Jomalig, Quezon: The Island Less Taken
January 1, 1970
by Sidrick Cabatingan
When it comes to beaches and island hopping, I firmly believe Philippines is still the best destination. Although different islands in the country are slowly becoming known, there are still more yet to be discovered. You know you’ll never run out of beaches to go knowing that the country is made up of 7,107 islands. Just one of the infamous, pristine, and unspoiled beaches is the Jomalig Island. Tucked away in the northeastern region of the Philippines, Jomalig island is one of the smallest, farthest but cleanest island municipalities of the Quezon Province.
If you enjoy staying in uncommercialized and uncrowded beaches, then this is the island you’re looking for. Staying here means going back to basics by just camping out, engaging with the locals, and just be one with nature.
Getting into the Island:
Discovering an unspoiled, virgin island however, is not easy. Getting into the island is no joke and you have to endure first a long travel time before enjoying the paradise this island has to offer. If you’re a true backpacker, one of the best ways to get into the island is riding a bus to Reál and then a boat to Jomalig.
- From Legarda Terminal, catch a Raymond Bus bound for Infanta. Travel time is about 4 hours.
- Get down at Ungos Port — This is where the boats bound to Jomalig are docked.
- Ride a boat bound for Jomalig. Now this is where the waiting game begins; travel time is 6 hours.
- The whole boat ride can be uncomfortable especially if you’re looking forward to catch up on zzz’s again. Most boats are just made of wood and bamboos which makes it hard to find your sweet spot.
After enduring the whole 6 hours “bangka” ride, you shall see a yellow, golden, thin horizontal line up ahead. This would mean that you’re approaching Jomalig island. Stepping on the sand was like stepping on a bed of powder. The sand is very fine and the sun’s light brings out it’s bright golden color and make it seem like there are small crystals scattered across the island. The water is so clear that you can actually see through the surface.
What To Do in the Island:
Swim, Snorkel, Sunbathe
Swimming by the beach is easy as there are no rocks, corals, or seaweeds that will get in your way. Except tiny jellyfishes though. The marine life is so healthy in the island that you can already see and observe small marine animals at your arm’s reach. We found ourselves swimming with harmless jellyfishes, a lot (A LOT) of fishes, starfishes, lobsters, and even an octopus!
Locals can help you rent a boat and visit other nearby beaches. I forgot which one we visited but I heard there are those islands like Manalat, and Kanaway Beach. The one we went to was like 30 minutes away from Jomalig. It was like a small, isolated rock island where we did a very short trek (nothing serious) to reach the peak and see an awesome view of the ocean.
After visiting the island, the boat took us to a diving/snorkeling spot where we swam and saw just one of the many coral reefs in the region. (So technically we didn’t go for an island hopping, since we just went to see one. but we did a legit snorkeling activity which was very cool btw.)
Watch the Sunset
I must say this is one of the highlights of our trip to Jomalig and it is a breath-taking view you need to see if ever you’ll soon visit the island. The sunset is very stunning and I swear you will run of out phone memory just by taking photos of it over and over again.
Where to Stay:
The best way to enjoy the whole Jomalig experience is by camping out by the beach (Bring your own tent). There are respective spots in the island where tourists can pitch their tent. Our group stayed near one of the local’s small house. Ate Gracy, the homeowner, was the one who let us pitch our tents and hammocks by her lot area and was also the one who cooked us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In return, we just paid her around PHP 3,500 and some canned goods for her household needs.
Staying overnight in the island is too short to be able to experience everything Jomalig has to offer. We suggest staying between 2 to 3 days especially if you like the island life and if you don’t mind living in a tent for a few days. Plus there’s also the fact that going to and from the island will take you 12 hours at least; so might as well maximize your time in the island while you’re there, right? Admittedly, we weren’t able to fully explore the whole island whilst there. Definitely we will go back and visit this hidden gem again and hoping it will remain as pristine as it is today.