Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Puting Buhangin - Kuebang Lampas

Note:  If you're finicky (maarte) and you're not adventurous nor spontaneous, then don't bother reading this post.  :)


Finally, summer is here in the Philippines!  Although there are days that are cloudy and rainy due to monsoon rains, but still, it's summer!  My favorite season ever.

Besides the weather, what I love about this season are the out-of-town affordable adventure trips, like what I just did with a couple of college friends last February 28th.  Great thing that Bel's high school 'friend' bailed on her days before, so she asked us if we were free on the dates she's on leave and she wanted to go to the beach.  Bern suggested that we should go to Puting Buhangin - Kuebang Lampas, Pagbilao, Quezon.  After reading some blog posts about the place, we decided to give it a go, totally stoked, that's why we had a hard time sleeping days before, and even dreamt of swimming in the beach. :p  Mind you, we only had less than a week to prepare, so not all of our friends could come since we went there on a weekday.


Bel and I are from the south, so we decided to spend the night at Bern's place so we could catch the 5AM trip the next day.  We had dinner at Chihuahua Mexican Grill at Greenbelt 2.  Just click on the link for the review.

Pulling out my camera at Buendia is not a good idea.  I would like to take a photo of the terminal so that you'd get familiar of the place.  I wanted to document every little detail for you guys, especially for you readers abroad.  But, of course, we're in Manila, and it's 5 in the morning -- it's not that safe!  Backpacks should be worn in front (yeah, I know, it should be named as front-packs instead.  There are sly pickpockets around the metro, so it's better to hold onto your bags in front).  Anyway, the terminal is along Buendia, between McDonald's and LRT Gil Puyat-Taft station.  You have options on where to ride a bus to Lucena.  There's DLTB Co, JAC Liner, and JAM Liner.

Before hopping on the bus, I got myself a small cup of taho (bean jelly) and siopao (steamed buns) for breakfast that are being sold at the mini stores surrounding the terminal.  There's a wifi access on these provincial buses, by the way.  Passwords are found on top of the TV in front.  How I wish Cavite buses offers wifi spots too.  :p

Actual departure time from Buendia terminal:  5:48 AM

Stopover at Turbina to drop-off and pick-up passengers.

Just had an hour sleep.  Taking a nap is not an option.  The landscapes and dawn kept me awake.  These kind of stuff shouldn't be missed.  Picture-worthy.

The entire ride to Turbina, which is the only stop going to Lucena, took us almost two hours.  The bus was too slow.  Sigh.  Yes, we were getting impatient early in the morning because we were expecting that we would get to our destination in two hours max.  But we were wrong.

I really have no problem with the bus being slow, but I really wanted to get to the beach before noon since we were only going to spend the entire afternoon at the beach and will head back to Manila because I have to attend a summit the next day at World Trade Center.

Saw this beautiful house while on the bus:  Natalio Enriquez's Mansion at Sariaya, Quezon

Lucena Grand Terminal

After four hours, we finally reached Lucena Grand Terminal at around 9:30 AM.  Time to stretch our legs before riding another bus to Padre Burgos.  If you're running low in cash, there's BPI right beside Chowking. 

Public restroom is located right before the food strip.  Five pesos for number 1, ten pesos for number 2.  Seriously.  Dipper-and-bucket style.

Food strip

Bel and I bought Binalot the night before for our lunch at the beach, but after seeing this strip of food stalls at the terminal, we decided to buy some more food because they were too enticing.  :p

Chami, a local dish.  Php 20
I'm a sucker for pancit or noodles, and this chami is a winner.  Haven't had this before and I just loved it.  It's more of like pancit canton but sweet and chili.

Once you're at Lucena Grand Central, look for the bus that will pass by Unisan.  Just ask around too on where to hop on going to Barangay Marao, Padre Burgos, Quezon.  Fare, Php 40 per head.  We left Grand Terminal at 10AM.

Sweetcorn, Php 25 for three.

That's Tita Tess.  Just send her a SMS for queries 0921-454-3137.

At long last, we arrived at Barangay Marao, Padre Burgos, Quezon after an hour ride (11:10 AM).  Once you pass the curvy road, you are minutes away Barangay Marao, so keep alert and observe road signs.  Tell the kundoktor, or the person who you hand your fare to, to drop you off at May Ann's Store right beside Coastal Cove restaurant the former Vista Playa restaurant.  I'm really not sure if I got the name right for the restaurant.  But you can just ask the locals about Vista Playa.

