Our country, a fascinating archipelago endowed with 7,107 island wonders is truly blessed with the best-kept tourist attractions. Wherever you go, you will discover lots of places to explore that will surely captivate the wanderlust in you. For this summer, we are off on a two-day’s jaunt in Matnog in Sorsogon, to see its rare pinkish sand beaches, and get lost to another pristine paradise island!
A bit of Trivia
Matnog comes from the word “matonog” which means easily audible or heard, referring to the sound of the wave. Matnog is situated at the southernmost tip of the Bicol Peninsula. It is Luzon’s gateway to Visayas and Mindanao.
Going to Matnog can be agonizing especially to those who are not used to a long road trip for it will take fifteen to sixteen hours plus the 25-minute boat ride. Some favor this claiming it is part of the adventure. But others prefer to fly on an airplane to lessen travel time.
Our vacation was settled two months prior to our trip so we were not able to book a promo airfare going to Legazpi City. Instead, we took a bus ride via Cagsawa Bus tours. It was indeed a long journey to Matnog.
Our contact boat owner is Kuya Eddie. He was busy campaigning for kagawad so we were fetched by his boatmen Angking and Donnie.
During the boat ride, the promise of good weather, the gentle sea breeze, and the sight of a glistening shore of Subic Beach whisked off everything. A refreshing treat, more than enough for the time and effort we endeavored in getting here.
There are no posh hotels and restaurants in Subic Beach only rooms and hostels. I was wrong when I assumed that we can still get a room for four since the Lenten holiday was over. There are no rooms available when we arrived. Fortunately, we got the last air-conditioned room at Kuya Boy Beach Resort managed by Katherine. It has one double bed with an extra mattress and one small table.
It wasn’t a typical comfy room because it was small and the comfort room is located at the back. Anyway, it is only a few distances away from our room. It is okay for us since it is near the owner’s sari-sari store, on the beachfront, we can cook basic food and we can borrow their kitchen utensils. Rate – Php2,300.
It was a scorching summer and since we came from a long trip we rested a bit until we can bear the afternoon heat. By 4:00 pm, we started our beach escapade.
Subic Beach was known for its pinkish sand and so we were excited to see it personally. When we held the grains, it was creamy white with particles of red color coming from crushed red organ pipe corals. The sand was very fine and the turquoise water was so clear that you may see the sea bed as it gets easily deep. Wading on the water was so refreshing because it was pristine clear. But there were crushed corals on the sea bed. It is advised to wear aqua shoes.
Subic Beach is composed of two parts, one is Subic Dako (the Big Subic Beach) and Subic Saday (the Small Subic Beach). Subic Dako is more popular that’s why it is more frequented by visitors. As such, it is crowded and noisy. If you want to enjoy the island with a serene feel then Subic Saday is for you.
Since the sweltering month of April had passed, the wide and long shoreline wasn’t packed with people anymore. It was so nice to take a long, quiet walk. It was so peaceful, more than enough to relieve oneself from stress and anxieties.
We were told by Kuya Eddie to bring food since there are no restaurants and carinderias in Subic Beach. To sustain our dinner and breakfast, we bought rice, canned goods, bread, fruits, and mineral water in a store in Matnog port.
After a refreshing swim, Katherine cooked rice for us. With Century tuna, we had our dinner in their open cottage. After eating and tidying up the table, we savored the nighttime solitude by laughing and swapping stories. Later, Shen and I sat on the shore and enjoyed star gazing.
Indeed it was a wonderful and peaceful evening. Good night Subic Beach!
Mornings in Sorsogon
We woke up early to catch the sunrise. I just couldn’t get enough of the beautiful morning along the shore. It was peaceful and so calm. After having our fill of the sunrise photos, we took a long quiet walk along the shore. Then we settled for breakfast and later we waded on the water for the last hurrah.
We were fetched by 8:00 am for the island hopping. We brought all our stuff because after our island hopping we will head off to our hometown in Albay for the continuation of our vacation. We thanked Katherine for her good and warm accommodation.
And now, we are so excited for our island hopping.
