Tourists call it Malalison Island.
Locals say it’s Mararison.
I call it Paradise.
Malalison Island is quite small.
Tho, It is now being called The Batanes of Visayas.
Darkness had descended by the time I arrived Culasi Port and this made it a little more problematic to locate some fellow travelers who would be happy to share the boat fee going out to the island. So, I texted my contact, Kuya Mario to see if he would be able to collect me from Culasi Port and he agreed to this at a cost of 750php return trip. Luckily for me, when I was on the island, I struck up a friendship with some new people and they shared the cost of the boat back to Culasi Port and to Kuya Mario, so this time my cost was 550php for the boat fee.
HOW TO GET TO MARARISON ISLAND?
From Kalibo: Take the Ceres bus bound for San Jose, Antique. Tell the driver to drop you off Culasi, Antique. Travel time is approximately 2 hours. The fare is P150php per person (P110 for students)
From Iloilo City: Go to the Molo Bus and Van Terminal and take the bus for Culasi, Antique (3-4 hours). The fare is P200 per person.
From Bacolod: Take a ferry to Iloilo; Php 280-AC, Php 250-Non-AC; 1.5 hrs then go to Molo Terminal and ride a VAN bound to Culasi Antique P200; Approx 5hrs
From Capiz: There’s no bus going directly to Antique Province. So, you’ll just have to find a bus or van heading to Kalibo. And, then, ride the Ceres bus heading to San Jose, Antique, via Culasi. Total travel time from Capiz to Culasi may take at least four hours.
From Boracay, Caticlan: At the Caticlan terminal, buses and vans plying the Iloilo via San Jose, Antique route can take you directly to Culasi Antique.
Culasi Port to Mararison Island: At Culasi Port, you can rent a boat going to the island. The standard rate is 150 pesos/person round trip maximum of 5 people. But if you are a Solo traveler, it is 750 pesos but worth negotiating as I paid 550 after haggling. The boat trip takes 15-20 minutes.
Getting to Mararison Island
Recommended Boatman: Kuya Mario (+639-754-839-983 / +639-195-520-526)
WHERE TO STAY:
ALING JOSIE KUBO
EL DOROTEO HOMESTAY
So, without any information about where to stay on the island, the ones I contacted were charging between 250-500php a night. I asked Kuya Mario if he knew of a cheap place to stay and he suggested “Aling Josie” for a very reasonable 300php, which I duly snapped at! The Kubo is big enough for two people and it is situated right in front of a white sand beach. It has a shared comfort room and if you are totally lazy to go and use the bathroom, there’s a potty (arinola) in every kubos haha. Aling Josie can also cook for you for a minimal fee.
The electricity is only on from 6 PM to 10 PM. Homestays have generators. Just make sure you charge your gadgets when the electricity supply is on and when it’s turned off, look up at the night sky and admire God’s creation.
Boat ride – 150 pesos/person round trip (you will be joined by other tourists)
Solo Boat ride – normally 750 pesos but worth negotiating as I paid 550 after haggling.
Environmental Fee – 30 pesos.
Trekking Guide – 200 pesos for up to a group of 5.
Home Stay – 250-350 pesos/person per night.
Sample Expenses and Itinerary: (Coming from Kalibo, Aklan)
See Full Itinerary here: DIY TRAVEL GUIDE: 4-DAY PANAY ISLAND + NEGROS OCCIDENTAL ADVENTURE
PITCHER AND TUNGANGAW PLANT
Here are a few things worth remembering:
- Take enough drinking water with you, especially if you are staying overnight on the island.
- You can buy food to cook for you on the island or you can eat what they might cook for you.
- There is no ATM on the island (Nearest ATM is in Culasi). No restaurants. No bars.
- There is electricity only from 6PM to 10PM. Homestays have generators, but you have to pay extra to have it turned on. Just charge your gadgets and when the electricity is turned off, look up at the night sky and admire God’s creation.
- When trekking, DO NOT pick the pitcher plants. They are not souvenirs for you to take home.
- DO NOT LEAVE TRASH on the island. Take a bag with you (like supermarket bag) so that when you go you can take your trash back to the mainland with you. DON’T pollute the environment – be responsible travelers, please.
This is a beautiful area of the Philippines and still very much undiscovered and almost remote. It’s worth the effort and steps back in time and creature comfort to visit this unique area. Go before the commercial vultures arrive!
See Full Itinerary here:
DIY Travel Guide: Malalison / Mararison Island Solo Backpacking
Kawa Hot Bath Travel Guide – Tibiao, Antique
DIY Travel Guide: Campuestohan + The Ruins, Negros Occidental
Travel Guide to Garin Farm, Iloilo