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Accommodation Laguna Philippines Travel

Sundang Island – Your Island For A Day

To celebrate my 33rd year, I announced to my select friends that I rented an island. That’s right folks, I rented an island because that’s how I roll. But before you ask me for balato, nope, I didn’t win the lottery. I just happened to find an island that you can rent without the need of selling drugs, body, not even your soul. This tiny island is called Sundang, one of the small pieces of land dispersed about Lumot Lake. Yes, it’s an island and yes, you too can rent this place. Let me share with you how.


Cavinti

This little piece of paradise is located in Cavinti, a third class municipality in the province of Laguna. Cavinti’s natural landscape is voluminous and diverse with the existence of rivers and falls, lakes and caves, as well as mountains. Hence, tourist sites are abundant in this part of Laguna, the most popular of which is Pagsanjan Falls, identified locally as Cavinti Falls. [Read: Lake Pandin, San Pablo, Laguna]

There are man-made lakes in Cavinti, one of them is Lumot, which is connected to Caliraya Lake via an underground penstock. Lumot, as the name implies has water the color of moss. And on this lake, you can find Sundang Island.

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Booking

I found Sundang on Airbnb, which I tell you, is like a treasure of hidden and wonderful accommodation. Booking the island can be a bit of a challenge as it is always reserved even on weekdays. To ensure that the island is mine on my birthday, I booked it two months in advance; the rate is PHP 2,911 (USD 62.23) per night. As soon as the booking was confirmed, the owner sent me the house manual. It is so long none of my friends had the patience to read it. But I did, but only after a few days when I had the time to really absorb what the love letter contains. It may seem a drag but trust me you need to read the manual. Sundang is not your typical accommodation, you need this guide to survive on the island. Well, I don’t mean in a Survivor-like sense but everything that you need to know about the island is written on that letter, what to bring, tips on what you can do, and things you should remember while you’re on the island. I will share some of them with you later, but first, the getting there part. [Save PHP 923 on your first Airbnb booking]

Getting There

Whether you go there with a car or by commute, travel time will take about 3 to 4 hours. The manual has a detailed instruction for those with a car. For those who are taking public transport, here’s what you can do.

Take a bus with the Sta. Cruz route at the Greenstar bus station in Buendia, bus fare is PHP 140 (USD 2.99). Get off at the bus terminal in Sta. Cruz. From there you have two choices; take the jeep that goes to Pagsanjan-Cavinti, or hire a tricycle; we picked the latter. One tricycle driver offered to take us there for PHP 100 (USD 2.14) per person; there were four of us.

It took us, maybe 45 minutes to get to the drop-off point. The driver mentioned that that part of Cavinti is high and that it involves climbing up a hill. I didn’t understand what he meant until we reached the highway that ascends along the way. There were some parts that we were crisscrossing the road and I almost asked the driver what the hell was he trying to do driving the tricycle in a zigzag manner when my friend started explaining that the road goes up making the driving extra difficult for our driver. Apparently, it was only through this method that he could get us up there.

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Finally, we reached the pick-up point, the NAPOCOR Watershed Management Field Office. That’s where we waited for the caretaker, Tony, to pick us up. It was another 15-minute ride, this time via a small boat that Tony stirred above Lumot Lake to get to the island.

Sundang is not the only island atop the moss-colored lake, and we passed by a few of them. On whether the other islands have accommodation I cannot tell for sure. Excitement grew when we finally spotted Sundang from afar. It is everything that I imagined it to be, picturesque, rustic, and peaceful. The ground is covered either by crimson soil or by grass and the place is surrounded by trees and plants.

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Check-in time is 1PM and check-out time is 11AM. They are not too strict about it provided there are no other scheduled guests on the day of your arrival or the day of your departure. [Read: Casa San Pablo Bed & Breakfast – Laguna]

We were greeted by a brown barking dog. A closer look revealed that it’s already old, its eyes are now muddied with cataracts. The dog is harmless, always there every time we eat but it never really bothered us. The owner mentioned two dogs in the manual: Big Boy and Panda. I figured the brown one is Big Boy because he doesn’t look like a panda to me. I vaguely remember the other dog that is of dark color but unlike Big Boy, this one didn’t hang around that much.

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Amenities

The house itself is big enough to accommodate 10 or more people. It’s about 80-square meters, only one bedroom with a queen-size bed and an extra bed. The bed has a canopy, which proved to be useful because at nighttime, the insects suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

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Need more sleeping space, there’s one in the attic, which is also equipped with an electric fan, sleeping mats, and some pillows. Now if for some reason you brought so many people that the bedroom and the attic cannot accommodate you all then you may lay out the extra sleeping mats and pillows in the living room.

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There are two bathrooms and a kitchen complete with cooking utensils. There is a gas stove and if you want to barbecue there is a grilling area outside, just beyond the house of the caretaker.

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Now if you want to pen your future bestselling novel, there is a study room just across the house. It has a table with an office chair, a reclining couch, and glass walls that offer a lovely view outside. This study room is special to me because that’s where my friends and I hang out in the night for some card games and drinks.

