Tag Archives: Caohagan

Cebu: Island Hopping to Gilutongan, Caohagan, and Talima Islands

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It’s summer, and a long weekend because of Labor Day so what better way to spend an unplanned Monday than go island hopping?

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Our first stop was to Gilutongan Island, a known marine sanctuary.  Before this, I always thought the island is called or rather, spelled Hilutungan (the G is pronounced as an H), as most websites spell it this way, but this restaurant sign says otherwise.

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This was actually my third time here (my first two visits were in 2007 and 2012), but this was my first time to see the sign (our boatmen said the restaurant opened about 3 years ago).

Because it’s a known sanctuary, the designated snorkeling areas were teeming with fishes.  My friends happily swam and snorkeled, while I opted to enjoy the view because while I love the sight of the sea, I don’t like the taste of seawater.

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The water looked so calm and there weren’t any waves.  Up ahead, the waters are a vivid dark blue, while it’s a clear blue-green on the opposite side.

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We had the island for about thirty minutes before boatloads of tourists came rushing in.  By then, it wasn’t as much fun for us, so we decided to move to the next island.

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Our next stop was Caohagan Island.  I already wrote a detailed post about this island HERE.  From afar, it looked the same.

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But when we disembarked, I was disheartened to see that the island is now teeming with tourists.

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The souvenir shops were still there, and they’re greater in number.  So were the seafood sellers.  Prices remain expensive.  (For souvenirs, I still recommend the shops at Lapu-Lapu Shrine.)

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We bought some crabs (again, expensive at Php 250 each) and seashells (Php 250 for a pile when a colleague brings them to us for only Php 200 for triple the quantity) and had them for lunch.  Here’s my share.  Nom nom!

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This was an impromptu lunch (we thought we’d be done island hopping before lunch) so we didn’t have plates, spoon, and fork.  Thankfully, they sell paper plates (at Php 2 apiece!) as well as canned goods in the island (the de lata was for our companion who’s allergic to seafood).

After our filling lunch, we departed for Talima, our last stop.  The island is popular snorkeling area, but the fishes here aren’t as diverse or big as the ones in Gilutongan.

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At home, a friend asked me about my favorite among the three.  Hmm…  If it wasn’t as crowded, I would have answered Caohagan, so that left Gilutongan and Talima.  I wasn’t impressed with the latter, so yeah, among the three, I prefer Gilutongan Island.

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Cebu: Caohagan Island

This island is a popular island hopping and swimming destination because of its long stretch of white-sand beach.

Took this photo of the island from afar.


And this, when we disembarked from our boat.


To get to the island’s beach, we had to walk through their barangay, which was really nice because it gave us a glimpse of how the locals live: my favorite Indian mango sold for Php 2 each, roosters as pangsabong (cockfight), a couple sleeping on a papag (wooden bed), children perched on the balcony of their nursery center, a fisherman earning his keep, and two local children who asked me to take their photo.


Finally, we arrived on their sandy beach. While my friends were buying some clams for lunch, I roamed around and took photos. Here’s my favorite:


This one’s taken using my Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I just recently discovered the joy of taking panoramic shots, and I’m just happy my phone has this feature.


Caohagan is also famous for its fresh seafood – fish, clam, crab, seashell, lobster, etc. Their prices are a tourist trap, though.


Aside from their seafood market, the island also has a souvenir shop. Again, the prices are expensive e.g. a necklace I can buy for Php 50 in Mactan Shrine is sold at Caohagan at Php 150 to Php 200.


It also has cottages for rent (bottom right picture on the above collage). Pardon my ignorance on the rates (docking, cottage rental, etc) as we were not charged anything because my colleagues knew the island’s caretaker.

From talking with the vendors, we learned that the island is owned by a Japanese who has been living in the island for about 2 decades now. They added that he takes really good care of them. He built a primary school, sends scholars to college, and gives them medical assistance. He also taught them quilt making and now, most women from the community supplement their husbands’ earning through this craft.  These women sell their finished products to the Japanese who exports them to Japan.

Before leaving the island, we were lucky to chance on this lady who was painstakingly working on a handmade quilt.


I was amazed because she was doing it without a sample photo or guide.  How artistic!