Cresta de Gallo Island: A Secluded Paradise in Romblon

Clear Waters of Cresta De Gallo in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Bautista
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Travel Guide: Cresta de Gallo Island in Sibuyan, Romblon

I have been traveling the Philippine archipelago for almost two decades now. Each province I have visited has its own star attractions, and while I consider myself as a certified beach bum, I have to confess that I still have so many beaches and islands I have yet to cross out from my bucket list.

Leaving the Mayor's Beach House in San Fernando Sibuyan Romblon
Leaving the Mayor’s Beach House in San Fernando Sibuyan, Romblon

But during my recent trip to Romblon, I was finally able to get the chance to visit one of my dream destinations in my bucket list—Cresta de Gallo Island!

I am particularly grateful to Department of Tourism (DOT) Region IV MIMAROPA Director, Minerva Morada, for inviting me, along with tour operators, to revisit Romblon and its key attractions. The purpose of our tour to Romblon was to reassess key destinations that can be offered to prospective Romblon International Cruise Lines tourists; Romblon is currently being recognized internationally because of its breathtaking views, historical sites, beaches, and fun-loving people, so it was our job to point out key destinations in the province. But of course, I went to Romblon not solely to work—I also had lots of fun and relaxation in the province.

En route to Isla or Cresta de Gallo Island
En route to Isla or Cresta de Gallo Island
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We started our first day in Romblon early. At around 6 AM, we left our accommodation, the beach house of Mayor Salem Tansingco in San Fernando, Sibuyan Island, to Cresta de Gallo Island. We were recommended to leave early for the island since the sea would be calmer.

On our way to Paradise
On our way to Paradise

Sailing to Cresta de Gallo Island was such a wonderful experience. We were able to see the horizon (you can hardly see this view in the city), and everything was blue and bright. Sibuyan Sea was also so calm and the panoramic landscape of Mt. Guiting Guiting was so dreamy, that it was almost as if that day was made perfect for us.

After about an hour of crossing the Sibuyan Sea, we were finally able to see the clear turquoise waters of Cresta de Gallo. Since it was a low tide, we docked at the other side of the island.

Best beach in Romblon
Best beach in Romblon

While everyone else moved towards the tip of the island from where we docked, the adventurous me decided to walk towards the opposite direction with my Fitbit Blaze smart fitness watch. Apart from the excitement of knowing the number of steps my Fitbit will report, my aim was also to explore the entire island by foot. Along the way I was greeted by rock formations, blue skies, and calm seas. It was only when I finally reached the other side of the island did I notice that I already did more than 6,000 steps according to my Fitbit Blaze watch. Hooray to calories burned!

Cresta de Gallo Alta Vista photo by Adrian Rios
Cresta de Gallo Alta Vista photo by Adrian Rios

When I got back, I met with the others in a small hut where my colleagues left their belongings. Nearby, they were already serving several dishes for breakfast: a huge bowl of fried rice with fried hotdog, luncheon meat, sunny-side eggs, dried fish, and of course, some nice hot coffee straight from the flask. We all ate with bare hands and it felt nice starting the day like that. There was no crowd, no vendors and noisy establishments, just me and my colleagues, just paradise. We literally had the entire island to ourselves.

The rocky part of the island photo by Oliver Bautista
The rocky part of the island photo by Oliver Bautista

After having the best island breakfast ever, I decided to walk further towards the other edge of the islands to take more photos, enjoy the view… and yes, to burn more calories. The sun was already up, but I still found walking barefoot at the long stretch of the sand bar with crashed sea shells and corals very relaxing. The warm sand grains was like a spa for my feet too.

After burning more calories and burning under the scorching heat of the almost-noon sun, I finally decided to return and join the rest of the gang. They were all busy frolicking in the turquoise waters, so I threw myself in as well! After having some fats burnt, a nice soak in the waters was all that I needed.

Early Morning in Cresta de Gallo Island
Early Morning in Cresta de Gallo Island

Came noontime, the water level started rising, and although we all wanted to stay in the island much longer, we had to leave to avoid the turbulent seas. We sadly sailed away from Cresta de Gallo. Nevertheless, I still looked forward to our return in Sibuyan Island as we had more activities to do for the tour!

Cresta de Gallo photo by isledreams.com
Cresta de Gallo photo by isledreams.com

How to get to Cresta de Gallo?

From San Fernando or from any town in Sibuyan, you can rent a boat to sail you to Cresta de Gallo. Travel time will depend on which town you are coming from, and on wave conditions. Sometimes, boaters will not accept passengers when they know that the sea is turbulent. The best time to avoid turbulent waves is early morning, like our 6AM departure time.

Clear Waters of Cresta De Gallo in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Bautista
Clear Waters of Cresta De Gallo in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Bautista

Things to do

Aside from site seeing, walking along the beautiful shores, taking selfies, pictures, and burning calories under the sun, visitors can also snorkel and collect live shells. Visitors may also rent a small boat from the caretaker of the island for fun. In overall, there are tons of great things to do here in this paradise. You can never run out of things to do here!

White Sand Beach in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Gonzales
White Sand Beach in Sibuyan Romblon photo by Oliver Gonzales

Where to eat in the island?

There are no restaurants here in Cresta de Gallo Island, so make sure to bring your own food, just like what we did. If you want additional food, you can always approach the caretaker to see if they have any seafood for sale. I you are in lucky, they will even catch fresh seafood per request for a fee.

Where to stay in Cresta de Gallo Island?

There are no hotels and resorts in the island, but everyone is allowed to do overnight camping, provided that you have camping gears with you. Otherwise, to avoid turbulent waves, boaters will advice you to leave early for your safety.

Travel Tips:

  • There’s a Php10 entrance fee (pretty affordable for an island paradise if you ask me!)
  • There’s no electricity or convenience stores anywhere, so make sure to bring extra batteries and powerbanks for your cameras and travel gadgets.
  • Bring and wear sunblock!
Selfie before leaving the island
Selfie before leaving the island

How to get to Sibuyan Island, Romblon from Manila

You can get to Sibuyan Island, Romblon from Manila by taking a bus or driving to Batangas City Port. From there, you can ride a ferry (Montenegro or Navios shipping lines) going to Sibuyan Island. Travel time usually takes 12-13 hours, with two stopovers in Tablas Island and Romblon.

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