The name of Jomalig Island comes from a Visayan word meaning ‘to kiss’, and this could not be any more fitting.
Jomalig rests in a small archipelago in the Lamon Bay, in the western regions in the province of Quezon. Located 110 kilometres from Manila, Jomalig is the last in a series of islands that protrude into the deep blue seas of the Pacific Ocean.
The name Jomalig is pronounced ‘hu-ma-lig’ and the legend of its name is simply an act of pure love, infatuation and beauty. Centuries ago the ancient leader of Jomalig had a prized possession, a beautiful daughter. A young man from one of the neighbouring islands asked the leader for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The leader commanded the young gentleman to a challenge before he was allowed to marry his daughter – he requested the boy to spear three fish from every pond on the entire island.
The high spirited gentleman accepted his offer but was met with defeat. Hopeless and destitute he asked the young lady for a kiss before he departed the island, and the people of the island began to shout “Humalig”, “Humalig” and the beautiful girl kissed the young man.
Today the variation of the word is due to the American occupation of the Philippines, thus changing the name to “Jomalig.”
Reaching the island of Jomalig is an adventure in itself. The region is only accessible by small boat or private aircraft as the airstrip on the island is very short.
How to get to Jomalig Island
A ferry trip to Jomalig takes about five hours. One trip takes you to the town of Patnanongan, which is a port on a nearby island. You then leave Patnanongan and into Jomalig.
The quickest way to get there is to make a boat transfer in the middle of the ocean. The ferries actually cross paths and you can easily scurry on board the second ferry heading straight into Jomalig. This can save you up to two hours’ travel time.
The sea-port and airport are near the village of Talisoy, Jomalig’s only commercial centre, with a wet market and other basic food available.
Many who venture to Jomalig Island do so with the idea they will have to stay in a tent, quite possibly, but there are some rooms available.
Staying in a tent isn’t really all that bad when you consider you’re pitched on a pink-white sand beach.
The mayor of the island does request that anyone coming to Jomalig register for safety reasons.
If you decide to stay on the beach, ask for directions to Kanaway or Salibungot as these beaches are incredible.
Kanaway is the most stunning rippled beaches, which makes for some of the most picturesque photos on the island.
All the beaches on Jomalig Island have a stunning pink hue to them; this is due to the corals that are just one of reasons it’s a must-visit destination for scuba divers or snorkelers. The waters around Jomlig are surprisingly shallow, especially during low tide. This feature allows for anyone who visits to walk across to the many uninhabited islets.
The jewel of the island
While you’re there, don’t miss Bigwangan Lake, quite possibly the jewel of the island.
The islets around Jomalig and the extreme unpopulated borders of the island have some rare migratory birds that nest there. Ask locals where to find them.