Tucked in the southern edge of Quezon, the towns of Padre Burgos and Pagbilao face Tayabas Bay, a channel that separates mainland Luzon and Marinduque. This side of Quezon is only four to five hours away, even shorter than it would take to reach Pangasinan and Baguio.

The towns’ waters are freckled with islets that until recently were hardly known to the travel-thirsty Manila-dwellers. Two of these small islands are Borawan and Dampalitan, both in Padre Burgos. In Pagbilao, a favorite among beach-lovers is Puting Buhangin, a short stretch of white sand that fringes a nook of the mainland.

Kuwebang Lampas, Pagbilao, Quezon
Kuwebang Lampas, Pagbilao, Quezon

How to Get There by Public Transportation

Although we availed the services of a budget travel agency for this trip, let me share you how to get to this place from Manila by public transport.

  1. Ride a bus to Lucena City. There are many terminals in Metro Manila that go to Lucena. Fare is somewhere between P250-260. Travel time: 3 hours.
  2. Alight at Lucena Grand Terminal.
  3. From the terminal, take another bus to Unisan. The bus is not air-conditioned and fare is around P35-40. Travel time: 1 and a half hours.
  4. Get off at QCRB Bank (Padre Burgos) or ask the driver to drop you off here.
  5. Take a tricycle to Aplaya. Tell the driver you intend to go to Borawan.
  6. There are boats for rent in Aplaya. These boats can take you on an island-hopping tour with stops in Puting Buhangin (Pagbilao), Dampalitan Island and Borawan Island. P2000, good for 10 pax.

Places to Visit in Padre Burgos and Pagbilao, Quezon

Boats from Padre Burgos port will take you to the following islands. All these can be visited in one day but you might want to consider spending the night in one of the islands. The photos below will lead you to more specific posts about the destination.

Borawan Island
Borawan Island

Dampalitan Island
Dampalitan Island

Puting Buhangin, Pagbilao
Puting Buhangin, Pagbilao

Kuwebang Lampas, Pagbilao
Kuwebang Lampas, Pagbilao

 

A Word of Caution

Borawan was such a paradise during my visit. Crowded, as it was summer when I was there, but still a paradise. Today, however, I have heard many unsavory comments about its once pristine shore. Borawan’s bed of sand is narrow; there’s really not much beach to move around. I can totally see how it could have jumped from crowded to mega-uber-crowded especially during peak season (April-May). A blogger friend who recently paid a visit complained of murky water and trash.

Also, jellyfish are believed to abound in the area. During my visit in the summer of 2011, I saw too many of them around Borawan. I’m not sure whether it has been addressed because I had not returned in three years. Dampalitan is much safer for swimming because there’s a net protecting swimmers from the jellies.

 

Where to Stay in Padre Burgos or Pagbilao

There are no resorts or hotels in Borawan and Dampalitan Islands but overnight camping is allowed. If you’re not the type who gets too excited about camping, there are several resorts in the mainland that you may opt to stay at. Here’s a short list of what that I have gathered:

  • Silangang Nayon Restaurant and Resort.  Located in Pagbilao, it is a common stop among Bicol-bound road-trippers who are eager to have a taste of their scrumptious Pinoy seafood dishes. They have only a small number of rooms available so if you’re going in the peak season, make reservations in advance. Contact numbers: (042) 7160077, 0922 8867677
  • Tamarind Tree Resort. This is probably the most well-known resort in Padre Burgos. This beach resort provides accommodations that come in the form of private huts and cottages. The cheapest room they have costs P550/night while the priciest P1250/night. To inquire or book, email them at thetamarind3@gmail.com.
  • Villa Anita Resort. What sets it apart? Its pretty garden setting. It even boasts a butterfly garden that children might find delightful. Cheapest room is a non-airconditioned nipa hut at P800 per night and the most expensive is the 8-bed dorm for P4000. Contact numbers: (042) 716 0326, 0921 524 0110

But again, if you think you’re up for a camping trip, why not? Camping not only reduces the cost, it also makes you more appreciative of the islands, thus bringing you closer to nature. All you need is a tent and some easy-to-prepare food products.



 

Sample Overnight Camping Itinerary

Here’s a sample itinerary. This is what we followed for our trip.

Day 1:
0300 – Assembly time
0330 – ETD Manila
0700 – ETA Padre Burgos
0800 – ETA Puting Buhangin and Kwebang Lampas
1200 – Lunch
1500 – ETD Puting Buhangin
1530 – ETA Borawan Beach; pitch camp
1800 – Dinner
1900 – Socials

Day 2:
0600 – Wake up call
0700 – Breakfast
0900 – Breakup camp
1000 – ETA Dampalitan Beach
1200 – Lunch
1400 – ETA Campo, Padre Burgos
1500 – ETD Campo, Padre Burgos
2000 – ETA Manila

 

Tips for Weekend Overnight Camping

Since it is a camping trip, preparations must be made. Our agency would provide us with tents and meals so we didn’t worry about those.

