Summer Diary: Sibuyan, Romblon

It is a serene place and is brimming with natures natural beauty.

Unplanned activities and spontaneous decisions mostly led to one of the most memorable events in life. I never thought that I would go to Sibuyan, Romblon for vacation this year. All of us, who went there never planned this out. The decision to go was finally made when my uncle (my mother’s eldest brother) said that he will go to Sibuyan. In the end, he couldn’t because of his work. We went though, even without him because summer season here in the Philippines is the most perfect time to go and we wanted to see the place where my aunt my mother’s youngest brother’s wife grew up. Sibuyan Island can only be reached through travelling by sea. There is great assurance that you’ll travel through the calm sea during this season.

My mother’s youngest brother (my uncle) married his college sweetheart who’s from Sibuyan, Romblon. They met at Roxas City when they were studying in college (the studied in different schools) and from then on they together embarked on a journey to forever. Haha When they got married they lived here at Capiz for 4 to 7 years, and when my aunt got a job to teach at the school in their town in Romblon, they decided to move there. From my uncle’s side only two members of his family had gone to Sibuyan – an elder brother and sister, until that bright sunny day of April 28th. We stayed at their home for the rest of our vacation. Me and siblings were bugging our parents and the rest of the family to go there for vacation for they will surely like the place.

This trip to Sibuyan, Romblon is one the best decisions I made this year. It is #wanderlust.

April 28: Departure from Roxas City to Sibuyan, Romblon

6:00 am: Left home to go to Port of Culasi in Roxas City.
7:00 am: Arrived at the port. We had our names, age and addresses listed in the manifesto with the help of the pumpboat personnel then we got inside the pumpboat to find our seats.

Tip #1: It is recommended to contact the pumpboat personnel in advance for schedule information and reservations.

Tip #2: List down names and other personal information in the manifesto as soon as you arrive at the port.

There are only few options to the mode of transportation going to Sibuyan Island coming here from Capiz, and the most practical and shortest time of travel is via a pumpboat from Port of Culasi at Roxas City. It will take about four hours of travel to reach the island. The fare is PHP 350 for regular passengers and PHP 300 for students and senior citizens. The pumpboat is also equipped with life jackets and an inspection by the Philippine Coast Guards is done before departure.

 

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10:00 am: Left the Port of Culasi and our journey in the vast blue sea began. Most of the time we talked, slept and ate the food we brought as our baon. Four hours of travel can get boring ang tiring. This was this time I regret not bringing a book with me to read. lol I overcame boredom by playing games on my sibling’s phone, writing some stuff in a small notebook I brought along with me and taking a good view of the sea.

Tip #3: Bring pack lunch and snacks as there is no food sold in the pumpboat. Also bring some sources of entertainment like a book/magazine to read or download on your phone some games to play or movies to watch.

2:00 pm: Arrival at the port in Brgy. Azagra, San Fernando.

It’s our first time to go to Sibuyan and we’re all glad that the sea is very calm and we arrived safe and sound in our destination. My first impression of the place was, it’s very rural/very province-y like. Like the ones I saw in Philippine movies and teleseryes. Before the pumpboat docks at the port in Brgy. Azagra in San Fernando, huge mountains and green forest surrounded by the vast blue sea greeted us. It is a beautiful place and according to a priest who is a friend of my aunt, the place is very serene. Indeed, it is.

From Brgy. Azagra we were picked up by my aunt’s brother who will take us to their house at the Poblacion. It was like a 15-20 minutes travel from Brgy. Azagra to Poblacion.

 

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2:30 pm: Arrived at my aunt’s house. We had our lunch, unpacked our bags, changed our clothes and went to my aunt’s mother’s house to meet her and the rest of their family.
7:00 pm: We had our dinner and my aunt prepared a delicious meal for us. We also tasted a local food of theirs and two kinds of fishes that are only meant to be cooked by grilling.
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Bagis and kayapkap.

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Panutsa. Shredded coconut meat mixed with muscovado sugar.

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Sarsa a native delicacy made with coconut, ulang (a type of shrimp),chili and garlic wrapped in coconut leaves. For me, it is best eaten with hot rice. 🙂

9:30 pm: Slept early for our trip the next day.

