2018 MALALISON ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE | BUDGET, HOMESTAYS, TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Malalison Island, known to the locals as Mararison Island was only seen and given much attention by some travelers and social media influencers after it was hardly hit by Typhoon Yolanda.This 54-hectare island in Culasi, Antique boasts of its beautiful clear waters, pebble beach on one side of the island, spectacular view of its rolling hills , white sandbar and hospitable people.
The beauty of Malalison Island (Mararison Island) can be likened to Boracay when there weren’t many commercial establishments in the island 20 or 25 years ago.
Malalison Island is primarily a fishing community. But this 2016 when some local tourists started to visit the Island, the Local Government Unit of Culasi through its Tourism Department developed the Island and its people. To date, a total 41 households were trained for homestays and a number of local guides were enabled to serve those who would visit the place.
THINGS TO DO IN MALALISON ISLAND
The beautiful Malalison Island (Mararison Island) is peaceful and laid back. Definitely, no parties can found on the Island, unlike Boracay. Some resorts also have some Karaoke which is a famous past time to many Filipinos. While in the Island you might want to try the following:
Try the Sea Urchin – Sea urchins are abundant in the area, so if you want to try this exotic delicacy you can request your boatman or any from the community to get you some for a fee.
Snorkeling and Swimming– The clear blue waters of Malalison Island (Mararison Island) is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Beautiful corals and sea life will surely amaze any nature lover. The island has a sandbar with white sand which changes its curve and shape depending on the direction of the wind and strength of the waves. The sandbar which is perfect for swimming and sand bathing stretches for about 100 meters from the beach.
Boating Around the Island – see for yourself all sides of the island through boating.
Interact with the Locals – people of Malalison Island are basically friendly. Anyone would be willing to respond to any question or engage in a conversation with tourists.
Adventure to Nablag Islet – adjacent to Malalison Island (Mararison Island) is Nablag Islet which is separated from the island during high tide.
Trekking – going top on the hills of Malalison Island is a must for all the tourists. While trekking you will be seeing a lot of pitcher plants and the spectacular 360 view of the island.
pitcher plant abounds at the hills of Malalison Island
WHERE TO EAT MALALISON ISLAND
There is no fancy restaurant in the Island. However, you can buy some fresh catch and ask your host to cook for you for 70-100/menu.
If you want some fancy food, just bring your own or buy from Culasi before going to the island.
The Aloma Island Inn with the caretaker – the ever helpful, Ron-Ron
WHERE TO STAY IN MALALISON ISLAND
To help augment the income of the community, households in Malalison (Mararison Island) were trained for Homestay Services. Their rates are uniform at 250/person. of course, do not expect for some toiletries or towel with this rate.
Some cottages are also available for rent. Rates for these cottages start at PhP 350/person.Most cottages with low rates hhavecommon toilets. There are also cottages with private toilets.
During our visit, we stayed at Aloma Island Inn. We got the room with 2 big beds and private comfort room. The room we got at PhP 1,500.00 can accommodate up to 6 persons. Additional person will have to pay PhP 150.00. For more information, contact 0915 449 7360.
don’t forget to bring a bottle of water should you decide to go on trekking
ELECTRICITY | CELLPHONE SIGNALS
The Island is powered by a generator which operates from 6 PM to 10 PM.Some homestays and hostels have their own generator and you can pay an extra if you want to have your electric fan for the whole night. In most cases, however, it is also cooler and windy in the Island. Hostels and homestays will also provide you with a rechargeable or solar powered lamp to use during night time.
Cellular phone signals are also available on the Island but maybe weak to open some apps unless you are up in the hills.
No ATM machines are available on the Island. For guests from abroad, please bring your peso with you.
BUDGET WHEN VISITING MALALISON ISLAND (rates may change without notice)
You can enjoy Malalison Island at a very low budget. Of course, it is recommended to give some tips as they offer their services at a very low cost.
Fare from Iloilo to Culasi – PHP 200.00 (for people coming from Iloilo)
Fare from Caticlan To Culasi –PhP 100.00 (for people coming from Boracay)
Fare from Kalibo to Culasi – PHP 120 (for people coming from Kalibo)
Terminal and Environmental fee – Php 30.00
Boat Ride to the Malalison Island – The boat rental from Culasi to Malalison Island (back and forth) is PHP 750 (good for 5 persons). The boat rental includes a boat tour around the island. If you are traveling alone you can go with other travelers for a fee of PhP 150/person.
Homestay – Php 250/head
Cottages – from PhP 300 – up, depending on the size of the cottage
Trekking Guide – PHP 250/for every 4 persons. You will not be allowed to go on trekking without a guide.
Camping Tent – for the adventurous ones you can rent a tent for 250 (family size) PHP 150 (double)
Snorkeling Equipment – PHP 50/3 hrs
Cooking Fee – PhP 75-100/menu. Small eateries are also available on the Island and you can eat from PHP 50-100/menu
WHAT TO BRING WHEN VISITING MALALISON ISLAND
Sunscreen – trekking during summer time and during noontime might be too hot.
Power bank – remember the generator only operates on schedule.
Penlight – while you will be provided with some lamps during night time, it would still be best to bring a small one
Medicines – there are no drugstores in the island. Apart from your personal medicines, it would be best to bring some loperamide, paracetamol, etc.
Towel and Toiletries – most Homestays don’t provide towels and toiletries for their guests.
Stores are available the Island selling some basics like shampoo, soaps, bottled water, etc. Just bring your specialty drinks. I haven’t seen any sugar free sodas in most stores in the island. So bring your own, sugar free dinks if you cannot live without it.
HOW TO GET TO MALALISON ISLAND
From Iloilo City
From Iloilo City, take the Ceres Bus bound for Culasi Antique. There are also vans at from Molo, Iloilo City that is bound for Antique. Travel time from Iloilo to Culasi may take an approximately 5 hours covering 189 km.
From Culasi to Malalison Island
The moment you arrive Culasi, take the tricycle to take you to the port for Malalison.
We were awarded with Certificate of appreciation after Malalison Trip by the Municipality of Culasi. In this photo (L-R): John-John Sumanting, Municipal Information and Tourism Officer; Tour Operator Maricar Dabao of Viaje Negrense; Mayor Jose Jeffrey Lomugdang, Yours truly and Claire Algarme of FirstTimeTravels.Com