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You feel like dining al fresco? You can use the collapsible chairs and tables and set them up in the grassy area outside the house. Further down the path there is a fire pit where you and your friends (or family) can gather for a bonfire.

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Activities

The place is clearly made with the word “leisure” in mind. There are books that you are free to read, there are playing cards and board games that you can play, and there are hammocks where you can nap and spend the lazy afternoon with.

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And may I remind you the island is surrounded by a lake where you can go for a quick swim.

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My friends and I spent an hour or two swimming in the shallow part of the lake and it’s one moment I will never forget. The water was freezing and the wind was blowing so it took us some time to bear the cold. Then it started to drizzle and the water surface dimpled in the tension. The fog blanketed the other side of the lake. My friend and I looked at each other in silent understanding; both of us were in awe. This is the first time I went swimming in a lake and it was kind of weird feeling the mud instead of the sand. Only a few steps away from the shore and the water was already up to my neck, that’s how quickly the water gets deep. If you are not a good swimmer like me, best to not stray too far from the shore.

What to bring

It takes a boat to go to and fro the island so it’s best to bring all the supplies that you need prior to going there. You can ask Tony to fetch some things for you in the town, but you have to pay an extra PHP80 (USD1.71) for the gas of the boat.

Among the things that you should consider bringing are the following:

  • Food
  • Drinking water
  • Ice (the place has no refrigerator, but there’s a cooler)
  • Insect repellant
  • Powerbank
  • Toiletries
  • Charcoal

The island works on a generator and it’s only on from 6PM to 12AM. If you want to extend the time of its use, you have to pay an additional PHP 100 (USD 2.14) per hour. So make sure to charge your gadgets when the power is on, including their chargeable lanterns with electric fan.

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This is my first time I celebrated my birthday out-of-town and the experience is nothing short of spectacular. I wasn’t with family, I only had three of my friends with me, and I didn’t even have a  birthday cake, but I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. Sundang Island gave me an opportunity to live the dream that most of us have, to be on an island we can call our own. Never mind that it was only for a day because really how many of us can say, “I rented an island on my birthday.”


Book Sundang Island via Airbnb

 

 

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Vyjay
    September 28, 2016 at 4:42 AM

    Spending a birthday or wedding anniversary on an exclusive island in Seychelles, is one of my fantasies. A birthday in an exclusive island in the Philippines is closer to reality. Hope some day I get there. From your account, I can see that is a really rejuvenating experience.

  • Reply
    Kat
    April 18, 2016 at 4:43 AM

    While I was reading this, I’m already making plans in my head about whom to invite along and what food to bring. What an amazing find. A whole island for about P3k only? I love the rustic feel of the accommodation, especially the attic. 🙂 Hoping we can visit here for a day sometime this year.

  • Reply
    Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!
    October 28, 2015 at 11:35 PM

    Such nice name and so awesome you can rent it ha! The house is really beautiful but I love that hammock most. Maybe I can get away there…without my daughter, just so I can sleep for the entire day. But I’ll probably miss her though…Hahaha.

  • Reply
    Chel
    October 27, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Belated happy birthday! This is a very refreshing island, perfect for some detoxing 🙂

  • Reply
    erwin manalad
    October 25, 2015 at 1:46 AM

    I’ve never heard this place before and wow!An island for a day will be so epic!and you don’t need to be filthy rich to rent one!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 26, 2015 at 12:49 AM

      You got it bro, it’s the ultimate dream!

  • Reply
    cathy
    October 24, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    Been living in the city for a couple of years now and this kind of place will never fail to soothe me.. Great you found a perfect location for your birthday Marge. Belated one! I hope we’ll be invited on your next party! hahaha!! nice article Marge! Xx

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 24, 2015 at 8:30 AM

      Oo Cathy, invited kayo sa Balesin hahahahaha…

  • Reply
    JONtotheworld
    October 24, 2015 at 5:35 AM

    I was thrilled when I first saw this post. And after reading it, I told myself, yeah! I wanna go there with friends.

    My friends were also excited asking me about this post of yours. I told them, read the article it’s complete. Or better contact Marge. LOL!

    This is an amazing way to celebrate birthday Marge. would love to experience this also!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 24, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      Thanks for sharing this with your friends Jon! Indeed it was a lovely way to celebrate my birthday. I cherish the memory so much. Hope you and your friends get to go there and if you guys do please let me know!

  • Reply
    Jennie villanueva
    October 23, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    lovely island…. Wish i can bring my family there someday! Maybe when my daughter is bigger na.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 26, 2015 at 12:50 AM

      How young is your daughter? I do hope you get to take your family there, it would be fun I promise. 🙂

  • Reply
    Gem
    October 23, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    I think I saw this island before in my Facebook feed, promoted by Airbnb, so it’s nice to read a review from a trusted blogger. This will definitely be included in my weekend destination list, especially that it can accommodate a big group. Not to mention, it’s really cheap if you’re going to split the rental fee with a group. Great find, Marge! I’ll bring the hobo here one day when I need a break from the city. How was it at night though, total darkness? S’mores over a bonfire here would be sweet!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 23, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      Oh yes, total darkness. We were supposed to have a bonfire but the wind was really blowing hard that time, we can’t keep the fire burning.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    October 23, 2015 at 5:50 AM

    This is simply wonderful! What a way to celebrate your birthday!
    This post definitely gets me wondering when I can rent this island for my family. It would be a different but wonderful experience for sure. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 23, 2015 at 8:39 AM

      Book in advance, 2 months before is the safest. 🙂

  • Reply
    Potpot
    October 22, 2015 at 2:54 PM

    lovely! this one tickled my island fancies.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 23, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      Let’s go there Queen Mother!

