Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Iloilo: Sun-Kissed in Bulubadiangan Sandbar Island, Concepcion

The boatman pointed to Polopiña, the barangay island where he lives as we sail on the mirror-clear and calm Visayan Sea. "Edu Manzano hails from that place. In fact, he voted there when he ran for Vice President during the 2010 election.", he revealed in Filipino. To our left looms Mount Manaphag, rising 606 meters above sea level in another island called Pan de Azucar. It is a towering presence in the island-dotted Concepcion, a third class municipality located in the northeastern part of Iloilo Province.

But we're heading neither to Edu Manzano island nor towards the Lord of Rings-ish mountain. Though it would have been nice to also set foot in these places, we're pressed for time. Instead we went to the less time consuming but stunningly picturesque Bulubadiangan Island. In this side of Panay, it is more popularly known as Sandbar Island, the name of a lone private resort which boasts of a long, cream-hued sandbar with shape that winds to a gorgeous crescent curve.

A calm morning in Concepcion. Mount Manaphag towers in the background.

Though Sandbar is Concepcion's most popular tourist destination, it is nowhere near as famous as Boracay or even Guimaras. It is safe to say that it is still little known and only those who are willing to endure 2-3 hours of land travel from Iloilo City followed by a 30-minute boat ride from mainland Concepcion will get to savor its marvelous view.

The Eusala Family owns and resides in this place. Rex, son of the owner Sonny, informed us on the rates: 25.00 pesos per person for entrance fee, 300 pesos for the rental of wooden table and chairs, 1,000 pesos for an overnight stay in the semi-closed nipa cottages and 1,500 pesos for the more private closed cottage. Overnight guests usually bring their own water and food supplies as as there's a dirty kitchen for cooking out an island feast. You may also ask the owner to cook your food for a fee. Basic amenities include bathroom and toilet and water for taking a bath may be bought at 20 pesos per container. Electricity runs in the island from 5 PM to 10 PM only. After this, only the moon and the stars will accompany you all through the night.

Since Malou and I planned to stay only for a few hours, we opted to just rent the table and chairs. Only a group of 8 persons were also in the island that day and they were all resting in their cottage. We walked towards the sandbar's end and enjoyed the beautiful sights of Mount Manaphag from afar and the more closer Polopiña Island and its verdant rolling hills. The sun was not too harsh as we went for a swim in the azure waters. Since the cottages stood far from the sandbar's edge and except for the occasional passing of fishing boats, we were generally unperturbed. It felt like we have the island all to ourselves.

As we sail back to the mainland, I cannot help but feel blessed and fortunate that we experienced island living even for just a short time. Bulubadiangan's pristine, uncrowded and unspoiled state provided us a momentary but sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of life's daily grind. It was more than worth the long travel we endured.


Bulubadiangan's Sandbar Island is where Malou and I recently celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. It is a tradition we started three years ago, to celebrate our wedding anniversary every year in a place we've never been before. Check out my posts on Dahican Beach, Camotes Island and Mantigue Island to read about our previous wedding anniversary explorations.

Next post: Travel Guide to Bulubadiangan Sandbar Island Resort in Concepcion, Iloilo




  1. Ang ganda naman dyan. Gusto ko din mapuntahan yan.

  2. coming soon. 3rd week of april,


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