The Quintessentially Laid-back Town of Alabat, Quezon

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

celineism

This is the first installment of the Spread the Impact series -- a collection of travel narratives and guides to less-traveled places in the Philippines, with the aim to spread human impact to the environment as well as uplift the lives of communities through tourism.
--------------

The province of Quezon has its share of marvelous islands. Its roll call of famous island beaches include Kwebang Lampas, Borawan, and Cagbalete. Yet unknown to many, there is another island off the coast of Atimonan that possesses not only a beautiful beach but a collection of fascinating activities.

Forty-five minutes of boat ride across Lamon Bay from the port of Atimonan will take you to the docks of Alabat -- a 5th class municipality in the heart of the eponymous finger-shaped island. It is nestled between the towns of Quezon and Perez and surrounded by Lamon Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
alabat quezon
The port of Atimonan -- the entry point to Alabat Island
Port Alabat is considered one of the most important commercial points in the island and is also one of the longest ports in the entire Quezon province. It is here that locals trade their catch and crops and where visitors pour in. 

According to local folklore, the town was named by American soldiers when they visited the island. An early inhabitant, unable to understand the English language, replied "Alabat" when asked what the place was called. He thought the foreigners were referring to the wooden balustrade -- alabat -- he was installing across his door at the time. Such implements were common back then, used to prevent little children from walking out of the house or falling from stairs.
alabat quezon
Alabat Municipal Hall
While the name of the town was christened by the Americans, its design is undeniably Spanish -- a church in the very center, with the local government seat not too far and a public school in its periphery.

Here, motorized vehicles are sparse, except for tricycles and motorcycles but both are outnumbered by the ubiquitous bike. The community is tight-knit and people are warm and welcoming. The air is fresher and the comings and goings less hurried.

At present, Alabat has a population of over 16,000 -- most of which are farmers and fishermen, making use of the rich waters and fertile soil the town is blessed with.

With recent modern improvements such as paved roads and access to the Internet, Alabat now offers to share its abundant natural resources by way of agri- and eco-tourism.

THINGS TO DO

Discover the wonders of Farming
Because of the expansive plains and fertile soil in Alabat, farming is one of the main industries. Calamansi is abundant here and, in fact, Alabat supplies the calamansi needs of Jollibee. They also provide Mang Inasal a supply of red chili.

alabat quezon
Rows of coconut trees fastened with a metal sheet across its trunks to prevent rats and other critters from damaging the trees
alabat quezon
A plastic bottle is attached to the spadix of the coconut tree, collecting sap that is the only ingredient of coco sugar
There are also cacao farms that produce organic tablea -- the ingredient for the Filipino version of hot chocolate -- and coconut plantations, capable of producing twelve tons of organic coco sugar a month, where workers demonstrate the process of sugar-making. All these farms are open for visits.

alabat quezon
The fourth step in the coco sugar process wherein the thick syrup substance called "toddy" is being reduced to crystal form
Take adventures with Nature
Alabat is also not lacking in outdoor activities. A trek to Tumiis Falls in Villanorte and a foray to Bosay Falls within Mount Camagon are some of the choices for outdoor enthusiasts. The beautiful beach of "Kabila," also in Villanorte, opens up to the Pacific Ocean and has a dynamic shore of stones and cream sands.

alabat quezon
Kabila has a scattering of rock formations
alabat quezon
Some parts of the shore are made up of cream sands
alabat quezon
Other portions are made up of smooth stones
One experience visitors should not miss is the Taclobo-viewing in Lamon Bay.

alabat quezon
The cruise usually takes fifteen minutes from the port of Alabat
A thriving population of giant clams, imported from Zambales, lives in these parts, so swimming and snorkeling are highly recommended.

alabat quezon
The local Bantay Dagat hauls a giant clam
taclobo alabat island
Considered "small," this taclobo weighs 20 kilos
alabat quezon
More taclobo can be viewed underwater
Visitors are also encouraged to have their lunch here, on a floating cottage.

lamon bay alabat
Several floating cottages are available for rent at the docks

FOODS TO EAT AND SOUVENIRS TO TAKE HOME

Coconut is abundant here so dishes with gata are common. Laing and pinangat are local favorites. High-quality organic Coco Sugar is also cheap here, priced at Php200/kilo as compared to the Php400 to Php500 in the metro. Tablea, banana chips, cassava crackers, and coco jam are some products that Alabat offers its guests.
alabat quezon
Coco sugar is often recommended for diabetics because of its low glycemic index
Aside from coco sugar and coco jam, home-made yema is also a good pasalubong. It almost tastes like toffee!

