Magalawa Island, Philippines. Part #1


Magalawa is an island barangay lying 6 kilometers, northwest of the Poblacion. Surrounding the island is the vast China Sea. Beyond the north is the San Salvador Island of Masinloc and on the east is Sitio Luan, Lipay. It is known for beautiful beaches. Magalawa is 56 hectares in area.

Although the island is surrounded by the sea potable water is abundant within the island and uses jetmatic and pitcher pumps. The main source of livelihood is fishing and some are engaged in shell craft industry. There is a complete primary school with two teachers. No rice is planted in this area, so the people resort in buying everything they need except fish. Coco trees and century trees are abundant also.

Magalawa is one of the 19th barangay in the municipality of Palauig, Province of Zambales, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 370 people in 71 households.


There are 2 resorts at the island: Armada Resort (western side) and Ruiz Resort (eastern side). There’s an ongoing legal dispute between these two. Though their accommodations are more rustic, I chose Ruiz because THEY ARE THE ORIGINAL OWNERS and have the land title and court approval to prove it. But my friends chose Armada resorts. So, we ended up staying at Armada. However, they’re much nicer too. According to guests who’ve been to Ruiz, they’re much cheaper. But, what matters is I enjoyed my exploration!


For my own convenience, I brought my own tent. Besides, it’s more adventurous. If you’re bringing a large group of people. My advice, you can bring your own tent and rent a small cottage for a personal used like private bathrooms.

Ruiz Resort Information:

  • Address: Magalawa Island, Palauig, Zambales
  • Contact No: 09294670505
  • Room Rates: PHP 1200 ($25) per night
  • Tent for Rent: PHP 300 ($2-3)

Armada Resort Information:


Click the picture for a better view.

FOOD Information

Because there aren’t any restaurants in the island, you can either bring canned goods/ instant stuff or fresh meat and rice for cooking (don’t forget the charcoal!). There are cooking stations at the beach. Cookware can be borrowed for free.

Alternatively, you can have someone else cook food for you. P200 ($2-3) cook fee, food not included.  They also have a store on the island, we asked around for the store and they have it at the small village. If you’re traveling in a group, take the P1,500 ($25-30) per day a package with full-board meals for convenience.

Overall, I spent less than P1,000 ($25) for this trip. It would be better if you buy some fresh fish/ sea shells from the beach, bring your own food, drinks and a tent.

Bonfire setting is prohibited to protect the sands.


Mangrove forest. About 2-3 hours walking and exploring around the island. You may also pass by the small village of Magalawa. Lovely, tranquil place to spot egrets.


Click the picture for a better view.

San Salvador Island. Visible to the east from Magalawa Island. Accessible via a 10-minute boat ride from Magalawa, San Salvador is home to various taklobo (giant clams) species and a small coral garden as well. Two-way trip costs P1,000 plus P200 maintenance fee for the island’s caretakers. You can also ask someone for offer free rides if he’s headed to the island (for fishing, I presume), so do ask beforehand.


Matalvis Island. Not sure if this one’s open for visitors as it’s a titled land for sale, but you might want to ask the people who lives there. It’s the island near Luan Port, across San Salvador.

Potipot Island. Though farther than Magalawa, Potipot is more popular and more frequented by tourists. It is a small 7-kilometer island located off the coast of Uacon in Candelaria, two towns further north. Accessible in a one to two-hour land trip from Palauig, plus a 5-minute boat ride from any resort in Uacon.



Floating Cottage. Both Ruiz and Armada resorts have roofed floating cottage for rent (P100/ $2-3 per balsa), which many use when snorkeling in the deeper parts of the beach and when you want to eat lunch or dinner.

Sight-seeing. The scenery is just spectacular! You can just walk around and take photographs.


Ride on a boat. There are plenty of boats. You can ask someone to borrow or rent it. As for me, we we’re so lucky because I borrowed the small boat. We did canoeing on a small boat. People are very nice and friendly.


Camping. It brings you closer to the nature.


Relaxation. You can sit or lay down the sand, take some nice glowing sun tan, take a nap and enjoy.


Snorkeling. There’s an amazing coral garden just 10 meters off shore (fronting Ruiz Resort). Vests and the snorkeling gear you need to rent for P100 ($2-3) per head for 1 hour.


Volleyball. There’s a volleyball net at the back of the beach cottages, fronting the toilet. Usage is free.

Click the picture for a better view.


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