Carnaza Island, Cebu : Travel Guide
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Carnaza Island, Cebu : Travel Guide

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Months ago, I saw my grammer friend Jack Ponpon post photos of this rather unmapped but exquisite island in the northern part of Cebu. Since then, I’ve been meaning to see it first-hand but I just didn’t get the time to do so because of other blogging commitments and travel line ups. So when I had the opportunity to shoot for a pre-wedding session in Cebu (Uhhhmm yes guys! I accept prenup and couple shoots now. Book na! Hahaha! #ShamelessPlug #FailAdPlacement), I knew that it was the perfect time to explore the undiscovered paradise called, Carnaza Island.

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!

Find me where the wild things are. – @jakiekim

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!

When strangers become family. 👩‍👩‍👦
And I’ll tell you all about when I see you again. ❤
We are the “like parang murag-issshhh” squad. #paconyoprobs

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.

I BELIEVE… the children are our future.
Teach them well and let them lead the way… hahaha!

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!

Moana feels!!!
It was gloomy and drizzling when we arrived but man, look how beautiful the raging sea looked!

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.




Close to getting disappointed with the weather but this island is still lovely.
Poetry in motion. – @jakiekim
We all have that one friend na kunwari candid daw sya. 😆 – @lovenlauron

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.

I can only imagine how solid this shot would’ve been if the sky wasn’t overcast. 😔
Single po yang kaibigan namin. DM na lg po on how to avail. hahaha!

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?

Iba din trip nya. Magbasa ng libro sa dilim. PGT na yan! 😆
I’m starting to parang murag-ishhhh miss that special someone. Jk! 😍

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. 💕

Crazy how the Milky Way is perfectly positioned right above the iconic cottages.
Almost sunrise and another falling star. 🌠

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!

– @lovenlauron

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!

ACCOMMODATIONS

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.

EXPENSES

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.

CONTACTS

• 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

Carnaza Ecopark

I hope Carnaza will remain as sweet as it is for good.
I swear, sobrang blue ng water sa Carnaza if you travel on a perfect weather.
You know the drill! INSTAGRAM na this!

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

Island Adventure

Squad Goals!!! I love these guys! <3

This is my most favorite spot during the island hopping!
Now tell me how can you not fall in love with besh; I mean, with this place! 😛

Skull Island

Other than coves, Carnaza also has caves!
Ang pinaka-paborito naming Budoy. hahaha!
– @kyle_savage

Sunset Sessions

Definitely one of my most favorite photo during this trip! <3
Madalas naiisip ko na binabadtrip din ako ng tadhana eh. Oo na! Kayo na may jowa! 😛
I swear, summer sunsets are the best! It boasts pinkish warm colors that’s beyond beautiful!

TRAVEL TIPS

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.

Doon ako kung san ka masaya.. Kung san ka malaya.. </3 Melancholic sunsets tho. :'(

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.

Check them out on INSTAGRAM too by clicking on their names. 🙂
Jerico
Jakie
Kyle
Dave Jan
Loven
Frances
Kevin

Thank you guys for making this trip one I’ll remember forever! 🙂

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!

Klook offers discounted packages for your trips in the Philippines and abroad! Check out the link!
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05 Comments

  1. nhatty

    The place is spectacular and very instagramable! Hope this place will stay like this and locals will take extra good care ro reserve this beautiful place.

    March 31, 2018 Reply
  2. mely

    what preset did you use sir?

    April 21, 2018 Reply
    • Mark Roa

      Hello there! 🙂 I used my own custom preset. I’ll give a few soon! 🙂

      April 23, 2018 Reply
  3. Irish Chizka

    Thank you for the wonderful tips 🙂

    May 7, 2018 Reply
  4. Ysabel

    I love the milky way photos! Carnaza Island is really a great place for star gazing since there’s little to no light pollution in the island. It rained hard on the night we were there. But after the rain stopped, the sky cleared and we saw the milky way 🙂

    June 18, 2018 Reply

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