Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Travel Guide: Malalison Island in Culasi, Antique

Malalison Island, situated off the coast of Culasi town proper, is slowly becoming a must-visit destination in the Province of Antique. Commonly called "Mararison" by local folks, this hook-shaped island with a total area of 55 hectares, is blessed with white sands, clear blue waters and picturesque hills and ridges. Previously off-the-radar of most tourists, Malalison caught media attention after the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

The island and its residents has since then got back and recovered from the tragedy. Nowadays, Malalison Island, with its quaint and laid back beauty, offers an alternative getaway to its more popular yet crowded distant neighbor Boracay.

In this  Malalison Island Travel Guide, you will find out about how to get there, things to do, where to stay, where to eat, contact numbers, expenses and more travel tips....

How to Get There:

1. From Ilolilo City

From the Molo Bus and Van Terminal, take a bus or van bound for Culasi. Fare is Php200.00 and travel time is 4-5 hours.

2. From Kalibo City, Aklan

Take the Ceres Bus bound for San Jose, Antique and disembark in Culasi. Fare is Php150.00 and travel time is 2-3 hours.

3. From Boracay, Caticlan

Take the bus or van plying the Caticlan to Iloilo City via San Jose, Antique Route and disembark in Culasi.

In Culasi town proper, you may walk or take a short tricycle ride to the Culasi Port. Register at the Toursim Information Center and Passenger Terminal.

Round trip boat fare to Malalison Island is Php150.00/person and environmental fee is Php40.00/person. You may buy food, water and other supplies at the nearby public market before going to the island.

Boat ride from Culasi Port to Malalison island is only 10-15 minutes.

Do not forget to save the contact number of your boatman so you can call him when you are ready to go back to the mainland.

Where to Stay

Malalison is still unspoiled by commercialization and there are no high end resorts and hotels. Accommodations are mostly homestays and native cottages with electric fan. Here are some of the accommodations in Malalison Island. Kindly contact the cellphone numbers posted for updated rates and more details:

Enrique de Marasion (Contact Nos. : 09263929868; 09565131314; 09103484781; 09291024569)

Karen's Hide-Away (Contact # 09294837300)

Anna Sophie Hostel (Contact Nos. : 09204762508; 09176871460)

Casa Prante (Contact Nos.: 09094851380; 09561036447)

Hangout by the Bay (Contact Nos. 09089736907)

Homestays are also offered by the island's residents. Rate is Php250.00 per person. Here's the list of Mararison Island Homestay and their corresponding contact numbers:

We stayed at Sally's Balay Darayunan and booked two rooms at P1,500/per room. Each room is good for 4-5 persons with a spacious terrace and private CR. Since electricity in the island is only from 6 PM to 10 PM, we paid an additional Php300 per room to extend the power generator up to 6 AM. You may contact them at 09098410185 and 09272931141 or check out their Facebook Page HERE.

Where to Eat

Buy fresh catch from local fishermen and have it cooked by the homestay in-charge for a minimal fee. You get to enjoy fresh seafoods while at at the same time provide income to the locals. Street foods and barbeque are also available at reasonable prices.

Things to Do

1. Swimming, snorkeling and beach bumming

The island is not crowded compared to Boracay so you get to enjoy the island's long sandbar and clear blue waters.

2. Hike the hills and ridges

Treeking fee is Php200 for up to 5 persons. Depending on your pace, the easy hike could take 20-30 minutes. The grassy hills and ridges offers a 360-degree view of the island and stunning sunrise and sunset. Pitcher plant could also be seen along the trail but picking the plants is strictly prohibited.

Travel Tips:

1. In case you forgot to buy some stuff at the mainland, there are a number of sari-sari stores in the island. Softdrinks, bottled water, beer, canned goods, soap and other necessities are readily available. Prices may be slightly higher (about 5-10 pesos mark up) but it is also another way to provide income to the island's residents.

2. Fresh water for bathing and washing are sourced through deep wells.

3. Electricity in the island is only from 6 PM to 10 PM. We paid Php300/room to extend the power generator operation up to 6 AM.

4. Bring enough cash as there are no banks or ATM in the island.

5. Practice the Leave No Trace ethics, take your trash back to the mainland and dispose it properly.

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