La-aw Cove: The LOVELY Hidden LAGOON On Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island 


I remember how I was looking impassive after I received an unfamiliar question from my Teacher when I was in High School. I was just staring at her and would love to ask further to clean my confusion and I’ll find a better understanding of what she was talking about cause I really don’t have an idea. This is what exactly happened to me when my friends and I traveled to this Island that I haven’t heard of yet. I was rendering them a blank face and keep thinking of what the Island looks like and what are we going to do there, but at the back of my mind, I know that it’ll be another exciting and fun-filled day for us. I didn’t even bother to do a little research about the Island cause I didn’t want to turn down my excitement at that time.

Photo Credit: Wandering Feet PH

We took an early bus trip from the Cebu North Bus Terminal around 2:00 AM while our eyes were still struggling to be active cause they want to rest, our jaded body who happens to be circumscribed from kissing the comfort of our bed is likewise a real struggle, but evading them means seeing the beautiful scenery ahead of us. We were able to get to the town of Daanbantayan, Cebu around 6:30 am and we had a morning walk around Daanbantayan while waiting for others. But before our itinerary contradict to the time they arrived, they were able to reached Daanbantayan. We then buy some necessary things that we will be needing on Guintacan Island.

Heading to Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island from Daanbantayan town proper is very easy, you only have to take a tricycle that actually looks like a small version of Tuk-Tuk in Thailand. Since taking a public boat that would get us to Guintacan Island will not be a good choice cause they have to wait to fill the boat with around 30 passengers before it leaves, we instead rented the boat. More than an hour of a fun boat ride while enjoying the ocean panorama was made us even more excited.

Photo credit: ASANASADSIJAMES

Kinatarcan Island (Guintacan Island) or mostly recognized as Kinatarkan by locals is a charming island that offers travelers the chance to experience rustic island life in a peaceful and relaxing environment. This signifies that there are no big chain of resorts on the island and transportation is basic like a motorcycle.

Nevertheless, the island guarantees an authentic island experience and beautiful scenery. The island is composed of rocky cliffs on the North side and along the western and eastern side, you’ll be seeing the cloistered white sand beaches. The Guintacan Island is actually part of the Municipality of Santa Fe and situated at the Southern Part of the Visayan sea that is close to Bantayan Island. The whole island is just about nine kilometers long as its length and two kilometers as its width which means ambling around the whole island for only 2-3 hours is very possible.

Upon traipsing my feet on the Island, the first beautiful scenery that fascinated my eyes the moment I arrived was the untouched white sand beach, splendid coastal views, crystal clear water, lines of wild coconut trees and the colorful fishing boats on the seashore that brought me the feeling of a warm welcoming. With the turquoise water that is very tempting, this is one of the many attractive things that you can’t get your eyes off once you arrive. There were children whom I guess are from the island  and they don’t mind about the clinging heat of the sun as they were playing in the clean water and swim.

The children that we met while on our way upwards from the seacoast help us to get to the La-aw Cove. But before we proceeded straight to the La-aw cove, some of my friends went to the high mounds and stand  there while admiring the island in which they feel free and excited with magic beauty of nature’s bounty of Guintacan Island. They genuinely have enjoyed the sea breeze and listen to the flap created by sturdy waves while bumping into the cliffs. I was then busy taking picture of them with their own invented instagrammable pose.

It was very hot during our visit and we have to trek around 30-45 minutes going to the hidden lagoon on Guintacan Island or locally known as La-aw cove. The trail was quite a challenge for us, since most of us were just wearing slippers.

We have to pass to a narrow pathway that seems like a huge rock being broken in the middle and created a very unique pathway. We’ve seen cave as well, but just plain hanging on the bulwark of the limestone. There were stalagmites hanging, but sadly it looks like they were already a dead stalagmite. Soon enough we reached the hidden Lagoon that is very enticing.

The La-aw Cove looks like being trapped and surrounded by a limestone and covered by a canopy of trees which makes the place so umbrageous and most probably the reason why the water is cold. The lagoon is not that really wide, simply enough to attract your child like sense to play and enjoy its natural beauty. There’s a group of children, which I guess are locals on the Island during our visit where they really enjoyed the cold water of the La-aw Cove as they were playing and swim.

There’s a an improvised swing where a large rope is being wedded to a tree where you can jump on a water just like Tarzan. It’s not that scary as most locals do this, and the water is not that deep, but just make sure to find a perfect timing and release your hand when you jump on a water to avoid accidents. The kids as well climb to a very sharp and high limestone cliff and from there they jump on a water which made me scared, but they simply have enjoyed it.