HOW TO GET THERE

From Cubao, take a Lucena-bound bus and get off at the Lucena Grand Terminal. From here, buses, jeepneys and vans are available to take you to Port Atimonan. Once in the port of Atimonan, take a ferry or a Ro-Ro to Alabat. For boat schedules in Atimonan, check out their official Facebook page.

Alternatively, one can take a bus bound for Bicol and get off at Atimonan. Or for a quicker way, nine-seater seaplanes are available at the CCP Complex in Pasay. This will take a mere twenty minutes to get to Port Alabat but to the tune of Php4,500 per person, one way.

Options for commuting around town is limited, tricycle rides are priced a fixed 50 pesos regardless of your destination. If you cross to the nearby town of Perez, the price goes up to 60.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

2 Days; 1 Night
Day 1
00:00 to 07:00 - Cubao to Lucena Grand Terminal
07:00 to 08:30 - Lucena Grand Terminal to Port Atimonan
08:30 to 09:00 - Early lunch at Port Atimonan
09:00 to 09:45 - Port Atimonan to Port Alabat
09:45 to 10:00 - Proceed to Tourism Office, ask assistance, arrange transportation
10:00 to 14:00 - Lamon Bay Cruise (Taclobo-viewing, snorkeling, swimming, lunch at floating cottage)
14:00 to 17:00 - Agri Tour (Calamansi, Cacao, Chili, Coco Sugar Farm Visit)
17:00 to 18:00 - Proceed to Kabila Beach at Villa Norte, check-in at La Villanueva Beach Resort
17:00 to 18:00 - Dinner
18:00 to 22:00 - Socials
22:00 - Lights Out

Day 2
04:00 - Wake-up Call
04:00 to 06:00 - Breakfast + Prepare + Check out + Picture-taking at Kabila Beach
06:00 to 07:30 - Trek to Tumiis Falls
07:30 to 09:00 - Tumiis Falls
09:00 to 12:00 - Bosay Falls
12:00 to 12:30 - Back to Town Proper + Quick Lunch
13:00 to 13:45 - Port Alabat to Port Atimonan
13:45 to 15:15 - Port Atimonan to Lucena
15:15 to 22:30 - Lucena to Cubao

EXPENSES AND BUDGET

Bus Fare (Cubao vv Lucena) Php208 x 2 = Php416
Bus Fare (Lucena vv Atimonan) Php55 x 2 = Php110
Boat Fare (Atimonan vv Alabat) Php90 x 2 = Php180

Lodges - Php1,000 to Php1,200 per room/night, good for 3 to 4 persons
Homestays - Php500/night/person

Entrance to La Villanueva Resort in Villanorte (Kabila) - Php50/head
Nipa Hut Accommodation (overnight stay) - Php500/night, good for 2

Two-way boat Fare to Lamon Bay - Php220, good for 2 persons
Floating Cottage Rental - Php500
Environmental Fee to Lamon Bay Fish Sanctuary - Php50/head plus Php100/hour
Farm Entrance - Php50/head each

Packaged Tours(provided by the LGU)
3-Day Tour (Agri Tour, Lamon Bay Cruise, and Pacific Side Tour) including 3D2N accommodation, meals (2 breakfast, 3 lunch, 2 dinner), transportation service, and farm fees - Php 2,305/pax

CONTACT DETAILS

Ms. Aprilyn C. Fernandez
Municipal Tourism Officer
+63 998 989 7839 / +63 927 274 8839


Lodges
LCO Lodging House
+63 912 878 0638

Elbert Lodge
+63 947 894 0734 / +63 910 660 8547 / +63 917 875 9791

Lesma Lodging House
+63 939 939 3673

Alabat Homestays Accredited by the Department of Tourism
Mr. Vicente Reyes
+63 927 773 6332

Mr. and Mrs. Heriberto L. Ruanto
+63 920 838 4625

Mr. Noel Delos Santos
+63 998 379 0442

Mr. Jerann G. Angulo
+63 906 531 5972

Lucille's Homestay
+63 946 407 8717

Jean Mercado
+63 926 407 5673

Villa Alicia Homestay
+63 917 399 0528 / +63 939 816 7554

Kapit Bisig Homestay
+63 928 631 1801 / +63 920 808 6267

Enjoy traveling to off-the-beaten paths? Check out the rest of the Spread The Impact series.

What other less-known places should Celineism feature next?

You Might Also Like

0 comments