Exploring Carnaza Island for Php1000
It was almost a month of unemployment and all I did was watch Netflix on weekdays and freedive on weekends. Though I enjoyed (and still enjoying) both, it was not the routine I wanted. To be honest, I do not like routine because routine is lethal.
In the last week of August, I got a chance to break that routine and explored the island of Carnaza, located in the northern part of Cebu. From the island you can see the provinces of Cebu, Masbate, Leyte and Biliran. It was the perfect destination! The island was not touristy and it was really cheap!
With my friends, we created a lot of crazy moments in the island within 3 days and 2 nights. The locals were our witnesses and here’s our story.
How to get to Carnaza Island
- From North Bus Terminal – Take a bus going to Daanbantayan (Maya via Kawit) for Php190.00. It will take 3-4 hours to get there. Get off at Tapilon and go to Tapilon port
- From Tapilon port – Take a boat for Php100.00. It will take more than an hour to get to the island. Also, take note that the boat needs to be full and the target schedule according to the boatmen are below:
- From Tapilon to Carnaza Island at 1PM.
- From Carnaza Island to Tapilon at 8AM
At 5:30am we were on our way to Daanbantayan. Unfortunately, we forgot to get off at Tapilon port and went all the way to Maya. We rode another bus and told the driver to drop us at Tapilon port. The driver and conductor were very nice to let us ride for free.
The moment we disembarked at Tapilon, we bought some food for brunch before going to the port. Since we did not know yet the schedule of the boat, we waited from 10am until the boat is full. We were one of the first passengers and we waited patiently until 2pm. It was actually a sick waiting game, but we managed.
Where to Stay in Carnaza island
At the boat before our arrival, a lot of locals were helping us where to camp. We first want to stay in the area called “Kailina” but the locals did not advise it since the habagat or southwest monsoon blows in that area and it will not be safe enough to let us camp there without light during the night.
One of the local suggested a place called “Candionesio” and it is near the resort called eco park. We rented a house to put our stuff safely and camp at the shore. It was a good decision. If you want to camp in Carnaza Island, you can call Ate Hilda at 09508241981. Price depends on the negotiation.
The boat will circle the island and dock every passenger in the specific area. The boatmen and the locals insisted that we should be the last one to get down in the boat and see the other side of the island. We were happy to do it since we were not really in a hurry.
Things we did in Carnaza island for 3 days and 2 nights
Camp at the beach
The moment we arrived, we settled in the house, put our tent up and we were ready to spend our night in the island. As mentioned earlier, we camp at Candionesio near the house we rented. On an island like this, it is better to camp at the beach because we can feel the island vibe much better.
Night Swimming with Bioluminescent Planktons
On our first night on the island, after our dinner we had some tequila and we bonded together. It was still early, maybe around 10pm and though we were a little bit drunk, we decided to go for a swim. Although initially I suggested to try skinny dipping, thankfully we were not that drunk enough to do that and it would have been a shame because the next night, the locals told us that they were still up during our night swimming. They were just watching us having so much fun with our friend, tequila. It was still embarrassing because we were wearing our underwear instead of bikinis.
The water was not too cold and we saw bioluminescent planktons that night. I’ll be honest, that night was kinda crazy, funny, sad and confusing at the same time.
After the night swimming, we were stayed and enjoyed the moment. What I love about remote islands is that I have a clear vision of the stars at nights. We were all gazing up on the stars, and saw more than 5 shooting stars in the sky.
It was really beautiful. These kinds of moments makes me appreciate small things I take for granted.
Roam the island with a boat
The next day, we rented a boat for Php1000.00 and went for island exploration. We will roam around the island 360 degrees and see its natural beauty. Surprisingly, Carnaza Island has a lot of coves, which offers different views.
Visit the Skull Cove
Named skull cove because they found skulls in this cove which are also displayed inside the cave. The place is privately owned. We were lucky enough to get to this cove for free.
Walk towards the Helipad
I always want to ride a helicopter. Since I never had a chance to do it, walking towards the helipad will do the trick. I imagined a private helicopter was waiting for me. You can tell in the photo above, I was quite happy about it. Under the scorching heat of the sun with a smile on my face.
Walk and explore the island
After our island roaming, we went for a walk with the local towards the other side of the island. We went to Liog-liog and checked if there were freshly caught fish. However, we did not saw any and just decided to roam around and go the hill to have a nice view of the sunset.
Take a boat instead of motorcycle
Since we already walked to the other side, we were tired to go back with our feet so we decided to rent a boat to drop us off where we camped, Candionesio. We paid only Php150.00 and we were divided in two groups. The last group waited for the boat to return and get them. Instead getting a cab, we got a boat. Haha.
Buy Fresh Caught Fish for Dinner and have a Boodle Fight
Since we were not able to buy fish in Liog-liog. My friends went to Bario and bought freshly caught fish for our dinner. It was very fresh and cheap. It is only Php100.00 per kilo and the fishermen were nice, they added another fish for free.
Since it was our last night, we decided to have a boodle fight. Our table was a small boat and we just put a platform to serve as our table. We sat on the sand and had our very delicious meal.
Late night Conversation with the locals
You might know this, but I would like to share it here again. The people of the place make the destination more memorable.
After our dinner, we had conversations with the locals. In this scenario, we were a bit embarrassed to know that they were still awake last night when we were drunk and had our night swimming. That night, there were quite a few embarrassing moments that are not good to share in public (especially in a written way). Maybe, I should say what happened in the island, stays in the island.
We ended up crashing in one of the houses around. We slept together at their living room and it was a good way to end our night in Carnaza Island.
The next day, our schedule sailing to Tapilon was 8am. We packed our bags and left the island. Wishing to visit again next time.
Other tips on visiting Carnaza Island
- It is better to bring food. Locals in Carnaza Island suggested not to eat food you did not make. This is to avoid food poisoning.
- Networks are quite hard in Carnaza Island. Most of time there is no signal. Disconnect for a while.
- Electricity is limited. Bring your power banks, and extra batteries. It is also useful to bring flashlights.
- Water from the well is still salty.
- Bring sunblocks to protect your skin.
- Bring snorkel and mask. There are no gears for rent.
- Bring a lot of drinking water. But you can also buy a gallon of water in the island.
Bus going to Daanbantayan: Php190.00
Boat Going to Carnaza Island: Php100
House rented: Php100 per person
Boat roaming carnaza island: Php1000.00/ 6 people = Php167.00
Boat going to Tapilon: Php100
Bus going to Daanbantayan: Php190.00
TOTAL POSSIBLE EXPENSES: Php847.00
Note: Food is not included. We were six people exploring Carnaza island. We went to San Remegio before going back to Cebu City but I guess the bus fare is still the same.
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