Carabao Island, Romblon: Boracay’s twin sister

Carabao Island, San Jose, Romblon

When we were in Boracay last March, we decided to have a little side trip to an island in Romblon. We heard that this island, called Carabao Island, looks a lot like Boracay. Some even coined it as its twin. To satisfy our curiosity, we planned a quick trip to see it for ourselves.

Carabao Island is more popularly known as Hambil to the locals. I asked one of our boatmen how it got its new name. He wasn’t so sure but he told me two theories: first theory is that maybe because the island resembled a water buffalo when viewed from a boat and the other theory is that years ago, the island supposedly had herds of carabaos grazing all over the area thus the name.

This island is twice as big and is only an hour away from the now-controversial Boracay. The entire body of land is actually the whole municipality of San Jose, Romblon. The population’s main source of living is fishing but many of its residents work in various establishments in Boracay.

True enough, all of us were in awe at the island’s raw beauty when we docked at its shore. The blue waters sparkled as the sun hits the sea. The white sand may not be as fine as Boracay’s but it is still AMAZING.

Here are some of the photos we took at Hambil Beach. We could not help but take oh, so many. Haha!

This place is so peaceful and serene with fewer tourists walking on its beach. Quite different from her busy and crowded counterpart, Boracay.

So if you are looking for another paradise but aren’t the party-loving kind, this is the place to be.

How to get there

Since Boracay is temporarily closed, the usual route from Bulabog Beach is not feasible. Tourists can go to Carabao Island through Caticlan port. From Caticlan to Hambil Pier in Carabao Island, there is a scheduled chartered boat trip every 9AM. Fare is 100 pesos + 50 pesos Environmental Fee.

If you prefer to book your own private boat, you can contact Kuya Rey Montesa at these numbers: 0917-762-3047 / 09984520773. One way trip from Caticlan to Hambil is 3,000 pesos. If you want to be fetched from Hambil back to Caticlan, there is an additional charge of 2,000 pesos. For a larger group (10 or more), package trips with tour around the island plus food preparation can be discussed with him as well.

Activities you can do in Carabao Island

• Swimming in its cool blue waters
• Beach bumming the whole day
• Scuba diving/Snorkeling in different dive sites (Kuya Rey may be able to provide the gear for you for as low as 1,500 pesos only)
• Cliff Diving in 3 sites (Entrance fee of 100 pesos/site): Buding Buding, Cathedral and Bugtong Bato
• Go caving in 3 caves: Ngiriton, Bunayag and Angas Caves
• Set up camp (bring your own equipment) and watch the sunrise in Hambil Beach
• For Day Tours, you may look for BB Bar and Café in Sitio Inobahan for some refreshing food and drinks. You may contact Kuya Thomas Linayao at 0929-678-2911 for cottage and food reservations.
• For those who wish to stay longer in the island, there are several recommended lodges/inns that you can check out: Reynald’s Place, 5-13 and Cameo Lodge. Fan Room price ranges from 750-800 pesos per night while Air-conditioned Room price ranges from 1,200-1,500 pesos per night.

Aside from Hambil Beach in Carabao Island, Romblon has so many other beautiful beaches that I plan to visit next. So what are you waiting for? Plan that trip to Romblon and visit Carabao Island now. Don’t forget to take lots of photos and have a Cherryfic Moment!



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  1. Hi Che,
    thanks so much for a very informative and amazing blog on our island, the Carabao Island. I was born in this serene and virgin island and it is my wish and advocacy that it will be forever preserved. Likewise, your beauty depicts the splendor of our island. Wow, what an island model, so adoring!

    Adrian of Europe

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