The Philippines at its Best – Island Hopping around Matnog

Matnog-5299First of all my apologies for not having kept those updates coming lately. As some of you might now, my laptop had to get fixed in Kuala Lumpur about two weeks ago. Apparently the guy at the repair shop didn’t do a good job since my machine broke down again by the beginning of this week. Such a bummer and more money wasted for the repair. But I am happy it is working again and hope this time it will last for longer than about a week.
Anyhow, before closing my Philippines chapter with the final roundup, I wanted to post one more article which could be a showcase for all the great things about this amazing country. Good friends, friendly locals, great beaches, turquoise waters and a trillion of pristine islands.

Beach Paradise on Tikling Island
I got invited to join a few of my local friends for an island hopping trip starting from the town of Matnog, situated on southern tip of the province of Sorsogon. I did a good amount of island hopping back in Palawan and actually got a little bit bored of it. This time should be different though. We had the boat chartered exclusively for ourselves and left early with clear skies and the sun shining. The vibe was great and we were anxious to make it to the first island. It was just a quick stop on a small getaway named Tikling Island. Our captain picked up some fish for lunch and we took the chance and went swimming and strolling along the beach. It was beautiful – white sand, a calm and turquoise ocean chopping its gentle waves on the pristine beach. There was basically no one else on the island – it was like paradise.

Beer, Beach and Barbecue 

The next stop was another island, this time a little bigger, named Calintaan with its well known Subic Beach. The beach is a getaway for local tourists but even there, we shared this paradise with only a few other day-trippers. The beach was lined with white pieces of coral which made it very special. A little bit set back, a few fishermen had their settlement. They were going about their daily business, repairing nets or preparing flags for the beachfront decoration.  Kids were playing airily in the water and fisher-boats occasionally coming in and going out. The atmosphere was so relaxed and serene.

At the same time our captain and his helper started to prepare our food. Pork barbecue and freshly caught grilled fish with rice and vegetables. At the time it was done, everyone was starving and happy to dig in. We all shared the food, ate with our fingers and got to know each other better. The food was delicious and of course we finished all of it. everyone was pretty much full but someone brought up the idea of having a few cold beers afterwards. Sounded good and since there was no shop on the island, our captain took a small banka and fetched a few cold ones back at Matnog. So great and needless to say that the ice-cold beer was very refreshing and went down very smoothly.

Pork and Fish Barbecue at the Beach with good Friends.

Pork and Fish Barbecue at the Beach with good Friends.

After another stop at a hidden lagoon and some cliff jumping it was already time to head back home. It was late in the afternoon and everybody was feeling tired after so much time out in the sun and of course the share of beer in the heat of the day. Slowly we were chugging back to Matnog harbor, the sun still out and the ever present Bulusan Volcano in sight.

Back to Matnog with Mt. Bulusan in the back.

Back to Matnog with Mt. Bulusan in the back.

Last thoughts …
The island hopping around Matnog was a big surprise for me. In the end, it is not on the tourist map and not mentioned thoroughly in the popular guidebooks. Hence I didn’t know what to expect. But it was great and definitely comparable to the trips I did on Palawan. Some may say even better which almost seems like blasphemy. But the main advantage it has there is the lack of mass tourism. Palawan was crazy touristy and crowded compared to the trip we did here. Hence for me it was way more enjoyable. I just like to escape and dodging the crowds – makes every trip more worthwhile. So if you are in the Sorsogon area, make sure to book one of those trips. Definitely a highlight.

A little bit out of the correct order, this article marks the preliminary end of my adventure in the Philippines. It’s been great and probably one of the best trips of my life. The next posts will come out of Bali, Indonesia but before I will sum up the last 3 months in my regular Roundup-Report. Make sure to stay tuned. I hope the laptop stays alive for longer this time.

Categories: The Philippines | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “The Philippines at its Best – Island Hopping around Matnog

  1. Some great photos there, especially the beach shots. Makes me want to visit the Philippines again. Love the colours in the photos too.

  2. Really like the colours in the photos, especially the beach shots. Makes me want to visit the Philippines again. Good selection of photos too.

    • Hey Jeri, thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate that. It is weird, sometimes I go to places and I can’t take any good pictures. Either the location isn’t right or I am lacking inspiration or just the desire to take pictures. ere everything came together. I took heaps of great pictures in such a short time. It was a lucky day I guess….

  3. The Philippines looks so inviting it is definitely on my list of places to visit. Great photos. I LOVE the look of that sea.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hey Chili, thanks for your feedback. Glad you like the photos. If you have the chance, go visit the the Philippines. You won’t regret it – it is so great.

  4. TheBlackTwig

    Amazing photos and adventure! I’m sharing this. And thank you for sharing.

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hey Twiggy, thanks for your feedback and sharing this. I really appreciate it.

  5. It was fun following your adventures around the archipelago. Hope you will visit the island again in the near future. Can’t wait for your next destination, Indonesia right?

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Mikaela, thanks for following my trip around the Philippines. It’s been epic and definitely one of the best trips I’ve ever done. Next destination is Indo for some serious surfing in Bali and traveling to some of the more remote islands. First post is in the pipeline ….. Greetings from the island of gods, Philipp

  6. sunrise4uk

    true paradise – few people – only the sounds of nature and it pure beauty – thanks for sharing!

