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About Carabao Island

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About Carabao Island

Carabao Island, the southernmost island of Romblon, has been living in the shadow of the world famous Boracay Island of Aklan, its so called “twin sister”. Popularly known as Hambil to the locals, Carabao Island is only an hour away from the hustle and bustle of the famed party island. But despite its close proximity to Boracay, Carabao Island offers an entirely contrasting ambiance.

Carabao Island is politically known as the town of San Jose in the province of Romblon. It has five barangay, home to less than 10,000 inhabitants. While the island’s primary source of livelihood is fishing, numerous residents work in various establishments in Boracay Island.

explore, travel, about carabao island

Sunrise hues in Carabao Island.

Carabao Island offers sun, sea, sand and serenity totally opposite of Boracay’s life. Where climbing a bent coconut tree, watching the sun rise and listening to the waves are some of its simple pleasures. Time passes unnoticed in this tropical paradise of serene beauty.

Make Carabao Island a part of your memory. Experience a virgin paradise, only one hour away from Boracay. Experience Carabao Island.

explore, travel, about carabao island

The main beach of Carabao Island during high tide.

How to Get To Carabao Island

An international airport that will become the primary gateway to Boracay Island is rumored to be built in Carabao Island, but while the airport is still in haze, the nearest airport to the island is still Caticlan, Aklan.

From Caticlan

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly to Caticlan from Cebu and Manila.  From Caticlan Airport ride a tricycle to Tabon Baybay (P15/pax) and look  for the public boat going to Hambil. The boat’s schedule of departure is at 8:30AM but usually departs past 9AM. Travel time from Tabon Baybay takes one (1) hour.

From Kalibo

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and Air Asia Philippines fly to Kalibo from Manila, Cebu and Clark. From Kalibo, catch a van or a bus to Caticlan for a two-hour ride, fare ranges from P200 to P250. Vans and buses unload passengers at Caticlan Jetty Port, from there  ride a tricycle to Tabon Baybay (P15/pax) and look  for the public boat going to Hambil. The boat’s schedule of departure is at 8:30AM but usually departs past 9AM. Travel time from Tabon Baybay takes one (1) hour.

From Boracay

If you are in the island of Boracay, there are public boats at Bulabog Beach that go to Hambil. These boats usually transport workers from Hambil to Boracay and back. Boat schedule is indefinite, fare is P50 per passenger and travel time is approximately 45 minutes. If you miss the public boat, you can charter one in Bulabog or in Puka Beach. Rate is as low as P1,000 , one-way for a boat that can carry up to six passengers.

explore, travel, about carabao island

Sunset at Carabao Island.

From Tablas, Romblon

Tablas Airport is the gateway to the province by plane. Cebu Pacific Air regularly flies to and from Tablas, Romblon everyday. From the Tugdan Airport of Tablas, catch a jeep to Sta. Fe and get off at the Tourism and Terminal Building. There is only one boat trip from Sta. Fe daily, leaving at 930AM. Fare is P100 and travel time is approximately one (1) hour.

Alternatively, you can also reach Tablas by riding a fast craft or a ferry from Batangas, several shipping lines sail from Batangas to Odiongan everyday including Montenegro Ferry, CSGA Ferry Corporation, Romblon Tablas Sibuyan Lines, Super Shuttle Ferry, Rapal Inter Island Shipping, 2Go Travel and Ocean Jet.

From Roxas, Oriental Mindoro

From Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, a motorboat departs daily at 10AM to Odiongan, Romblon and returns on the same day at 1PM. Travel time is two hours. From the Odiongan Port, catch a jeep to Sta. Fe and get off at the Tourism and Terminal Building. There is only one boat trip from Sta. Fe daily, leaving at 930AM. Fare is P100 and travel time is approximately one (1) hour.

explore, travel, about carabao island

The world famous Boracay is just a stone throw away.

Where to Stay in Carabao Island

Most tourists stay at the Hambil Beach in Barangay Poblacion where one can just pitch a tent along the beach. There are accommodations nearby though that cater to tourists, Republic of Inobahan is one, located along the beach near the tourism office. It has 15 rooms for as low as P500 good for two persons (fan room)  and a restaurant that serves good food. You won’t miss this place, everyone in town knows where it is for it is owned by the current mayor. They also allow campers in their vicinity (which we did). They didn’t charge us anything except for the food bills when we ate at their restaurant. Thumbs up! 🙂

explore, travel, about carabao island

Carabao Backpackers & GuesthouseLanas, San Jose, Romblon
Starts at 350 PHP (Dorm Room)

explore, travel, about carabao island

The Beach HouseLanas, San Jose, Romblon
Starts at 2,500 PHP

Other accommodations in town are Vista Violeta, TJ’s Haven, GP Lodge and Freidles Cottage. These are aside from the home stays along Hambil Beach for as low as P300. Just ask around, the locals are very nice and helpful.