April 29: Tour Around Sibuyan Island

My aunt rented a vechicle to to take us on a tour around Sibuyan Island which will take about 4-5 hours max if without the stops. She also tour the role as our tour guide. The tour left me in awe and if ever I will go back to Sibuyan, I would like to take the tour again.

We began our tour from the municipality of San Fernando then to Magdiwang where we had lunch at Rance’s Haven and then continued our tour to Cajidiocan.

 

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At Rance’s Haven.

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Trips involving nature makes me excited; seeing its beauty in person is a huge visual treat. The feel of the breeze of the wind, the warmth of the sun in my skin and seeing a wide variety of greens and blues and other colors always makes me thankful for having been given the gift of life and for having the courage and strength to liveThis is what I like about going places, you got to experience a lot of firsts.

April 30: Cantingas River Resort, Halo-halo & Sunset Viewing at The Bay

After attending the Sunday mass, we got ready to go for another trip. This time we went to Cantingas River Resort with my aunt’s family to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. The resort is often the go to destination of the locals who want to relax and unwind during the weekends. While touring around Sibuyan the previous day we cross paths with several jeepneys packed with passengers. My aunt told us that they came from Cantingas River Resort. With its relaxing ambiance and clear cold waters coming from the falls, no wonder why a lot of locals and tourists go there. It is a must see place.

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Shrine of Immaculate Conception

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Plaza.

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After enjoying ourselves and having our delicious lunch and Cantingas, it was time to go back to my aunt’s house. We took a rest then at around 4 pm, my cousin accompanied me and my siblings to buy halo-halo at Aunt Brenda’s. It’s the perfect snack during that hot summer day. It was my first time to eat a halo-halo with sweet white potatoes in it and instead of leche flan as one of the toppings, Aunt Brenda put a caramel on top. That halo-halo was delicious.

We had toured around Sibuyan but me and my sibings want to also see more of the Poblacion of San Fernando where my cousins grew up. So after eating that delicious halo-halo, we walked our way to their market where we bought some snacks to bring for our trip to home the next day. Beni my cousin’s cousin from his mother’s side also accompanied us. She suggested that we go to the bay, where we watched the sunset and wherein we saw the pastel sky.

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Adelfa flowers. I’ve a lot of this kind during our tour around Sibuyan.

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Pretty pastels.

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May 1: Departure from Sibuyan, Romblon to Roxas City

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Some facts about Sibuyan, Romblon according to Wikipedia:
  • Sibuyan is a crescent-shaped island, the second largest in an archipelago comprising Romblon Province, Philippines. Located in the namesake Sibuyan Sea, it has an area of 445 square kilometres (172 sq mi). The island has two prominent peaks, Mount Guiting-Guiting with a height of 2,058 metres (6,752 ft) and Mount Nailog with a height of 789 metres (2,589 ft). The people speak the Sibuyanon dialect of Romblomanon, a Visayan language.
  • Sibuyan has been dubbed by some local and international natural scientists as “the Galápagos of Asia”, because it has remained in isolation from the rest of the world since its formation. Never in its geological history has it ever been connected with any part of the Philippine archipelago.
  • The island is shared by three municipalities; Cajidiocan, Magdiwang, and San Fernando. (San Fernando is the largest.)
  • Sibuyan Island remains as one of the most unspoiled ecosystems in the Philippines and the world. The water of the Cantingas River as well as most of the other smaller rivers and rivulets on the island was tested to be one of the best water quality for human consumption worldwide. The drinking water of Sibuyanons come direct and untreated from rivers, springs and holes drilled at mountain slopes or from the ground.
Sibuyan, Romblon is a great summer destination. It is a serene place and is brimming with natures natural beauty. It’s the perfect place to go to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Nature lovers will surely like the place.
While touring around Sibuyan, a thought came to mind, “Nature is already beautiful in itself, in its purest form.” I’m grateful to God for creating such beautiful things and I feel blessed to have this gift of life which enabled me to see what he had created.
-Coolen 🙂
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