Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Charms of Concepcion Islands: Bulubadiangan Island, Agho Island and More

Overshadowed by its neighboring group of island – Islas de Gigantes, this unassuming group of island has managed to retain its serenity. Nested in a quaint and laid back town of Concepcion, northeastern part of the Province of Iloilo, this group of island exudes gorgeous coastlines, turquoise beaches blissfully devoid of luxury trappings. Hence, still an offbeat, raw and unspoiled tourist destination.

Doing a DIY trip is easy and cost-friendly option in this off beat destination. About three (3) hours away both from Iloilo and Roxas City, you will reach the so-called paradise. This group of island has its own unique charms and I would like to quote Angel Juarez of The Lakwatsero who happened to be one of my travel buddies during this trip and he said:

“Imagine a chunk of El Nido’s backdrop, a slice of Caramoan’s vast sandbar, a bit of Anawangin’s grassy peak, some pieces of Sipalay’s cone islet and a shade of Balabac’s water all rolled into one place…”

Could you imagine that? It might be an exaggeration for some but it’s surreal. *Take Note: The islands are best enjoyed during tidal shifts. The tides can vary from week to week so it is highly recommended to stay for at least one (1) whole day so you won’t miss the best viewing and swimming times.

Islands to Explore:

Bulubadiangan Island

            It boasts a long and picturesque sandbar with shape that shifts along the direction of the wind. This is also where you can find the most decent resort offering basic facilities for an overnight stay – Sandbar Island Resort (Contact details: +63999-8331037 or +63906-8197516). Accommodation starts at 500 php and entrance fee is 25 php per person.

Agho Island

It is a privately owned island with an extensive white sand beach, sandbar and a sprawling coral garden. This is another great place to stay though the accommodation is much lesser that Bulubadiangan Island. (Contact details: +63921-7248018) Actually, this is one of my favorite islands during the trip because everything seems to be perfect and picturesque. Entrance fee is 25 php per person.

Malangabang and Bagosipol (Chico) Island

            The least expected and underrated islands that offer the best view. Here one can enjoy the unobstructed view of Pan de Azucar while walking from one island to another in ankle-deep turquoise clear water. This is best enjoyed and experienced during tidal shifts. Homestay accommodation is available on this island paradise and there are numerous sari-sari store selling basic supplies.

Pan de Azucar Island

            Pan de Azucar Island is also known as Tambaliza Island, it is one of the most iconic islands in the town of Concepcion. This is due to its prominent steep volcanic cone called Mt. Manaphag or Mt. Pan de Azucar that serves as a picturesque backdrop when you’re taking a picture on the islands of Agho and Malangabang.

How to Get There:

  • Via Roxas City, Capiz

Roxas City can be reached by plane from Manila and ferry boats and RoRo type vessels. Upon arrival, directly head to Roxas City Integrated Terminal located inside Pueblo de Panay Township. The trip going to Concepcion will require at least two (2) transfers if you will be able to catch the one (1) daily morning departure of bus direct to Sara. If not hop on Estancia bound bus and alight at Balasan Integrated Terminal, wait for another bus for transfer going to the town of Sara.  From the town of Sara, catch a jeep or another bus bound to the town proper of Concepcion. *Take Note: Travel time is approximately 2 ½ hours and from the fish port going to the island is approximately 30 minutes and boat rental starts at 1, 500 php.

  • Via Iloilo City

Iloilo can be reached by plane from Singapore, Hongkong, Manila, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Puerto Princesa in Palawan. There are also ferry boats and RoRo type vessels going to Iloilo from Manila, Cebu and Bacolod. From Iloilo City, head to Tagbak Integrated Terminal and take a bus or van going directly to Concepcion. Alternatively, one can opt to take a Sara bound bus or van and catch a jeep or another bus bound to the town proper of Concepcion. *Take Note: Travel time is approximately 2 ½ hours and from the fish port going to the island is approximately 30 minutes and boat rental starts at 1, 500 php.

Travel Tips:
  • Bring enough food, drinking water and other necessities since only limited supplies are available in the island (sari-sari store type).
  • Electricity is mostly powered by a generator and runs at selected hours of the day/night.
  • Water for bathing/washing is available for sale at minimal cost.
  • Toilet and bathroom are available for guests’ comfort.
  • Best months to visit are from February to May.
  • Go there on a weekday because there are fewer people.

For more information, visit Concepcion Islands by The Lakwatsero

For more photos, kindly visit: Seasons In The Sun: Concepcion, Iloilo

Thank you for reading and sharing!

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