Magalawa Island Ruiz Resort
Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales
- 4 Reviews
- 4 Recommend
- 4 Reviewers
- Hotel Star Rating:
Most Recent Reviews
I just suddenly fell in love with the place. A quick escape from Manila in just 4-5hrs. Magalawa Island is a hidden gem and Ruiz Resort is a nice place to stay at. I love how they generously served our food. We were only a group of 3 and the food they served to us was like, good for 4-5 pax
Ang sarap ng sinigang na hipon. Promise!
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Charm A, Jaybee D and my other friends planned to head to the beach last weekend and we were baffled by so many reviews and ideas to where we should spend our weekend. Eventually, we decided to visit Magalawa Island! We left Manila around 2:30AM and arrived at Magalawa Island around 8:45AM. Super loooong drive! Literally masakit sa pwet. So if you’re planning to go here with a group of friends or with your family, I recommend hiring a driver and van or a high SUV because about 30 mins of the long drive was rough road. When you reach the port, it’s just a 5 minute boat ride to the island which costs Php 100 – back and forth for Ruiz Resort guests. Another recommendation, stay here for at least 2 days and 1 night (We tried day tour and it was bitin and tiring).
As far as I know, there are only two resorts here – Ruiz and Armada. We stayed at Ruiz and the people there were kind and hospitable. The sand in the whole island was white and had a fine texture. This island is like a camping site with a few cottages for you to rent so we just brought a tent to keep our bags and personal stuff inside. Entrance for Ruiz Resort was Php100/head and rental for their cottage without a room was Php550. Bring your own bigas (you can ask the resort to cook rice for you for Php50.) Because of our past trips like this, we came prepared – or over prepared. We brought an ice chest to keep our BBQ marinade and drinks cool which I recommend you to bring (with ice already filled in coz there isn’t always assurance that you can buy ice on the island). They have small grills that you can use to grill or place a pan on top for cooking. A tip if you plan to grill food, it’s better to bring your own grill rack. We bought the charcoal on the island. Source of water is from the “poso”, but they have shower rooms equipped with water tanks. Also, bring a sponge and dishwashing soap to clean your dishes.
The beach is clean with clear water and lots of jellyfish, but the beachfront at Ruiz resort has too much seaweeds. Armada was blessed with lesser seaweed, but they even charge you Php50/head for “entering their water”. Seriously? The land is theirs, but their claiming that the water is their property too? Wow. Anyway, this topic is for another resort review. Just giving a heads up!
Don’t forget to bring your own trash bags to help keep the island clean. One thing that I noticed is that they didn’t have visible trash cans/bags around the resort. But still, cleanliness starts with ourselves.
Verdict: Overall, it was a pleasant experience on this island. Locals and guests of Ruiz Resort were kind and gave each other’s space. The beach was filled with seaweeds and it wasn’t really fun to swim there so we opted to go to Armada Resort for a dip. Still a nice place for a budget-wise weekend getaway. Contact Mang Mulo if you plan to go here, he's pretty famous around the internet.
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I first heard about Magalawa Island when I read the looloo insights post about a Beach Bum on a Budget. From then on I really wanted to go. So Zia M and I took the time to go on an adventure trip to Magalawa.
There are two resorts in Magalawa.
Armada and Ruiz
There happens to be some conflict between the two resorts. Read the blogs online for more details.
We chose to stay at Ruiz Resort, because they're the good guys in the conflict and it's cheaper there.
Ruiz Resort was very simple. Open cottages, rooms with fans, a beach volleyball area, cooking and barbecue area, and shower areas.
To be honest the beach wasn't as good as I expected it to be. Sand wasn't so fine, lots of seaweed or seagrass, I don't know what they're called, and some thrash in the water. Reason being is that Ruiz doesn't seem to regularly maintain it compared to the beach area around Armada.
That didn't break our spirits. Zia and I enjoyed exploring other parts of the beach. Especially at the tip near Armada. Like I mentioned the beach there has much clearer waters, finer sands, but lots of jellyfish. A highlight around the island is the abundance of marine life especially starfish. So many of them.
There's a small community walking distance from our resort so if you run out of basic provisions, you'll have a place to buy. You can also buy lutong ulam at Ate Leny's, but make sure you tell her in advance. She doesn't cook a lot of food when there aren't any requests.
Majority of the locals are fishermen. It was nice to see kids playing traditional pinoy street games. I was amazed at what one kid did to a beetle. He tied it to a string and made it fly around in circles. Hahaha.
We also enjoyed barbecuing and cooking. Zia seems to be an expert at setting fire to the charcoal. Haha.
The best part about the resort is that the Ruiz Family are really accomodating. Mang Mulo and his wife and family will cater to most of your needs. We actually became a little too dependent on them as we kept asking favors from them such as opening our canned goods, borrowing plates and cooking utensils etc.
Okay. So Zia and I haven't mastered the whole camping thing yet. Hahaha.
Also, you can have your phones/gadgets charged at their house for P10/charge. Electricity all throughout the resort will be turned on after sunset.
In the morning, I suggest you wake up early not only to see the sunrise, but to be able to buy fresh seafood from the local fishermen at really cheap prices. We bought an octopus and had the people from Ruiz make adobo out of it and it was great!.
How we went there:
We took the 5AM bus to Iba, Zambales from Victory Liner in Pasay. This was a good 4-5 hour ride.
From Iba, another 30 minute bus ride to Sta. Cruz.
Get off at the corner of Radio Veritas road and take a trike to the port going to the island. (#BroTip: Wear a supporter. The road is rough. You'll be up for a bumpy 30 minute ride. Kala ko maluluslos na ko sa tagtag.)
Another tip: Text Mang Mulo when you're at the tricycle terminal so that he'll already be there at the port waiting for you.
The boat ride will take less than 5 minutes.
Tent: 150 (300/2pax)
Bus to Iba and back - 714
Bus to Tricycle Terminal - 70
Trike to the Port - 200
Boat Ride - 100
Your budget on food is up to you. :)
I really liked this place because the hospitality that Mang Mulo, his wife and everyone else there showed made me feel at home and feel like we're part of the family. I'd go here again if we have a private vehicle. It's just too far.
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Budgeted Summer Getaway? Challenge Accepted
Justin J and I decided to spend the remaining summer days here with minimal cash on hand and arriving only with public transportation.
Going there requires patience and a lot of sunscreen because it is far, (From Pampamga-Bataan-Olongapo-Zambales) with an almost 6 hrs going to Iba, you need to be ready for that long ride. When arriving to Iba, a tryke to the central market where there are fast food like Jollibees and the like, can be found (praise God for putting up a Jollibee here) No trees to be found and no buildings high enough to cover the streets, so protection from sunlight,please
After a 30-minute ride of that uber bumpy-rocky ride in the tryke, (makalaglag matres na kalsada) and less than 5 min boat ride;
touchdown Magalawa Island
We contacted Mang Mulo beforehand that we'll be staying overnight and we'll be requesting for a tent. We got so dependent on Mang Mulo and his family that we almost asked everything to them (banig, utensils, paluto, charging station, kawali and many more) lol
They also have this little community which can be accessed easily and contains more than 5 sari sari stores. We walked here not less than 5 times during our stay because we're always hungry!
When finally we decided to swim, as I see it, there are many seaweeds in the latter part of the island plus there are just too many STARFISH! the water in Ruiz's area isn't much good place to swim so we decided to go to Armada's. We're badass like that
Although there were still seaweeds in the area, the sand is quite finer and they have this part where tourists aren't allowed to swim because of the strong current, but we checked it out anyway.
The whole island is okay. With lots of Camachile trees and friendly locals, you'll be rest assured that you can escape here from the busy life in the city.
downside: Armada and Ruiz have this fight over the island which can be disturbing for tourists; the 7hr ride going here from the city is just exhausting; you'll look for a good place to swim
upside: the locals are just too welcoming for everyone; Mang Mulo and his family are super cool; they make sure the place is always clean; water in the faucet isn't a problem; they have electricity that connects from the port like a zip line
Overall Satisfaction ️️️️
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