Calintaan Cave can be reached by swimming. During bad weather, guests are not allowed to get inside the cave because waves are so strong that they may cause danger, especially to weak swimmers. We almost miss this opportunity because upon reaching the spot, waves were starting to slam the boat. But Donnie, an experienced swimmer assured us we can still get inside.
We were welcomed by small cave openings teeming with lush greenery. The water was clear and we were so excited to jump!. My mother was left in the boat for she is afraid to swim going to the unknown. Donnie helped Tita Glo to reach the opening followed by Shen who was a fast swimmer.
I was left behind because the waves were bringing me closer to the rock walls instead of going to the opening. But then, getting inside in another wonderful natural creation exalted my whole being again. I was a lover of caves and this is another amazing experience for me.
The cave was small and partly illuminated by the sunlight passing through the hole on top. There were unique stones of varying sizes and shapes scattered on the fine creamy white sand. It was nice to swim in the shallow and clean water but we only stayed for a few minutes after a photoshoot because we do not want to be trapped inside as the water was rising fast.
This cave is eight minutes away from Subic Beach.
Entrance fee: Free
THE JUAG LAGOON
In the middle of the clean and clear waters of Juag Lagoon lies a marine sanctuary where guests may enjoy feeding and seeing different species of colorful fish. But before anyone can feed the fish, they will buy pelleted feed for around P35 per kilo in a sari-sari store nestled near the feeding area.
The excitement began when we boarded the bamboo raft in getting to the feeding area: a bamboo platform on stilts. It was so wonderful to feed varieties of fish like milkfish (bangus), parrotfish, surgeonfish (labahita), snapper (maya maya), lapu lapu (grouper) angelfish, and samaral.
We were all so happy seeing them swarming in a group. It brought out the child’s delight in us. Shen was almost screaming with sheer delight especially when the big snapper, the big milkfish, and big angelfish appeared. It looked scary seeing them in their enormous sizes.
There were also sea turtles, lobsters, and giant clams in the area, but we only saw the latter. Swimming with the fish is no longer included in the activity unless guests will inform the owner of the lagoon before heading into the area.
There are nipa huts for a day tour or overnight stay in the vicinity owned by Isla de Blaz Place. Contact numbers: 09997941769 and 09773950443.
Duplex – 2 to 4 pax – P3,500
Open cottage – 2 to 4 pax – P2,500
Private room – 2 to 4 pax – P3,500
Couple room – 2 to 3 pax – P3,000
Family room – 4 to 6 pax, maximum of 8 – P5,500
Entrance Fee: Free
As we were approaching the shore, we were all amazed to see the glistening beauty of Tikling Island. From the boat, we saw how pristine it was… so clear! so clean! We almost wanted to jump into the water! I can compare it to the beauty of my dream island, Palawan.
The island is privately owned but guests are allowed to stay for the day, swim, and even take a picnic in the vicinity. There is no resort nor cottages here. It was nice to roam around and chatted with the caretaker who lives in a nipa house with his family. Aside from dogs, there were wild boars roaming around.
We were the only guests at the time we arrived on the island. It seems we exclusively owned it. The creamy white sand was finer than Subic Beach and the water, much clearer! There were stones along the shore but when we waded from knee to waist-deep level, there went our deeper admiration. There were no stones or rocks on the seafloor and it was so wonderful to bask in the sunshine.
We luxuriated in the turquoise sea like kids on the loose, savoring each passing minute. The tranquility and the beauty of the island filled our minds and souls with peace and awe.
Tikling Island got its name from a bird called “tikling” (Buff-banded rail) which was teeming the island many years ago. Since it was flickering hot, we did not visit the rock formation anymore which is located at the back of the island.
It was pretty amazing because Tikling Island is still considered unspoiled and maintains its pristine state though it is now frequented by intrepid travelers. I included this on my list as one of the best islands in the Philippines. And I just love to go back with my husband and son, busy or not, I will coerce them to spend another wonderful day in this paradise. Certainly, we all fell in love with Tikling Island!
Entrance fee: Free
Going back to the Port
Our boat ride going back to the port took us fifteen minutes only. Donnie accompanied us to a house where we can rinse for a fee of P20/head.
There goes our refreshing and relaxing two-day Matnog, Sorsogon Beach Escapade. And surely, I will go back with the whole family. Thank You, Lord, for this wonderful vacation and for the safe travel from land to water.
