CARABAO ISLAND – A HIDDEN GEM
Carabao island also known as Hambil to the locals, is a gem located at the southern most part of the island of Romblon, Municipality of San Jose. It is just 45 minutes to an hour travel by pumpboat from the famous island of Boracay.
How to get there
By Plane – There are number of flights daily from Manila to Caticlan or even via Kalibo. If you are in Boracay island there are some boat company that offers a day trip to Carabao Island, just asked the tourist information center when you arrived in Boracay Island.
By Ferry – If you come from Batangas take the Ferry to Caticlan Port , there are morning and night trip from Batangas Port and usually daily trips. Fare is as low as 600 php depending on the type of accommodation you will choose. I took the night trip from 9:00 pm and arrived 6:00 am. There are different shipping company that caters Batangas to Caticlan Port such as Navios Shipping Lines, Montenegro Shipping Lines and 2GO Shipping Lines. I choose 2GO Shipping Lines.
From Caticlan Port haggle a habal habal driver to drive you to Tabon Baybay Port and from there wait for the pumpboat at 9:00am to transfer you to the Port of Hambil . Travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the weather and how strong waves are. Fare is 100php
Upon arriving to Port, there are numbers of Habal Habal Drivers waiting for passengers, would be much better if you have contact person before your arrival to the island. You will have to pay terminal fee of 50 php upon arriving and 10 php when you are leaving.
The Port of Said is a small port in Hambil which lies within a very beautiful white sand beach with some coconut shades that gave a very relaxing beach vibe and great view. There are some small resorts and Hostel around the area like Republic of Inobahan and the Kameo Lodge. The other part of the island got some nice beaches and resorts too like the famous Lanas Beach Resort, Ocean Edge Resort but since i wanted to stay near the port as i will here for 1 day i opted to stay in Kameo Lodge.
My Guide Kuya Jun was waiting for me at the port,( we are already updating each other prior to my arrival). He picked me up and send me to the Kameo Lodge and let me rested for a bit and get ready for the island tour.
Kameo Lodge is a family run business located at the end of the beach area, left part from the Port of Said. A two Story house that’s very relaxing with a very nice view outside as it was just conveniently located in front of the beach. I got the room at the back a fan room , which double bed , comfty and freshly prepared pillowcase, bedsheet and blanket they all smells good. Room is good for 2 pax with a bathroom outside room for only 500 pesos. Just no view as im at the back area.
After settling and taking shower and had some bread i am ready for the ultimate Carabao Island Tour. 11:30 am when i told my guide kuya Jun to pick me up again. We started the tour around 12:00 as as i we waited for the 2 new friends to be joining the tour and its much more fun to be with them.
Welcome To Isla de Carabao Arc
Since my accommodation is just walking distance to Isla De Carabao Arc, this is the first stop, took some photo and then drive one minute to this iconic coconut tree. Everyone who visit Carabao Island gets the Photo Ops in this bended Coconut tree with an amazing background of white sand and a nice beach, this is few steps away from the Republic of Inobahan. Good thing as of the moment this is still free of charge.
Tagaytay View Point
The first stop is Tagaytay View Point which is the highest point in the island which you can enjoy the breath taking view and an amazing sight of Boracay Island just in front of you from afar. It was noon time when i was there and the sun is soaring hot but the wind here is great. You can take photos at a different areas and then rest in the hut with a view. I can just fall asleep here. Very relaxing and calm and no other crowd just me and the other 2 ladies and their guides. I don’t wanna go but unfortunately i have to get going to see the other sights to see in the island. Entrance fee is 100 php They said that the sunset here is amazing. Unfortunately i’m not able to go back again to see the sunset. One day again maybe.
Bugtong Bato Cliff Diving
After Spending sometime in the Tagaytay View Point i went here to enjoy the majestic view and pristine blue green waters. Here the main thing to do as the name says is to do cliff diving, kayaking and just rest in the hut and chill. There is also a small cave where you can go and check out but i didn’t go ans see whats inside , am just happy relaxing and watching other people cliff dive and swim around the area. I would love to do the cliff diving next time when i have the guts hahha. The rock formation here is amazing i really liked it here and its not that crowded at all no much guest that time. Entrance fee is 100 php.
Koding Koding Point
Koding Koding Point is another cliff diving site similar to Bugtong Bato Cliff Diving. But i fell inlove to this place more that the other one. Here we totally invade the place as no other people in the cliff diving site. I had the chance to stay in water for long , do snorkeling, went to cave too and enjoy the cold water, watched the 2 girls do cliff diving, take loads of selfies, enjoy the entire to the max. Great rock formation too. Entrance fee is 100 php.
Tan- Agan Picnic Grove
The last place to visit as i spent lots of time in the Koding Koding Point and i already felt am done with the day. I haven’t really take much time in here. This place is a beach front resort with a couple of accomodation and restaurant for the guest. The beach is nice but coz of the monsoon there are some trashes and seagrass around the coast, but the sand is nice its off white and powdery. They have some beach chairs which you can relax and do sunbathing, there’s also a swing in the beach that’s good to take photos too. No guest when i visited or maybe they are also out to do island trip. The restaurant serves some meals but a bit pricey but what do i expect im in the island and this resort is a bit far too. Entrance Fee is 100 php
Where to Eat
Kameo Lodge got a dirty kitchen at the back of my room which can be used if guest wanted to cook a meal. There are some store just outside of the Lodge just in case you need to buy something such as biscuits or soda or bread or anything. There’s a Ihaw Ihaw place just few steps which you can get something for dinner. There’s carinderia where u can have tapsilog. I have some packed food with me which i eat for my brunch and my for my dinner i had a mango shake and chilli pork strips with rice at Carabao Grill Resto for 200 php.
I had a full blast day and i slept early for the continuation of my journey to Tablas Island. I woke up 5:00am to catch the 6:00am pumpboat to Sta Fe Port Tablas Island, and i witnessed a very nice Sunrise. It was such a worth travel and worth a visit indeed in this small gem not as over rated as Boracay. I’m glad that i visited this place before it will be developed and get more touristic. Thank you for the wonderful experience Carabao Island.
Summary of Expenses
1020 Batangas Port to Caticlan Port
30 Terminal Fee
100 Tricycle from Caticlan Port to Tabon Baybay
100 Pumpboat to Port of Said
50 Terminal Fee
500 Kameo Lodge 2d1n Accommodation
500 Island Tour Fee
400 Entrance fees
100 Pumpboat to Sta Fe Tablas Island
10 Terminal fee leaving Port of Said
Kameo Lodge – call or text
0917 548 7960 or https://www.facebook.com/kameolodge/
Jun Brigido Gabinete for Habal Habal Tour – 09266554445https://www.facebook.com/leoncio.gabinete.3
2GO Shipping Lines – https://travel.2go.com.ph/eticket/select.asp
Pls check on my next blog for the continuation of my trip.
South Tablas Island http://wanderingron.com/south-tablas-romblon/