MARARISON ISLAND

Malalison or locally pronounced as Mararison is one of the must visit islands in the Province of Antique. It can be considered as a fishermen island because most of the resident’s are in fishing as their livelihood. Its breathtaking beauty captured the attention of the travelers after being hit by the Typhoon Yolanda. It is Panay's next frontier because of its fine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters with a diversity of aquatic flora and fauna – it is truly a perfect diving paradise. CLICK TO WATCH MY VLOG

HOW TO GET HERE: My solo-backpacking started from Roxas City, Capiz. At Pueblo Terminal, I rode in a van to Kalibo and alighted in Ceres Bus Terminal. From there, I rode in a bus bound for Ilo-Ilo and alighted at Ceres Bus Terminal in Culasi, Antique.  At the terminal, I asked the locals the exact location of the Port and the tourism office. Followed their instructions and finally reached the tourism information center after 15 minutes. For your convenience, tricycle can also be an option. At the tourism information center, I paid 10 pesos terminal fee, 20 pesos environmental fee.

Kuya Rey, my contact, arranged everything. To save money, instead of renting the pump boat alone for 750 pesos, he instructed the receptionist at the information center to let me join the locals at the last trip. Therefore, I only paid 100 for that trip. The locals are really kind; they even brought me to Kuya Rey’s house, 10 to 15 minutes walk from the sand bar. 

Upon arrival at Kuya Rey’s house, again, to save more money, he let me join Ate Shirley’s trek to the summit of the rolling hills, together with the other group. Trekking is simple, first part is an uphill concrete stairs until the elementary school, then, another uphill trail to the summit. Pine trees, shrubs and pitcher plants are visible by the trail. Of course, the ambiance was relaxing and the wind was cool.

On the summit or the view deck, there is a 360 degrees view of Mararison, with the perfect view of Mount Madjaas from afar. The shape and the slopes of the mountains are similar to the views in Batanes. The mountains and hills are covered with green grass, accentuated by the trees. In between of the sky and the water is a line that added a perfect backdrop with the help of the sunset. I just can’t hide that fact that this scene is a magnificence of nature that needs to be shared.

Our descent from the summit was at around 5PM, then, finally met Kuya Rey Lorenzo, with proper introduction. If you are planning to visit this island, I strongly and highly recommend him as your contact. By the way, his house is open for home stays. The interior of his house has a typical Filipino ambiance – so there is a really home-y feeling.

The next day, I met Ate at the kitchen preparing for our breakfast. She greeted me: “GOOD MORNING, SIR!” with that refined Ilongo accent. She told me to go to the sandbar for a golden sunrise – which I did. Then, I easily noticed the sumptuous smell spread on the terrace – a clear proof that the table is now open for our breakfast. 

After breakfast, it was still raining cats and dogs and I was a bit worried because we’ll be crossing the water to the mainland. I packed everything while waiting for the rain to stop. Ate and Kuya Rey were outside preparing for their commodities. The rain did not stop, so I had no choice but to use my huge transparent plastic, placed my bag inside it and we proceeded to the sandbar to get on the boat. Travel for about 15 minutes and reached Culasi mainland.

Ate proceeded to the wet market for her fish business, while Kuya Rey and I proceeded to the Municipality of Tibiao on a motorcycle. That transparent plastic and my dry bag were helpful because it was still raining hard. After 40 minutes of motorcycle ride, we reach La Escapo Mountain Resort in Tibiao and next will be my Day 3 – Hot Kawa Bath Experience.