Cagbalete Island – Nilandingan Cove, Quezon for 2D / 1N Trip

Nilandingan Cove

A weekend getaway is what we are always hungry for. As for me, even an overnight trip over the beach, always do the trick. The sand in my feet, the sun in my skin, the salt water we soak with and  the fresh air we breath into as we spend it with our friends relaxes our mind, our soul and our tired body.

Too many options to look for in the Philippines, the usual Zambales will always come into the picture but then we’ve decided to do much more research, and head our way going South this time. Without much time to prepare, and somewhere within the reach from Manila there goes Cagbalete Island from Quezon.  

What’s so special with this island you may ask me. Well, it’s the extreme serenity and calmness of the sea, the uncrowded place for you to stay if you wanted to just laid back, sleep and relax, feel the island life without cellular signal, without electricity and be refreshed from the buzz of the metro.

cagbalete island


Whisper a wish to The Magic Tree

In this blog I’ll share with you all about this trip (how to go, budgets, accommodations, food and tips and learnings we got from this trip)


  • Via Commute 
    • From Cubao terminal, ride a bus to Lucena in Quezon. (The fare is P225.) Travel time would be 3 to 4 hours depending on the traffic but I suggest you leave as early as 5 am.
    • From Lucena Grand Terminal, ride a van going to Mauban port, which will cost you P70.
  • Private Car – There are 2 options.
    • First is through SLEX taking Calamba Exit, continuing to the National Hwy driving thru Calamba, Los Baños, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan to Luisiana all the way to Sampaloc then continue driving along the Sampaloc-Mauban Rd to reach Mauban then turn to Maharlika Hwy then to Quezon Avenue taking the right turn to R. Pansacola St. then left to Gardiner Street then the final right to Mabini Street until you reach the narrow path to the port.
    • Second option is more favorable for those coming from the North which is driving from Quezon City via Visayas Avenue turning left to C5 via Congressional Avenue then left to Aurora Blvd. From Aurora Blvd drive along Marilaque Hwy tracing it all the way to Tanay then to Sta. Maria continuing to Mabitac. Take the Paete-Famy  Diversion Rd and  R5 to Pagsanjan-Cavinti Rd then trace the National Hwy driving all the way to Sampaloc. Follow remaining directions in option 1.

Since we brought a private car with us, you have the option to park it just within Mauban Port with the rate of P200 / night. Parking is everywhere and you’ll surely get your spot if its not peak season.

Mauban Port

This is where you enter as soon as you get to Mauban Port. According to locals it gets busy here on peak season and very crowded. You just have to follow different steps as it is well organized as well.

Mauban Port

Step 1 – Resort Booking Package Tour // Initially there were numerous resort in Cagbalete Island, you have to decide in advance where you plan to stay, there were tables on the side with different resort personnel open for inquiries and bookings.

Before we head to Cagbalete we already booked a cabin room at Nilandingan Cove. It was the farthest but we decided to stay there thinking that the first set of resort is booked and crowded already.

Step 2 – Register –  everyone needed to register by writing all details of the tourists.

Step 3 – Pay Environmental Fee – a P50 pesos / person environmental fee should be settled

Counter 3 // Environmental Fee

Step 4 – Book for transport // You have 2 options whether to take the Public Boat or hire a private boat to take you to the resort of your choice.

Public Boat will take you from Mauban Port to Sabang Port only (P70 / pax) time varies on a scheduled trip only. // 7:00AM and 9:30AM from Mauban Port and 9:15 AM, 11:15AM and 3:00PM from Cagbalete to Mauban. And from Sabang Port you still needed to ride a motorbike to take you to your desired resort.

While a tourist boat is available anytime from 7:00AM – 5:00PM. If you are in a big group, I suggest you go for a private boat in that case, you may be transported directly to your resort destination. Rate cost is dependent on the number of passenger and to where you are heading. What’s good with the Private Boat is the fact that you get to decide what time you’ll leave the island the following day. Rather than adjusting with the Public Boat Schedule.

Mauban Port to Nilandingan Cove (1.5 hrs) – Direct

PRIVATE BOAT c/o Tourism Office
*Any time between 7AM and 5PM daily.

Capacity One-way Round-trip
1-2 pax PHP 1,000 PHP 1,500
3-5 pax PHP 1,500 PHP 2,000
6 pax PHP 2,000 PHP 2,500
7-8 pax PHP 2,500 PHP 3,000
9-11 pax PHP 3,000 PHP 3,500
12-14 pax PHP 3,500 PHP 4,000
15-17 pax PHP 4,000 PHP 4,500
Cagbalete Boat Schedule and Rate

After securing the payment for the boat ride. We started to sail the ocean for more than an hour and a half travel time.

On the way to Nilandingan

Water shifted from this dark blue ocean view.


To this clear blue water on the way to Nilandingan Cove.


Welcome to Nilandingan Cove

Feast yourself with the serene beach area, a relaxing ambiance to stay. Hammocks are everywhere, lie everywhere, walk and relax your hearts out as you enjoy the view. It was Summer of May when we visited and was amazed that there were only 3 other groups booked in the resort. We felt like we own the island for the day.


Pink Sunsets in Cagbalete
The Magic Tree

By morning, the beach area goes low-tide from 9AM – 12NN. By that time you get to see another unique feature of Nilandingan Cove: The Magic Tree. Surrounding the coast of Cagbalete are swamps filled with Bakawan or Bacauan Trees (Asian mangroves). However, this lone balete tree managed to survive while submerged in water for half a day.

