The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before. – Albert Einstein
So, hello! I’m back after more than a year of not writing here I am again, wandering off. Since it’s pandemic I won’t be able to travel frequently but I am back here in my hometown, Cebu and yes! I will try to visit most of the island/ islets here.
Let’s start with Carnaza Island, before the month of May ends I managed to visit this “talked of the town” island in Cebu.
As those of you who does not know Carnaza Island or haven’t heard about this island, Carnaza is the turtle-shaped island located north of Malapascua Island which itself is north of mainland Cebu in the Philippines. It is the northernmost offshore part of Daanbantayan and is bordered on all sides by the Visayan Sea (accdg. to Wikipedia).
It’s supposed to be a visit with friends but you know how planned activities are going to end (caution on side swiping flaker friends) so I decided to go alone and thankfully I did it. The weather was so good, the waves so calm, I met people and got adopted for the entire duration of my stay which made me happy because it saved me a lot of money (honestly speaking).
My plan is to stay in the island for 3 days and 2 nights, but the not-so-friendly weather suggests an overnight stay only. However, when I arrived, overnight won’t suffice so back to the original plan – 3 days and 2 nights it is! The boat transfer from Tapilon Port to Carnaza Island was a bit late, I didn’t expect it to depart at 13:00, the initial plan was to catch the 1st boat ride but again, 1st boat ride was the one I took. Unfortunately, the boat schedule wasn’t listed on the internet, Generally speaking there’s NOT much you can read on the internet about Carnaza Island and its whatabouts so here I am trying my best to remember everything.
How to get to Carnaza Island?
- For commuters:
a1. You can always ride a bus at the North Bus Station situated in SM Cebu and take the Daanbantayan (Maya-Bagay) route. Tell the driver/ conductor to drop you off at Tapilon Port, or basically tell him you’re headed to Carnaza Island.
Since it’s pandemic, bus station opens at 05:00, and take your time because boats leave around 12:00 at Tapilon Port so no waking up early like what I did.
a2. There are black cabs/vans that are waiting for passengers too that will take you there for PHP300/head which I gladly took ‘cos again, I didn’t know the boat schedule yet.
b1. If you will take the bus, the bus driver will drop you off at the intersection only going to Tapilon Port… don’t worry because it’s just 50m-100m away but if don’t feel like walking then you can ride a tricycle going there.
- For those with private vehicles
a. You can always put it on waze or google maps – Tapilon Port, Daanbantayan and it will lead you there.
b. There’s a parking space at Nanay Bebeth’s place where you can leave your vehicle. Don’t worry it’s safe and gated not sure of the price though… PHP100/day is what I remembered. They have a store too if you’re not able to have breakfast or lunch, their pansit is good!
Where to stay?
As read on the internet your visit to Carnaza Island won’t be memorable if you will not be staying at Carnaza Eco Park but I will tell you, Carnaza Eco Park is too good to be true. From its front desk that won’t answer to sms/email/fb messenger queries to everything has a price, no internet connection, quite far from the stores, and again, everything has a price even the mono-block chair!
But if you insist, you can book the wood shed (PHP200/night) like I did at Carnaza Eco Park through Ma’am Hazel Beloria (+63 950-5980721). She’s very accommodating, she even replies during the wee hours and constantly asked you of your whereabouts.
There are other accommodations at Carnaza, plus with internet which have a good signal. I’m not very familiar but perhaps Google can help you with it.
Where to eat?
If you’re a camper, you can always bring your cooking things and food (no corkage fee). If you’re staying in Carnaza Eco Park it is quite far from the stores. If you buy from the mini-store the price is expensive, and if you will ask them to cook your food it will cost PHP300.
I’ve heard there are restaurants/ carenderias in the island I just don’t know where exactly as for my entire stay I was just in Carnaza Eco Park.
What to do?
You can avail the island tour and land tour but as a solo traveler this is quite a challenge because when you go solo it also means paying more but then again I’m thankful that I got to meet strangers who adopted me.
