Located in Daanbantayan, Cebu, Carnaza Island can be accessed via a boat ride in Tapilon Port. Reading some online posts about traveling to this island validated the fact that it may be a bit costly to do it solo since I planned to do a side trip to Masbate. So I invited total strangers to join me on this epic adventure!
It all started with friend requests and our lives eventually intertwined. How we are connected to one another is really fascinating. Jakie and I became friends through Facebook and we met Mark online, too, and we traveled altogether to Moalboal last year. Mark has a production team in Cebu (you guys have to check them out here!) and he is great friends with Kyle Savage who’s in char-char-ishhh with Francess. 😛 Kyle is friends with Jee (girlfriend of Mark) who happened to be a batchmate of Jerico and Loven!
And then, Kevin is a friend of Jerico because they’re both in the modeling industry. Kevin is a model, Jerico is his personal assistant. HAHAHA! Labyu Eco! 😛 Seriously, Jerico is such a cool guy and offers photo-video services, too! Dave Jan is char-char with Jakie, joke! Hahaha! Dave and I met when I traveled to Taiwan. He’s based in Cebu and offers tours there. Book with TURNT TOURS!
Isn’t it amazing how small this world could get? Ohhhsome!!!
So there! We all traveled to Carnaza Island on a Monday. Special thanks to Kevin for offering to bring his wheels. Then, we also pre-booked a pump boat to bring us to the island. Yeah, we all decided to charter a boat because we wanted to take control of our time and we brought some shooting equipment with us.
It should have been just a 2 hour boat ride from Tapilon to Carnaza but it turned into an almost 4 hour nightmare. It started raining as soon as we started sailing and man, the waves were really huge! We didn’t have comfortable seats and no back rest. Imagine the agony of doing it for 4 hours and we were all soaking wet! It was by far the most uncomfortable boat ride and longest 4 hours I’ve had in my life. But hey! Remember how people would say that there’s a rainbow after the rain. 🌈 It was proven true as soon as we saw Carnaza from a distance.
Our boat docked at the barrio proper and we were all starving, then. Jakie, Dave and I immediately went on to look for food. As soon as we’re done eating, we took a habal-habal ride to bring us to the Carnaza Ecopark where we booked our accommodations. And I almost dropped everything as soon as I saw how beautiful this island was in actuality!
Maybe it’s just me, but I really have a thing for raging waters. I love to be in a beach with wild waves than peaceful seas and that was how Carnaza looked when we arrived. The immense splash of the waves on the boulders that encircled the island was so satisfying to watch. I even put it in my INSTAGRAM stories that this island gave me that Bali feels! We wasted no time and took snaps and photos after we dropped our baggages.
We stayed in the island for 3 days but for the benefit of doing this 1000php-challenge budget travel guide, we will assume an overnight stay later on.
What is there to expect in Carnaza? Well, there are coves, white sand beaches (pinkish hues in broad daylight), helipads, a skull cave, a twin beach, a cliff with breath-taking views and a whole lot more! Almost every spot is Instagram-worthy! Millennials, you’re welcome. 🙂 But hey hey!!! Leave no trace and do your part in preserving the beauty of this island.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Di ko din alam kung bakit at paano ko naging kaibigan mga to. 🤣
The beauty of the island isn’t only magnified on daytime. The night scene in Carnaza was equally captivating and visually arresting. I saw fireflies which could be a determinant that the area is clean. Correct me if I’m wrong, but while I was scouting for a good spot to photograph the night sky, I chanced upon the glowing coastline. The sea foam formed by the breaking of the waves on the shore seemed to light up. There could be planktons. So if you guys are going there soon, try to observe this one. You may actually create a movement in the sea and try to observe if the water is indeed glowing. Let me know, please?
I’ve mentioned it a lot of times that I enjoy night photography a lot that’s why I really came prepared to do it. It would have been the first time of all of my friends to photograph the galaxy and each of us had our own way of making ourselves ready. After socials, I decided to sleep and set my alarm. The other guys continued with a few booze while waiting for 2:30am. Ridiculous how they were a few minutes away from the set alarm time when they all decided to take a power nap. We all know power naps don’t really work for the most part, right? Hahaha!