Dampalitan Island
Dampalitan Island

They also arranged our land transfers and boat rides. But here are some things that you need to bring for the trip and why.

  • Toiletries and sunblock – The usual. There are stores in the islands but expect that items are a bit overpriced so better bring shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper and wet wipes. There are public toilets on Dampalitan Island but water is a bit scarce.
  • Mosquito-repellant lotion – Lots of them because some of your friends will forget to bring and will ask you to share. There are mosquitoes on the islands. Better be safe than sick.
  • Flashlight – I swear, you’ll need it. There’s no electricity there.
  • Lighter and lots of stories – You’ll be tempted to start a bonfire and you will need the lighter to start the fire and conversations to keep it burning. LOL.
  • First-aid Kit – You’ll never know.
  • Snorkeling Gear – We didn’t see live corals there but there were lots of fish and they were so nice to watch.
  • Water-proof camera – Kuwebang Lampas (in Putting Buhangin) is awesome but the water going there is deep. If you want pictures inside the cave, a waterproof camera will prove very useful.

Budget Breakdown

Here’s a list of fees and other expenses that you should expect.

Boat Tour Rates (Good for 8pax):
P800 – Borawan Beach only (round trip)
P1800 – Borawan + Dampalitan + Puting Buhangin

Borawan Beach
Entrance Fee: P80
Tent Rental: P500
Cottage Rental: P700-P850
Tent Pitching Fee: P200
Shower Use Fee: P20
Restroom Fee: P10

Puting Buhangin
Entrance Fee: P80
Tent Rental: P300-400

Dampalitan Island
Entrance Fee: P60
Tent Pitching Fee: P100
Hut Rental: P850-P1000
Water: P40 per 5 gallons, P400/drum
 

Budget Padre Burgos-Pagbilao Travel Packages

If you want to camp but don’t own a tent or don’t want to bother with the logistics, there are several tour operators that organize camping trips in Borawan or Dampalitan for competitive rates. You’ll find some good deals here.

One travel agency that I have tried is 7107 Islands Tour (+63917-627-4945, 7107islandstours@gmail.com). We asked for a quote for 10 people and the price was reasonable. Each of us paid P2800 for the entire trip.

The P2800/pax covered the following:

  • Round-trip Manila-Quezon-Manila transportation (including driver, gas, toll gate)
  • Padre Burgos Tour: Borawan Beach, Dampalitan Beach
  • Pagbilao Tour: Kwebang Lampas, Puting Buhangin
  • Four meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch)
  • Tent accommodation
  • Entrance and guide fees
  • Boat rental

The only things not included were the first breakfast and last dinner. Both would be somewhere along the way. With a travel agency, all you have to do is show up and the agency would take care of everything else. This is especially convenient for those big barkada trips and reunion trips for it would enable you to just relax and enjoy one another’s company without worrying about anything else. If you’re alone or a party of two, try to join another group to reduce the cost, unless you want a private boat.

There you have it. I’ll be updating this travel guide when I visit this part of Quezon again.

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Yoshke Dimen

Yoshke Dimen

Captain Dreamer at PhilippineBeaches.org
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 Philippine Blog Awards and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen

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  • quixotic

    we also went there last april and spent only Php2,000 each for the same package. we got ours from wowtrippers.com.:-)

  • kay

    can you comment on the food provided? how was it…what usually is their menu…thanks…my barkada is planning on going to that place…

    • The Poor Traveler

      Hi Kay, it was actually very good. Nothing fancy, just grilled fish, grilled liempo, ensaladang mangga, adobo… but they tasted good. :)

  • Tinakits

    I went to Pagbilao before and it was a good one for a quick getaway. Your website is very informative for me and my friends whom, we can say, are “poor travellers”, too. Keep up the good work!!!

    • The Poor Traveler

      Thanks Tinakits! Balik ka dito ha. 😀

  • Pingback: Puting Buhangin and Kuwebang Lampas | Padre Burgos-Pagbilao, Quezon Camping Trip (2/5) | The Poor Traveler()

  • The Poor Traveler

    10 people. :)

  • Pingback: Padre Burgos-Pagbilao, Quezon Camping Trip | Summary and Expenses (5/5) | The Poor Traveler()

  • DealerPlays

    Sir, question lang po. My girlfriend and I are planning to go to Borawan. ask ko lang kung practical ba na mag hire kami ng travel agency kung dalawa lang kami? and do you have any idea kung magkano budget na kailangan para sa aming dalawa. Thank you!

    • The Poor Traveler

      Hello! If you guys are OK with sharing the boat and van with other tourists, then yes, I think it will be more convenient to just hire a travel agency that works in a big group mechanism (meaning, you will be merged with other groups to cut the cost). It will also allow you more time to enjoy the scenery and explore the place coz you won’t have to worry about the food and pitching camp coz the agency will do them for you. :)

  • Anonymous

    Hi! Im just wondering if we will travel with a private car, is the road to Borawan safe? Are there rough roads?

    Thanks.

  • pensyn

    Hi! We are planning to go to Borawan by a private car. I would like to know if the road to Padre Burgos is safe or are there any rough roads we will encounter?

