Infanta & Real, Quezon Province

The Philippines is one of those ultimate holiday paradise locations; Beautiful beaches, mountains, rice paddies… It is the ideal place for divers, surfers, hikers, backpackers and for those who look for the most exclusive experiences.
We chose to head over to Infanta and Real mainly because we could not wait any longer to ride through the Marilaque highway. We were promised beaches, surf and beautiful nature, and encountered a very different idea of what a beach resort is, rocky beaches with no waves (best surf is supposed to start late September or October) and indeed a beautiful lush green spectacle of nature.
This part of Quezon can be considered one of the less traveled areas among tourists visiting the Philippines (especially foreigners), and whilst the beaches don’t look anything like those white sandy beaches with crystal clear water that look amazing on our Instagram feed, it would be unfair to say that they are anything else than absolutely beautiful.
Real is also the jump off point to the Polillo group of islands, which, if you are looking for off the beaten track or love nature and hiking, this is your place.
The downside to Infanta and Real is most likely caused by the lack of tourism. Finding a clean place to stay with food was quite an ordeal to say the least. Information on the internet is limited and going in person to almost every “beach resort” we saw, was extremely frustrating.
We stayed at the Blue Pavilion Beach Resort, in Infanta, for the first 2 nights. We were the only guests on the first night, we arrived late (9pm ish) and had to go to town to get some dinner, as there was nothing available in the hotel, where we were promised breakfast the next morning. Food options in Infanta at night were limited but we found a good lechon manok and liempo shop about 6km from the resort.
Next morning came and we were faced with surprise when we asked for breakfast. After a little negotiation we managed to convince the staff to prepare some coffee, juice and toast (which took around an hour and a half to prepare).
Most beach resorts in this area do not have a restaurant or any food service as most guests bring their own food and either cook it in their own portable stoves or grill it in the resorts bbq pits.
The food situation in Infanta, made us spend our day looking for alternatives, so we started off by riding down to real and stopped at every resort/hotel we could find along the coast.
Our findings were the following.
Most “beach resorts” we found in and around Infanta and Real, are extremely overpriced, offering badly maintained dirty rooms (in the ₱3000 range) with cockroaches, or/and cabanas (4 wooden poles with a roof, curtains instead of walls and a hard floor) for more than ₱1500.
Then there was Real Coast & Surf, a very new, clean and unfinished resort with 14 rooms for ₱8000 with breakfast or ₱10000 for full board. A couple hundred meters down the road, this hotel has a surf camp with cabanas for ₱1700/night and a restaurant with a good selection of comfort food dishes.
We had their fish & chips (which was small but very tasty), calamari (which did not live up to our expectations), very good longsilog (longaniza with egg and rice) and a very delicious buko (young coconut) shake. Unfortunately we did not get to try the mango shake, even though we ordered it, but it is not strange to get your order messed up in the Philippines, so make sure to have the staff repeat your order every time to avoid disappointments.
We did find one place (Real Star & Beach) on our way back to Blue Pavilion Beach Resort that had 3 very clean and new rooms clean with a very nice view of the sea for ₱3000.
Unfortunately, their older rooms were not in good shape and again they had no food. So if you don’t mind preparing your own food and are looking for a clean place, this is probably your best option at the time of writing.
In the end, having spent one whole day going to every single resort and having had no time to explore any of the fun activities in Infanta and Real, we decided to park our bikes and head over to Polillo Island to try our luck.

Marilaque

We rode Marilaque. Finally. This road has been in our list for quite some time now. Its name comes from Marikina – Rizal – Laguna – Quezon, and it is a popular road, among riders in the Metro Manila area and surroundings, for its twisties and its proximity to the Pinoy capital, which makes it ideal for a day trip or a weekend getaway to the beaches in Quezon province.

We were told to avoid it during the weekends to enjoy a less overcrowded ride, so we set off on a Thursday. Traffic was heavy, as usual, at first, but once we rode past Antipolo (It took us around 2 hours), we understood what all the hype was all about.

The next 80kms or so was a beautiful stretch of road full of turns twisting through the mountains with very dramatic views and a beautiful light cast by the foggy weather that accompanied us for most of the ride.

We were alone most of the time (except for the stretch between Metro Manila and Antipolo) and the roads were generally in fairly good condition.

We were told that the ride to Infanta shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 hours each way, but as usual, we came across a number of unfortunate events that slowed us down, making our trip a 9 hour long ride.

1. We were riding in the company of our chase car mainly to carry photo/video gear. This made our going through the city traffic a lot longer than it would have had we not waited.

2. Shortly after the Sta Maria Laguna Arc, we encountered what was left of a bridge which was washed away by heavy rains. There was a way for the bikes to go over the river, but it was not suitable for cars or heavier vehicles. So we saw this as an excuse to ride through a different route, down to Santa Maria, Nunguma, Famy and back up to Real before arriving in Infanta. Do note when traveling around the Philippines by road, that these small roads that appear in white colour in google maps, are not usually paved for the most part.

The ride made for an interesting adventure, we got rained on on our way to Santa Maria buy not too much. The detour did take us much longer than we expected, but we did learn that the alternate route between Famy and Infanta is also something worth considering.

What about Infanta, Real and the beaches along this stretch of coast in the Quezon Province?

Keep an eye on this space and find out what is it we did with our time there!

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