It was 3am and everyone was down. You knew it! 😜 I tried to wake them up but I thought they weren’t as excited as I was so I let go of it. The moment I stepped out of the cottage and gazed at the stars, my heart is filled with elation. I quickly spotted the Milkyway positioned right behind the iconic cottages of the ecopark. It was such a delight and I will never get the hang of it. I will let my photos do more of the story-telling. 💕
It is also worth highlighting how accommodating the locals of Carnaza were. Whatever favor we asked of them, they did it without hesitation. They cooked our food, bought our necessities and facilitated our trip. The staff of the ecopark was one of the most soft-spoken and polite group I have encountered. Kudos people of Carnaza!
HOW TO GET THERE?
*from Cebu City
• Go to Cebu North Terminal and get on a bus bound for Maya. (₱200/way)
Take the earliest trip at 3am so you can catch the passenger boat to Carnaza Island.
• Tell the driver that you are alighting in TAPILON PORT and not Maya port.
Travel time from the city to Tapilon is 3-4 hours.
• Once in Tapilon port, hop on a boat going to Carnaza Island. (₱100/way)
On a fine weather, travel time takes 2 hours on the average. However, it was raining when we traveled so it took us almost 4 hours braving huge waves and rough seas!
For a more comfortable and decent stay, book a cottage in Carnaza Ecopark for only ₱200/cottage and it’s good for 2 persons already. If you’re on a budget, their tent rental is at 50/tent only! Saan ka pa? We loved it there! Due to high demand, the ecopark could quickly get fully booked so make sure to place your reservations ahead.
There are also homestays available in the barrio. I was told that some locals offer their houses for travelers to stay in. If you’re adventurous type, you may also just pitch a tent in Carnaza.
So this is the 1000php budget challenge that travelers have been doing already.
• Cebu to Tapilon – ₱200
• Tapilon to Carnaza – ₱100 (public boat)
• Entrance to Ecopark – ₱200
• Cottage – ₱100 (dual sharing)
• Carnaza to Tapilon – ₱100 (public boat)
• Tapilon to Cebu – ₱200
• Misc – 100 (for the habal-habal rides)
TOTAL – ₱1,000
This island adventure could give you the best value for your ₱1000! Please note that rates are subject to change so make sure to bring extra money.
FOOD – If you’re on a budget, there are carinderias in the barrio or you may cook your own food.
For our group, since we were 8 people and had loads of photography equipment, we decided to charter a boat to Carnaza from Tapilon. It’s only ₱7,000/boat inclusive of roundtrip transfers to and from Carnaza, island hopping and the La Manok sidetrip! Try to haggle if you could. It’s also better if you charter a boat so you have control of your time of departure to the islands. We also asked for freshly cooked food courtesy of Kuya Tirso.
• Kuya Tirso – 0948-0787894
He was our boatman, logistics and tour guide at the same time. Send our regards to kuya, please! He can offer all-in island packages and the La Manok adventure. **Please note that if you’re taking the public boat, you don’t have to contact Kuya Tirso. Haha!
• Carnaza Ecopark- 0936-7316495
The resort staff were really nice and accommodating. Highly recommended!
PHOTO DIARY : CARNAZA ISLAND
Which team are you on? Mark or Jerico?
Leave your choice in the comment section. If you choose Mark, I’ll give you this preset/filter. JK!
This portion is brought to you by, Mahal Kong Maynila. #AtienzaSkwed #FloralGaming
1. If you’re not chartering a boat to Carnaza, you have to take the 3am bus to Tapilon from Cebu in order for you to catch the passenger boat. There’s only one trip schedule daily.
2. Travel with a group if you want to cut on cost. A paradise like Carnaza is best shared with a good company.
3. The passenger boat FROM Carnaza back TO Tapilon leaves at 7am the following day as well. Be sure to make prior arrangements. **This is why I strongly suggest that you rather charter a boat if you’re in a big group.
4. Carnaza is a haven for night photography. Learn more tips about shooting the Milky Way HERE.
5. Leave no trace. Help protect the environment. IWANAN NYO YANG MGA JOWA NYO, PERO HUWAG YONG BASURA NYO SA ISLA! INTIENDES!? 😛 Labyu guys! Please do your part in preserving the environment.
Another destination is off your list!
CARNAZA ISLAND just #gotMARKed!
Thank you so much to my sponsors OSAH for keeping my stuff dry at all times. Get yours now!
Don’t forget to follow my epic adventures on INSTAGRAM!
Shout out to the best squad I’ve traveled with! You guys made this adventure a moment to remember.
If you are traveling to La Manok Island, check out my full blog HERE.
Also, check out my budget travel guide to SIARGAO under ₱5,000 only!