With The Magic Tree

Locals say that you can whisper a wish to the tree to make it come true. Wonder what I wished for?  hahaha! *to more travel destinations.low tide in Nilandingan


In Nilandingan Cove, they do not have a restaurant should you wish to dine. They only have canned goods (corned beef, maling, century tuna respectively and rice) Initially, we bought in advance from Mauban Port (rice, roasted chicken and utensils and water) and good thing, since they do not have other food other than that. Me and my friends do not usually buy raw food and cook it in the island haha! we always wanted the easier way for as long as we could afford it. We never compromised comfort with cost and the hassle it will lead us for our vacation getaway.

They have grilling area should you wish to cook food on your own. By morning and lunch time we just bought the same food hahah! *not complaining we were just expecting for seafoods sana hahah!



Good thing there are tables within the resort that serves as dining area.

Accommodations & Facilities

In Nilandingan Cove you have options where to stay, they have tent rentals or you may stay in cabin room type. Rates are as follows :

Mushroom Nipa: PHP 1,500 (for day trip)
Cabin: PHP 2,500/night (4-5 pax)
Cove Cottage: PHP 3,000/night (5-6 pax)
Tent with Mattress, Pillows and Blanket: PHP 600/night (1-2 pax)
*Tents good for up to 6 persons are also available.

Since we are 5 in the group, decided to stay in a cabin room, electric fan room only. It has mattress and pillows available. //P2,500 per night. This is how it looks like :

Cabin Room Type


inside the room



Here’s the public comfort room. It was just fine and okay, it has water supply so no need to worry about.



It just gets dark after 6PM since electricity is limited to the Cabin Rooms only (where electric fan and your gadget charging is available) Electricity Supply is only from 6PM – 6AM everyday.  Should you be staying in tent, charging rates applies in the main room area of the resort.


Here’s other rates and services Nilandingan Cove offers to its guests.

NIlandingan Cove Rates

Other Notes : 

  • From this entire trip, we managed to spent less than 2,000 pesos each for the entire stay.
  • The place is perfect for anyone who wanted extreme calmness and quietness to relax and ponder thinking (*I guess :p )
  • Have I learned this place when I was broken hearted I could have considered this place to visit (*hahahaha!)
  • There was nothing much to do in this island, and that I tell you would be the reason for you to visit this place.
  • 4 hours ride away from Manila, a Bus and Boat Ride, it was nearer compare to the rest of the beaches in Quezon.
  • The pink skies was really enchanting for sunsets
  • Please make sure you have enough supply of food if you wanted to stay in this place.

As a whole, this trip was really relaxing. I get to beach bum for a long period of time and was away from the busy buzz of the Metro for a while.

Let me know your thoughts on this too?


Follow my escapades :

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IG : @nathaliecsalcedo






Hola! Nathalie is your typical city girl who loves the island life, beach, travels, food and adventures. She’ll rather jump off cliffs than watch horror movies, go over beaches than hiking mountains, and never travels without a pashmina. An OC traveler keeping her research and spreadsheets every time she travels and would never say NO to new adventures. Follow her daily escapade @nathaliecsalcedo

17 thoughts on “Cagbalete Island – Nilandingan Cove, Quezon for 2D / 1N Trip

  1. A beach destination like the way it should be. I like that all the houses are made of local bamboo/cane… which gives them a certain allure. And that food platter looks so great although it is very simple.


  2. A weekend getaway to a nice beach, relaxing and swimming, is something I love doing too. You’re fortunate that you’re in the Philippines and you have plenty of options around you to be able to do that. We do have some good beaches here in Dubai but not even one-tenth as many as you guys do. I love your pictures, looks like you had the perfect little getaway.


    1. Hi Medha,

      Nice to hear from you :)) yeah, were lucky for having so many options here in the Philippines.
      Wish you could pay a visit too!
      I’d love to see Dubai on the other hand, maybe in the future.


  3. What a unique place. It is great to have an option to get away from the crowds in Manila. I’m sure Cagbalete Island was incredibly peaceful. That boat journey looks fun too. Does that boat run when the seas get rough though? I could imagine that could make for a very intense journey!


  4. These are great tips for a budget trip to Cagbalete Island. I would love to see the Magic Tree at Nilandingan Cove. The fact that otherwise there isn’t much to do, is a plus for people like me who don’t like tourist crowds.


  5. I love discovering uncrowded places, they seem to be quite rare in our day and age, to Cagbalete Island definitely sounds like a gem. How incredible to have the whole island virtually to yourself, albeit 3 other groups. I could definitely relax in those hammocks all day!

    What a surreal looking landscape though during low tide. The Magic Tress is really interesting – makes for very cool photos!

    Good to know that there’s no restaurant in Nilandingan Cove – canned food sounds pretty good to me though when you’re in Paradise!


  6. You are talking about a weekend getaway but if I was living in Manila I would like to stay in Cagbalete Island forever! A pity that there are no restaurants or bars but YES, this island looks like a cool place to go!


  7. Cagbalete Island looks so pretty and an ideal beach destination without many crowds. The Magic tree interested me the most and those huts too look cute. For sure you gals had a lot of fun. Amazing pictures.


  8. We too look for weekend getaways which are near yet far from the maddening crowds of the city. A place where we can rejuvenate and recharge our batteries. The Philippines is a treasure trove of natural beauty and Cagbalete Island looks like another gem in its array. The fact that it is not crowded and serves as a serene and tranquil place to chill makes it really ideal. So also the location is convenient. I am sure it was a peaceful experience that left you refreshed.


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