Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Discovering Jomalig: The Golden Island of Eastern Luzon

April 12-14, 2013

Sitio Moros - Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions

Jomalig, pronounced as ho-ma-lig', is the farthest and easternmost island of the Polilio Group of Islands of Eastern Luzon which is primarily flat. Of which the highest elevation of the island would be at Alog Point at only 30MASL. Jomalig is a 5th class municipality and its main source of income is fishing and copra. Unknown to many, this island is a hidden paradise of golden beaches and pink sunsets.

Last April 12, 2013, Schadow1 Expeditions together with the 1st wave of Journeying James' Project Jomalig went to the island for two reasons: to map the island and provide food, vitamins and medicines to the island's children. (See our article Jomalig Map-up and Kids Feeding Project 1st Wave is a Success). And due to that we were rewarded with a discovery of an untouched island which is home to two magnificent virgin beaches and a paradise for adventure cyclists.


The Jomalig Island is about 89.14 sq. kilometers of land area which is primarily a marshland at the middle and communities are separated various kilometers away along its shores through five barangays namely Gango, Apad, Bukal, Casuguran, and Talisoy; the latter being its central town and where it is most populous. The barangays are interconnected with alternately paved and unpaved roads which width is no greater than 2 meters. The roads run through mostly forested, sandy, and dirt roads along its shores which makes this island a haven for mountain bikers.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Trail near Barangay Bukal

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Trail near Barangay Casuguran

Electricity Generation

As of the meantime, the only source of electricity is via a diesel-powered substation by NAPOCOR. Due to limited electricity supply, power is only supplied at 5:00PM until 1:00AM. Hydroelectric power is yet to be tapped via the water gushing in to the island from Lamon Bay to Bigwangan Lake at its northwestern coast.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Bigwangan Lake

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Hydroelectric Mill at Bigwangan Lake

Culture and its people

Jomalig being the farthest island of the Polilio makes this island at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where its west coast is facing Quezon province while its south coast faces Camarines Norte of the Bicolandia. As such, the people can speak both Tagalog and Bicol dialects. The people are predominantly Catholic to which the island's founding anniversary coincides with the Catholic church's patron fiesta every May 18th. It is only during the term of its incumbent mayor, Rodelo Tena, separated the town's fiesta from its founding anniversary due to the principle of separation of Church and the state. May 16 is its Catholic fiesta while May 18 is the town's founding anniversary.

There is no main product yet for the island as it is still under discussion by its local government. Initially, Mayor Tena and the island councilors thought of naming its festival as Surahan (Unicorn Fish) Festival however it may result to abuse and depletion of the fish species as such, they were planning to name it as "Seafoods Festival" instead. This is however not yet finalized.

Source of Income

The island's primary source of income is fishing and copra production to which it depends regarding the season. March to June is summer and fishing season; while during July to February, the ocean is dangerous due to habagat (southwest monsoon) so they turn to copra. There is a small rice farm area to supply its people with their staple food however due to the absence of any mountains and most soil is sandy, rice would hardly flourish and irrigation is only dependent on rains. Vegetables and spices also hardly grow here. This is the reason why this island has a problem with malnourished children. Its tourism is still yet to be tapped and for the meantime, the resource is there but the locals are not yet prepared which may be prone to abuse by investors.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
5-kilo Tanigue Fish catch at Sitio Moros


The main transportation in the island is motorcycle and multicabs (small vans) due to the width of the roads. There is no public transportation yet and so a tourist will only be dependent on renting the vehicles or bringing your own mountain bike.

There is a small airstrip on the island where small private planes and helicopters can land and will only take less than an hour if you happen to fly from Manila.

Currently, the only way to get to the island is via Real, Quezon which is a town 3 hours away from Manila via Marcos Highway. There is no direct boat to Jomalig except for cargo boats. You may unconventionally ride to it however it is not suggested. Boats going to Patnanungan Island is the way to go however you need to communicate with Jomalig's local government to help you out with a boat that will fetch you at the middle of the ocean from the Patnanungan-bound boat. Yes a boat transfer at the middle of the ocean. :)

The boat at Real, Quezon and Patnanungan Island leaves daily at 11:00AM.

The travel time from Real, Quezon is about 5 hours depending on the waves of the ocean and another hour of boat ride from Patnanungan to Jomalig Island. The total travel time from Manila is about 9-10 hours.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Boat Ride to Patnanungan from Real, Quezon

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Boat transfer on mid-ocean to Jomalig Island

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Tug boat we used to get to Jomalig from Patnanungan
(Vanessa, Myself, Zarina, Koko, Meg, Arvin, Journeying James.
Elvie and Shammy taking the pictures)

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Touch down Jomalig Island
(Marion, Vanessa, Meg, Zarina, Koko, Myself)

Cellphone coverage is only available at its central barangay, Talisoy. Internet is available on EDGE signal through Smart and Globe.

Lodging and Food
Currently, there is lodging available at a small 2-floor bungalow house being constructed at the back of Mayor Tena's house. Or you can camp out to Jomalig's Kanaway and Salibungot beaches. Before doing so, it is suggested to ask permission from its local government for safety purposes. Generally, the people of Jomalig are friendly and hospitable.

Food can be purchased at Barangay Talisoy's Public Market for fresh fish which you need to cook by yourselves. If you happen to be at other coastal towns, fish can also be purchased there as these towns are all fishing shores.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
The lodge where we stayed at the back of the mayor's house
Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Eating fresh raw squid at Jomalig

However not yet harnessed, tourism is an inevitable potential income generation of this island due to rolling slopes for mountain bikers and this island also possesses incredibly beautiful beaches that are a must to be discovered by Filipinos. I could honestly say the beaches here are more pristine than other popular beaches in the Philippines.

