CARABAO ISLAND: Boracay’s tranquil neighbor

No, it’s not the water buffalo capital of the Philippines. It’s so much more than that. CARABAO ISLAND is a tranquil refuge for those who want to unwind, commune with nature and hide from the busy bustle of its neighbor, Boracay Island. A bird’s eye view of the island will show its carabao-like topography. In the Philippines, water buffaloes are called carabaos.Its pristine beauty is always compared to what Boracay was like – a quiet haven – before it became a busy tourist destination. Carabao Island is a new getaway because of its verdance, abundant marine life and extreme sports activities. Also known as Hambil among the locals, this beautiful unspoiled island in the municipality of San Jose, Romblon is just a 25-minute boat ride from Boracay. You can take a charter boat for island hopping or take any of the daily trips from Station 1 of Boracay’s White Beach. If you take the speedboat, you’ll be in the island in 10 minutes.

THE BEACHES IMG_1032 Lanas Beach. You can actually view Boracay’s Puka Beach from this side of Carabao Island.

The main tourist area is at Lanas Beach located at the west side of the island facing Boracay. Lanas Beach has pebbly white sand and crystal clear waters perfect for swimming. For those looking for powdery white sand like Boracay’s, San Jose Beach at the other side is a gem. IMG_0992

THE RESORTS

These beaches have numerous front beach resorts that cater to different tourists and offer exciting activities. Among the major resorts are; White Beach, formerly Ivy’s Vine Resort; NipaHauz Resort and Restaurant, Beach House and Boracay Outlook Resort. They have their own restaurants which offer a wide range of delicious and mouthwatering food. All resorts have WiFi connections, so you won’t be missing any updates from the rest of the world and you will be able to share your Carabao Island experience instantly to your family and friends. Although power supply is available for only 12 hours a day, all the resorts have their generators. So, electricity is not a problem if you want to stay overnight at the place. You could opt for a relaxing night in the island by swimming on its clear waters or have a little chitchat with the friendly locals.

WATER SPORTS

Amid the peaceful environment, Carabao Island is a spot for unique water sports activities that are not available in Boracay. For extreme adrenaline rush, fly in the air like a bird or plunge through the waves like a dolphin through the Flyboard. Offered exclusively by the Boracay Outlook Resort, the Flyboard is a new-fangled sport wherein a tube is connected to the main jet exit. From this tube comes a thick, flexible 9-meter hose that connects to the jet boots that allow the rider to do crazy aerial tricks. Though extreme, the Flyboard is safe for fun-loving individuals like you since the jet ski operator always makes sure that you land safely in the water. IMG_1039 IMG_1034For only P5,000 or about US$100, you’ll avail of this fun-filled experience for 30 minutes.  You’ll get a good discount if you come as group. Kite boarding and wind surfing are also available. IMG_1037 Having diverse marine sanctuaries, the island is also a great spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. There are fully equipped dive shops managed by Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)-accredited instructors for your diving needs.

THE LOCALS

Also grab the opportunity to enjoy the lush habitat of Carabao Island. Rent or ride your own bike and visit its natural wonders. One fascinating site is the Viewpoint where you can have a breathtaking view of the neighboring islands of Tablas, Romblon and Boracay. A must-try transportation is the habal-habal or the motorcycle as you traverse their zigzag roads. Along the way, stop and talk with the locals. Their stories and genuine smiles will lighten your mood. They are a very hospitable and friendly people. They will even invite you in their simple abodes.

THE NEXT BORACAY

Developments are starting to rise in Carabao Island. Soon, it will have luxurious resorts and casinos, making it the next Boracay Island. But despite the continuous developments, stakeholders gave an assurance that they will preserve Carabao Island’s unique ecosystem and the culture of the natives. This way, Carabao Island will not lose its virgin beauty. So, before everyone starts flocking to this tranquil paradise, pack your bags now and explore Carabao Island’s natural grandeur! (KVB)

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