Magalawa Island, Zambales Review

The view of Magalawa Island from afar..

My college friend Hacel went home to the Philippines to spend her vacation so we decided to meet up.It’s been a long time since we all traveled together and it’s a nice opportunity to catch up with each other. We’ve decided to go to Magalawa Island, a small Island located in Palauig, Zambales.

Touch Down!
Hacel, Edel, Nats and I .. 😉

Magalawa Island not as popular as the other beaches in Zambales but what separates it from the rest is its beautiful coral garden and rich marine life. The stretch of white sand and trees surrounding the Island will make you want to jump off the boat and explore it ASAP. Note that a beautiful coral garden is also situated in Magalawa, so better bring your snorkeling gears.


See how clear the water is!
See how clear the water is!

We had a good time exploring the coral garden. We saw different sea creatures and colorful corals. One of my friends even spotted a sea snake which scared us a bit (lol).


The perfect snorkeling spot is a few meters away from the shore and you need to ride a “balsa” to get there. It’s not shallow so you need to wear a life vest if you are not a good swimmer. There are also sea urchins ( a lot of them) in the seabed so wear your aqua shoes for your safety.

Sand Bar..
Sand Bar..

There are two resorts in the Island the Armada Resort and Ruiz Resort. Be warned, the two resorts are not in good terms, meaning you can’t explore the entire Island because there are fences which prevent visitors from crossing the other resort without paying an entrance fee. Unfortunately, we stayed at Ruiz Resort and the sand bar is at the opposite side of the Island and only visitors from Armada Resort can explore it. (Bummer!)


You can hang out under the tree and chat with your friends over beer and pica pica! You can also claim this spot if you want shade from the scorching sun. It’s pretty hot in Magalawa good thing there are trees all over the Island.


Honestly, there’s not much to do here but swim and admire the view. However, if you want to just relax and unwind, the Island is perfect for you.


How To Go To Magalawa:

From Manila, you need to go to Caloocan and ride a bus going to Sta. Cruz Zambales. The travel time is 6-7 hours. Let the driver know that you need to be dropped at Brgy. Pangolingan, Palauig. Once you are there, you can ride a tricycle to get to Luan Port. Make sure to contact the resort where you will stay because they’ll be the one to pick you up at the port. The boat ride is brief and smooth you’ll get to your resort around 20 minutes or less.

Where to Stay:

I highly recommend that you stay at Armada Resort they’re a bit pricey, but you’ll get your money’s worth so it’s okay click here to check their website. We stayed at Ruiz resort and the experience wasn’t pleasant for us. First of all the sand bar is off limits and the other resort has far better rooms and amenities.

The Snorkeling gear and rental fee for the balsa is a bit overpriced so if you have a goggle or snorkeling gear you can bring it to avoid paying a hefty fee. The only good thing about Ruiz resort is their room rate, it is cheaper compared to Armada. The people who take care of the resort are nice and accommodating too. You can text Mang Mulo 09288568242/ 09294670505  or visit their fb page to inquire about the rates.

Important Reminders:

  • You can bring a tent and just pay 200 pesos if you don’t want to rent a room.
  • The electricity in the Island is between 6pm to 7am so charge your gadgets at home or bring a power bank.
  • There is a hundred peso entrance fee in the Island
  • Pay attention to the warning signs in the Island. There is a rip tide on one side of the sand bar you could get drowned if you’re not careful.
  • There’s no restaurant in the resort.You can either bring your own food or buy fresh seafood in the market and have them cook it for you, not for free of course.

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