Matnog is a municipality in Bicolandia, located in the Southernmost part of the region. It is best known as a major hub for ferries bound for destinations in the Southern Philippines such as Samar, but there is so much more about to Matnog than being just a functional, commercial seaport!
So what can Matnog, Sorsogon offer to travelers?
Well, you can experience Island hopping like never before! You will be amazed by the beauty of the Subic Pink Beach Island, Tikling Island, Calintaan Cave and the Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary.
Triva Alert!!! The name “Matnog” sounds like the Tagalog word “Matunog/Matonog” which means audible and, according to the locals, the place has this name because of the cacophonous and loud sounds created by the waves.
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Island Hopping Adventure
1st Stop: Tikling Island
We stayed here for about an hour to enjoy its clear water and its white sand and there are NO ENTRANCE FEES to pay. According to the caretaker of the place, the island is actually privately owned and the owner has been long planning to build a resort on the island so put this on your bucket list before it gets commercialized!
2nd Stop: Juag Lagoon
The next stop was at the Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary. For me this was the highlight of the the island hopping because offers you the chance to swim with the fishes (not Mafia style haha!), feed them and be amazed on how beautiful they are and some of them are pretty large as well. If you want you can buy fish food and feed them for 100 pesos only!
Trivia Alert!!! There are at least 40 species of fish that can be found here.
3rd Stop: Calintaan Cave
At first sight, you may say that it is just like an ordinary cave but once you swim inside you see the its real beauty – its like entering your own secret sanctuary with amazing crystal clear blue water.
4th Stop: Subic Beach
Otherwise known as the Pink Beach in Sorsogon. The sand here is fine and when viewed from afar when the sand is directly hit by the sunlight, it takes on a pinkish colour that makes this island famous!
Travelers usually stay overnight on Subic Island. There are a number of cottages and huts that afford accommodation and you can rent a standard fan room or, if you prefer, an air-conditioned one, at reasonable prices (you can haggle with the owners of these huts). Fortunately, these established cottages and huts were designed in a traditional native style and actually complement the beauty of this pristine beach.
Trivia Alert!!! Subic Beach is actually divided into two portions. Locals call it as Subic Laki (Big) beach and Subic Liit (small) beach.
How to get there?
By Land from Manila: There are plenty of buses that offer direct routes to Matnog. You may opt to ride PhilTranco, Raymond or Isarog buses. Fare is around 800 to 1200 depending on the bus you’ll choose. Travel time is around 14 hours.
By Land from Legazpi: First, you need to reach Legazpi Bus Terminal. From there, look for buses that are bound to Matnog (if there are any). Otherwise, ride a bus that is bound to Bulan and just tell the conductor to drop you off at Trece (Landmark is Lion’s head) which is the intersection of Bulan and Matnog. After which, wait for buses and jeepneys that are directly bound to Matnog.
By Air: Take a flight going to Legazpi, Albay via Cebu Pacific, AirAsia or PAL. At Legazpi Airport, you can hire a trike that will take you to the bus terminal where there are also jeepneys going to Sorsogon City. Once in Sorsogon, hire a trike that will take you to buses or jeepneys bound to Matnog. Travel time from Legazpi to Sorsogon is about an hour. From Sorsogon to Matnog, travel time is around 3 to 4 hours.
NOTE: Upon arrival in Matnog town proper, it is better to coordinate with the Matnog Tourism Office just across the Municipal Hall. There is a 70 pesos registration fee. Boat rentals (inclusive of Island Hopping and is good for 10) rates are 1,600 for a day tour and 2,000 for overnight. If you want to have the service of our boatman just call Kuya Noli thru his Smart number, 09289485262.
Where to stay?
You can either stay overnight in Subic Beach by renting a Kubo with fan or an air-conditioning or stay in the resorts found in the town proper area (ask the locals or inquire at the tourism office). However, the best option still is to camp out in Subic beach and pay only 50 pesos fee to be allowed to pitch a tent. If you are worried about restrooms, just don’t! Why? There are public restrooms on the island that are fairly clean and usable.
Where to eat?
You can buy your supplies for your island hopping and overnight stay at the market which is just a 2-minute walk from the tourism office for a cheaper price compared when you buy on the islands (effect of supply and demand haha!). You can have it cooked by the locals on the island for a fee (Paluto system- for every dish, the standard fee is 50 pesos but for your rice, you can just give them 20 pesos) or you can just cook it for yourself and if you need any help, just ask your boatmen and they will surely help you out.
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Sample Itinerary and Expenses
For full 5D4N Itinerary and Expenses:
DIY Travel Guide: 5D4N Sorsogon + Albay Escapade