Padre Burgos is one of the laid-back towns in the province of Quezon noted for its pristine beaches and friendly people. The town was formerly called Laguimanoc due to the resemblance of its coastline to the bill of a chicken called manok in the vernacular. Another version tells that it was due to the warning call of the villagers – hawk-manok or lawin-manok, whenever a hawk hovers around to snatch their chickens.
There aren’t many resources about accommodation and information about the beaches around the area so we didn’t have a fixed itinerary when we left Manila for this trip. Armed with a map and the contact number of the only resort we found online in Padre Burgos, we started our road trip from Manila taking the South Luzon Express Way and passing through the towns of Tiaong, Candelaria and Sariaya in Quezon. We then took the Lucena Diversion Road towards Pagbilao before reaching a fork in the road that leads to Bicol on the left side and to Padre Burgos on the right side.
Finally, after 4 hours of travel, we saw the welcome arch of the Bondoc Peninsula. Padre Burgos is the first town in the Bondoc Peninsula. From the welcome arch, another 15 minutes of drive will take you to its town proper. It was already past 1p.m. when we reached the town so we headed straight to the Tamarind Resort to check in our things. We only booked our room while we were on our way, and luckily for us we were the only guests on that day despite it being a weekend.
Another group of guests was just about to check out when we arrived at the resort. I asked for some tips on how to get around the islands and where to get the cheapest boat for our island-hopping. They gave me some contact numbers of boatmen outside the resort as well as a straight-forward account of their stay in the resort. They had been to Borawan Beach already the previous day and had rented a boat for Php1000. It was a bit expensive compared to other rates they had researched but still pretty much worth it according to them.
While the Tamarind Resort also offers boat rental packages to its guests, we decided to rent our boat outside the resort after getting an idea of the rates. After checking in our things, we went back to the town proper and had our lunch at Decena’s Eatery along the main road. We had 2 orders of Bicol Express Php30 per order and one serving of Adobo Php30. The serving wasn’t hefty but for its price and taste, it was already worth it.
It was almost 3 in the afternoon when we finally closed a deal with a boatman with the help of Jose Santiago, one of the councilors of the town. We met him at the eatery and offered to arrange a cheap boat ride for us. He found a boatman who agreed to take us to 4 beaches for only Php 800. After lunch, we asked them to meet us at Barangay Basiao in front of Tamarind Resort. At last, after a long trip from Manila we were off to our first island at 3p.m.
Our first stop was Dampalitan Beach, a mere 10-15 minute boat ride from the jump-off point at Barangay Basiao. The beach was beautiful from afar and it was a great relief for us to be able to walk on its sandy shores and feel its clear waters after our long journey. It was still very hot when we got to the beach around 3 in the afternoon and it was very tempting to take a quick dip. One should be careful though of jellyfish and some rocks underwater. But it is relatively safe to swim within the fenced area.
After exploring the area, we set off for Lipata Beach just 10 minutes away from Dampalitan. The beach is located at Barangay Lipata and is more of a docking area for the fishermen’s boats rather than a place for beach excursion. The adjacent beach which is still part of Barangay Lipata is nicer though and has some cottages for rent. We didn’t go down anymore to this side of Lipata Beach since it was already getting late and we wanted to spend more time at Borawan Beach which seemed to be the main attraction in the area.
After a lot of picture-taking for me and bouldering for Charlie, we finally headed back to the resort. The boatman still wanted to take us to Talabaan, but thinking it was just one of those breeding grounds for talaba (oysters), we just skipped it and called it a day already. I only realized my mistake while checking the map the next day when we were on our way to Pagbilao, Quezon.
It was actually composed of two islands located off-shore of Padre Burgos town. The bigger of the two, Malaking Talabaan, is a favorite jump-off point to the beaches of Padre Burgos and the neighboring town of Pagbilao while the smaller island, Maliit na Talabaan, is a rock formation jutting out of the sea. What makes the island unique is that the rocks seem to have been curiously arranged and piled.