Rooms and Cottages
These are the rooms and cottages for rent in Subic Big Beach.
Holy Trinity Beach Resort
Contact Person: Tina Gordo – 09566717409/0906272564
Check-in time: 2:00 pm / Check-out time: 12:00 noon
Free use of cottage and swimming pool from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Fan room – 2 persons – P1,300 – common C.R.
2 persons – P2,500
4 to 6 persons – P3,500
10 persons – P5,300
Jetski – P3,500
Kayak – P200/hour
Boy Chua Beach Resort
Contact person: Lani Siton – +639063932117/09158461361
No Entrance fee
Check in time: 12:00 noon / Check out time: 11:00 am
Fan room (common CR) – 2 persons – P2,000
2 to 4 persons (2 double beds, common CR) – P2,500
4 to 6 persons (2 queen size beds, with mini ref and tv, private bathroom )- P5,500
Contact Persons: Rico and Joan Garais – 09266904668/09758956003
Air-conditioned Room with private comfort room:
2 to 4 persons (1 double deck) – P2,500
4 to 6 persons (2 queen beds) – P3,500
2 rooms – P7,000
Open cottage overnight – P500 / walk-in – P700
Tent Rent all sizes-P150
Kuya Boy Beach Resort
Contact numbers: 09161869824, 09297548951, 09156173443
Fan room (no CR)- 1 to 2 persons – P1,500
Air-conditioned room (no CR) – 2 to 4 persons – P2,300
Transpo – Cagsawa Bus – P875.00, Van from Legazpi to Sorsogon Town – P120, Jeep to Matnog – P90, for a total of P1,085/head
Lunch (Chowking) – P320
Room with aircon – P2,300
Registration and environmental fee- P140 (1 adult, 1 child)/P112 (2 senior citizens)
Boat overnight service – P2,000
1 kilo of Rice – P40
Canned goods – P180
Bread – P120
Banana – P80
1 5-gallon mineral water – P80
2 Coffee for breakfast - P30
Paluto ng rice – P30
Rice cooker rental – P40
Fish feeding in Juag Lagoon- 3 kilos – P100
Pasalubong – P300 (keychains and table display item)
Tips to boatmen – P400 (P200 each)
Total expenses = P10,864/P2,716 – per head
HOW TO GET THERE
- From Cubao, DLTB (P1,000) and Pintados (1,699) are bus companies that go directly to Matnog for around 14 to 16 hours of travel time.
In our case, from Cubao, we took the bus Cagsawa Bus going to Legazpi City (P800 to P1,200/travel time-11 to 12 hours). Then in Legazpi City terminal we boarded a van (P120/travel time – 1 hour) to Sorsogon town and take the jeepney ride in getting to Matnog port (P90/travel time – 1 & 1/2 hours).
- Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly directly to Legazpi City. From the airport, take a tricycle ride (P50) going to Legazpi terminal and ride a van (P120) going to Sorsogon town. Near Chowking is the jeepney terminal going to Matnog Port (P90).
A friend referred us to Kuya Eddie Evasco for the overnight boat rental. This includes transfer to and from Matnog port and island hopping to three destinations.
The contact number of Kuya Eddie Evasco: 09282538607
P1,600 – for 10 persons – day tour
P2,000 – for 10 persons – overnight
- Pray first for your safety and protection.
- If you prefer the land trip, have enough patience for a long journey.
- Before heading for the boat ride pay the Registration fee and Environmental fees: P70 (adult), P56 (senior citizen), and P320 (foreigner) in the Municipal Tourism Office near the town market in Matnog.
- Bring sunblock protection as it was really hot not only in Subic Beach but also in Juag Lagoon and Tikling Island.
- There are no posh facilities and a grand hotel at Subic Beach, only rooms and cottages.
- You may buy fresh fish, meat, and vegetable in the market in Matnog Port to be cooked on the island for a fee. But please be kind to pay the locals generously because some of them are shy to say their service rate.
- Never insist to go to Calintaan Cave if the boatman tells you not to push with the activity because waves are strong that they will slap you towards the rock walls.
- Apply the “leave no trace” policy.
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