Last Updated on May 4, 2023 by Tina
In December 2021, I visited Immuki Island in Brgy. Paraoir, Balaoan, La Union with my sister, niece, and nephew. I first heard about this island in 2018 when actress Bela Padilla visited it. I thought back then that the island is far from the shore and that you need to rent a boat to get to the island. But when my college classmate posted a photo of the place, I got curious so I messaged him to ask how to get there. He told me that during low tide you can walk to the island. I have no idea why I never bothered to research the place back then.
2 weeks ago, I went back to Immuki Island with a friend. We had so much fun swimming in the lagoons and posing for pictures. I am updating this post for newer pictures and also because there was a price increase in the entrance fee.
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If you are looking for other things to do in La Union other than surfing, you can go swimming or cliff jumping in the lagoons of Immuki Island. Below is a complete guide to visiting Immuki Island.
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What to Expect in Immuki Island
We know from school that an island is a body of land surrounded by water. Also, we probably have done island hopping in the past so we kind of have an idea how an island looks like. Well, Immuki Island doesn’t look anything like that. It’s just dead corals a few meters away from the shore and surrounded by mangroves. There are three big lagoons that are perfect for swimming or if you are more adventurous, you can do cliff jumping.
Getting to the Lagoons
As mentioned earlier, you can walk to the island during low tide. And when the water gets higher, you can swim to get there as it is just a few meters away from the shore.
Another option is to ride a balsa (raft). If you are not traveling on a tight budget, I recommend taking a raft instead so that you get to support the locals (this was actually shared with me by my friend which actually makes sense). The raft can fit up to six people. There is a table in the middle which you can use in case you are planning on eating there.
Aside from the raft, you will also be guided to the three lagoons. The guide knows how deep each of the lagoons is. Also, he will assist you when moving from one lagoon to another. My friend and I think that people visiting the lagoons should get a guide for safety reasons.
The first lagoon, called Immuki is around 10 feet deep. Our guide said that it was named as such because there used to be a lot of sea slugs in that place. Sea slugs in the local dialect are called babao. Babao or bao is a Pangasinense term that refers to the female genitalia. In Ilocano, the female genitalia is called “uki”. Immuki has also been associated with the island because the shape of the lagoon resembles the shape of a female genital from the top view.
The second and third lagoons were also named after other body parts. The second lagoon is 8 feet deep and is called Bimmuto (Buto is an Ilocano term that refers to the male genital). People say that the shape of the second lagoon resembles the shape of the male genital. The third lagoon is 12 feet deep and is called Immubet (Ubet is an Ilocano term that refers to the anus).
When you reach the first lagoon, you’ll need to get off the raft and walk to get to the second and third lagoon. You can’t walk barefoot as you’ll be stepping on dead corals, which are jagged and has sharp edges. The water in the lagoons is so clear that my friend and I went swimming right away.
There were no sea urchins, sea slugs, sea snakes and I only saw one sea cucumber resting on the rock when we were there. (I asked our guide about these sea creatures before getting on the water).
Best Time to Visit Immuki Island
Our guide recommends that you visit the island on a high tide. Usually, the high tide is early in the morning until around 9 or 10 in the morning. In the afternoon, it is around 3:00 PM onwards. I recommend going there in the afternoon, around 4:00 PM because after exploring the three lagoons, you get to watch the sunset which is really nice. Don’t go too late because you can only stay there until 6:00 PM.
What you can do when planning your itinerary is that you can combine your visit to Immuki Island with a visit to Namacpacan Church, Bato de Luna, Baluarte (Luna) Watch Tower, Balaoan Watch Tower, and Almeida Manmade Forest. You can do all of these in half-day, with Immuki Island as your last stop.
How to Get to Immuki Island
Immuki Island is located in Balaoan, La Union. You will pass by the entrance going to Immuki Island on your way to Baluarte Watch Tower or Bato de Luna.
When we went there in 2021, we chartered a tricycle from San Juan. We paid Php 800 (~US$ 16) for the round trip (the driver waited for us and he also took us to Bato de Luna which I will write about next time).
When we went there 2 weeks ago, we visited Alpas first. To get to Alpas from San Juan, ride a jeepney bound to Bacnotan. Fare is Php 20 (~US$0.40) per person. Tell the driver to drop you off in Jollibee Bacnotan. Then take a tricycle to Alpas. Tricycle fare is Php 30 (~US$0.60) per person.
From Alpas, we hailed a tricycle to Immuki Island. We paid Php 150 (~US$ 3) for the ride. On our way back to San Juan, it was already dark when we left Immuki Island. We were able to charter a tricycle that would take us to the bus stop in Bacnotan (along the National Highway and in front of Bacnotan market). He asked for Php 250 (~US$ 5) for the trip but we decided to give him Php 300 (~US$ 6). We were able to ride a mini bus. We paid Php 30 (~US$0.60) each from Bacnotan to Urbiztondo in San Juan.
Another option is to ride a jeepney to Luna and alight in front of the entrance to Immuki Island.
Rates as of April 20, 2023
Entrance fee- Php 50 (~US$ 1) per head (regular rate) and Php 30 for students, senior citizens and persons with disability
Balsa (Raft)- Php 250 (~US$ 5) for 1.5 hours (good for up to 6 persons). As for the guide fee, it is up to you how much you want to give. My friend and I gave our guide Php 200 because we were very satisfied with his service. Not only did he act as a guide, he was also our photographer. And he did well.
Open-air cottages along the shore- donation-only type of payment
There is a shower room and it costs Php 20 per person. You can also rent goggles, slippers, and life vests there though the use of these (except for the slippers) is optional.
Some Tips When You Visit Immuki Island
- There are no ATMs nearby so make sure you bring enough cash.
- If you are visiting at midday, bring sunblock to avoid getting sunburned. Best if you use a reef-safe sunblock like Magwai.
- As mentioned above, there are shower rooms so if you are planning to swim, don’t forget to bring a towel, soap, shampoo, and dry clothes.
- It is best to wear aqua shoes when you visit the island. But if you don’t have one, make sure you wear slippers that don’t get broken easily. My sister’s slippers broke while we were there so I had to lend her mine because she’s carrying my nephew. It is very difficult/painful to step on the rocks barefoot.
- You can bring snacks but please don’t leave trash there.
- There were stores on the shore that sell snacks.
- Our guide said the lagoons get crowded on weekends (tourists are back) so if you can, schedule your visit on a weekday.
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