For most beaches I know, they are beautiful at daylight, but when the sun disappears they lose their charm. Not Malalison (Also called Mararison Island). This island situated in the town of Culasi, Antique, just about 2 hours away from Boracay, but a world away from its hedonistic pursuits. It is ringed by powdery beaches hemmed in by dramatic, wind-swept headlands.
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HOW TO GET TO MALALISON ISLAND:
Iloilo to Malalison/Mararison Island
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily between Manila and Iloilo. At Iloilo City, head to Molo Bus and Van Terminal and take a bus bound for Culasi or Pandan. Travel time is roughly 3 hours. Fare is PHP 200 (USD 4 / €4).
Kalibo to Malalison/Mararison Island
Alternatively, you may take a plane to Kalibo from Manila and once you reach Kalibo take a Ceres bus bound for San Jose. Tell the conductor or driver your are getting off at Culasi. Regular bus fare is PHP 150 (USD 3/€ 3) and PHP 110 (USD 2/€ 2) if you are a student. Travel time is about 2 hours.
Culasi, Antique to Malalalison/Mararison Island
At Culasi Port, rent a boat to Malalison. Standard rate is PHP 750 (USD 15/€ 1 3) round trip (good for 5 persons). If you are alone, you can try to haggle it down to PHP 550 (USD 11/ € 10 ). Travel time is roughly 20 minutes.
Boat ride if you are joining other tourists: PHP 150 (USD 3/€ 2) per person (round trip)
Recommended boatman : Mario Fuenteblanca – +63 975 483 9983 (globe) / + 63 919 552 0526 (smart)
⊗ The per person rate is applicable if you are joining other tourists on a boat. So I suggest visiting on weekends so that you can split the cost with other tourists. If you are traveling alone and there is no other tourist, then you need to hire a boat to Malalison for PHP 750 (USD 15/€ 1 3) or try to try to haggle it down to PHP 550 (USD 11/ € 10 ).
⊗ Guide fee for trekking is PHP 250 (USD 5/€ 4), good for 4 persons. A guide is required. If you want to see the same view as my cover photo in this blog.
⊗ Environmental Fee is PHP 30 (USD 59/€ 1)
Where to Stay
There’s a wealth of homestays in Malalison and the rate is usually PHP 250 (USD 5/ € 4) to PHP 400 (USD 8 / € 7) per person.
Malalison Island Homestays:
Angelita Macuja Homestay
+63 912 815 9672 / +63 939 2668 849
Has rustic rooms that start at Php 200 per person. This is where we stayed at last time.
Andre with our host: Kuya Mario and Manang Angelita and Family
Arjee Gayatin +63 915 308 3111
Our friend Arjee has a newly-opened homestay at Malalison Island. It has a big room at PHP 1,500 (USD 30/€ 26) , good for 6 persons and a small room at PHP 1, 200 (USD 24/€ 21 ), good for 4 persons. The guesthouse has a kitchen with cooking utensils and gas stove that the guests can use for free.
Sally’s Balay Darayunan
Lonady Quiape +63 909 841 0185
Another friend of ours, Ate Lonady has a homestay in Malalison. Room rates start at PHP 1,500 (USD 30/€ 26) , good for 5 persons, PHP 1,800 (USD 36/€ 31) , good for 8 persons and PHP 2,000 (USD 40/€ 35) , good for 10 persons.
Other Malalison Homestays:
Tess Homestay : +63 909 7636 316
Anatalias’ Homestay : +63 926 4786 329
Aling Jose Kubo : +63 928 3017 547
El Dorotheo Homestay : +63 9208576 379
Things to do in Malalison
Experience the Pangluy-a Ritual
Swimming and picnic
Explore Nablat Islet
Malalison/Mararison Island Sample Budget
|Chartered boat (roundtrip), good for 5 persons||PHP 750 (USD 15/€ 13)|
|Join boat with other travelers (possible during weekends)||PHP 150 (USD 3/€ 3)|
|Guide fee for trekking, good for 4 persons||PHP 250 (USD 5/€ 4)|
|Environmental Fee||PHP 30 (USD 59/€ 1)|
|Homestay||PHP 250 (USD 5/€ 4) to PHP 400 (USD 8/ € 7)|
|Cottage rental||PHP 300 (USD 6/€ 5)|
|Tent rental (family size)||PHP 250 (USD 5/€ 4)|
|Tent rental (double)||PHP 150 (USD 3/€ 3)|
|Snorkeling gear ( 3 hours)||PHP 50 (USD 1/ € 1)|
|Cooking fee||PHP 75 (USD 1.31/€ 1.38) to PHP 100 (USD 2 /€ 2)|
|Meals ate eateries||PHP 75 (USD 1.31/€ 1.38) to PHP 100 (USD 2 /€ 2)|
For a solo traveler, if there’s no other tourist heading to Malalison/Mararison on the day of your visit, you can charter a boat for PHP 750 (USD 15/€ 1 3) . Best to visit on weekends as there is a good chance you can join other tourists and share the cost of boat rental.
MALALISON / MARARISON ISLAND ITINERARY
This Mararaison Island sample itinerary is applicable if you plan to stay overnight in the island. Otherwise, you can just do a day trip and leave Mararison Island in the afternoon to head to your next destination.
But of course, I recommend staying overnight in Malalison Island since aside from helping the local economy, it is also practical. Remember that room rate is PHP 250 (USD 5/€ 4) to PHP 400 (USD 8/ € 7) per person only, cheaper than staying at hotels/resorts in other parts of Antique.
|09:00 AM||Arrival in Culasi Port/ Boat Rental/Tourist registration/Pay the environmental fee|
|09:30 AM||Boat ride to Culasi|
|10:00 AM||Arrival in Malalison/Mararison Island|
|10:10 AM||Check-in at Homestay/ Leave bags|
|10:30 AM||Star trekking to see the pitcher plants and scenic hill views, Nablag Islets and mini cave|
|11:30 AM||Trek back to community or lunch by the beach. If you want the lunch by the beach, I suggest you contact the homestay (a few days before going to Malalison) and ask the owner to prepare a lunch for your picnic on your arrival or trekking date.|
|12:00 PM||Rest/ Explore community/ Swim at|
|05:00 PM||Sunset viewing|
⊗ Everything is on cash basis. Stack up cash before heading to remote areas of Antique. ATMs are only available at the town centers. You can also withdraw in Kalibo where major banks abound.
⊗ Tips are customary, especially when hiring a local guide.
⊗ Do not leave your trash in the island or while trekking.
⊗ Do not pick the pitcher plants and other flora.
⊗ Bring drinking water when hiking.
⊗ Things to bring: sunscreen, mosquito repellent, power bank, flashlight, toiletries and medicines.
⊗ There are stores in the island selling toiletries like soap, shampoo and toothpaste.
Related Post: Kawa Hot Bath in Tibiao, Antique
How to get to Kawa Hot Bath in Tibiao from Malalison
Take the boat back to Culasi. From Culasi, you can take a tricycle to the border of Culasi. At the border transfer to a tricycle to Tibiao, tell the driver you need to get to Kawa Hot Bath or Kayak Inn. You will alight at the intersection to the jumping off point to Kawa Hot Bath (Kayak Inn). From there, take a habal-habal (motorcycle) to Kayak Inn. The road is small, uphill and craggy, so tricycles cannot go uphill.
Related Post : Nogas Island in Anini-y, Antique
Disclosure: We were hosted by Arjee Gayatin during our stay in Malalison/Mararison Island.
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