I can genuinely sense the heavy slap on my face whenever my friends ask about the Northernmost tip Islands of Cebu since I always render them a blank face. They have seen me exploring almost more than half of the Province in the Philippines and that includes the Northern portion of Luzon and Southern Part of Mindanao. I truly don’t know why I haven’t explored our very own stunning Islands in the Northernmost tip of Cebu. Perhaps, because at the back of my mind, this would be easy to reach for I’m just in Cebu and anytime, I could get there and explore them. But only recently, after 4 years since I began traveling. I was granted a chance to explore these Islands together with my friends.
It feels like a dream; an all-encompassing, colorful, beautiful dream. The sun beams on glistening, the harmonies of the wind breeze upon harmonies fill my ears. The sky is a brilliant cobalt blue and that day could not be more complete. I was with my friends who is also passionate about traveling, and I feel like we were all handed a chance to travel to these remote Islands. Some of us have visited some of these Islands, but most of us were first timer.
Yes, there are truly a bunch of white sand beaches and beautiful Islands in Cebu that will surely leave you in awe and I have been to a few of them. But these remote Islands that we have visited were truly that far, and getting there is an adventure itself. Some of these Islands are really uninhabited, some slightly populated, and they’re all repleted with their very own brand of stunning beauty.
Guintacan Island (Guintarcan Island), or mostly recognized as Kinatarcan 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.
One of the best spots that this Island has to offer is the La-aw Cove that looks like being trapped and surrounded by a limestone and covered by a canopy of trees which makes the place an umbrageous surroundings 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 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. You can as well climb to a very sharp and high limestone cliff and from there you can jump on a water which somehow scary, but you will surely enjoy it. At the eastern and western portion of the Island also own a secluded beach that has a turquoise water and white sand which will certainly leave you in awe.
For complete travel guide on Guintacan (Guintarcan) Island, kindly check it here.
Malapascua Island is situated at the Northern tip of Cebu, Philippines and has long been known as the best diving spot not only in Cebu, but in the Philippines. It has been recognized for possessing a white sand beach or locally named as Bounty beach. Malapascua Island is also known for its stunning coral gardens and a perfect haven for those that loves to plunge and explore the paradise in the ocean. The Island is also known for effortlessly having a Monad Shoal or an underwater plateau where thresher sharks and manta rays can be sighted regularly. Agreeing to an expert, thresher sharks choose to be on this island because of the group of fish that is intended to clean the thresher sharks which makes them comfortably always going back. It’s genuinely interesting and hopefully I could take a look on it someday.
For complete travel guide on Malapascua Island, kindly check it here.
Carnaza Island is partially shrouded in low mountains, evergreen rainforest and a couple of jungle viewpoints that serve as excuses for short treks. This island also offers fine white sand beaches that right after a limestone formation is another white beach to discover and enjoy. The stunning views towards several limestone outcrops rising from the sea is like the spine of an ancient dragon that meets the sturdy waves and the surface of every limestone formation. The waters that surround the island is teal and full of life and a great playground for those that really love to plunge under the paradise of the ocean.
Believe me or not, but the exciting way to amble around the island is on foot and that’s really an amazing adventure that everyone should experience. Whatever you do on Carnaza Island, it is always done in surroundings that can only be truly described as paradise. It is still so unspoiled that you can’t find any Beach Resort on this Island, except for the private Osmeña owned by the Osmeña family. This Island is truly for the isolated feel for you get to just set up your tent and sleep under the captivating light of the stars at night time. But of everything that this Island has to offer, the very thing that you will really enjoy is the relaxation and eschewing of the tourist trail that leads to serenity and will bring you closer to an innate nature’s bounty.
For complete travel guide on Carnaza Island, kindly check it here.
The La Manok Island serves as a pit stop for the fishermen, since this Island is close to the Island of Carnaza, Daanbantayan, Cebu where most of the fishermen came from. The whole island does not own a resident here, but there’s a three humble house made from a bamboo and covered with a beautiful weave coconut frond as well as the roof. This serves as the rest house of the fishermen from their fishing trips. There are three small islands that composed La Manok Island. The first Island owns a high and big limestone that looks like a mushroom when you view it from afar. This Island is actually tied to the other side of the Island through the white sandbar as this where probably the name of the Island came from. The “La Manok” is a Bisaya term that means “The chicken-less Island” in which the white sandbar connects the Hen and the Cock.
For complete travel guide on La Manok Island or Isla La Manok, kindly check it here.
Gato Island is a rocky Island that looks like selfishly rises in the midriff of the sea and located in the middle of the Visayan Sea. It is said to be the sea snake sanctuary. It owns five dive sites, namely Whitetip Alley, Nudibranch City, The Guardhouse reef, The Cave, The Tunnel and the Cathedral Rock. It holds a huge diversity of marine life with a beautiful coral formation and are in good condition. This is in truth a perfect haven for those that love to explore the underwater paradise.
It is known to be a rocky Island with many interesting underwater rock formations and a lot more. Truly, this Island is abundant in marine species such as banded sea snakes, stingrays, tuna, snappers, Nudibranchs, porcupine fish, cuttlefish, seahorses, puffer fish, scorpion fish and mantis shrimp. The divers can also see schools of squid and big-mouthed mackerel. Gato Island is also known for sightings of sharks such as the cat, bamboo and white tip reef sharks resting in the cave and under rocks. There were also bats and birds flying outside the Island, which I guess they believe it as their home where they can freely multiply themselves without the interference of human existence.
For complete travel guide on Gato Island, kindly check it here.
Have you been to these Islands? How was your overall experience? I’m certain that you truly had an amazing island life in these Islands cause during our visit, we genuinely have enjoyed everything that these Islands has to offer.
POSSIBLE TRAVEL EXPENSES TO PREPARE
Fare from Cebu-Daanbantayan (Regular Bus) – PHP 160
Breakfast – PHP 100
Fare Daanbantayan to Port going to Guintarcan Island – 10
Boat rental going to the Guintarcan 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 – 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. Guintacan (Guintarcan) Island, Malapascua Island, Carnaza Island, La Manok Island and Gato Island.
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 Guintacan Island
9:30 AM – Depart for Guintarcan Island
10:40 AM- ETA Guintarcan 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
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
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 La Manok Island
10:00 AM – Depart for La Manok
11:20 AM – ETA La Manok Island
11:30 AM – Explore and enjoying La Manok 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.
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 of Wanderanghela 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!