Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Quiet Beauty Of Carabao Island (Hambil)

I live in Quezon City so an early morning flight means leaving at an ungodly time of 3:00-ish am for a 5:30am flight. The torture for the love of travel. The flight was on time, and we arrived in the new Boracay Airport around 6:30am.
The new Boracay airport!

Look at the tropically-designed bathroom.
Pebble stones for some tropical island effect
The marshals are directing all the passengers to fill-up some visitor-information-sheets as a standard procedure. Well, that’s not applicable to me, I told them. I’m not going to Boracay. I’m going to Romblon.

The tricycle station is right in front of the airport’s exit. However, there was already a line to buy the tickets going to Boracay (you have to pay the fee before riding the tricycle). A manong befriended me and asked me where I was going (I guess I looked lost). I told him I was going to Tabon Baybay, I wanted to batch a boat going to Hambil. Hambil is the local term for Carabao Island. He told me I had to step aside the line because that line are for passengers going to Boracay. I asked him what is the price. He told me to just negotiate with the driver.

Since all trike drivers seem to be bound to the port of the boats going to Boaracay, he asked someone to take me to Tabon Baybay. The driver charged me Php 100 for ride. I haggled down to Php 80. I know I should’ve haggled more but I don’t think I will be allowed to pay the rate of a local. After grudgingly paying for that hefty fare, I chilled out in Tabon Baybay. I talked to a couple of locals there and they said I should’ve been charged with Php 30. I wasn’t feeling brave enough to haggle. I was feeling jet-lagged.
Tabon Baybay port

It was not even 7:00am so I had to wait for 2 more hours. I texted a possible guide Edison (0918-330-3718) and inquired if he is available that afternoon to guide me around. I also asked him to book me a room in Ate Luzvie’s house. I got the details from this blog post of Matet.

So two more hours.  Good thing I brought a book. Bad thing is that I finished “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom in that span of time. By the time I got to the last chapter, we were asked to board the boat. I think I was the only tourist (or the only one tourist looking).

It was an hour-long ride and I was successful in getting some shut-eye during the ride. My feet dangled outside the boat. I woke up with the waves splashing onto my feet. Oh well. We were near. 


The fare of Php 100 was collected when the boat is about to dock to Said port around past 10:00am. Pristine waters and white sand greeted me.

Edison arrived right after I sat down at the port’s waiting shed. I guess he kinda knew I was me because I was the only tourist around. I hopped onto his motorcycle and he brought me to Ate Luzvie’s house. He suggested we start touring at around 3pm. Good. I was “jet-lagged” from travelling and I wanted to sleep and shower again.
Homestay accommodation
Sleep vs. Appetite. Difficult to prioritize. My body doesn’t know either. I thought I’d go into a long slumber until 2pm but my hunger woke me up. At 12nn, I walked under the scorching hot sun from Ate Luzvie’s house going to Republic of Inobahan, where Edison suggested I have my lunch. Now the resort is in the same street as Ate Luzvie’s house but it is not that near, by my standards.


The beach sight along the way was gorgeous. Eating got postponed. I prioritized taking photos.


I eventually reached the Republic of Inobahan, famished and 20 shades darker. I ordered a Chicken Cordon Bleu and a bottle of water. Total cost: Php 235. I wanted a fruit shake but they said there was still no power.

Cool jeep in Republic of Inobahan

After lunch, I swam in the beach and chilled there for a while. Edison was still not around by 3pm. I decided to leave my stuff in the cottages in front of Republoc of Inobahan and in the pristine beach with clear waters. My party did not last long. The rains poured.

Don't rain on my parade...much

   Then cleared again.


Kids exploring the beach. They would have some lovely childhood memories.

Standard sand shot

I was getting worried by 4:30pm. I know that’s a long time but I busied myself by watching the pristine and calm beach. Just an hour away from the very crowded and crazy Boracay, but with the same fine sand.  I was just about to text Edison when I got the text from him that he had an emergency, he wasn’t able to text kasi lowbatt na sya, and he was sending Leo to tour me around. Leo arrived at 5pm. I was worried losing some sunlight.

Leo took me to Tagaytay, like the highlands - well... I think that's how they call the place. His motorcycle lost some parts as soon as we arrived at the entrance. We were losing sunlight and the rain clouds were looming above so we ran to the top. The view of Puka Beach of Boracay Island can be viewed from here.


Leo’s motorcycle broke and we trotted over the hills to find the first house with a motorcycle. He asked someone else to drive me back to the house. Leo came over after I had my dinner to pick up his fee.

Ate Luzvie’s house has a solar-powered generator. I was able to enjoy the electric fan all night long. The room has a double bed, a towel and ample storage space. Ate Luzvie wasn’t around when I was there but the caretaker was very accommodating. She let me use the kitchen, and provided me drinking water as well. A very very good deal for Php 500/night. They have a generator so the house has electricity all the time. And hot water too!



Exhaustion and partially boredom led me an early sleeping time. Hambil is a quiet island. No night life. Perhaps there’s a couple of locals drinking beer somewhere. I heard no videoke music. I was refreshed and recharged when my alarm woke me up at 5:00am. After fixing the rest of my stuff, I headed off to Said port.

I spent less than 24 hours in this quiet island. Hambil has the beauty of Boracay, minus the chaos, noise and electricity.


  1. The boat from Caticlan, where did it dock in Carabao Island, was it at Said or Lanas? And how much for the tour? I never got to tour around the island, I just walked around the town and the beach. I wish I could have stayed longer.

  2. The boat from Caticlan docked at Said port. For the tour, a one-way fare to Lanas is Php 60 (I read somewhere). I wasn't able to go to Lanas na. I think the beach in Said is the best spot in the island. n

  3. do the island have 24 hours electricity now?


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