Since we arrived almost noon time, we decided to stay for the night at the beach.  Yey for spontaneity!  So we bought some additional stuff like drinking water in slim-type container, booze, soda, ice, and some snacks.  Boat rental costs Php 1,800.  We actually had a misunderstanding with Manong Odie and Beverly (Bern's contact person) regarding the boat rental when we were about to pay the next day.  As we initially understood it upon arrival, we're only supposed to pay Php 1,200 since we just chose to stay at Puting Buhangin.  But when we were about to pay our dues the next day, he informed us (Beverly not in sight) that it costs Php 1,800.  That amount is inclusive of island hopping in Borawan and Dampalitan beaches.  Bummer.  He should have told us before so that we could have gone to those beaches too.  Well, it was too late.  The same thing goes with the tent rental at Puting Buhangin where he told me that it costs Php 200 per tent that could fit three people.  It was the morning before leaving the beach when Gemma (the caretaker) told us that we're Php 250 short -- additional Php 100 for the tent and Php 150 for overnight (Php 100 per head).  I hate it when people gives me wrong information.  Good thing I always bring extra cash on trips.

Those were the only stressful things that occurred during our short trip.  The beach is darn beautiful to make a fuss about the situation even if it all happened after our stay.  White, fine sand.  Clear blue-green water that is not too salty, and not sticky at the same time (so it really is not polluted as opposed to other beaches).  We're fortunate enough that Tayabas Bay was calm when we were there, so no bumpy ride all the way to the beach and back.

And, oh, you can recharge your gadgets in the evening at the caretaker's house for Php 20 per gadget.

By the way, just so you know, each boat has maximum capacity of 8 passengers, excluding the two boatmen.  The more number of heads, the cheaper you'd get to pay for the ride.

Left the port area around 11:57 AM

Google Maps

Landmark:  Pagbilao, Quezon Power Plant tower.
That's Puting Buhangin Beach, Volcano Island
Arrived at the beach 30 minutes after leaving Marao.
Do you know that Puting Buhangin - Kuebang Lampas is formerly known as Lukang Cove?  The beach was formerly owned by the Lukang family, and I think it is now owned by the local government.  That I have to research.

You can rent these cottages.  I can't remember how much it was, maybe around Php 400-700.

our boatmen: Mang Odie and Kuya Benji

Php 50/pax for day trip; Php 100/pax overnight 

one of the dogs in the island.  I named him "pappy" since he's responding to it.  Adorbs!

Strictly Prohibited:
1.  Bonfire around the shore.
2.  Bonfire near trees.
3.  Booze and food near the shore and inside the cave.
4.  Cleaning of fish, meat and dishes at the beach.
5.  Pulling out the table from the cottage.
Those who violated the said restrictions will be fined Php 500.

Our mini feast that we didn't get to finish in one seating.  We had these for dinner too.

fine white sand.

Don't you just hate it when people etched their names on cave walls?  Irresponsible tourists!

This is how clear the water is.

at the other end of the cave.  
I went on this side of the cave where it gets deeper, standing on this big rock where I captured the photo above.  My friends were kind of anxious that I went this far with my DSLR on hand.  They say I was too 'adventurous' by risking my camera.  Well that's why I have a ziplock with me.  :)

Krusty Krab! :p

Dawn the next day.


on our way back to Marao, 7 AM

The next morning, Mang Odie picked us up at 7AM (as to what we discussed the day before) so I could do a side trip at Lucena (work purposes).  But you can stay as long as you want at the beach, just let them know what time you want to be picked up.

We have to walk back to the port since it was extremely low tide.

That's our boat.

Don't take these poor starfishes home.  Never.  Same goes with other sea creatures.  You're mature enough to be responsible.  :)

Had a difficulty walking with my flip-flops on since it's being sucked into the sand.  And, yes, that's the clearest water I've ever seen. 

Why had we opted not to take a bath at the available bathing area at the cove before leaving?  Well, we just thought that we'd be swimming on the beach the entire afternoon on our first day and the next morning before leaving, so might as well just pour distilled water over ourselves just to rinse off saltwater, to prevent us from itching.  By the way, there's a cubicle at the cove, the same dipper-and-bucket thing.

Back at May Ann's Store, there are separate shower rooms for both men and women.  You just have to pay around Php 10-15, I can't remember, because we weren't able to pay for it!  :p  It's not well-lit, just so you know.  And they have these tiny 'knobs' (actually they look like hooks) to turn the shower on.

After a refreshing bath and payments done, we took a bus back to Lucena Grand Terminal where I was supposed to meet up with someone for interview, but he didn't show up.  And thanks to him and to the slow bus ride back to Manila, I wasn't able to attend the summit I was supposed to go to.  Sigh.  But, all is well.  :)  I went with Bern on her place, took a quick nap because I was really having a headache, before we headed to our planned dinner date with Bel and Tin at Silantro.

Overall Rating:

The BEST beach I've ever been to so far!  Definitely topped my list.  The place will really zone you out from 'reality.'  Imagine, I spent lower than Php 2,000 on this trip (what more if we were in a big group, we might spend lower than Php 1,000).  And this beach reminds me of those beautiful exclusive beach resorts, but I prefer this one because you get to have the beach on your own, that is if you come on a weekday.  Virgin beaches are simply the best.  I just hope that they won't commercialize Puting Buhangin - Kuebang Lampas.  I just love the way it is.


