White sand beach, stunning sandbar, crystal clear waters, rolling hills, such were the main highlights of our day-trip to this island paradise. Just 15-20 minutes boat ride from Culasi mainland, Mararison Island (also called Malalison) was put under tourism spotlight due to its massive beauty, accessibility, and hospitable community.
From Culasi Port, we were asked to register first at their tourism office and hire a boat. Boat rental fee is fixed at 750 php roundtrip, good for maximum of 5 persons. In our case, we spent 375 each since we were just two. We also paid additional 30 php each for environmental fee. After few minutes we were escorted to our boat by our assigned boatman.
Sea travel was smooth and short, only took about 15 joyful minutes. Mr. Sun was up and happily illuminating everything under it. The sea was calm and very welcoming. And as expected, we were the only guests in the island. Monsoon month (July) and weekday, it’s easy to figure out why.
Trekking to Rolling Hills Viewpoint
We quickly had our breakfast part2 and prepared ourselves for the next adventure: trekking to rolling hills. But before the action, we were required to register first and get a tour guide. A local resident was assigned to us: Ate Maricris. Residents in the island were trained as tour guides, as well as home-stay hosts for guests staying overnight. We paid 150 php for guide fee.
The trek was easy, with lots of pitcher plants spotted along the way. After about 30 minutes, we reached the viewpoint. First view presented was the one overlooking the island’s lush vegetation, beach, and sandbar. Everything was calm and vibrant. The view will surely clear your head. Be careful though especially when taking selfies, as there were no railings at the viewpoint.
Second view presented was the much awaited rolling hills. From that point, it was easy to understand how the island was put under the spotlight. I witnessed what the buzz was all about. I can’t help but adore the Grand Artist from above who’s the one responsible for this huge painting masterpiece.
The view was indeed comparable to that of Batanes. It’s like a small version of its rolling hills so people easily tagged this place as “Little Batanes of Antique.” But of course, they still have their own unique charm. 😊
As much as we wanted to spend more time at the top, but we still need to explore the beach and sandbar. Then add the thunderstorm coming up, Ate Maricris advised us to descend as we could clearly see the clouds heading towards us.
We took our belongings from our boat as preparation for the upcoming rain-shower. Then we bought food from nearby carenderia and had our lunch in a nipa hut fronting the beach.
Nobody asked for payment for the nipa hut rental, they understood that it was just an emergency. How considerate! Things you will rarely experience in the city. Few minutes after, the downpour started which lasted about 30 minutes.
Beach and Sandbar
The rain stopped and it was a perfect time for swimming. The clearness of the water was still evident even after the rain. Mr. Sun 🌥️ was hiding a bit which was good for it won’t be able to burn our skin.
The sands are truly white so it still looks white even though the sun was not in its full glory. Sands are fine and even finer at the sandbar. The beach was clean and free from human trash. I didn’t want to imagine how it looks like during peak season. We just savored the tranquility and quietness of the place.
And Mr. Sun 🌞 was back in the business. Tropical experience wouldn’t be complete without being kissed by Mr. Sun! We took advantage while the ambient light was good.
The thought of taking an aerial shot of the sandbar with the use of a long bamboo pole (like what we did in Seco Island) looks so exciting. But our time was limited and we had to leave the island at 3pm for our flight back to Manila was 7pm.
If I will visit this island again in the future, an overnight stay would be a priority. But for now, a little taste is more than enough to appreciate its beauty.
How to Get There
- Take a flight to either Caticlan or Kalibo.
- Hop on a bus or van bound to San Jose, then alight at Culasi Bus Stop.
- Walk to the Tourism Office and book a boat ride to Mararison Island.
You can book your flight to Kalibo via 12Go Asia.
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