    • Philipp Dukatz

      Hi Anja, it is a true paradise. nd the fact that there are only a few people makes it the best. Thanks for stopping by and all the best. Greetings from Bali, Philipp

      • sunrise4uk

        Enjoy yourself Phillip!!!

      • Philipp Dukatz

        Thanks Anja, I will try to do so ….. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Reblogged this on arthurmivule97 and commented:
    Wow!! This is so beautiful. Should take a trip.

    • Hey, thanks for the re-blogging and glad you liked the post. If you have the chance, definitely try to make the trip. Just awesome.

  8. rowena salvador

    great. Thank you for this post about Matnog’s subic beach

  9. kathleen

    this is really amazing, i have a lot of friends in matnog but i was not able to visit them, hope i can go there is summer season of 2014 to see my friends and all of these beautiful beaches i have in my dream.

    • Sure, I hope it will work out. Let me know if you make it there and show me some of the pictures. It is so nice there. Have a good night, Philipp

  10. Hey Phillip. Really enjoying your blog. We are Canadian living in Korea and have a two week vacation coming up in late January. We’ve been through a lot of Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia and are planning on spending this trip in the Philippines. We are pretty set on Palawan but there just seems to be so many other great options. After reading your comments on how touristy Palawan is, we are having second thoughts. From your experience, what would you suggest for a two week trip. We don’t want to be moving around too much and would like to limit ourselves to two destinations.
    Thanks a ton from busanbyday…


    • Hi Aren, two weeks are really not a whole lot for the Philippines. It really needs to be planned well I think and it will definately involve one or two domestic flights. We have seen some amazing places but a lot of those are a little out of the way and it would take to reach them. Time that you don’t have since you want to get the most out of your holiday.
      So, I know that I ranted a little bit about Palawan. But first, we were there during peak season. And second, I can be a little too picky about places being touristy. Palawan is still amazingly beautiful and there is lots to do. And especially for a two week holiday it is a great destination. To add a little bit of contrast, I would add the North to your itinerary. It is truly beautiful up there. Rough and rugged and the climate is different. Start there, make your way up from Manila and then fly to Palawan. I think that would be a good trip. You can actually read my article about the North here on my blog. I hope that helps a little. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I am glad to help…especially when it comes to the Philippines. Greetings from Saigon, Philipp

      • Thanks a lot for the reply. Ya it is a short trip and in all the traveling we’ve done in the past few years we’ve learned one thing. LESS IS MORE! So we’ve decided that in any trip we will choose no more than one location per week of travel. In this case we’re going to spend the whole two weeks in Palawan but hopefully get to spend time in different parts of the main island. We’ll spend a few days IN P.P. then probably spend most of the time in the El Nido area. But hopefully find some nice accommodation out of the town. Anyways thanks again. I think we’ll save the North for a trip next year….

      • Hi Tara, sounds like a wise decision. If you can, rent a scooter or motorbike for a day and venture out of town to see these nice beaches and small fishermen villages. So great and not so hard to find. Have a great trip… I am sure you will have a great time. Cheers!

      • Absolutely! We don’t go anywhere without 2 wheels when we can help it. Thinking of staying at Las Cabanas… Looks nice..
        Thanks again!

  11. Hi, Tara! This is Ronald. If you are making a pit stop in Manila you are welcome to stay with Our Melting Pot Hostel in Manila for an experience of a familiar, old-fashioned way of hosteling where staff are sure to take care of you like their own family. The people at the hostel can help you plan out the details of your 2-week vacation. I hope you have a meaningful and enjoyable journey in Ph.

  12. Sheila

    Hi Philipp! Great blog! I can’t believe you made it all the way to Bulusan (Matnog too!). It’s my mother’s hometown and I’ve spent every summer during my childhood there. I grew up spoiled with white sand and uncrowded beaches so that’s what I try to look for when traveling within the Philippines. As for Palawan, El Nido is a bit touristy now but still very beautiful. My friends are planning a trip to an undiscovered part of Palawan next year. If ever you make it back here and want to join us, shoot me an email 🙂

    P.S. I’m reading your Bali entries next. I’m heading there in a week!!! 🙂

  13. Esabela

    Bicolanos are one of the nicest and most hospitable people of the Philippines I have met. I have developed sincere friendships with a couple of colleagues from a while back including their families. We have even made a long road trip to Bicol all the way up to Sorsogon including Bulusan Lake. We visited the beaches around and even found a lagoon as well. That was a physically tiring trip but none the less memorable. It wasnt a surprise you spent a good amount of your Phil stay in this region. Although as of this writing, I just wish them well and that they recover from the devastation of the recent catastrophe that Typhoon Glenda was. They said power is still yet to be restored up until now.

    • Hi Esa, it’s great that you also had the same type of experience. It’s a nice area and the people are great, for sure. I heard about the devastation that Glenda caused. My friends also told me that electricity just went back on but internet is still not working….. I hope they can be back to normal soon …

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