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Photography – Hélène Launay & Mademoiselle Coconath

Words – Mademoiselle Coconath


A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine came to visit me in the Philippines. It was obviously my duty to show her around and make her discover the country I have been calling home for 6 years.

Aside from all the activities we managed to squeeze in in the short amount of time she was here, she couldn’t leave without going to the beach at least once.

A lot of people have the misconception that beaches are very accessible from Manila and that all of them are white sand and beautiful turquoise water. Well, that isn’t true, especially if you do not have a car to go around and a budget to stick to.

The holidays are always a time when budget gets overboard, and that period of the year being just last month, we needed to find an accessible beach that could fit our budget, that wasn’t so far away and that could be accessible by land.

There were few options but unfortunately January isn’t the best season to travel by sea and some destinations were off the list due to waves being too rough.

After countless Google research and debates on where to go, which will be the least expensive and which one looks the nicest, we settled for Magalawa Island.

Would I recommend going there? No. I have been around the country in the past years and it isn’t the best island I have been to. There is

very little to do, and I am being very generous. Island hoping gets you to one destination and you need to go through tough negotiations with boatmen just for a 15 minutes boat ride to a rest house in the middle of the sea. Keep in mind that the island is usually occupied by campers and backpackers and isn’t developed yet.

Did it feel good to get a break from the city? Yes.  No matter how much the island can be improved, getting away was more than welcome.

The city can be very busy and stressful so to have the time to actually take your time and enjoy the little things felt like a breath of fresh air.

Waking up to the sounds of the waves and being able to appreciate the sunrise isn’t something I do everyday, especially with the overbooked schedule and the never ending to-do lists I try to accomplish on a daily basis.

You easily forget how something as given as a sunrise can be beautifully breathtaking and so relaxing to witness. The atmosphere just makes you feel at peace.

Kimono – H&M

Shorts – Forever 21

Sunglasses – Sunnies

On the other side of the island, there is a beautiful field of mangroves, and even though there was no activities, we had the chance to take beautiful pictures, our feet deep in the mud (the things we do for our websites and social media nowadays).

That part of Magalawa is an area that is not commercialised yet but it only a short walk from the resort. We could truly hear the birds and nature had taken over. If I ever had to go back, it would be just to go there, bring a book and spend the afternoon reading then witness another sunset on the mangroves, with a deep feeling of being lost in the moment, cut off from the world. Am I ready for Survivor yet?

Swimwear – Coco Cabaña

Magalawa is known for the high number of starfish that are on the island, and they did not lie on that. On our last day, we were able to witness them by the dozen close to the shore.

And no beach trip is really complete without an afternoon bumming around and trying to get tan. Don’t forget your sunscreen, of course!

My recommendation

If you are more interested in the camping style of vacation, or simply don’t want to go to an overdeveloped and commercialised area but want to truly witness the local beaches and culture, then you might enjoy going on a 6 hours car ride and a 10 minutes boat ride to the island.

However, if you like spending your vacation in a more luxurious way and prioritize comfort, there are so many options for you to chose from in other more popular islands.

Overall, the trip did its purpose of taking a break from it all, and that’s all we wanted.

Sunscreen for Face & Body – Avène

Hand Painted Bracelets – H&M

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