When I told my friends that I am visiting Romblon Island, they were all telling me that I must visit Sibuyan Island. All I knew about this Island before was Mount Guiting-Guiting which is considered one of the most technical climbs in the Philippines. But after my trip, I realized that there are more things to do and explore on this paradise island of Sibuyan and that’s what I want to share with you in this article.
Galapagos of Asia
Considered as the Galapagos of Asia, Sibuyan Island has been in isolation for years and never considered part of the Philippines. That was quiet interesting to know actually specially that they have one of the densest forests in the the country as well as animal species endemic to the island and a unique flora and fauna that is uniquely Sibuyan.
Sibuyan Island has three municipalities named San Fernando, Cajidiocan and Magdiwang being the Capital of the Island. It’s still part of the group of Islands of Romblon and I am so happy that after exploring the Marble Capital, Romblon, we then hopped on the boat and off to explore SIBUYAN ISLANDS!
How to get to Sibuyan Island ?
1. Take a bus from Manila to Batangas Port
2. Travel via 2go Ferry to Romblon Island (Travel time 8 hrs)
3. From Romblon, take a Ferry via Starhorse Shipping – Php 280.00 Regular Fare
Travel time: 1 hr
WHERE TO STAY IN SIBUYAN?
MC Town Center
Located in San Fernando, If you are planning to explore Cresta De Gallo, then this is probably one of the closest places to stay. It’s right at the center of the municipality which is good. Their accommodation is very basic but it’s very clean and nicely air-conditioned. Since it’s at the city center, there are stores around the area which are quiet handy. They also have a restaurant which serves good food too.
Phone numbers: 09159032511 | 09362801897 | 09178320957
Sanctuary Garden Resort
Found in Magdiwang, this is probably one of the nicest place to stay in Sibuyan Island. It’s so quiet and peaceful. The rooms are very spacious and cozy. I also enjoyed the hot shower. What I also liked the most here is how the resort blended with nature. The resort is lush with trees and other plants making it attractive to different wildlife. They really landscaped the resort beautifully! No wonder a lot of tourists prefer to stay here at Sanctuary Garden Resort.
In the mornings, you must try and climb up the hill where you can see a view of Mt. Guiting-Guiting if not cloudy. There are also huts available there where you can enjoy a nice breakfast.
Phone numbers: +639399171635 | +639178298722 | +639285504531
TOURIST SPOTS IN SIBUYAN ISLAND
Casa Del San Fernando
Considered as a Heritage site built by the Spaniards in San Fernando, this ruin serves as a watch tower that was built using wood and coral blocks. At present, it is being renovated so tourists can visit this cultural site and an events place.
It is also very easy to find because this ruin stands just behind the San Fernando Municipal Hall. It’s only a few meters away walk, so go check it out.
Entrance Fee: Php 20.00
Considered as one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines, Cantingas River is a must visit destination in San Fernando. Not just tourists, this river is also a famous swimming area for locals. You can either hire a table or just put your stuff on the side and off you swim. I’ve never seen a river that clean and clear for the longest time. Although it’s deep, yet you can still see the bottom of the river.
What makes this more exciting was the cliff jumping. If you are are an adrenaline junkie, then this is a must try. They have three level platforms where you can jump. I am not really sure how high the highest platform was. It was easy for the locals, but for first timers, I got a little frightened at first. But I still jumped! .
A waterfall to visit in San Fernando is the Dagubdob Falls. One of the most visited waterfalls on the island, people could visit the falls without fee. The walk to the falls would take you for around 30 minutes up to an hour depending on how fast you walk through the trails and river streams which I found was really fun.
We arrived at the waterfalls and the clear waters were just so inviting. So we swam right away and it was so refreshing specially after that walk. Walking around the falls was easy because they already have steps on the side making it easier to go from one fall to another.
Another waterfall you must visit in San Fernando is the Busay Falls. Similar to Dagubdob Falls, you are going to walk along some trails but it was really that far and it’s pretty shady too. We basically just followed the river upstream and in the corner, we found one of the most picturesque waterfalls on the island.
One IG worthy spot you might want to consider is the boulder of rock in front of the waterfalls. It was so huge and I had no idea how it got there. But, yeah! we all climbed up the boulder and showed them perfect poses! It was fun and we were really happy we decided to visit these waterfalls.
Cawa Cawa Falls
Another falls that you could visit on the island is Cawa Cawa. The walk is not difficult as they already made wooden walkways on the river. But what falls makes it very special was the community in the area. Aside from clean waters gushing through the falls, this is where you could also meet the Sibuyan Mangyan Tagabukid community.