Two of our friends was tempted by these kids, and they as well climb to a limestone cliff, but it took them about 15 minutes to decide to jump. This made our day cause we were heckling them since they seem like so doubtful either to jump or not, but they made it and jump.

Photo Credit: John Jay of Wandering Feet PH

After enjoying the innate beauty of La-aw Cove with its cold and salty water, our stomach is asking for food and we then had our lunch on the upper side of the Lagoon and continue to swim after our lunch. We genuinely want to stay and enjoy more what Guintacan Island has to offer, but since we have not granted a leisure time during our visit cause we have to leave around 2:00 PM so that we won’t miss the last trip going to Malapascua Island. We supposed to go to the western and  eastern part of the Island to check their secluded  beach, but we don’t have enough time. Me and my team might probably be travelling back and amble around the whole Island soon.

Note: This is part of our 3 days and 2 night adventure on the 5 remote Islands in the northernmost part of Cebu, namely Guintacan Island, Malapascua Island, Carnaza Island, La Manok Island and Gato Island together with other Cebu Travel Bloggers, Instagrammers and Travelers.

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HOW TO GET TO KINATARCAN (GUINTACAN) SLAND 

There are daily flights to Cebu from Manila, Davao and other part of the Philippines with Major Airlines (Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Asia). From the Cebu Mactan Airport, ride a taxi going to Cebu North Bus Terminal and from there, take a bus bound for Daanbantayan and you should tell the driver or the Bus conductor to drop you off at the Daanbantayan Public Market. The fare is around PHP 170 to PHP 190. As you reached the Daanbantayan Public Market ask the locals in the area where is the port that bound for Guintacan Island. From there, hop a boat that will take you to Guintarcan Island. The fare is around Php50 per person for one way trip and the travel time is more than an hour.

Note: 

Since Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island doesn’t own a bunch of visitors in a day, the schedule of the boat rides that leaves from the Port to Guintacan Island is sometimes not fix. But the boat mostly departs when they have 20-30 passengers or else you have to really wait.

During our visit to Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island, we rented a boat from Daanbantayan for only PHP 2,500 that includes going to Guintarcan Island and going back to Daanbantayan since we are around 11 that time. I guess this is more convenient if you’re traveling with a group of friends.

TRAVEL TIPS 

  • Expect big waves when going to Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island always make sure to secure all your gadgets and put them in the dry bag. We are just lucky enough that during our trip to Guintacan Island the ocean has been just so calm.
  • Bring your own camping gear like your tent and all the necessary stuff that you’ll be needing if you want to camp on the beach.
  • Bringing your cook set when you decide to stay overnight on this Island is very advisable. Also buy the necessary supplies from the Mainland of Daanbantayan. There are small stores on the Island, but that won’t guarantee that all the supplies that you’ll be needed will be available in their stores.
  • Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island is a perfect place for those that loves to explore the paradise under the ocean. I advise you to bring your own swimming and snorkeling gear.
  • During the morning, you’ll be finding out fresh seafood near the seashore. You can always ask the locals and buy their fresh fish.
  • I highly suggest that you have to bring your Powerbank and make sure that all your gadgets are fully charged before going on this Island, since their electricity on the island is not available 24 hours.
  • Always remember that, It is your garbage your obligation. Never leave your garbages when visiting this Island, as you depart the island bring them with you and leave them on the mainland of Daanbantayan. Don’t forget to bring your food waste bag.
  • Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.

POSSIBLE TRAVEL EXPENSES TO PREPARE

  • Fare from Cebu-Daanbantayan (Regular Bus) – Php 160
  • Breakfast – Php 100
  • Fare Daanbantayan to Port going to Guintacan Island – Php 10
  • Boat rental going to the Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island (good for 10-15 passengers), including the food for 2 days Island adventure – Php 500
  • Fare from Port – Daanbantayan proper –Php 10
  • Fare Daanbantayan – Maya Port – Php 10
  • Fare Maya Port – Malapascua – Php 100
  • Additional charge for a mini boat transfer – Php 40
  • Dinner at Ging-Ging’s Restaurant on Malapascua Island –Php 115
  • Mr. Kwiiz Resort bed space (fan room) and good for 4 people – Php 350
  • Lunch at Mr. Kwiiz Resort – Php 155
  • Boat rental Malapascua to Carnaza Island Php 3,000 divided to 10 people – Php 300
  • Boat Rental from Carnaza, Lamanoc Island, Galut Island and going back to Tapilon Port PHP 4000 divided to 13 people – Php 310
  • Fare Tapilon to Cebu City – Php 190

        OVER ALL TOTAL for our 3 days and 2 night trip: Php 2,350

Note: This is the good side when you travel with a group of friends, aside from you won’t be spending much, you will as well enjoy so much that you forget about your skin being sun burnt.