I finished both tours in one day. For the island tour (PHP1,500), normally you will only visit 2 islands but in my case I was able to visit 4 islands: La Manok Island, Kailina Beach (PHP20 entrance fee), Dakit-dakit (Maria) Island, Skull cove & helipad (part of the land tour); for the land tour (PHP 200 cos I was staying at Carnaza Eco Park but it’s only PHP150) I visited Kailina beach again, Liog-Liog Cove and it’s Twin beaches, Pantao (ruin house you’ll see while on island tour), Cementeryo Cove and a glimpse of the Airplane island.
EXPENSES? (no food inclusion and other miscellaneous)
- PHP300/way – Bus Fare from SM to Tapilon port vice versa
- PHP250/way – Boat Fare from Tapilon Port to Carnaza Island vice versa
- PHP75 – environmental fee, collected at Tapilon Port
- PHP 30/way – motor ride from Carnaza Port to Carnaza Eco Park vice versa
- PHP200 – entrance to Carnaza Eco Park
- PHP200/night – Wood Shed rent, good for 2
- PHP300 – 2 pillows, a blanket and a towel rent for your whole duration (you can opt not to rent)
- PHP1,500 – Island Tour (no food inclusion, might as well bring your own or coordinate with the boat driver) and better to have other people so you can share the fee. I toured with Sir Raphael it’s in my slideshow, I forgot to ask his number.
- PHP200/head – Land Tour but again it’s only PHP150 it’s just I am staying in Carnaza Eco Park and they are collecting PHP50 fee from the driver which I don’t know why or else, the driver will be ban from getting tourists for a week in their place
- PHP20 entrance fee to Kailina beach
- Before going to the island, please check the weather but if you are like me, just go then.
- Weekdays/ Weekends only one (1) trip from Tapilon Port to Carnaza Island vice versa unless you’re going to rent a boat privately then you’ll be fine then. Total one way travel time is 1.5 hours.
- Tapilon Port to Carnaza – boat usually leaves around 12:00-13:00 everyday, in my case past 13:00.
- Carnaza Island to Tapilon Port – boat leaves at 07:30-08:00 everyday, make sure to wake up early
3. As mentioned, bring food (bread, canned goods, biscuits) as the goods there is quite pricey e.g. ice cost is PHP10
4. I haven’t seen motorcycles/bicycles for rent there so you have to hail a motor for PHP30
5. You can do walk in at Carnaza Eco Park if you’re visiting on a weekday, not a weekend cos I’m sure they’re fully booked and in case they are on a weekday, you can always ask the person at Tapilon Port where to stay there, they can give you referral.
6. Bring aqua shoes with you as the beach there is stoney and grassy except for Kailina Beach and sunblock/sunscreen as well
7. Bring your very powerful powerbanks as the island is run by generators and solar panels. Electricity is from 6PM-6AM only, don’t worry Carnaza Eco Park have a charging station 24hrs.
8. They said smart has a good signal there so perhaps you might want to switch to smart network for your stay there but if you want to relax and have some peace of mind then you’ll be good even without data signal.
9. You can’t see the full sunrise/ sunset view at Carnaza Eco Park so check other accommodations if you’re into it.
10. I haven’t seen mosquitoes for the 3 days and 2 nights stay there, yay!
11. When you want to rent an air-conditioned room at Carnaza Eco Park, make sure to check if all rooms are occupied as they won’t turn on the AC incase only one room has been rented, so you will not be sleeping outside because it’s too hot. Again, electricity is from 18:00-06:00 only.
12. There’s no clean “clean” water in Carnaza Eco Park, more likely brack water is present and will be used when you want to take a shower or even wash your face.
13. There’s no cloth dryer in Carnaza Eco Park, what I just did is put my wet clothes outside the bench and put some stones so it won’t be moved by the wind, others used the tree branches.
14. Since I am renting on a wood shed, there are no tissues found on the public CR, even soap for washing of hands or mirror when you want to see your face while brushing your teeth or washing your face. Bring your own just in case and oh! No social distancing, not so sure about the island though they have reminders posted but haven’t seen alcohol containers being displayed.