Considered as one of the few ethnic minorities on the island, they proudly showed us their rich culture by singing songs while feasting with delectable local food prepared by the community.
Afterwards, we swam in the cold water in the falls and just enjoyed the afternoon before we headed back to the resort. They were really amazing and we learned a lot from their culture and how proud they are to be Sibuyanon.
Cresta De Gallo Island
This is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen so far is. This small paradise island just few minutes away from Sibuyan will take your breathe away with its long stretch of white sand beach and it’s turquoise calm waters which is so tempting, it’s difficult not to swim.
There are cottages available in the area ideal for picnic but please make sure to not leave any trash behind and keep the the island clean. We were only there for a few hours but time ran so fast and all of us did not want to leave the island. If you go to Sibuyan Island, Cresta De Gallo is definitely a must visit!
Video made by Ferdz Decena of www.ironwulf.net
Aside from the beaches, waterfalls, and so many natural wonders of this island, the people of Sibuyan also have a lot to share in terms of culture and one of the is weaving.
Part of our itinerary was a visit to a community of women who are still trying to revive the tradition of weaving. Aside from providing jobs to local Sibuyanon, the organization also aims to teach the young ones how to weave keeping the tradition alive.
Watching them do it was a privilege and the result is a work of art.
Mt. Guiting-Guiting Natural Park
Considered as one of the most beautiful mountains in the Philippines. It is also considered as one of the densest forest in the country with few endemic species only found in the mountain and on the island. Aside from that, this is also considered a favorite destination for mountain hikers specially if you are looking for a challenging and technical climb. Expect to climb up steep rocks, knife’s edge, and so much more making this an experience of a lifetime for mountain climbers. Climbing to the summit needs a lot of experience and skills, and for me personally, with it’s natural wonders, who wouldn’t want to try.
Lambingan Falls is considered to be one of the most accessible waterfalls in Sibuyan. With only a few minutes walk and stream crossing, you will end up at this waterfall tucked in the middle of the forest that is so relaxing. With so many waterfalls around Sibuyan, I like that most of them are not so busy and you almost got the place to yourself. The water was so cold and refreshing. If you want to see more, there is a path on the side where you can climb and see the cascading waterfalls which is also a nice place to swim.
Must try places to eat …..
Pancit Sibuyan at Chai Tea Cafe Bubble Tea House Cafe
Address: Cajidiocan Romblon
As we support local tourism, we also support the local talents and food. If there is one food that you must try when in Sibuyan, it would be the Pancit Sibuyan at Chai Tea Cafe. Aside from their coffee and milk teas, this is the place where you can get this locally made noodles. Apparently, this noodles are made by hand an old lady in the area and sells them herself too. She has been making this for so many years and it’s becoming a local favorite. I am telling you, it was delicious! It wasn’t expensive and the serving was a lot. And to our surprise, we all finished it. That’s how good it is and hope you could give it a try!
Coffee and Blueberry Cheesecake at Bash Cafe
Address: E. Aguinaldo St. Cajidiocan Romblon
If you are searching for a place that serves good brewed coffee and a delicious cheesecake, Bash Cafe is definitely a must try. Located right in the center Cajidiocan, Bash Cafe is a local favorite so we decided to give it a try as well. As we walked in, you could already smell the coffee brewing. The place itself is very cute with the wall paintings and the combination of blue and pink. It was cute! We were also told that aside from the coffee, their blueberry cheesecake is a must try, so we ordered each one and it was divine! Good thing each one had one because I have no plans of sharing it. It’s that delicious!
Rancher’s Place Bed and Breakfast
Address: Rizal St. Magdiwang Romblon
A nice place to chill and hangout with a couple of beers is the Rancher’s Place. You could sing in their videoke and play billiards for free. A must try here is their famous chicken inasal. Once you have it, one cup of rice is not enough. Along with your beer, you must also try their cheezy nachos. It’s really good! The place is also very central and easy to find, everybody knows this place and there’s no way you can miss it!
I personally would like to thank Department of Tourism – MIMAROPA for making this trip possible around Romblon including Siuyan Island. Domenic Contreras of the DOT-MIMAROPA and Susan and Nelson Nace of Dream Favor Travel and Tours in making this very comprehensive itinerary, Rodne Galicia and Ronnie Royo who became our local guides in Sibuyan Island. You guys are amazing!
To the LGU’s (Local Government Officials) Mayor Salem R. Tansingco (San Fernando) Mayor Arthur Tansiongco (Magdiwang), Hon. Nick Ramos (Cajidiocan), Councilor Titing Rios and to all the volunteers, including the drivers, boatmen and many others. Maraming Salamat po! Will definitely come back to the Galapagos of Asia soon!