Maravilla White Sand Beach on a Shoestring Budget

Long stretch of white sand at Maravilla
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Travel Guide: Maravilla White Sand Beach in Tabuelan, Cebu

Looking for the next beach destination for the whole barkada? Want somewhere off the usual full-packed tourist spots like Bantayan, Camotes or Moalboal? Then Maravilla Beach is what you’re looking for. The @kingofsinulog shares us his travel experience to the quaint little municipality of Tabuelan in northwestern Cebu.

Welcome to Tabuelan
Welcome to Tabuelan

Every once in a while I tend to escape the city. There’s just this spiritual effect that transcends when traveling alone to a place you’ve never been. It does not matter even if it’s only a two-hour ride away. The challenge that comes in adjusting to uncertain factors, engaging with strangers and relying on diskarte is just exciting, refreshing and a little nerve-racking at times. Well, as what the author Hunter Thompson once said, if it makes your blood racing, then it’s probably worth doing.

Getting There

The journey starts in Mandaue’s North Bus Terminal wherein I chose to ride the 12-seater van via Tuburan based from a random passenger’s recommendation that it’s the better option since it takes a shorter time to fill the passenger capacity, reaches the destination sooner due to lesser stops and asks for the same amount of fare (Php90) as that of a bus. This dude sure has blogger potential!

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Tabuelan Public Market and Bus Terminal
Tabuelan Public Market and Bus Terminal

Alighting at Tabuelan Public Market and Bus Terminal, I needed to buy provisions and do quick town research such as knowing the local rates, what to expect in Maravilla and the emergency numbers. After buying from stall vendors, acquiring this information came quite easily. Equivalent to a Php30 motorbike ride, I also learned that my destination was still eight kilometers away. Although another slightly expensive option was Durhan Beach Resort which was a kilometer ahead, the restroom attendant insisted that Maravilla Beach was better in all aspects.

The entrance to the public Maravilla White Sand Beach
The entrance to the public Maravilla White Sand Beach

Arriving at the well-structured Maravillosa Park, the first thing I saw was a tarp regarding Tabuelan 111, which I later gathered was a national triathlon event participated by personalities such as Pia Cayetano and Matteo Guidicelli. I thought to myself, this place must surely be TV-worthy so I decided to see the entirety of the shoreline for myself.

Where to Stay

Along the way, I passed several private beach properties. The developed ones included a resort with a swimming pool that caters to corporate groups and one which had an Aztec concept and was priced soundly for backpackers and campers.

The Tree Beach Resort
The Tree Beach Resort
The only resort with a swimming pool
The only resort with a swimming pool
Cottages for rent at Maravilla
Cottages for rent at Maravilla White Sand Beach
Early hours before sunrise
Early hours before sunrise

Since I was on a very tight budget, I chose the postcard-perfect, free option. Believe it or not, after a quick chat with the caretaker, I learned that the owner of the beach property was my mom’s colleague. What a small world indeed! Everything would have been perfect had there been sufficient lighting in the area. But when pitch darkness set in, I decided to transfer my tent nearest to Maravillosa Park by the sari-sari store for safety reasons.

If you are looking for a more convenient type of accommodation, here are some of our recommended hotels and resorts:

Maravilla Beach Club

Maravilla Beach Club
Maravilla Beach Club

(Check Rates and Availability)

Address: Can-ambay, Tabuelan Cebu
Phone: 0947 890 7974

Maravilla Beach Club is located within the town called Tabuelan in the northern side of Cebu Province. The beach resort has a beautiful tropical garden with coconut trees, mahogany, orchids, and other green and flowering ornamental plants.

Where to Eat and Drink

Afternoon snacks at Maravilla Park
Afternoon snacks at Maravilla Park

This was where I got to know the sari-sari store owner, a kind lady in her late forties. Seeing that I was by myself, she decided to keep me company. The conversation started lightly, talking about their barangay and the triathlon.

The 24-hour sari-sari store near Maravilla Park
The 24-hour sari-sari store near Maravilla Park

She giggled as she told me about the time she met Matteo, thanking their event for putting Tabuelan on the map. She also talked about how fun and simple her childhood years were, frolicking all day and relying on fishing for food, eating pork only once a month.

Beach scene at night
Beach scene at night

Envying nearby teenagers circling the bonfire in front of the store, she recalled her romantic years and her strict father on chasing her potential suitors away with a bolo knife which was probably why she never married. She then told me how blessed their family was seeing that they owned a beach property with a good location despite having to take care of her elderly mother alone.

Canteen breakfast at first light
Canteen breakfast at first light

With her small income, she also helps her nephews and nieces go to college like her. What I liked more about this woman was that she opened her doors to any guest who would want to enjoy Maravilla the way she used to, providing everything they needed at a very affordable price. And oh, did I forget to mention that pitching your tent within her property was free?

Overall

Maravilla White Sand Beach is a very promising tourist destination in northwestern Cebu. In terms of security, it was very accessible to the guest assistance office and was well-lit at night with barangay officials regularly patrolling the shoreline from end to end. If you failed to bring something to eat, there’s a barangay canteen which offers Filipino food, or better yet, you can ask the kitchen crew to prepare something special.

Long stretch of white sand at Maravilla
Long stretch of white sand at Maravilla

There are also barbecue stalls on weekends as well. If you decide to spend the night, the cheapest option would be to camp at Php100 per tent or choose from seven cottages at Php300 a night. Both already include the use of the toilet, bathroom and changing rooms located between the barangay hall and chapel. You could also try the private beach properties mentioned earlier. If you get bored with beach activities, which I doubt would happen; you can opt to play a game of basketball with the locals.

Postcard-perfect camping ground for my tent
Postcard-perfect camping ground for my tent

For squad needs such as beer, pulutan or a hot cup of instant noodles, there’s only one 24-hour sari-sari store nearby…owned by a kind and generous Tabuelanon lady I will never forget.

FAQ:

It is okay to bring a tent in Maravilla Beach?

You can definitely bring your own camping tent and just camp on the designated camping area at the beach. They collect Php 100.00 per camping tent. If you want to experience camping, you can ask the locals for tent rentals.

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