is really a big help for finalizing our plan going to magalawa

  9. do they really require an advance payment of 500 pesos for reservation?

    1. i don't remember paying any reservation fee when we went there unless magrent kayo ng cottage?

  10. thanks so much for this blog, it helped us a lot in our journey to magalawa..God bless!

  11. i've been wondering about the cr. are there other cr's aside from the common CR's??

    1. At Ruiz Resort, you'll be using the common CR whether you stay in their cottages or bring your own tent.

    2. Talking about the cr. How is the common CR there. How many cubicles? And is it clean and well-maintained?

    3. Paano pala kami magluluto, may mga electric out let ba? Do we need to bring kitchen utensils? How about the rice?

    4. Scorpio's Sting,

      Only one cubicle for ladies, one for gents. It's clean naman but don't expect too much.

    5. Anonymous,

      Electricity is turned on by 6pm using a generator and turned off by 6am.

      Pwede kayo magluto using charcoal. Bili kayo ng lahat ng supplies sa market before heading to the island. You may also ask them to cook for you. Pero charcoal lang din. Walang gas dun. Kung gusto ninyo wala nang isipin sa byahe, you can talk to the care takers sila na ang magluto ng mga pagkain ninyo sa buong stay ninyo. Sila na rin mamalengke lahat lahat. basta inform them agad.

  12. Nice looking beach... great for some rest and bonding..nice din if you are not into large beach crowds.

  13. Akala ko ako lang ang di sinasagot ng armada resort. Nakakainis sila. So Ruiz it is. Thanks for this!:) - angelo

  14. hi can I have mang mulo contact number? thanks

  15. i emailed armada for reservation more than a week ago but still got no response. your blog convinced me well to book in Ruiz resort. I guess i'll contact mang mulo soon. Thanks for your informative blog!


Post a Comment