By: Nickson Garcia
I have been travelling for some years now and although I haven’t completed the 7,107 islands in the Philippines (now 7,500 plus islands), I must say this island (up to date) is what I consider living in when I retire. This island is...SIBUYAN ISLAND at the province of Romblon.
I first knew about the island when I worked at a media foundation company. During my tenure, our president had environmental projects that helped the communities in the island. Our president kept on telling the employees how beautiful the island is and how rich it is with natural resources. From that point, I had a awareness on what the island offers. Although I haven’t really been in the island during the time, it felt like I have been there already.
The actual time where I stepped foot at the island last was on the year 2014 as part of my scheduled major mountain hike at Mount Guiting Guiting with my “G2399” group (you may read full story here). Prior to my scheduled hike, I once again heard the province of Sibuyan from my friend from “G2399” and a member of TheBACKPACKERS, Isabel. She was born and raised at the island and only travelled to Manila to study and work.
My 2nd time to visit the province was after two (2) years, when Untold Adventures PH went to the province, not to hike, but to explore. On my 2nd visit, I began to appreciate not only the island tourism sites but the locales living in it. For me, there are several reasons why I enjoy the island and here are some of it.
For some reason, I enjoyed sleeping in a moving transportation and that goes as well when I am at a ferry boat for sixteen (16) hours with and in the middle of the ocean. Make sure that prior to its departures, you have your personal medicines and something entertaining to do together with your company of friends or else you will be like me sleeping...and sleeping...and sleeping. Remember, you are in the middle of somewhere thus; no WIFI or internet data can be useful.
Many mountaineers would consider this mountain as the hardest they have ever climbed. I myself can testify to its technical difficulty. As I always say to everyone who asked me on my experience, the key in conquering this mountain is extensive preparation both physically and mentally plus the fact that mountaineers should not be scared of heights. Rewarding views on the way to its summit awaits everyone who attempts to conquer the mountain. Try hiking it and one will know what I am talking about.
The very first tourist site we visited when I first arrived at island on the year 2014 and is located at Magdiwang, Sibuyan. I was in awe when I saw how clean and clear the water is. You may choose to cool and relax yourself by dipping in its water.
Considered to be one of the cleanest inland body river in the world and is located at San Fernando, Sibuyan. I first saw the river in a documentary when a famous celebrity jumped the highest portion of the platform which is roughly about sixty (60) feet high. For those who are ready for an extreme experience, you may opt to jump the first or second level which is about twenty (20) and forty (40) feet, respectively or the highest level of 60 feet. Jump at your own risk.
This is one of the moments when during my 2nd visit we had nowhere to go and we just asked around the community on what places can be seen on the island. Fortunately, the barangay captain introduced us to Bila-Bila falls located at San Fernando, Sibuyan. A hike of about an hour would bring you to seven (7) different levels of the falls. As expected, the last one would be the most beautiful. In addition, you can enjoy the falls in different way either by sliding, using the monkey swing and jumping as high as forty (40) feet.
Probably the most famous beach in the island and is located at San Fernando, Sibuyan. I have been hearing this place ever since I had knowledge about the island. I was really overjoyed when I was able to stepped foot in this pristine white sand and clear turquoise water. Reaching it might be quite expensive and you might need prior boat arrangements but getting in it was all worth it. I would even recommend spending at least a night camping there but take note, there are no electricity and “sari-sari” store so you need prepare all your provisions.
What I like most with the island is not just the tourism sites but also the people we interacted with. During my 2nd visit, I get to experience more about the people. We have no itinerary at all and we were just blessed to have met people who were ready to assists us in everything. When we have nowhere else to go; when we have limited budget; when we have no place to stay; when we have nothing to eat; and when we have no transportation to use, every single Sibuyan locales where ready to help us along the way and we did not even felt we were overcharge or abused in a way. It shows that a place is not only about the destination but also about the people living in it. The best of all, we felt like we could live there peacefully away from all the difficulties and challenges in everyday life in the metro. I once even said that I could just be a porter/guide for all the mountaineers of Mount Guiting Guiting as a joke.