Carabao Island. Beach in Philippines, Asia

Carabao Island

Beach in Philippines, Asia

Carabao Island Photo © Vera Venus

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Carabao Island

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Carabao Island was part of Manila Bay harbor defense during World War II (Wikipedia
	Article), named Fort Frank, established by the United States, along with 3 other nearby islands: Corregidor (Fort Mills), Caballo (Fort Hughes) and El Fraile. The Philippines' government took possession of Carabao Island in 1946.

Location

Only 30 minutes from Boracay beach, you can easily get there by charter sailboat. The nearest airport is in Caticlan. From Caticlan port, where you take the boat to Boracay, is about a 20 minutes walk. First boats leave at 5:30 AM daily. One cheaper way is to find boats owned by locals. Ask around for boats leaving to Hambil (Carabao Island), known as this by the locals.

When to go

Before you book a trip to Carabao Island, one must consider which period of the year will be best to visit. In the Philippines you can experience two seasons: amihan and habagat. In amihan there are moderate temperatures with little or no rainfalls. As soon as habagat comes around, you have to like high waves, typhoon after typhoon plus a lot of rain. In general, habagat starts around June. Keep that in mind!

About

Onhan is the native language of the island's inhabitants. The place was named after Carabaos (water buffaloes) which used to inhabit the place. The island's primary source of livelihood is fishing, home to less than 10,000 inhabitants. It was originally inhabited by the Aetas people (Wikipedia
	Article) and was called Hambil by the locals before it was renamed by the Spanish conquistadors to "Carabao Island". Here, you can find San Jose (Wikipedia Article), a town declared as a regular municipality. Another important fact that you have to take note of is that electricity only runs from 1 PM-11 PM and 4 AM-6 AM only, so charge your electronic gadgets between these times and also make sure you bring your own bottled water as well.

Activities

First of all, Carabao is a secluded, mountainous island just 6 miles long and 3.7 miles wide, with beautiful white sandy beaches, tropical rain forests, terraced paddy fields, crystal clear warm and unpolluted sea, with huge variety of sea life and coral.
  • Bring a book when you come, you'll have plenty of time to yourself as nightlife is close to non-existent. A fireplace on the beach, watching the stars may be the perfect thing to do.
  • Plan a road trip, rent a motorbike and enjoy it! (Price varies between ₱200 ($4.40) - ₱300 ($6.60) per hour.)
  • Mountain bike: due to its relatively small size, this can be easily done in one day.
  • Watch the sunset from Tagaytay Highlands, from where you can also view Boracay Island.
  • Visit the beach caves : Ngiriton, Bunayag, Angas Caves.
  • Go snorkeling but rent the equipment before from Boracay Island, also diving is an amazing experience in crystal clear water (dive sites which beckons underwater photographers includes Cathedral Cave which known for its massive underwater cave. Other caves include Lobster Wall, West Wall I and II, and Devil’s Shoulder).

    Dive sites



    Cathedral Cave

    This is a very big cave with a large entrance, so, apart from the depth, it is safe for novice divers. At the back of the cave there are many cracks and fissures which often contain sleeping big fish, including Whitetip Reef Sharks.

    Village Reef

    A rich coral garden on a gentle slope from 23 to 33 ft is followed by a drop-off, down to sand at 80 ft . The coral garden has profuse, soft, leathery and table corals and there are good stony corals down the drop-off. The large variety of reef fish includes: Surgeonfish, Butterfly fish; Angelfish, Lionfish; Scorpionfish, Pufferfish; Parrotfish and Chromis, with Lizardfish, Starfish and sea cucumbers down on the sand.

    Village Mountain

    A large coral head drops down to the sand at 100 ft . There are lots of fish including schools of Jacks, Fusiliers and Snappers and plenty of colorful reef fish.

    West Wall

    A big wall, 660 ft long and drops from 33 ft down to 130 ft with the caves. The fish that lives in this area include Batfish, Snappers; Sweetlips, Jacks; Trumpetfish, Soldierfish; Squirrelfish, Hawkfish; Sergeant Major Fish and anemones with Clownfish as well as pelagic species.

    White Beach Divers are offering numerous packages, from the entry level to advance open water diver with prices ranging between $ 100 USD to $ 370 USD .

    Accommodation

    During the last few years, tourism registered a growth and Carabao rapidly developed. Now there is one hospital, one church, one university and eight schools as well as a couple of resorts. You can choose the type of accommodation according to your budget. One luxurious resort offering three types of rooms, starting from premier to superior and deluxe have rates between $ 70 USD - $ 110 USD per night. A lodge has prices between $ 7.00 USD - $ 12 USD with private bathrooms, while a bungalow can be more expensive, depending on the facilities. Some resorts offer wireless connection and kite surfing classes, and some of these resorts can book trips for you and so on.

    Hotel & Resort

  • The Beach House: with 3 type of rooms, rates between $ 70 USD - $ 110 USD per night, WiFi , a private beach, a restaurant and also facilities for disabled guests.
  • White Beach Dive & Kite Resort - the price for a room with an electric fan cost ₱800 ($18), an air conditioned room can cost ₱1,500 ($33).
  • Republic of Inobahan & Vista Violeta
  • Carabao Lodge
  • Nipa Hauz Beach Resort
  • Carabao Beach Resort


  • Pack your bags and go for a truly amazing experience!

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    Author: alexandragavaz. Last updated: Aug 25, 2014

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    Carabao Island
    Carabao Island. Photo by Vera Venus

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