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“An Island Paradise...back to nature” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Magalawa Island Armada Resort

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Magalawa Island Armada Resort
Ranked #2 of 4 Palauig B&B and Inns
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“An Island Paradise...back to nature”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2013

Magalawa Island is situated off Palauig,Zambales and a ten minute banca ride took us to Armada Resort from the Oslet Armada compound where secure parking was provided for our car. The resort has been sympathetically developed over the last few years,the bahay kubos and the aircon rooms are spaced well apart to ensure guest privacy. Loud music and videoke is not allowed and we enjoyed the silence in the evening,lazing in a kubo and stargazing. We spent three days and two nights on the island and enjoyed snorkelling from the resort's raft at the coral reef and ate fresh seafood. The staff were on hand every morning to brush and rake the sand and remove any debris that was washed ashore.There was an area fenced with netting in the water to prevent jelly fish from entering and warning signs were posted to advise of safe areas to swim and vinegar was on hand to treat any stings. We did not encounter any jelly fish as their appearance seems to be seasonal related to hagabat,tides.weather etc.
The owners do take the safety of the guests seriously,whilst we were there two foreigners decided to swim across to the mainland opposite the island.One of the helpers constantly blew a whistle to alert the two swimmers and launched a banca to assist them but they were very strong swimmers and did not require assistance but it was a very reassuring gesture.
All in all it was a great and affordable experience which we would highly recommend

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank trencherman1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Quezon City, Philippines
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2013

Originally, we reserved a bahay kubo room without toilet and bath. It looks comfortable and airy but decided to upgrade to their airconditioned room with own toilet and bath as we arrived lunch time and the bahay kubo room was really hot even if the fan was open and the windows are all propped up. On top of that, the public toilets were disgusting and smells really baaad!

Although we did not occupy those areas, we took the liberty of taking pictures as well for the purposes of sharing ;)

NOW, the following feedback is for the airconditioned room with toilet and bath accommodation that we had:

LOCATION:
Although there is an option to bring your car which you can leave at the fish port going to the island, also a roperty of the resort owner, we decided to take public transportation going there. Bus ride from Caloocan City (Metro Manila) to the drop off in Palauig, Zambales takes 6-7 hours. Then you have to take a 15-20 minutes rough road tricycle ride to the fish port. Fish port is sooo untidy - not inviting for tourist. A boat picked us up from the port to Magalawa Island which took 20-30 minutes.

Love
+ It is a small island which means overnight stay is enough. You can actually stay there for just a day. You can walk around the island in just a few hours.

Hate
- Apparently, that island is haven for JELLYFISHES! Resort owner said that at least 1 person per week is stung in that area so they have to have nets put up to prevent jellyfishes from getting into the swimming area. However, they cannot protect you from one during snorkeling.

CUSTOMER SERVICE:
Hate
- NO FIRST AID KIT IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE! I got stung by a jellyfish (Upon researching, it could be a box jellyfish which is endemic in the area.) and it's only then that I found out that I am allergic to jellyfish sting which is fatal! It's not the owner's fault that the area is laden with jellyfishes. What I HATE is that THEY DO NOT HAVE REGULATED EMERGENCY PLANS for jellyfish stings. I mentioned a while ago that resort owners do not have control over the jellyfishes during snorkeling, and since they are aware it is a common incident in the area, a first aid kit should always be in the snorkeling boat. I had to be returned to the island, which takes 20 minutes, before I was given first aid. First aid for jellyfish sting is very easy - Vinegar has to be poured on the stung area which I assume would not sink the boat if they leave one bottle all the time.
- NO BACK-UP MOTOR BOAT! On top of that, they only have 1 motor boat. Apparently, only a motor boat can take the huge waves during that time so I have to endure 3 more hours of the excruciating jellyfish stain to get back to the main land. Then a 2 hour drive from the fish port to the nearest hospital.
- DO NOT AGREE TO DEAL WITH THE YOUNGER SISTER! She was terrible in handling the situation. Since we did not bring a car, we have no ride from the fish port to the hospital, the elder sister promised to give us a ride. Upon arriving at the fish port, we were expecting that someone is waiting for us right away at the fish port since this is an emergency situation but no one was there to take us. I kept on calling the younger sister but she canceled all my calls. After I was able to contact the elder sister, the younger sister called me and said the reason she was not answering my phone calls because she was entertaining a lot of customers!!! During an emergency situation!!! A very very lame excuse!

FYI: A week after the incident, my left foot is still swollen. There are still several open wounds. Damage would have been majorly lessened if I was brought to the hospital faster (Imagine waiting for 3 hours!). I'm out of work for more than a week because of this.

Love
+ The elder sister was really nice and I can feel that she works really hard to ensure that the resort functions well as I've received good feedback from a colleague about her.

Neutral
* I am not even sure if this is something that I should thank them for but I thanked them anyway since the elder sister still chose to assist us. The elder sister offered to give us a ride to the hospital and paid for all the medicines, hospital bills and gave us food on our stay at the hospital. She knew that she was responsible for whatever happens to us which the younger sister obviously failed to recognize.

To be honest, I can put up with all the other things that I mentioned in my HATE lists simply because the accommodations were cheap and obviously it's a budding resort. (FYI: I've been to Anawangin and I enjoyed it big time even if we just stayed in tents and used public toilets and water pumps to take a bath.) EXCEPT for this!

SO GO VISIT THE ISLAND AT YOUR OWN RISK!

