“You should go to Cresta de Gallo” is what every locals in Romblon tell us after arriving in this beautiful island. It’s without a doubt the locals’ biggest pride when it comes to beaches and/or islands.
It has only been 3 years since this island was discovered and up til now it maintains a good reputation. Last 25th of August this year, I was able to validate that. Despite visiting during substandard season due to the monsoon, the day trip was epic and I rank this island as one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in the country!
To give you a bit of information about Romblon Province, Romblon has 3 main islands.Sibuyan Island dubbed as the Galapagos of Asia, Romblon Island which is the capital municipality and also the smallest island, and Tablas Island as the largest of all three. Cresta de Gallo is in the Southern part of Sibuyan Island and is just a 40 minute boat ride from the port.
Where to stay in Sibuyan Island
There are a lot of resort and lodge type houses where you can stay in Sibuyan Island. For P200.00 (USD4) each you can already get a decent fan room for 2. If you want to upgrade to an airconditioned room the price per head is P300.00 (USD6). We stayed at Jenmar Lodge in San Fernando. It’s just a simple homestay with a common bathroom and is close to eateries too.
There’s not much tourists in this island so don’t worry to reserve a room. If you want to stay here, just ask the locals around San Fernando where the lodge is and ride a tricycle. If you’re coming from Magdiwang Port, advise the van driver to drop you at Jenmar Lodge.
Cresta de Gallo Romblon DIY Itinerary
A day in Cresta de Gallo is surely not enough, but if you’re in a limitid time just like us, you can still enjoy this majestic island in a day. To start of, we rode a ferry from Batangas Port bound to Sibuyan Island for P1100.00 (USD21) economy fare. Here are the Ferry Schedules from Batangas Port. The travel time took 9 hours so I highly suggest that you travel at night so you can save 1 night accommodation plus you’ll just sleep the whole travel time.
Insider trip: There are 2 ports in Sibuyan Island, the (a) Cajidiocan Port and (b) Magdiwang Port. If you’re heading to Cresta De Gallo, you’ll want to ride the ferry going to Cajidiocan Port. This is close to Cresta de Gallo. Navios Shipping lines offer this route from Batangas Port.
Magdiwang Port to San Fernando
We arrived at 7AM in Sibuyan (Magdiwang Port) and we rode a van going to San Fernando for P250.00 (USD5) and travel time is 1.5 hours. Advise the driver to drop you at Jenmar Lodge. There’s a cheaper option to ride a jeepney going to San Fernando, however, it’s a longer journey. The fare is P150.00 (USD3) and the travel time is 2 hours.
After dropping our bags in our lodge, we quickly grabbed a breakfast and bought snacks we can eat in Cresta de Gallo. But before we go to the island, we decided to do a side trip in Cantingas River which is just 10-15 minutes away from our lodge.
Cantingas River in San Fernando
We arrived in Cantingas River at 10AM in the morning and paid the entrance fee of P10.00. The Cantingas River is said to be the cleanest river in the island and it’s where 90% of the water source in Sibuyan is coming from. Other activities you can do here aside from swimming is cliff jumping from 3 different platforms that is about 5-10 meters.
Cresta De Gallo the “Galapagos of Asia”
Me and my friend left the river by 12NN and went to the port going to Cresta de Gallo. The standard boat rental fee for day trip is P2,500.00 (USD48) for 2-4 people and P3,500.00 (USD67) for 5-8 people. Note that there will be an environmental fee of P60.00 (USD1.15) per person.
Approaching the island is a turquoise green water and when you come closer the water turns into aqua blue! Cresta de Gallo has an incredibly long stretch of white sandbar and is more stunning in reality! It really is the hidden gem of Romblon and suddenly I felt the need to stay for an overnight camping in the island. Unfortunately we’re a bit tight on our schedule so we needed to leave by dawn.
We arrived in Cresta de Gallo Romblon around 1PM in the afternoon and we did a lot of photo-shoots, beach bumming and swimming. Although it was windy and there’s a small amount of rain that day, we still enjoyed the crystal clear water and the beautiful sandbar!
Other things you can do here is snorkeling and diving if the weather permits and the water is calm. If you’re staying overnight, you can watch the sunset and sunrise. I’ve heard from the locals that the sunset and stargazing at night in the island is worth it.
How to get to Cresta De Gallo, Romblon
From Batangas Port
I created a separate guide on how to get to Romblon with the ferry schedules from different shipping companies. The travel time takes 9-10 hours and you can choose to travel by day or night. We rode a Starlite Ferry from Batangas to Sibuyan (Magdiwang Port) for P1,100.00 economy fare.
The cheapest rate is the recliner class which is P1,000.00 but you’ll only get a chair for the whole 9 hours travel which can be very inconvenient. The economy fare has a bunk bed provided and an open space at sea which feels cool in my experience. And there’s the tourist class which is an air-conditioned room with bunk bed for P1,250.00.
From Romblon Island
There are ferry schedules the travel at least once or twice a day from Romblon to Sibuyan Island. Make sure to be at the port in Romblon from 6AM – 8AM to catch the ferry.
From Tablas Island
Via Odiongan Port you can take a 2AM ferry for P300.00 to Romblon Island, then to Sibuyan at 7AM for P230.00.
Where to Rent a Pump Boat
Take note that there are no standard rate for renting a pump boat to Cresta de Gallo from the port in San Fernando, Sibuyan. You can always haggle with the boatmen to give you a lower price especially if it’s just a day trip.
We rented our pump boat for P2,500.00 good for 2-4 pax and P3,500.00 good for 5-8 pax from Kuya Pacik, you can reach him at (0926) 456 0588. You can also contact Kuya Pacik before your trip to Sibuyan. He can guide you for your van transfers, lodge, and tricycle to bring you to Cantingas River and the port to Cresta de Gallo.
Other Important Reminders
Understanding Sibuyan Island in Romblon, take note that there are no ATM machines in the island. Hence, it’s best to bring enough cash with you. Credit card payment is not accepted in most establishments.
Since Romblon is part of the MIMAROPA region, the dialect spoken here is Romblomanon and Bisaya although Tagalog is widely spoken. The locals can speak well in English too so don’t worry if you’ll be asking for directions.
Best time to visit in Cresta de Gallo is during the dry season in the Philippines from November to May. You might want to avoid the rainy season from July – October so you can get the most out of your visit here.
If you’ll be staying overnight in Cresta de Gallo, make sure to bring your power-bank as there is no source of electricity in the island. Bring mosquito repellent and flash light would be very helpful too.
Side Trip in Cantingas River
Get ready to take the plunge from 5-10 meters high on 3 different platforms to jump off in Cantingas River. Never miss a fun experience here especially that it’s worth it and the entrance fee is just P10.00!
Other place to see in Sibuyan Island is the famous Mt. Guiting Guiting or G2. Hikers and campers from different part of the country make it to their list to climb this majestic mountain. If you’re up for an exhilarating adventure, you might want to climb this mountain!
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