3 Days and 2 night Itinerary. Exploring five remote Islands in the Northernmost tip of Cebu. Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island, Malapascua Island, Carnaza Island, Lamanok Island and Gato Island.

DAY 1

  • 1:30 AM- Meet-up at the North Bus Terminal
  • 02:00 AM- Depart from Cebu City
  • 06:30 AM- ETA in Daanbantayan
  • 07:00 AM- Breakfast
  • 07:30 AM- Buying the necessary supplies needed in Guintarcan Island
  • 9:30 AM – Depart for Guintacan Island
  • 10:40 AM- ETA Kinatarcan (Guintacan) Island
  • 10:50 AM – Trek going to La-aw Lagoon
  • 11:20 AM – ETA La-aw Lagoon
  • 11:30 AM – Swimming in La-aw Lagoon
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • 12:30 PM – Swimming continue
  • 02:00 PM – Depart for Daanbantayan
  • 03:15PM – ETA at Daanbantayan
  • 03:30 PM – Depart for Maya Port
  • 03:50 PM – ETA in Maya Part
  • 04:00 PM- Buying all the necessary supplies for 2 days Island adventure. 05:00 PM – Depart for Malapascua Island
  • 05:30 PM – ETA Malapascua Island
  • 05:50 PM – Looking for a Hostel to stay in Malapascua for a night
  • 09:00 PM – Dinner
  • 10:00 PM – Social
  • 11:30 PM – Rest time

DAY 2

  • 07:00 AM – Prepare for breakfast
  • 08:30 AM – Breakfast
  • 09:30 AM – Exploring Malapascua Island
  • 11:00 AM – Prepare for check out at Mr. Kwiiz Beach Resort
  • 11:50 PM – Check out
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch at Mr. Kwiiz Beach Resort
  • 02:00 PM – Depart for Carnaza Island
  • 03:30 PM – ETA Carnaza Island
  • 04:00 PM – exploring the Island and chasing sunrise
  • 06:30 PM – Prepare for Dinner
  • 08:30 PM – Dinner
  • 09:30 PM – Social
  • 12:00 AM – Rest time

DAY 3

  • 05:00 AM – Wake up and prepare for sunrise viewing
  • 05:30 AM – Sunrise viewing
  • 06:30 AM – Prepare for breakfast
  • 08:30 AM – Cleaning the camping area
  • 09:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 09:00 AM – Prepare for Lamanok Island
  • 10:00 AM – Depart for Lamanok
  • 11:20 AM – ETA Lamanok Island
  • 11:30 AM – Explore and enjoying Lamanok Island
  • 12:30 PM – Lunch
  • 01:00 PM – Depart for Gato Island
  • 02:20 PM – side trip on Gato Island for a while
  • 02:30 PM – Depart for Tapilon Port
  • 04:00 PM – ETA Tapilon Port
  • 04:10 PM – Quick wash up at the Karederia (food beanery).
  • 05:00 PM – Depart for Cebu City
  • 09:30 PM – ETA Cebu City
  • 10:00 PM – Home sweet home.

SPECIAL THANKS

I would like to thank Master Arnold of Wandering Soul Scamper for the invitation and for planning the whole trip. To John Jay of Wandering Feet PH, James of ASANASADSIJAMES, Gly of Chasing Potatoes, Mike Laagan of The Traveling Panda, Sean of His Hidden Letters, Dilon of Chasing Wonders, to Gelai for always making sure that we have luscious food to eat, to Angel Kevin and Duke that I have just met, may I still see you on our next adventure and to Rome of Basta Bisaya and Totem of Totemgineer. Thank you so much guys for the fun filled adventure that I have experienced together with you all. See you all on our next adventure again!

45 comments

  1. This is an awesome place to explore in Cebu. Now I am getting more excited about our incoming trip. Have yet to decide where we will head, though, so thank you for your insightful posts about these lovely islands. I would love to see them all but I do not think we have enough time to visit them during our trip. Oh well, hopefully, we can visit even one of these islands you feature! It sure would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore these lovely islands with my boys!

    Like

  2. Why is everywhere in the Philippines so gorgeous? Ive only been gone a week and I already want to go back! This place looks incredible and off the tourist trail, which is even better!

    Like

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