Accommodation Philippines Popular 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, or 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, called locally as Cavinti Falls.

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.

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 (2020 Update: The current rate per night is around 4,000 pesos).

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.

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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. There were some when the tricycle were moving in a zigzag manner across the road and I almost asked the driver what he was trying to do when my friend started explaining that because the road goes up it makes driving difficult. Apparently, it was only through this method that he could get us up there.

sundang-island-coffeehan (1)

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. 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 by crimson soil and grass and the place is surrounded by trees and plants.

sundang-island-coffeehan (2)

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.

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 muddied by 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.

sundang-island-coffeehan (16)

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.

sundang-island-coffeehan (12)

Need more sleeping space, there’s one in the attic, which is also equipped with a 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.

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.

Booking.com

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.

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.

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.

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

My friends and I spent an hour or two swimming in the shallow part of the lake. The water was freezing and the wind was blowing so it took us some time to get used to 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 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 repellent
  • Power bank
  • 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.

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.”

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Comments (49)

  1. Tin
    Tin

    Hey, I read the manual. 😁 That was an epic night. I still remember the convo

    Reply
  2. Vyjay
    Vyjay

    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
  3. Kat
    Kat

    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
  4. Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!
    Pam / Hey, Miss Adventures!

    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
  5. Chel
    Chel

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

    Reply
  6. erwin manalad
    erwin manalad

    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
  7. cathy
    cathy

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      Oo Cathy, invited kayo sa Balesin hahahahaha…

      Reply
  8. JONtotheworld
    JONtotheworld

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  9. Jennie villanueva
    Jennie villanueva

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

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  10. Gem
    Gem

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  11. Darlene
    Darlene

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  12. Potpot
    Potpot

    lovely! this one tickled my island fancies.

    Reply
  13. Jhanz
    Jhanz

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  14. Karla (Karla Around The World)
    Karla (Karla Around The World)

    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
  15. Ruth
    Ruth

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  16. Chris McIntosh
    Chris McIntosh

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  17. Kati Balayan
    Kati Balayan

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  18. Bluedreamer27
    Bluedreamer27

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  19. Pearliza Paguio
    Pearliza Paguio

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  20. Ms Manifesting
    Ms Manifesting

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      It’s a different experience but fun nonetheless. 🙂

      Reply
  21. papaleng
    papaleng

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  22. Erica
    Erica

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

    Reply
  23. Aika Loraine
    Aika Loraine

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

    Reply
  24. Justine Chantelle
    Justine Chantelle

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

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  25. Erin Yang
    Erin Yang

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  26. jeng del rosario
    jeng del rosario

    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
  27. Cai
    Cai

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

    Reply

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