Capul Island Travel Guide
With 7,641 islands, the Philippines will never run out of options for every kind of traveler. Plus, some islands have been kept off the radar and are only frequented by locals and adventurous travelers. One of them is Capul Island.
Capul is a remote island municipality located in Northern Samar. It boasts of many wonders of nature – serene beaches, springs, rock formations, and lush greenery.
The rustic town is ideal for everyone who wants it slow and simple. And the locals are very friendly. Another thing that adds to its charm is that this island is also very historic.
The island is named after Acapulco because of its importance in the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade of the 1600s. It used to be called Abak, in honor of King Abak of Java, Indonesia. During the 13th Century, one of King Abak’s followers reached the island and named it in honor of their king.
It has its own language, which makes the island unique. Instead of Waray and the other vernaculars of neighboring islands, locals speak their own language called Inabaknon.
Capul Island Lighthouse
Capul has one of the few standing Spanish Era lighthouses left in the country. Faro De Isla De Capul is located at the northern tip of the island and watches over the San Bernardino Strait, the historic maritime route.
This is one of the best spots to view the island’s sunset and sunrise. From here, travelers can enjoy a mesmerizing view of the sea and the mainland.
Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Capul also has one of the few remaining stone churches in the country, the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Located in the town plaza, the church was declared a historical site by the National Heritage Commission of the Philippines in 2011.
The church is surrounded by stone walls, which served as protection during the time of the Moro raids. The stonewall fortress is in the shape of a cross. It has an 11-meter- high belfry. There is also a watchtower overlooking the sea near the church.
Aside from Capul’s rich cultural and historical heritage, Capul Island also has a lot to offer to those who want to spend a lazy afternoon on a hammock reading a book, to those who want to enjoy a bottle of beer while taking in the sunset, and to those who want to sleep under the stars on a cool night.
Beaches in Capul Island
Capul’s beaches are uncrowded, and the waters are clear and tranquil. You can hear yourself think. Some of the most popular beaches on the island are Abak Beach, Pinangandao Beach, and Acapulco Beach.
Other sites to visit are the Big Foot formation, a natural saltwater pool near the lighthouse; Bit? or Beto Cave; Timon-timon, a rudder-shaped rock formation; and Banadero Nature Spring.
And if you want to relish the joys of the simple life, going around to the different barangays of Capul will provide that.
Going around the island is easy. There are habal-habals or motorcycles for rent. Capul’s habal-habals are unique. They are modified to seat up to six people, including the driver. These are probably the longest motorcycles in the country.
Where to stay?
There are no high-end accommodations on the island, but there are resorts. During non-peak months, some of these resorts are closed though.
Your best bet is the island’s homestays. The average cost per person, per night, is P 500.00. Homestays are also a good way to learn more about the culture and the people.
During our stay, we also arranged for our meals with our contact person, so we didn’t need to look for places to eat or cook our meals. There are few dining options on the island, so this was a good decision. All the meals prepared for us were hearty and delicious.
Also, you might want to check with your chosen accommodation about the cell phone signal quality. Cell Phone signals are not stable on the entire island.
How to get there?
There are several ways to get to Capul Island.
From Manila, we boarded a plane to Legazpi and then traveled by land to Matnog, Sorsogon. From there, we chartered a boat to the island. The boat ride took about an hour.
But there is also a passenger ferry that departs every morning near Matnog Port.
Those coming from Visayas and Mindanao can take a flight to either Catarman or Calbayog, both in Northern Samar. From there, travelers must go to either Looc or Dapdap Ports in Allen, where passenger ferries are available. A boat ride would take 30 to 45 minutes.
Some ferries leave the island in the early morning for the mainland.
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