If you are staying in Lanas Beach, you can also pitch a tent anywhere along the beach or stay in the lodges nearby like Carabao Lodge, Ivy’s Vine Asian Beach Resort (Contact No: +639182573052) or Nipa Hauz Beach Resort (+639203643852).

explore, travel, about carabao island

Carabao Island’s main beach.

What to Do in Carabao Island

  • Beach Bumming
  • Sunrise watching at Hambil Beach
  • Scuba diving/snorkeling (bring your own equipments or go to the dive shops in Boracay, Tablas or Romblon). Dive sites in San Jose are Lanas Slope, West Wall, Devils Boulder, Gentle Wall, Tunnel Dive, Cathedral Cave, Channel Dive, Cemetery Wall, Village Reef and Lobster Wall.
  • Check out the other beaches of Carabao Island: Tinap-an Beach and Lanas Beach
  • Go caving in Ngiriton, Bunayag and Angas Caves
  • Camping (bring your own equipments)
  • Spend a day or two at Boracay Island
  • Explore more of Romblon Islands

explore, travel, about carabao island

A perfect escape from the chaos of Boracay Island.

Sample Itinerary and Budget

Carabao Island Itinerary by Roro with Boracay SidetripDay 01930H-2000H: Assemble at Pasay Buendia Bus Station2000H-2300H: Pasay to Batangas Pier Bus2300H-2345H: At Batangas Port / Purchase RoRo Ticket to Calapan
2345H-2359H: Boarding / Waiting Time in Ferry to Calapan

Day 10000H-0230H: Batangas to Calapan0230H-0430H: RoRo Bus Calapan to Roxas0430H-0440H: Roxas Petron to Roxas Port by Tricycle0440H-0500H: Purchase RoRo Ticket to Caticlan / Board Ferry0500H-0900H: Roxas to Caticlan0900H-0915H: Trike from Caticlan to Tabon Baybay0915H-1030H: Caticlan to Hambil Island (Carabao)1030H-1200H: Camp or check-in / Free Time / Beach Bum / Beach Hopping1200H-1300H: Lunch1300H-1800H: Free Time / Beach Bum / Beach Hopping1800H-1900H: Dinner
1900H-onwards: Night Socials

Day 20700H-0800H: Call Time / Breakfast / Check-out or Break Camp0800H-0900H: Hambil to Bulabog Beach Boracay0900H-0930H: Bulabog Beach to Resort / Check-in at Resort0930H-1200H: Free Time / Beach Bum / Beach Hopping1200H-1300H: Lunch1300H-1800H: Free Time / Beach Bum / Beach Hopping1800H-1900H: Dinner
1900H-onwards: Night Socials

Day 30600H-0700H: Call Time / Breakfast0700H-1300H: Fly Fish / Parasailing / ATV Ride
1300H-1500H: Fix up / Check-out / Late Lunch

Budget

P166.50 – Bus Fare Manila to BatangasP192.00 – Ferry Fare Batangas to CalapanP30.00 – Terminal Fee at Batangas PortP180.00 – Bus Fare Calapan to RoxasP15.00 – Trike Fare to Roxast PortP391.00 – Ferry Fare Roxas to CaticlanP15.00 – Terminal Fee at Roxas PortP20.00 – Trike Fare from Caticlan to Tabon BaybayP400.00 – Boat share from Tabon Baybay to Hambil to Bulabog *depends on pax est 5P200.00 – Accommodation in HambilP200.00 – Day Tour Accommodation in BoracayP20.00 – Habal Habal Tour in HambilP20.00 – Trike from Bulabog to ResortP25.00 – Resort to Boracay Port TrikeP25.00 – Boat Fare Boracay to CaticlanP100.00 – Terminal Fee in Boracay PortP800.00 – Caticlan to BatangasP50.00 – Terminal Fee at Caticlan PortP166.50 – Bus Fare from Batangas to Manila
P500.00 – Food Allowance ———– P3516.00 (Approximate total budget)

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