ROOM:
Love
+ Since it's a really small island, only a few people were there. Literally a ghost town at night so we were able to sleep well.
+ Bed, beddings and pillows were very comfortable. It did not feel like I slept in a double deck bed.

Hate
- There were no cabinets for stuff. Only a small table to put stuff on. And that's in one of their best room, at least in the room we had.
- There were no mirrors in the bedroom nor in the bathroom.

Neutral:
* You have to bring all toiletries that you need like towels, soap, toothbrush, etc.

FOOD:
Love
+ Seafood was fresh since it's from the area.
+ Mineral water is free for all customers which is available at the dining area.
A local sari-sari store is open which is also owned by the resort owner. Products are limited which was expected since it's a rural area. They sell alcoholic beverages, noodles, local chips and some toiletries in not so affordable rates which was also expected since you can bring anything n the island. Store is open until the owner is still awake which is late at night.

Neutral
- None really. I find the food served ordinary. Nothing outstanding. No Magalawa Island trademark. Cannot choose the menu as well. They will serve what is available.

HOTEL GROUNDS:
Love
+ There are a lot of starfishes that you can see them even when you're not in the water.
+ Lots and lots of huge trees around the area!!!
+ There's plenty of space to have long walks. Rooms are spaced far apart making the area not crowded.
+There were several picnic tables and long chairs found under the trees.
+ There were also small picnic tables and chairs for smaller groups good for night drinks and conversations since shell lamps hang on the trees for lighting.
+ The Sky was very clear - No Smog! You can even see falling stars ;)

Hate
- MOSQUITOES! All of us have several red marks and still very itchy a week after the trip!
- Owner seems not to check the seashores and picnic grounds surrounding the resort. Some areas have plastic bags or garbage every now and then.
- Majority of the seashore have seaweeds so swimming area is very limited.
- Surprisingly, there was no breeze. There was no wind making the night air dull unless you go really near the seashore. Hence, there were several mosquitoes.

Room Tip: Always get the airconditioned room with own toilet and bath!
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank lahinieba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Palauig hotels

Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2013

I took my whole family here, 5 adults and 4 kids using car. The Oslet Armada Compound which is supposed to be a private parking area is actually their area for fishing cargo. It's kinda rough if you have plenty of things to bring when transferring to their boat, don't expect clean berthing area. Good thing their crews are helpful enough to assist you on your luggages. We arrived in the island past 4pm, the wave is kinda rough at this time so expect either wet feet or cloth. We rented the "bahay kubo" with fan that can accomodate up to 6 persons and we set-up our own camping tent for our over night stay. the The place is good for backpackers but not for family with lots of toodlers. Their CR is not well-lighted and you have to use their water pump before you can take a bath or use the urinals. The kids enjoy the beach and the white sand. Good thing the Armada put safety nets for their swimming area. But there are plenty of room for improvement, their solid waste management is not that "solid", dogs are loitering in the area, cottages needs improvement and frequent cleaning, and no wifi in the area.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Alfred_SA_27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
66 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 19, 2012

I took my team from my company i'm working for a time off and some relaxation and bonding to Magalawa Island last November. Magalawa is around 15-30 minutes from the town of Iba, Zambales. We took their 2K per person package which includes a big fan room which can fit 10-16 people and 4 sumptuous meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch). The Island is beautiful and so pristine. Starfishes can be seen in the clear water a few from the beach.

PROS:
1. FOOD! Seafood galore! We were a group of 11 and majority were males. But each and every meal we cannot finish what were serve to us. Crabs, lobsters, Maya-maya, prawns, what can you ask for! For 2K per person, its definitely worth it!
2. The island is very peaceful and relaxing. Perfect for solo travelers, couples, friends and family.
3. Staff and owners are very courteous and accommodating. They will make sure that you are comfortable and adapt to your every needs. The owners, the Armada family, will definitely make sure that your stay will be unforgettable.

CONS:
1. My only recommendation to improve the overall experience is the accommodation. The rooms needs to be renovated and beddings needs to be improved.
2. The small stretch of dirt road going to the fish dock needs improvement from the local government. This may become a problem to some travelers bringing their own cars and may dismay other tourists.

Overall, Magalawa is one of the hidden gem of Zambales. So if you are planning to visit this province, do try to visit this paradise and you will definitely not be disappointed!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Wigel E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
66 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2012

had an overnight trip here with friends last october. overall, the trip was worth. got an overnight package tour here for P2,200/pax in a/c room including 4 meals & snorkling/rafting activity.

PROS:
1) the beach is clean and resort is not too crowded. only a few vacationers were there at the time.
2) the island is easy to reach
3) affordable package tours are available or you could do the planning yourself. entrance fee and use of camp grounds is available for a minimal fee

CONS:
1) the bed in our room was broken & A/c was not working well. they immediately rectified it though and we were transferred to another room.
2) it being an island, electricity is only from 6PM to 7AM. if you need to bathe/use CR other than this times, then you'd need to do it using "tubig poso" at the public CR

overall, the island is worth the travel and i wouldn't mind coming back. but if you have the budget and don't like to rough it, then this island is not for you.

**there are actually 2 resorts operating in the island of magalawa zambales, armada resort and ruiz resort. both offers package tours and DIY camping. armada just happens to be the more popular one.

Room Tip: there are tents/cottages available but the A/C rooms are still better if you have the budget for it.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank hlim34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Magalawa Island Armada Resort

Property: Magalawa Island Armada Resort
Address: | Palauig, Zambales, Palauig, Luzon, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Luzon > Central Luzon Region > Zambales Province > Palauig
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Palauig

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