    Thanks.

    • The Poor Traveler

      Aaaw. I wish I could answer your question but I was asleep most of the time. But I didn’t notice any rough road. Or maybe I was just asleep. :(

      • Anonymous

        not rough roads,zigzag road,but its okey,its safe.dala po namin,jeepney.isang buong pamilya po kami na madaming kids na kasama.sa borawan po kami nag over nyt.next day kami nag island hoping.saputing buhangin nag lunch,then nag hop lang sa dampalitan.parang mas ok sa dampalitan mag overnyt,kasi me mga cottages.at me tubig maski mahal.me open cottages naman sa borawan.pero ang presyo,mukhang mahal sa klase ng cottages.ok naman ung borawan.na enjoy naman namin stay.lalo na ung mga apo kong magugulo.super tipid nga lang sa tubig.nga pala,nagdala kami kalan ihawan at mga lulutuing pagkain.d kasi namin kaya ung package tour.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marians.cake Marian Masangcay Galang

    Look alike ng boracay

  • dcpb

    Hi. Sino pwede macontact if ayaw namin ng travel agency? Same pa rin ba magagastos namin for transpo if commute?

    • http://www.yoshke.com yoshke

      Hi dcpb! If you do not wish to hire a travel agency, you can simply go there. I wrote about how to get there by public transportation in the post. When you get there, you can rent a boat to take you to the island.

  • bibi

    I hope other options are considerable, if your not biting the the travel agency

    • http://www.yoshke.com yoshke

      Hi Bibi! Yes, you can try a do-it-yourself trip. Directions to the islands are in the post. You can simply rent a boat when you reach the pier.

  • don jansen eda

    may entrance fee pba sa borawan????
    and how much??? kng magpupunta po from manila to borawan how much po ang budget??? balak kc namin mga two days po kami???

  • Ellie Samson

    borawan, dampalitan and puting buhangin island.
    need boat rent and assistant??
    just call this numbers 09476142289 , 09356618597 and look for noime.
    thanks and have fun :))

  • http://www.thedeksbook.blogspot.com dppelino

    This is definitely a good read! :)
    I actually visited Borawan with my travel buddies and it was a fantastic experience!

    http://thedeksbook.blogspot.com/2015/02/borawan-sweet-survival-escape.html

  • PJ

    Hi, my group had been to borawan, puting buhangin, kwebang lampas and dampalitan we we had availed very cheap package including buffet meals with different sets of ulam from pork to sea foods and veggies as well. It’s an all in package too but we chose to commute instead of having the car.

    Better try their longganisang Lucban and mangga and bagoong (mouth watering)

    They also accommodate solo or group and price per pax depends on how many are you in the group. The good thing is that they are accommodating and you can haggle things and prices just be nice. The boat is big enough compare to the other boat we’ve seen during our island hopping so it’s safe enough.

    A do it your own travel in padre burgos is little cheaper around 500 pesos unlike the package we have but i must say that it is hassle free. Try it for you to enjoy the summer.

    I just noticed that Borawan is a bit pricey based on the posted tarpaulin (lahat may bayad)

    Here is our contact 09157165645. They also arrange boat rentals.

    • Kc

      hi, hm po kaya magagastos per pax? :))

  • Lori Llamado

    i read a blog that said “bawat kembot may bayad sa borawan” :)

  • Lucita Guy

    Sana, yong mga magagandang beach resorts sa atin ay hindi mga over price! Buti pa sa US pwede pang makaligo ang mga mahihirap at mga mayayaman sa mga magagandang beach dahil hindi pwedeng bakuran ang mga ito. Ang mga resort ay kailangan dumestansya sa dagat. Kawa naman ang ating mga kababayan, kahit nga galing kami sa abroad, hindi naman namin ma afford ang sobrang dollar price!

  • Micco

    Hi guys! Planning to go to borawan island or to dampalitan island? Check my newly uploaded travel video on youtube! For more virtual reference! Thanks! Feel free to share and subscribe! Here’s the link. http://youtu.be/al5GC8S9B8M

  • erratic

    Tanong… kapag nagcacamp, how do you keep your valuables safe? O.o Kailangan ba talagang may maiiwan na tao sa tent? -.-‘

  • anna monteclaro

    Hi po ..magkanu po kaya pede nmin maging budget kung diy kmi??tnx po

  • Jhobabelle De Guzman

    Hi.. my husband and i are planning to go to borawan island by this up coming july by do it your self trip and we also have our own tent and utensils to cook our food… questions lng po kasi hindi nakainclude if hm yong fare sa boat per person or need talagang irent yong boat? And what if po diretcho to borawan island lang po kami at wala ng tour hm po will cost us? And my mga mabibilhan po ba ng food don? S mismong borawan island O bring your own food talaga? And if ever po na may isusugest kayo na mas preferred na lugar alin po mas convenient na pagstayan na island is it borawan,dampalitan or puting buhangin???Thanks hoping for your response it will be a big help again thanks