Puting Buhangin was the final stop in our 3-island return visit to Padre Burgos and Pagbilao, Quezon. When we first came here almost 5 years ago, this beach along with a cave called “Kwebang Lampas,” was just beginning to get some exposure in travel blogs. It was the typhoon season and we just managed to sneak in at a time when the weather was good and the seas relatively calm. This time around we were able to catch the tail end of summer and make a safe boat trip to Puting Buhangin.
Called Lukang Beach by the locals after its previous owner, Puting Buhangin Beach is located at Pagbilao Grande Island and just at the back of the Pagbilao power plant. You can actually walk to this beach from the power plant but since we were also touring Borawan and Dampalitan Islands we chose to ride a boat from Padre Burgos town. The local government of Pagbilao had taken over the island from its previous owner and now manages the place.
Some of the things that endeared us to Puting Buhangin during our initial visit was its pristine white sand, the verdant vegetation surrounding the beach and the crystal-clear aquamarine and turquoise waters. We also remember seeing just a few huts for rent and not much else. We had the beach pretty much all to ourselves, although that may be because we arrived during the rainy season.
Enter 2016 and we were in for somewhat of a mild shock. Approaching the beach through a cove-like passage, we were greeted by the same aquamarine/turquose waters and white sand. As we got closer, however, the price for Puting Buhangin’s popularity slowly became evident. The shore was filled with huts, stores and other establishments. Several boats ringed the shore, disgorging or taking back their passengers. While all that was inevitable and not necessarily a bad thing, what was really disappointing was an appreciable amount of litter on the sandy beach.
Fortunately the waters are still relatively clear and clean so after taking some pictures we headed straight for the water. Puting Buhangin is more ideal for swimming compared to Borawan and Dampalitan (no jellyfish here as well) and we tried to make the most of it. We gravitated over to the area near Kwebang Lampas located at the far western side of Puting Buhangin. Here the water was unusually warm at certain spots, making us feel like we were in a hot spring spa.
Kwebang Lampas in Pilipino implies a cave open at both ends. It’s actually a short cave that runs under an extension of rocky ground jutting out into the sea on the western end of Puting Buhangin Beach and out the other end into Tayabas Bay. At low tide one can walk to the cave. Care must be taken negotiating the slippery rocks that line the way although there is now a handrail to hold on to. No matter. It was high tide when we came and most people had to swim to the cave’s entrance to get there.
The time we spent swimming and lazing in the warm waters made us forget our mild disappointment with the beach. We were hoping the state of Puting Buhangin was mostly because of the number of guests this day but if Borawan is an example, we think the management here can do a better job of making sure the beach is clean, guests or no guests. Although there are huts here, the beach is not as well-equipped as Borawan to handle overnight guests. Your best bet is to stay at Borawan and make the trip here by boat.
To get to Puting Buhangin/Kwebang Lampas you can rent a boat at Padre Burgos. Kindly go to our post on Borawan and Dampalitan for details. It is also possible to go to Putting Buhangin by land through the Pagbilao power plant, although we have not tried that in our two journeys here.