- Rode JAC Liner bus to Lucena (Grand Terminal) from Buendia, and vice versa.

- We took Padre Burgos route since Bel is not up for trekking if we're coming from Pagbilao town.
   * Padre Burgos - boat ride to Puting Buhangin.
   * Pagbilao - tricycle ride towards drop-off near power plant, then an hour trek towards Puting Buhangin.
        As we were told, tricycle ride costs Php 300 - Php 500 depending on your haggling skills.

- It is best to drive towards Marao instead of commuting.  Faster travel time, and we think it's cheaper.

- Pack light.  Sachets and zip locks are your best friends.

- Buy snacks from the metro because it's cheaper there than in provinces.

- Bring extra cash for unnecessary add-ons on the trip.

- If you're staying at the beach for the night, you can ask the boatmen to pick you up on your preferred time.

- Wear comfortable aquatic shoes.

- Beware of jellyfishes and sea urchins.  They are abundant in these beaches.

- Must have vinegar with you always.  Quick remedy for jellyfish sting.

- Clarify amount due before the trip.  Put it into writing or record it on your devices for proof.

- You should try chami at the Grand Terminal and budin (their cassava cake).  It's really good!


- ENJOY! :)

What to bring aside from food:

Sachet: soap, shampoo, toothpaste; vinegar (yes, for jellyfish sting)
Garbage bags for obvious reasons, and to protect your bags from water at the boat ride.
Plastic bags for wet clothing.
Insect repellent
Zip-lock bags for gadgets/valuables
Aquatic shoes
Inflatable pillow (or rolled up clothing for pillow)
Swiss knife, or the likes

My Personal Expenses (TOTAL: Php 1,790):

Binalot (Longganisa) - Php 79
Guadalupe to LRT-Buendia jeep - Php 9
Taho - Php 10
Siopao - Php 20
Buendia-Lucena Grand Terminal (JAC Liner) - Php 209.50
Bottled water - Php 15
Restroom - Php 5
Chami - Php 20
Donuts - Php 24
Bus to Padre Burgos from LGT - Php 40
Sweetcorn - Php 25
Snacks/Food/Booze/Water (Php 372 / 3 pax) - Php 124

  • Drinking water (5L slim-type) - Php 40
  • 2 rice - Php 20
  • 3 fried chicken - Php 60
  • 1 sinigang - Php 30
  • 1 tortillos - Php 30
  • 1 Mang Juan Chicharon - Php 25
  • 10 plastic cups - Php 10
  • 5 ice - 15
  • 1 Red Horse - Php 75
  • 1 Coke 1.5 L - Php 50
  • 4 pianono bread - Php 24
  • some type of sweet bread - Php 5

Boat rent (Php 1,800 / 3 pax) - Php 600
Beach overnight - Php 100
Tent for 3 pax (Php 300) - Php 100
Charging fee - Php 20
Bus from Marao to Grand Terminal - Php 35
Lunch day 2 - Php 60
Budin (cassava cake) - Php 35
Turones de mani - Php 50
Lucena to Buendia - Php 209.50


  1. We went there yesterday and we're really disappointed!

    How can they charge the water for 50 pesos when it should be included on the entrance fee.
    The CR, they are charging 2 pesos for no.1 and 5 pesos for no.2.
    Why does a need of charging when the CR's are not properly maintained, and some are clogged. And because of that, some girls threw sanitary napkins in the beach. omg. so gross.

    The transportation fee for the boat is expensive also.
    1st boat i think it's 60 pesos back and forth, so we thought it's ok since it's their business, but on the 2nd boat, a whopping 300 pesos, not sure if it's per head. But my friend heard, they charged 160 pesos per head for a group who came yesterday morning. And they asked, how they'll get back to the parking without transferring through boat, he heard that the boatman says, "bahala na kayo".

    They do not know the meaning of hospitality.

    The tent for 2 pax is worth 400 and if you damaged it, you'll pay for the whole tent, hahaha. Because we woke up hearing annoying fight from the management and the renter, haha...

    If you forgot your pot for cooking, then, you are really unlucky, because they charged us 60 pesos per kilo of rice, not to mention, we brought the uncooked rice, so it is really for the rent of pot. We asked them to cook 2 kilos, so it is 120 pesos. This is really inhumane.

    I do not suggest people to visit this place. This is the worst trip I have ever encountered.

    We'd rather go back to Magalawa Island in Zambales, that i'll suggest. The people are hospitable, the beach is nice, the food is perfect! :)

    1. That's too bad. I guess they are the typical Filipinos who take advantage of everything. This is sad. Maybe that's why I never came back on the said beach...hmm.. Thanks for the heads up!