Guest Post: Guide for Carabao Island, Romblon (from Iloilo)

Hello friends! Here’s to another summer vacation guide for all of you. This is not just ideal for summer but also whenever the weather and the budget permits, you can always check the place. Here you can experience breath-taking cliff jumping into crystal clear, pristine waters of Romblon.

Kuding-kuding Cliff
Itinerary for Carabao Island in Romblon

This itinerary is ideal for travelers coming from Iloilo City. Bonus side trip for this itinerary are Hinugtan White sand Beach and Paradiso Bel-is in Buruanga, Aklan.

Ride a Ceres Bus from Iloilo Ceres Terminal bound to Caticlan for 372php. Travel time is around 6 hours. Other option for this is by riding a van going to the same route. I took the last trip which departs at 5:00PM.

I arrived to Caticlan at exactly 11:00PM and went to grab a quick dinner at Andoks.

Why did I took the last trip?

Trips to Hambil or Carabao Island is scheduled at 9AM to 10AM so it’s better to travel by night and continue the following day.

So I looked for a cheap place to stay, I found a decent lodge near the Jetty port at 800php. There are other options priced at 1000php up, make sure to check the room before taking it so you know what you’re paying for.

I woke up early and went straight to the port going to Hambil. The new port is located at Brgy. Sambiray it’s just a 50php habal habal ride from the Jetty Port 20php trike given it’s full. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the port.

Sambiray to Hambil is 100php, 1 hour trip. Make sure to board the boat early so you won’t be left behind.

You will be required to pay 50php tourism fee to be collected in the wharf. There will be lots of habal-habal drivers who will offer you packages for the land trip. Fare is 500/pax, 1 pax per motorcycle. Be kind to the drivers by not asking discounts anymore. This is the only way they have to earn money. 500php is good for the entire day.

Entrance fees to different attractions:
  • Kuding-kuding cliff – 100php unlimited swimming, unlimited cliff jumping
  • Cathedral Cave – 100php unlimited swim, unlimited cliff jump
  • Tagaytay Viewpoint – 70php (Carabao island highest point)
Kuding-kuding cliff with diving boards
Kuding-kuding cliff with diving boards
Boaracay Island as seen from Tagaytay Viewpoint
Boaracay Island as seen from Tagaytay Viewpoint
Cathedral Cave and Cliff
Cathedral Cave and Cliff

There are other attractions as well but some of them are closed during our visit for cleanup purposes. Accommodation starts at 500php fan room for 2 (Kameo Lodge)

Savings tip: If you don’t want to pay for accommodation in the island, you can go camping right outside the tourism office, by the beach. Drivers knows that spot. You can set up tents there, it’s for free plus, lights included.

Our camp beside the Tourism office by the Beach
Our camp beside the Tourism office by the Beach

The beach is comparable to Boracay. It has fine white sand so it feels like the party island and you’ll have a beautiful view of the sunrise when you wake up

Food Tips

Bamboo Restaurant – They serve good food at reasonable rates, plus it’s just a 5 minute walk from the camp I was talking about.

Bamboo Restaurant

The trips going back to Caticlan is scheduled at 6AM, expect a lot of people so make sure you arrive there early. The next trip is 9AM. Terminal fee is 10php and please board the boat early.

When you arrive to Sambiray, its either you go back to Iloilo, or go to Buruanga where Hinugtan and Bel-is is located.

Hinugtan white Sand Beach
Hinugtan white Sand Beach
Hinugtan white Sand Beach
Hinugtan white Sand Beach

If you decide to pursue Buruanga, its just 45 mins or 50php away from Caticlan. You can negotiate fares with the habal-habal drivers but the regular fare is 50php only, 100php for 1 habal-habal good for 2pax. Just ask the driver to drop you off at the port where pump boats bound to Hinugtan and Bel-is are docked.

Paradiso Bel-is
Paradiso Bel-is
Paradiso Bel-is
Paradiso Bel-is

Hinugtan White Sand Beach resort and Paradiso Bel-is package is 800php good for 7 pax, back and forth. You can even ask boatman to drop the anchor in the middle of the sea and swim. The depth of the water varies from area to area. There’s this comforting green where you can see the reef and fishes and then there’s this scary blue which indicates significant depth.

You will even pass by the famous cliff jumping resort called Ariel’s Point although it’s closed since their clients come from Bora. No entrance fee for the resorts, but you’ll only be allowed access to the beach. If you have reservations in the resort for overnight stay, then good. If you only plan for a day trip, 1 day is more than enough.

Shallow part of Ariels Point
Shallow part of Ariels Point
Expenses Summary
  • Hambil (Carabao)
  • Iloilo to Caticlan – 372
  • Caticlan to Sambiray – 50
  • Sambiray to Hambil – 100
  • Tourism fee – 50
  • Entrances Fees
  • Kuding-Kuding – 100
  • Cathedral Cave – 100
  • Tagaytay Viewpoint – 70
  • Accommodation – 500
  • Food – 450 (lunch, dinner, breakfast)
  • Terminal Fee – 10
Buruanga (Hinugtan and Bel-is)
  • Caticlan to Buruanga – 50
  • Boat rent – 800 (7pax)

Fees are in PHP.

Kameo Lodge contact number 09175487960
Vicente habal habal driver / boat captain 09081651866

Hope this helps!

This is a guide made by Lester Ronco for those who wanted to see the beauty of Carabao Island, Romblon. The itinerary is optimized for people coming from Iloilo and Iloilo City.

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Sheila is a digital marketing enthusiast and obsessed in promoting Iloilo. She is a kdrama fan, a dog person and a certified foodie!

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