Commuting101:How to go to Carabao Island

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Hambil (Carabao Island) by Izah Morales

I was almost there. I saw the shore from where I stood. It seemed so near yet it was far. I almost made it but I didn’t. There were things worth waiting for. The time has not yet come. 

Gloomy skies welcomed the plane as it landed at the Godofredo Ramos Caticlan Airport. I was surprised with the renovated airport. It was modern and featured touch screen guides for tourists. There’s even free wifi.

I checked on Twitter for PAGASA’s updates and learned that the Low Pressure Area has not left Philippine territory. Aklan’s affected. Nonetheless, I left the airport and walked to the gate. From there, I hailed a tricycle to Tabon Baybay Port. Some tricycles quoted me Php 50.00 but I insisted to pay for the regular fare which is Php 20.00. One of those passing by agreed to take me to the Tabon Baybay Port for Php 20.00.

At first, he was curious why on Earth am I going to Tabon Baybay while others are going to the Jetty Port for Boracay? I told Manong that I’m going to Carabao Island. The tricycle entered a muddy road surrounded with trees and mangroves on the side.

I went out of the tricycle and paid the regular fare. Most of the passengers there were locals who live in Hambil (the local name for Carabao Island). The Municipal tourism of San Jose recommended that I take either the Mbca Ma. Celestial boat or the Mbca Jose.

There were only two passengers who were seated at the Celestial boat. I asked the boatman the time of departure. He said 8:30 am. I checked the time. It was only 7:45 am. Knowing that there’s an LPA, the fear has not gotten away. The thought of a cancelled boat trip the next day scared me. I called up the coastguard and asked for the situation of the sea.

The coastguard said that waves would be rough. He’s also unsure whether the LPA would leave Philippine territory the next day.

Yes, fear of missing my return flight or being stranded in Carabao Island the next day caught me. I decided not to push through. If I only had two more days, then I would have taken the risk. But I only have a day and a night to spend in Carabao Island.

Ma. Celestial Boat

Yes I was almost there. Carabao Island, next time, promise, I’ll allot more days not just a day and a night. So I bade the boatmen and the locals farewell with the hope to return and finally see the island.

That's Carabao Island behind me. Photo taken at Puka Beach, Boracay


*Hail a tricycle as you exit Caticlan Airport. Fare should only be Php 20.00

*The Tabon Baybay Port is just 10 minutes away.

*From Tabon Baybay Port, take Mbca Celestial or Mbca Jose. Fare is Php 80.00

*The Mbca Celestial or Mbca Jose has a capacity of 20-30 passengers. It’s a local boat. I didn’t notice whether there were lifevests but the boats were recommended by the tourism office. So I guess, these boats follow standards.

*Regular Passenger Boat Schedule: Tabon Baybay-Hambil- 8:30 am (once a day only) / Hambil-Tabon Baybay Caticlan- 6:00 am

*Boatman contact (as recommended by Senyor Lakwatsero): Sherwin- +63 912 904 4342- the boat leaves at 10 am. Fare is Php 100.00

*Motorbike Fares to Inobahan from port: Php 10.00

*Where to stay:

  • Nipa Hauz (Lanas Beach) – Look for Merilyn Gonzaga (+63 920 364 3852/ +63 906 355 6566)- Room Rate (Php 500)
  • Republic of Inobahan Resort (Inobahan side- eastern side)- Fan room (good for 2 pax) rate: Php 500 /night

*Municipal Tourism of San Jose– Mr. Rvyl Federico  (+63 927 701 4050/ +63 917 722 2350 / +63 927 925 9333)

*Philippine Coast Guard in Caticlan– +63 929 686 4150

*** Special thanks to these blogs which I read for the supposed trip: