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Five hours in Matnog, Sorsogon: Island Hopping in Matnog

A quiet town at the southernmost tip of Luzon mainland, Matnog keeps its rural distinctiveness with a number of eccentric attractions, including virgin beaches, natural hot springs and an ocean brimming with fishes. Matnog is a hundred and eighteen kilometers south of Legazpi City and serves as a gateway to the best nature destinations in Sorsogon. While it takes around two hours to get there in our handy Honda, every kilometer on the road felt like warm fuzzies. The smooth road and the breathtaking sights made our travel a delight.

 

Matnog-Sorsogon-Island-Hopping-Tikling-4

 

April 18, 2019 — A pink sand beach, a lone island, a cave pool, and a fish sanctuary made up the first item in our Sorsogon day tour itinerary. For long trips like this, it is only natural to secure a handful of contacts and book tour services prior to arrival. However, due to the peak season, I did not have the privilege of reserving a boatman as most of them who were recommended on travel blogs were already booked. Fortunately, I discovered that the boatman operators do not necessarily have to be accredited to run their own Matnog island hopping tour. It turned out that walk-in guests are very much welcome, too.

Where there are tourists, it is likely that a mob of boatmen will emerge, just like what happened to me and my group upon our arrival at Matnog Port. We were approached by a man who offered us a day tour for ₱2,000. After turning down about three bidders, a few of them preferred to keep a watch on us from afar. Some claimed to be associated with a tourism office at Matnog Port while the others say they are a part of another office at Subic Beach.

Of course, I did not give up on my search for a reliable tour operator. I stumbled upon the contact information of Kuya Eddie Evasco on another travel website which was last updated in 2017 (Currently, he is the village officer in Brgy. Camcaman, Matnog and the head of the Boat Operators in Matnog Port).

The lack of recent details about Matnog worried me, but then it was a pleasant surprise to know that two years didn’t change the ways of this town that much. Since 2015, the standard rate of the 4-hour (on average) island hopping day tour is at ₱1,600. For an overnight island stay, ₱2,000. It utilizes a motor-powered boat rental that can accommodate up to 10 persons max and covers four attractions namely Tikling Island, Subic Beach, Juag Lagoon and Calintaan Cave.

 

Receiving area of the boatmen association in Matnog.

 

 

After getting a parking space (₱150/day), we went to the port area to register at Kuya Eddie’s boatmen association. On top of the island tour fee, we settled the registration fee (₱50/head) and the environmental fee (₱20/head). We still had time to go to the market and buy snacks for the tour while we waited for our assigned boat. It didn’t take long before they came and finally, we sailed into the sea.

 

 

Tikling Island

In just fifteen minutes, we were already off the boat and onto the fine sands of Tikling Island. Our boatman suggested that we visit this one before the waves get stronger. Surprisingly, despite being exposed to direct sunlight all day, the shore of Tikling Island wasn’t scorching.

The island is a paradise not heavily modified by commercial tourism. Its crystal clear waters, creamy pink-ish sands and a refreshing view of mother nature are not to be taken for granted. If you’re the curious one, you may even spot a wild boar just roaming around the bushy area.

 

Matnog Tikling Island

Matnog Tikling Island

 

The island is privately owned and managed. There are caretakers, dwelling on native huts, who maintain the area. The management requires no entrance fee to set foot on the island but donations are encouraged.

 

 

Juag Lagoon

Anywhere you go, crowds are anticipated to saturate a tourist destination during the Holy Week season. Even at the waters of Luzon’s southernmost tip, this proves to be true. Inasmuch as we wanted to check out Juag Lagoon, our boat couldn’t find a spot to dock due to the volume of visitors so we decided to skip this one.

 

 

Subic Beach

We went straight to our next stop upon realizing that admission to Juag Lagoon might take longer than expected. Subic Beach, the most popular destination among the four, was waving hello at us from a distance. It has gained its fame due to its pink sands. The unique hue of the coast comes from broken coral pieces left behind by tiny marine creatures with red and pink shells.

 

Matnog Subic Beach

Matnog Subic Beach

 

If there’s a grey-sand beach, a white-sand beach, and a black-sand beach, pink-sand beaches are also a thing. It may not seem obvious in the photo, but in actual, the pinkness of the sand will amaze you.

