From Caticlan ride a boat to the island where there is powdery white sand, friendly people and cool activities to do. I’m not talking about Boracay, the party island, I’m talking about Carabao Island, the nearest island of Romblon Province to Boracay.
Carabao Island is an island municipality of Romblon province which is named San Jose. It got its name as the topography of the island looks like a carabao from afar at sea.
What I like about Carabao Island is that it still had that laid back and friendly feeling of a province, and the quiet night life. I’m a sucker for quiet relaxing dark nights, spontaneous swimming on clear waters and laughing out loud with the locals.
Here’s a list of what I enjoyed doing in Carabao Island.
1. Sitting on the side of the passenger boat
On our way to Carabao Island from Santa Fe, Tablas Island we rode the passenger boat on the side. I love unobstructed views and some splashes of water. Toploading only offers the former. Besides, why offer your special someone the window seat when you both can seat with the best view?
You can also do this with the passenger boat from Caticlan, Aklan.
2. Swimming in clear sea waters
When we arrived on the island, young children were swimming and would climb up on the katig of our boat. With the clear waters and smiles of the people swimming showing pure enjoyment on what they are doing, who would say no?
3. Walking on the powdery white sand beach
We walked the whole stretch of this beach barefoot. It was powdery fine white sand.
We did it again at night when we bought some drinking water from the other end of the beach, but that time was low tide. Quiet strolls on the beach with stars at night, this is one of the reasons why I love Carabao Island.
4. Road trip
I’ve been to too many places where four wheels have been the ordinary type of transportation. Here in Carabao Island the roads are small and can only fit motorcycles. It’s something new for me.
5. Viewing Boracay Island from Tagaytay Point
Did you know that I have not been to Boracay? This is the first time I’ve seen Boracay. From here Boracay seems so quiet with no people. The long stretch of beach that I could see was Puka Beach where they maintain to be undeveloped.
I have this tiny bit of longing to be in Boracay to see if the stories of my friends there were true. But the attraction of the quietness of Carabao Island and the different spots of the whole province of Romblon nullified that tiny bit of longing.
6. Seeing the effects of sand erosion
Travel for me is not only about happy things. It’s also a reminder to me of what people can do if they become irresponsible. This is the effect of different irresponsible factors. One of them is the quarrying of sands from Carabao Island.
One could get her via the church in Lanas.
7. Talking with locals
The people of Carabao Island are very friendly. When I asked a store if they have bottled water they said no but since the next store is a bit far they offered me a drink. We also talked to the people behind the port and we learned a lot about how they get water to the building of the port and many more.
A place is only 10% physical and 90% personal. Talk with the people of Carabao Island and get to learn how they live with the island.
8. Midnight snack
Food! This is my kind of night life. Isaw stands with barbecue on the side. This is my dinner. This is my snack. This is also the place to be when you want to know new people. Got a good conversation and laughter here with the tindera and other locals as well.
9. Find and follow the basket peddlers
I saw them walking during our road trip. Good thing that we had to stop somewhere near before these basket peddlers. I tried walking with them asking about their products. But I failed as I had to do slow jog just to keep up with their pace, and I was only carrying my camera.
They said that they were peddlers and they sell the baskets in the range of 300 to 400 pesos depending on what I was buying.
If you happen to see them, walk with them and check out their products. Who knows, you might like one.
10. View the sunrise
This is one of my favorite times when travelling. Seeing the sunrise and sunsets. And we were blessed with one when we rode the boat back to Tablas Island.
11. Visit the beach caves
While our boat was leaving to Tablas Island we saw these small caves on the beach in Poblacion. Why didn’t we get to visit this place when it was so close to where we were staying?!?!? First time I’ve seen one, I was sure to look for more. Another great reason to go back to Carabao Island.
My visit to Carabao Island left in a state of mixed emotion. I’m glad that I get to visit this wonderful off-the-beaten path island, but seeing how the things are going on the island, I feel that it is already losing its appeal as a probinsya feeling place. Yet, I am glad that there are people there who want the place to stay that way while improving the lives of its residents.
Carabao Island would you stay the same or will you follow the footsteps of Boracay Island?
This post is part of my 12 for 2012 Travel Project that aims to create travel guides to help travellers go around the Philippines.
Know more about Romblon with my eBook entitled Bits and Pieces of Romblon. Click here to get a FREE copy.