I knew I had it penned but I couldn’t find it. Sourcing and digging anywhere until I found it on my draft folder. Too busy? Or aging symptoms? Both, and more, I guess. Haha… It took me almost 2 years to complete and publish this travel story. Thanks to my friends’ request for the itinerary and travel guide for this destination, I can finally complete and share it with you.
Where? To the mesmerizing beauty of Carnaza Island and its neighboring islands.
It’s been the talk of the town, especially among travelers. First things first, I did my research and made connections hoping for good weather. It’s already rainy season plus the notable gigantic waves crossing the island. As adventurous as we are, we still went through.
Came June and everyone seems excited despite hesitations to have calm waves and fine weather. Luckily, we were so blessed with both.
Disclaimer: All thoughts expressed in this written piece are on my own. Every traveler may differ in perspectives on his/her travel experiences.
Going to Daanbantayan
Before reaching Carnaza, we need to get to Daanbantayan first. It’s a 3-4-hour bus ride that preferably leaves Cebu City at the wee hour of 3 am to make the most of your trip. Another good reason for this is to catch the recommended schedules across the island since it’s likely a tough boat ride in the afternoon.
We arrived early but our chartered boat had some issues leading to some changes in our plan. I need to negotiate right there and then and haggle for the new boat. The sunshine started to strike us hard when we depart from Brg. Bitoon.
Note: There’s a public boat transfer at Poblacion to the island at 100 each way at that time (2018).
Hopping Neighbouring Islands
We actually visited the neighboring islands of Carnaza too. Among these islands include Guintarcan/Kinatarcan Island, Lamanok Island, and Gato Island.
Since we opted to stay overnight at Carnaza, we decided to hop to Kinatarcan first. It’s an hour boat ride to the white sand seashore of the island. Dipping into its water is really inviting. You can even see fishes from its sky-hued clear water.
From here, we did some trek to Laaw Lagoon passing through steps of stairs and a community of its locals.
Greenish La-aw Cove
The lagoon has many areas and, of course, many scenic spots for photo ops. Where do you want to pose in the following backdrops?
This is the area where you can find sea grapes, seagrass, and algae.
We went further of the lagoon but we need to go through a semi cave before reaching it. It’s already high noon and we’re all sweat from walking that we dip to freshen up ourselves. Just be careful and watch your steps as the path to the depths of the lagoon is narrow, slippery and steep. The rocks around are also sharp. Our fun cut short as we notice jellyfishes around and even stung one of us.
Since going to Carnaza takes 3 hours, we better get off early to put our tired bodies to rest.
Carnaza Eco Park
The park is a huge area with different sites worth visiting.
The helipad is remarkable for its stunning 360-view of the island. These photos can tell:
Just meters away from the helipad, you’ll find the well-known Skull Cove. According to the locals, many skulls of the Japanese dated back during the Second World War were found in the cove hence its pet name. However, we only saw 2 during our visit.
Just in time; this view welcomed us to our humble abode for the night.
We pitched our tents at the park, freshened up, and prepared dinner. Gazing the moon with rings around it alongside the infinite number of stars lit the sky is just amazing.
Truly, it’s a great Good Morning Sunshine waking us up for a brand new day for another set of island hopping.
La Manok Island
This time the gang set off to La Manok Island, which is an-hour boat-ride from the park. The sandbar in this piece of gem? I can guarantee – it’s exceptional. Can you resist taking a dip to this crystal-clear water?
Legends and history say the island’s name came from its somewhat a crown of a rooster landform. Another version has it that crowing of a rooster is being heard from this island in the morning.
Although its sand is not powdery, its seascape is magnificent.
Before going back to the mainland, we stop by at Gato Island, which is a gigantic rock in the middle of the ocean. This is a spot frequented by divers for its rich marine life. I can just imagine the beauty underwater upon seeing through fishes of different species from the boat. There are also other marine animals like sea snakes of different sizes laying and hiding in some of the rock’s crevices. Lovely birds are also chirping and freely flying around.
We found a perfect spot just enough for the boat to get in to have shade. We spent some time here for lunch then some swim, dive, and kid around meeting some divers underwater. We then left midafternoon since we still need to travel back to the port then back to Cebu. It’s a Sunday, and notably (as expected), there were many passengers (mostly employees, students, and weekenders) at the terminal. We still managed to go home safe though. Thank God.
What a tiring yet amazing trip of the tribe. I will definitely be back to the island especially La Manok Island.
Have you been here yet? You should….but check the weather condition first before you go.
2:30 am-3:00 – Meetup @ Cebu North Bus Terminal
3:00 am – ETD to Poblacion, Daanbantayan
8:00 am – ETA Poblacion
9:00 am – Breakfast and last buy
10:00 am – ETD to Kinatarcan Island
11:00 am – ETA Kinatarcan Island
12 noon – Explore the island (La-aw Cove, trekking, swimming, snorkeling), lunch
2:00 pm – ETD to Carnaza Eco Park
5:00 pm – Explore the park (visit to Skull Cove and other coves and the Helipad)
6:00 pm – Pitch tents, prepare dinner, sunset watching
6:00 pm – dinner, socials
10:00 pm – lights off
5:00 am – wakeup call
5:30 am – sunrise viewing
6:00 am – prepare breakfast and lunch
7:00 am – breakfast
8:00 am – break camp, clean the area, and prepare for island hopping
9:00 am – ETD to La Manok Island
10:00 am – ETA La Manok Island
11:00 am – 12:00 noon – Explore the island
12:00 noon – ETA Gato Island (lunch, swimming, diving, snorkeling)
2:00 pm – ETD to Tapilon Port
3:30 pm – ETA Tapilon Port
3:40 pm – Washup
5:00 pm – ETD to Cebu City
9:00 pm – ETA Cebu City
190 – bus fare from Cebu City to Tapilon
200 – entrance at Carnaza Eco Park
50 – tent space
770 – boat rental (10000/13)
190 – bus fare from Tapilon to Cebu City
Total – 1350 (excluding food and other personal expenses)
CARNAZA ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE: A MEMORABLE ISLAND HOPPING ADVENTURE IN THE ISLANDS SURROUNDING DAANBANTAYAN, CEBU
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Carnaza Island Map:
*Some photos credit to friends