After visiting our friend’s house in the town of Odiongan, we headed to San Jose, another municipality in the province of Romblon. It’s an adventure trip going to the resort with the famous motorcycle ride in the area, habal-habal. The reason why we travelled to another town is to see an emerging island paradise in the southernmost island of the province- the Carabao Island (Isla de Carabao).
Popularly known as Hambil to the locals, Carabao Island boasts with beautiful coastlines and pristine-turquoise beaches. Some saying the island is living in the shadow of Boracay Island of Aklan, that’s why it’s dubbed as “twin sister.”
I’m sure you are wondering why it’s called Carabao Island. Even me, I’m really curious. I asked the driver of the habal-habal why the island is named after Philippines' national animal. On our way to resort I can’t find even just one carabao. He said the island before has lots of carabaos or water buffalos. To be honest with you guys, I’m not convinced on his answer LOL. Some say the island shaped is like a carabao when approached from Boarcay Island.
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Carabao Island is said to be the home of inhabitants called Hambilanos. The population of the peole here is not the as many like in Boracay. These people are very nice and friendly. Most of their source of income are fishing, selling goodies from their stores, and working in various establishments in the island as well in Boracay.
In the island, you can enjoy its two main white beaches- Lanas Beach and San Jose Beach.
Lanas Beach is in vicinity of barangay of Lanas. It is actually located in the western coast of the island, facing the world famous Boracay. From here, you could see the Puka Beach and big resorts in one of the world's top destinations for relaxation.
San Jose Beach is located in main town, Poblacion (Agrogon). The sand is purer here unlike in Lanas Beach.
The white beaches in the island are really stunning. The water is really clean. There are some parts of the island offers pure white sand but others are combination of sand, small stones and broken shells. So you need to be careful walking barefoot in the shorelines.
We stayed in Nipa Hauz in Lanas Beach resort. It features native style air conditioned rooms and fans rooms which can accommodate solo adventurer, couple, family and group of friends.. It has also a restaurant serves sumptuous Filipino and Westen cuisine. I really love their seafood dishes specially the “sinigang na isda.” It's really mouth-watering. You can also rent their jetski and boat if you want to indulge water activities.
Other accommodations in the island are Kameo Lodge, The Beach House, EJR Lodging House, Republic Inobahan, Vista Violeta, Tj’s Havem, GP Lodge, Friendles Cottage, Ivy’s Vine Asian Beach resort and other guest houses, resorts, and homestays.
There is no night life in the island. I only hear the noise of my friends and the sound of the waves coming from the sea. So what we did, we played the card game called “In-between.” While playing the game, I’m passing the glass with emperador to each of everyone. As always, I’m the “tanggero” of the group. LOL. We broke the silence of the island. We laugh the whole night. Sad to say, I lose again the game. I donated again millions (joke) to my charity group. hahaha
Early in the morning, we hired a big boat going to Boracay. Everyone was really excited to see the beauty of the island and to party all night. Anyway, our adventure to Carabao Island is such a wonderful experience I’ll definitely go back here and bring my family and friends to this amazing island.
Hopefully, the grand plans to transform the island into a mega-resort will not pursue. Boracay is enough for big establishments and crazy night life bars. Let’s preserve the natural beauty the of Carabao Island.
How to get to Carabao Island
From Manila, take a bus bound to Batangas. Then, charter a 2GO ferry to Odiongan port.Travel time is 9-10 hours. From Odiongan port, take a jeep or habal-habal to Sta. Fe port where you can catch ferry going to San Jose in Carabao Island. The ferry form the Sta Fe port leaves daily at 9:30 AM. Travel time will take around 30-45 mins. The fare is P100. From the port, take a habal-habal going to the resort of choice. (100/pax).
From Caticlan/ Boracay, hire a boat that will take you to San Jose.