Oh well it was late already anyway (sour-graping) and at least we still have other places to see at Padre Burgos when it is time to come back and experience a laid-back, untourist-y, and a bit off-the beaten path beach get-away again.
HOW TO GET TO PADRE BURGOS
By Private Car
From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway. From Lucena and Pagbilao, continue on the National Highway, until you see the sign “Quezon National Agricultural School (QNAS)” on your left [This school has been renamed TESDA]. A few feet away, you will see an arch on your right, which says “Welcome to Bondoc Peninsula.” Take a right, passing through the arch. Continue for about 15 to 20 minutes, until you see a fork road. You are now in the Poblacion of Padre Burgos.
By Public Transport
Ride a bus en route to Lucena City and get off at Lucena Grand Terminal. From the terminal, you may ride another bus en route to Unisan or ride a jeepney en route to Agdangan. Tell the driver to drop you at QCRB bank Padre Burgos Branch in the town proper. Alternatively you may ride a jeepney from SM LucenaTerminal en route to Padre Burgos. The trip from Lucena to P. Burgos is around an hour. The last trip for the bus ride is at 7p.m. and 5p.m. for jeepney.
Cubao to Lucena – PhP200-250
Lucena to Padre Burgos – PhP35 – 50
FROM PADRE BURGOS TO THE JUMP-OFF POINT
From Padre Burgos: Ride a tricycle and tell the driver that you are going to Aplaya, heading for Borawan.
From Aplaya: There are bancas for rent. Boat rental depends on your haggling skills and number of persons per trip.
You may also rent a boat from the The Tamarind Tree Resort in Barangay Basiao
HOW TO GET TO THE TAMARIND TREE RESORT
You can either walk or ride a tricycle to the resort. It’s around 10-15 minute walk or 5-minute drive. From the main road of the town proper walk/drive until you see an old, white house. Make a right on the road, going uphill. You will see a basketball court on the right side of the road and it forks out to two directions at the end of the road. Turn right and continue until you get a view of the sea. You will then see the entrance of The Tamarind Tree and glimpse a view of the Club House.
Boat Rental – The resort rents out boat for island-hopping and provides life-vest to its guests
Tamarind Resort to Borawan Beach – 800
Tamarind Resort to Dampalitan and Borawan Beach – 1200
Tamarind Resort to Puting Buhangin (White Beach) – 1600
PLACES TO STAY AT PADRE BURGOS
1. The Tamarind Tree Resort
Blaigen Ventures, Inc.
Manila Office: Unit 202, Richville Corporate Centre
1314 Commerce Avenue, Madrigal Business Park
Muntinlupa City 1780
Tel: (02) 772-4731, (02) 985-0929
Fax: (02) 772-4735
Mobile: (0920) 9550714
2. Villa Anita
Km 174 Barangay Cabuyao Sur, Padre Burgos
Tel: (042) 716 0326
Fax: (042) 710 3505
Mobile: 0921 524 0110
2. Camp at Dampalitan or Borawan Island
(This is part of our 2 nights adventure at Padre Burgos and Pagbilao Quezon in 2010.)
Day 1: We checked-in at Tamarind Tree Resort in Padre Burgos around noontime and arranged an impromptu beach-hopping at Padre Burgos late in the afternoon. We were fetched by our boatman around 3pm. We first visited Dampalitan Beach and explored the rocky beach from its other end. We dropped by at Lipata Beach and mingled with the locals before heading to Borawan Beach.
Day 2: We drove back to Pagbilao and went to the wharf to arrange another impromptu island-hopping in Pagbilao. We haggled with some boatmen and found one who agreed to take us toPatayan Island and Kwebang Lampas and back to the wharf for 1000 pesos. After returning to Pagbilao town, we drove all the way to the end of Barangay Bantigue and visited the coastal village at the tip of the mainland. We also dropped by at Silangang Nayon and Pueblo Por Playa. Silangang Nayon was fully-booked while Pueblo Por Playa is a member-only resort so we drove all the way back to Padre Burgos to look for Villa Anita Butterfly Garden and Resort to stay for the night.