  • Reply
    Jhanz
    October 22, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Ang saya naman! I’ve been hearing abt Cavinti for a while pero never had the chance to go there.

    Also, belated happy birthday!!! 😀

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 23, 2015 at 8:38 AM

      Thank you Jhanz. Cavinti is a good place to explore. Lots of good spots to check out.

  • Reply
    Karla (Karla Around The World)
    October 22, 2015 at 4:41 AM

    Wow! I am totally sold with the idea of having the island all to yourself. I would totally put this in my travel bucket list.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 23, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      It’s a fun experience and why not!

  • Reply
    Ruth
    October 21, 2015 at 9:05 PM

    The place is perfect for those days when you just want to leave the hustle and bustle of your city life and go somewhere serene! Ito yun! Hindi ba nakakatakot ang island life lalo na pag gabi 🙁

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 22, 2015 at 1:03 AM

      Hi Ruth. The place can be real dark at night but don’t worry, no ghostly sightings, no malicious activities, the place is safe. 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris McIntosh
    October 21, 2015 at 6:27 AM

    Looks really nice. It reminds me of an island not far from here called Canygau(i think i misspelt it). However it is a white sand island, quite small, and very quiet and peaceful. Its a very nice way to unwind from a big city or lots of noise.

    – You Blog Supercharger,
    Chris McIntosh

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 22, 2015 at 1:32 AM

      Sounds like a beautiful place. Would love to go too there when I get a chance. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kati Balayan
    October 20, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    Wow! Love the rustic yet relaxing feel of the place. And of course, the idea of having an island to yourseld for a day! Makes me want to spend time here with friends as well 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 21, 2015 at 12:35 AM

      It’d be a great bonding time with your friends. It was true in my case, my friends and I really had fun. 🙂

  • Reply
    Bluedreamer27
    October 20, 2015 at 6:06 PM

    Wow, the place looks like a paradise to me… it looks so unspoiled and very relaxing… I didn’t know that there is a place like this in Laguna…. I would love to include this on my travel list probably next year.. cheers

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 21, 2015 at 12:36 AM

      It is a little paradise indeed and it’s not even that far. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pearliza Paguio
    October 20, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    Alright time to make my dream come true by having an island of my own! At least for a day or two 🙂 It’s always nice to try and experience new things. Gotta tell this to my husband and in laws haha.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 21, 2015 at 12:37 AM

      My friend commented that it’d be a nice place for couples so I hope you and your husband will have an opportunity to have a little getaway there. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ms Manifesting
    October 20, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    I love the idea of celebrating birthdays in such a rustic, heaven like place! Never thought about it until now, but now I’m definitely going to explore the option on my next bday! 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 21, 2015 at 12:34 AM

      It’s a different experience but fun nonetheless. 🙂

  • Reply
    papaleng
    October 20, 2015 at 2:59 PM

    Wow! I frequented Lafguna and have been to Cavinti but never realized na there is pala a small paradise there. Gonna check this place the next time I go there.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 21, 2015 at 12:30 AM

      I didn’t know about this place too until Airbnb. 🙂

  • Reply
    Erica
    October 20, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    I want to go here for the falls! But maybe when the weather is more promising.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 20, 2015 at 11:43 AM

      Hope you get to 🙂

  • Reply
    Aika Loraine
    October 20, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    I love travelling and I get ideas from fellow bloggers who have been travelling as well. Thank you for this beautiful travelogue..

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 21, 2015 at 12:29 AM

      No problem. 🙂

  • Reply
    Justine Chantelle
    October 20, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    I love how basic the place looks. No signs of commercialism. You’re truly one with nature!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 20, 2015 at 12:41 AM

      True. It’s an ideal place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle in the city.

  • Reply
    Erin Yang
    October 19, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    OMG THIS IS SO WONDERFUL! I want to try this and rent an island for myself or bf. It’s a good way to get away from the chaos of the city 😀

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 19, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      I’m telling you it’s a wonderful experience. You and your boyfriend can have some quality time there. 🙂

  • Reply
    jeng del rosario
    October 19, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    DUDE!!!! COOOOL!!!!! You had a whole island to yourself! I mean to you and your friends!! GALING!!!!! BELATED HAPPPPPYYYY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hihihihi 😀 Cheers dear 😀 see you soon!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 19, 2015 at 1:27 PM

      Yes hahaha… Thank you!

  • Reply
    Cai
    October 19, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    Thanks for being one of the lucky person you invited to celebrate your birthday here! 🙂

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      October 19, 2015 at 7:57 AM

      Thanks for coming teh!

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