Puting Buhangin which literally means white sand is located in Barangay Ibabang Polo at the southwestern part of Pagbilao Grande Island in Pagbilao, Quezon. It also called Lukang Beach by some locals named after its owner, Attorney Peter Lukang, a Chinese businessman based in Lucena City. This private beach is available to the public on daytrip visits and is accessible by boat and by land. The cove is also known for its beautiful limestone rock formations that form a unique cave famously known as Kwebang Lampas.
Puting Buhangin for me is the most scenic of all the beaches we visited in Padre Burgos and Pagbilao during our island-hopping marathon. It was the most enticing of them all and the only beach where I actually swam and lingered the longest. Having seen countless beaches around the Philippines, I didn’t expect to be captivated completely by this beach in Quezon. I can still clearly remember my loud gasp of admiration when I first saw the cove – it was like finding a secret, undiscovered paradise (if it wasn’t for the presence of some native huts and a few friendly dogs).
Perhaps it was because of my low expectations of finding something extra-ordinary here, or maybe I was just unprepared for the sight that was revealed when our boat made a sudden turn towards the cove (most beaches here can be seen from afar as you approach them, but Puting Buhangin which is hidden by limestone cliffs at both ends cannot be seen until you round the corner).
The beach is simply beautiful. It has fine white sand and crystal-clear waters that change with alternating shades of emerald and azure. Its seabed is devoid of rocks, seaweed and rough coral which is my kind of beach for swimming. Some coral formations however, can be seen by swimming further from the shore. The shoreline is clean and well-maintained. There are a lot of shady areas as well where you can just lay a blanket if you don’t want to rent a cottage.
I also enjoyed exploring Kwebang Lampas, a small cave at the right edge of the cove. I am not really a good swimmer so I found my way to the cave by hopping along the rocks and finally swimming a short distance in shoulder-deep water to the entrance. The water inside the cave is shallower and very clear. There is another opening into the cave that faces the bay and further illuminates the interiors of the cave (conveniently making it easier for taking pictures without a tripod). A visit to Puting Buhangin and Kwebang Lampas is definitely recommended and should be a part of any Pagbilao beach hopping itinerary.
Caretaker: Aling Divina R. Mendez
Entrance Fee: Php50
Overnight Fee: Ph100 ( As of April 2012 overnight camping is allowed already)
Fresh Water: Ph30 per container
Drinking Water: Ph15 350ml, Ph20 500ml
Cottage Rental: Php400-500
HOW TO GET TO PAGBILAO QUEZON
By Public Transport
Ride a bus en route to Lucena (either from Buendia, Kamias or Cubao) and get off at Lucena Grand Central Terminal. From the terminal there are vans and jeepneys en route to Pagbilao. All buses en route to Bicol will also pass the town of Pagbilao.
By Private Transport
From Manila take SLEX to its end at Calamba and follow the signs towards Batangas. You will see a fork road on the right a short distance after passing the entrance to the STAR expressway. The right fork goes to Lipa City and the left goes to San Pablo – take the left fork towards San Pablo.
You will pass the town of Alaminos and then San Pablo. Take the diversion road of San Pablo towards Tiaong. Just before Tiaong there is a left turn onto a road that goes through Candelaria and Sariaya. After Sariaya you turn right towards Lucena City and take a left turn onto the Lucena Diversion Road a few km outside the city. Once the diversion road rejoins the main highway, it’s only a short distance to Pagbilao town. If in doubt, just follow the signs to Bicol.
HOW TO GET TO PUTING BUHANGIN
You may rent a boat from Barangay Bantigue. There are many boats docked at Sitio Malunggay near Carlos Beach picnic area. A fishpond is the major landmark for Carlos Beach. You may park your car near the basketball court if you brought your own transport. Silangang Nayon located in Barangay Bantigue also offers boat rental. You may also park you car here if you brought your own transport. Green View Motel or the signboard of Pueblo por la Playa at the corner of the National Road is a good landmark for finding the turn-off from the main highway to Bantigue.
Alternatively you may rent a boat at Pagbilao Wharf also known as Daungan. You can either ride a tricycle or walk to this place from the town proper. Tell the tricycle driver to take you to the tricycle terminal in Sitio Kalawit, Barangay Pinagbayanan. It is located in a vacant lot right after the bridge. From here you may bargain for your boat ride. We rented our boat from here (Kuya Joseph – 09284154213)
Go to Pagbilao Market Terminal and ride a jeepney bound for Barangay Polo. Get off at the jeepney terminal in Barangay Polo. From there, you can either walk or rent a tricycle all the way to Puting Buhangin or Lukang Beach.
You may also visit Gerry Lontok’s Pagbilao Sceneries website for more detailed directions on how to go toPuting Buhangin. He also documents other tourist attractions around Pagbilao, Quezon.
PLACES TO STAY AT PAGBILAO
The owner of Puting Buhangin does not allow overnight stays on the beach except for family friends and visitors. They only allow day trip visits until 4 in the afternoon. Insistent visitors however, may drop by at Atty. Lukang’s motor shop (Lukang Motors) in Lucena City proper to ask permission.
1. Silangang Nayon Park and Restaurant
Brgy. Bantigue, Pagbilao Quezon
Mobile: 0922-8867677, 0919-4420042
2500 – good for 2-4 persons with free breakfast for 2
4000 - good for 8 persons with free breakfast for 4
2. Green View Hotel
Brgy. Talipan Maharlika Highway Pagbilao Quezon
Tel: 042- 6605191
Fax: 042- 7107044
Contact Person: Herbert Abastillas
3. Camp at Carlo’s Beach
It’s more of a coastal area rather than a beach resort where a lot of fishermen dock their boats. It’s a nice picnic area but it isn’t a good place for swimming especially at low tide.
Sitio Malunggay, Barangay Bantigue
Entrance fee -20
Table Rental -50
(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 to Patayan 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.