There are two large beaches here. First is at  its east side facing the Pacific Ocean. The Kanaway Beach and the other is at the west side facing Lamon Bay, the Salibungot Beach.

Kanaway Beach

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Golden Sand of Kanaway Beach

The Kanaway Beach or as I personally call it, "Jomalig's Sunrise Beach" is literally a golden sand beach with a very vast sand area during low tide extending to about 400 meters from its main shore. The beach is naturally shaped and sculptured with ripples. You can even walk your way to nearby Manlanat and Pulo Islets which is a must-visit during low tide.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Naturally occurring ripples on Kanaway's Golden Sand during low tide

At high tide, the water goes up to over waist-high and you can still swim or wade through it as the water is calm and clear. Rock formations of the Manlanat Islets protects Kanaway Beach from harsh waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Spectacular view at Pulo Islet of Kanaway Beach facing Pacific Ocean

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Clear waters of Pulo Islet at Kanaway Beach on high tide.

To reach Kanaway, you need to rent a multicab or a motorcycle and get ready for a bumpy 16-kilometer or an hour ride from Barangay Talisoy.

Salibungot Beach

Is a long beach at Jomalig Island's western shore facing Lamon Bay and mainland northern Quezon Province. I personally call this beach, the "Pink Sunset Beach of Jomalig" due to its semi-golden sand with a pinch of pink due to pulverized remnants of red corals. During late afternoon and sunset, the sand becomes literally pink and is an awesome view.  Additionally, pine trees are naturally filling up this beach's inner coast.

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Pink Sunset and Sand at Salibungot Beach

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Pine trees at Salibungot

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Freedom with the turquoise seas at Salibungot

Jomalig Island - Schadow1 Expeditions
Vast beach area of Salibungot and its fine golden-pink sand

To get to this beach you need to rent a boat from either Sitio Moros (southern coast of Jomalig) or from the main pier at Barangay Talisoy. The boat ride is only about 15 minutes. A bumpy ride is also possible via Sitio Moros for a total of 5.12 kilometers or a 30 minutes ride from Talisoy.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1
0330 - Leave Manila via Raymond Bus at Legarda corner Nagtahan
0730 - Reach Real, Quezon. Breakfast and get a boat to Patnanungan
1100 - Leave Real, Quezon on the way to Patnanungan Island
1600 - Boat transfer near Patnanungan Coast to Jomalig Island
1700 - Reach Jomalig Island, walk around, purchase supplies at Talisoy Public Market
2000 - Dinner, Socials

Day 2
0530 - Leave early for Kanaway Beach
0630 - Arrive Kanaway, enjoy the sunrise, beach bum. Breakfast/Lunch can be grilled within the village using your own supplies.
1200 - Lunch
1330 - Pack up
1400 - Buy fresh fish at Barangay Apad
1430 - Leave for Salibungot beach
1600 - Arrive Salibungot beach, camp out, cook food, beach bum, enjoy the sunset.
1900 - socials

(per pax unless noted)

Day 1
Van to Real Quezon 3000*
Boat to Patnanungan 300
Boat to Jomalig 1500*
Meals 100
Lodge 200

Day 2
Multicab Day Rent 1000*
Meals 100
Lodge 200

Day 3
Van to Manila 3000*
Boat to Patnanungan 1500*
Boat to Real Quezon 300
Meals 100
Total P11,300
 *can be divided up to 10 people

Registration (May 23, 2016 Update)
Planning to go to Jomalig? All travelers are required to register when going to Jomalig. Registration areas are at Don Queblar Street at Lucena City near Motortrade (coordinates 13.93N, 121.61E) or at the Municipal Hall of Jomalig. (coordinates 14.66N, 122.33E). Fee is Php 170.

Direct boats to Jomalig from Real, Quezon
Boats can now go directly to Jomalig Island from Real, Quezon. You may contact the following boats for more details and reservations.

  • Jade - +63 (910) 6316763
  • Chow - +63 (929) 2580824
  • Nicole1 - +63 (909) 5577012
  • Nicole2 - +63 (999) 5471564

Jomalig Island is a great destination for those adventure and beach bum enthusiasts who would like to be away from the busy and cramped beaches while getting more intimate with nature.

The massive mapping data obtained from Schadow1 Expeditions' Jomalig Island Mapping Project has been contributed to +OpenStreetMap Philippines and +Google Maps  for free use of recreation enthusiasts, humanitarian groups and navigators who would like to check out this untouched island of Jomalig.

Openstreetmap Philippines Map (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)

How to use for your Navigation System (link)

View Jomalig Island in a larger map

Related Articles on Jomalig Island


  1. Next time, try to explore Patnanungan. The transportation going there is daily. It's more relaxing to stay and the people are friendly. We have also a nice and clean beaches.

    1. Hi, we want to explore Patnanungan. Can you help me how?

    2. yes try Patnanungan especially the SM Village in Tapol.Try
      its potential.

  2. Hello good afternoon po, do you have idea/data about the highest spot on Jomalig Island ? for Project Purpose. Thank you in advance.

  3. Hellow regarding the question of highest spot on jomalig island for project purposes what kind of project I live in jomalig I'm so many idea thanks

  4. Hello, i am an architect student. And I am planning on using Jomalig Island as a site for my thesis project. It will just be a plan but I need some details regarding the island. It will be helpful if someone from the island can be talked to. Thank you in advance.