 

 

Calintaan Cave

The low-key star attraction is situated on the other face of Calintaan Island, which makes it inaccessible for tourists unless they travel via an outrigger boat. It has many underground tunnels passing through its 40-hectare land. Our travel going there took 15 minutes from Subic Beach.

 

Matnog Calintaan Cave

Matnog Calintaan Cave

 

We passed through a short tunnel that first led us to a majestic cave skylight and ultimately, to an open-air cave. My group and I spent forty minutes inside Calintaan Cave Pool and we still feel lovesick about leaving it. The boatmen gave me the impression that Subic Beach was already the highlight of all this, however, I think Calintaan Cave made its way to the top of the list.

 

 

Guide to Matnog Island Hopping

    • For standardized rates, avail of the services of boatmen under Kuya Eddie’s association.
    • Bring food before your island hopping tour. There is a market just nearby the Port of Matnog.
    • You may stay overnight at Subic Beach. Cottages and tents are available for rental.
    • The earliest trip starts at 6am and the last is at 5pm. Tour early to avoid crowding of boats and people.

 

Contact Person/s

Boat Service (Island Hopping Tour)

Contact Person: Kuya Eddie Evasco
Mobile Number: (0926) 1404577, (0928) 2538607

 

Itinerary and Budget

April 17, 2019 3:30 AM Travel to Legazpi from Cavite About ₱850-950/head (bus fare)
8:30 PM Check in to Selvina’s Hotel in Sorsogon City ₱2,300/room(max of 4)
April 18, 2019 5:00 AM Wake up, prepare
6:00 AM Travel to Matnog port
7:15 AM ETA at Matnog port, register at the boatment association ₱150/parking space (day); ₱200/parking space (overnight) ₱1,600/boat (rental for island daytour); ₱2,000/boat (rental for overnight island stay); ₱50/head (registration fee); ₱20/head (environmental fee)
8:20 AM ETD to Tikling Island (donation)
8:35 AM ETA at Tikling Island Donation may be given.
9:15 AM ETD to Subic Beach
9:40 AM ETA at Subic Beach ₱500-₱600/cottage (day tour)
10:05 AM ETD to Calintaan Cave
10:20 AM ETA at Calintaan Cave
11:00 AM ETD to Juag Lagoon
11:15 AM ETA Juag Lagoon, straight to jump-off
11:30 AM ETA boatman association office, wash up
12:15 PM Stop by Ateng Liza Bulalohan, eat lunch
1:00 PM ETD to Bulusan Volcano Park
2:30 PM ETA at Bulusan Volcano Park ₱20/person (entrance fee for adult); ₱15/person (entrance fee for kid)
3:15 PM ETD to Irosin hot springs
4:00 PM ETA at Irosin Tropical hot springs ₱20/person (entrance fee for adult)
6:00 PM ETD to Legazpi City
8:00 PM ETA at Legazpi, eat dinner at Biggs
9:30 PM ETD to find hotel
9:45 PM ETA at Avia Inn, check in ₱1,200/room (max of 4 pax)
April 19, 2019 6:00 AM Wake up, prep, eat breakfast
8:35 AM ETD to Daraga Church
8:45 AM ETA at Daraga Church
9:00 AM ETD to Embarcadero
9:20 AM ETA at Embarcadero
9:35 AM ETD Bicol Heritage Park
10:00 AM ETA at Bicol Heritage Park
10:10 AM ETD to Cagsawa Ruins
10:30 AM ETA at Cagsawa Ruins ₱20/person (entrance fee for adult); ₱15/person (entrance fee for kid); ₱30/parking space
11:15 AM ETD to Sumlang Lake
11:15 AM ETA Sumlang Lake / ETD to Cagraray
1:00 PM ETA at Cagraray Eco Park ₱25/person (entrance fee)
1:45 PM ETD Daraga
3:00 PM ETA First Colonial Legazpi, eat late lunch
4:00 PM ETD to Naga City
6:45 PM ETA at Naga City, check-in at Centro Square Hotel ₱1,200/room (good for 3 pax), ₱600/extra bed
April 20, 2019 5:30 AM Wake up, prep
6:45 PM Check out hotel, travel back to Cavite
7:00 PM ETA home

 

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