It is an almost two hours drive from San Jose to Culasi which are two towns found in Antique province. Culasi is the jump-off point to Mararison Island, and San Jose is the commercialized or center of Antique.
Mararison Island which some people may also refer to as Malalison Island is 15 minutes boat ride from Culasi. Arriving at the place hiring the tricycle driver who dropped us at the Tourism Information Center and Passenger terminal paying for the entrance fee of Php 10.00 and an environmental fee of Php 20.00. It is also the waiting area where the designated tourist boat is ready for the next guests to hop in. The boat is good for 7-8 pax that costs Php 750.00 for 5 pax and the existing pax is for Php 150.00 each. There is a chance that no one will come along with you, so better be patient or better pay the Php 750.00 if you are traveling solo or so. Luckily on our part, after an hour, the group of 5 appeared and kindly let us join them. The Php 750.00 is for a round-trip fare.
Where is Mararison Island? (Please hover and click the map
On the way to the island, the quick 15 minutes boat ride didn’t bore anyone as chances are if the weather is good, the visibility to see the other island named as Batbatan can be spotted. By looking at it, it seems that both islands are stunning to notice it as they seemed to have a different kind of a happy character.
Setting foot on the island, one will get mesmerized by the color of the sand and the clear water. After the boatmen dropped us, we ecstatically feel the ambiance. Since our time is a bit short, heading to the local’s place is one of those we immediately look for. My friend Cathy has a colleague who lives here, so we headed to his place, one of the boatmen guided us the way.
We stopped at Nanay Cristy Carenderia which the boatman delighted to let us in the cafeteria for Nanay Cristy is the mother of Cathy’s colleague.
Nanay Cristy is such a charming woman. As we sat on her humble carenderia (local term of eateries or cafeteria), she abundantly shares about the whole island and what else there is to see. It so happens that her carenderia is famous on the island. Cathy’s friend is working on that day in San Jose so I wasn’t able to meet him.
Nanay Cristy’s place is so easy to find as there is a huge signboard of her name. Although the place cannot be seen directly from the arrival area, local can easily point their place when someone will ask.
Apart from the food, she’s selling, she has 2 rooms to be rented for the guests that cost Php 300.00 each person and additional Php 300.00 for the electric fan if you wish to have a fan in the room.
The island has only 2-3 hours of electric power each night, but Nanay Cristy has a generator that’s why a Php 300.00 fee for the fan to use is available.
The food they serve is all local cuisine and are already cooked too, apart from the food, they also serve tea, soda, beer, coffee, bottled water, some chips and packed biscuits. Which surely means no reason to get starving as everything is attainable.
The island requires to have a tour guide for the guests when they climb to the mountain. The cost is Php 250.00/5 pax. They really require a guide who is a resident of the island making sure that guests are taken care of and avoiding guests ruining the nature as well.
Our very kind tour guide named Lony showed us the place with open arms and without even questioning our very slow pace of moving from one spot to the other. Both Cathy and I do walk really fast but what made us slow is when we get a photo and video on each corner. I also do admire our tour guide’s presence, as we are able to understand the life living on the island. She clearly mentions that there are 75 total tour guides and they change duties based on the queue they are in. That makes them so hard to cope up when it’s low season for they don’t even get the chance to guide anyone as they need to wait for their turn. Imagine 75 guides in a month on a low season, that’s insane.
This quick day tour experience largely used our time from hiking the whole mountain area. We were told that it’s only going to take us 30 minutes exploring, but we found out the 30 minutes is composed only of 3 spots. We know that it’s not enough, we change the route by moving all the way to Nablag Island and making a turn to the other side of the island so we will see what’s on that side.
We manage to have some chillaxing time at Enrique de Mararison resort, having some drinks, chit-chatting and interviewing their own guide about its rate and all. After that, we are making our way to the northern tip and blown by the beauty this paradise has. On that corner, there is a cliff that’s a bit scary because of the slope but truly amazed by the view glaring through the clear blue water that reflects the nature within.
We are also happily guided by the dogs on the island and manage setting our hammock to feel the moment and the atmosphere before ending this quick trek of Mararison.
At almost 5 pm, the weather became dark as we headed down to the main entrance. From there, we fully satisfy our day by going into the water while waiting for our boat. The white sand and the clear water still prevail despite the sudden gloomy atmospheric condition.
Our day ended with the heavy rain as we jumped into the boat going back to the mainland. Despite the heavy rain, the water is so calm that navigating to Culasi wasn’t a problem at all.
Here is a Full Guide from the Tourism Information Center
Check this Video for this Quick Guide of Mararison Island
Author: Ferna Mae
Ferna is a spontaneous traveler from the Philippines who had a great experience traveling her own country first before she embarked to other countries. She thrives to be more independent in her own skin. Connect with her at email@example.com