Some people might be wondering, “What’s in Caluya other than seafood, beaches, and an exciting festival?” Maybe it’s not for the adventure-seeking kind. Oh no, you haven’t seen everything yet in my previous post. Sibay Island is where you should go if you’re yearning for unexpected thrills.
This is what a warm welcome looks like in Caluya.
Allot one whole day in exploring Sibay Island when you decide to visit Caluya. Here are ten things to do in Sibay Island:
- Dolphin and whale watching
You read that right. There is fun in the anticipation that you might catch a glimpse of the big fishes across the Caluya seas. The boat ride from the main island of Caluya to Sibay Island is approximately 1 hour. That’s enough time for 360-degree head turns for a quick look on wild and free dolphins or whales. Too bad they didn’t show up when we went there. I bet they were just swimming under our boat listening to our gossips
- Pay homage to Laking Landos
There is a high cliff just in Bacong Beach that you need to trek. Before you enjoy yourself with all that the island has to offer, visit its premier predecessor’s small cave first.
Laking Landos is one of the first residents of Sibay Island. When he died, he demanded for his bones to be taken out of his coffin at 12am and placed at the cave. Archeologists attempted to take some of his bones for examination years ago, but they were halted by a sudden terrible weather. When they returned Laking Landos’ bones in the cave, alas, the sea was said to be calm again. The Napay Beach which is a 30-minute boat ride away is named after his wife. His voice is said to be heard from Sibay Island to Napay Beach. The legend of Laking Landos is quite amusing especially if you hear it from one of the locals, Manong Lando. Albeit short, the trek is a little bit hard because of the steep and rocky trail. Nonetheless, the short hike is fulfilling.
- Marvel at the breathtaking view from the highest point
Hold the hanging branches tightly as you continue to trudge on the cliff to the highest point of the island. Here you will see the islands of Panay, Boracay, Romblon, Caluya, Liwagao, Semirara, and Mindoro. There is a hut just at the edge of the cliff overlooking the deep blue sea and the islands. The highest point also gives you a view of the rows of coconut trees and the beautiful Bacong Beach. The uninterrupted sights are truly breathtaking and energizing.
- Go cliff-diving
This one I missed doing. I terribly wanted to go cliff-diving so I could tick one item off from my bucket list, but time wasn’t on our side. Lusot-lusot Cave in the main island of Caluya is popular for cliff diving. The huge rock just in front of Bacong Beach is perfect for cliff diving too. You will see children jumping off this rock nonstop. Missing it only adds more reasons for me to be back to the island.
- Frolic on the beaches
Sibay Island has no wharf so the boats only dock on the beach front. We got off at the welcoming Bacong Beach where the sight of the children jumping on the water from another boat only made us ecstatic to do the same. I swear it was so inviting that I couldn’t help but wade on the water immediately.
My favorite beach in Caluya, however, is Tara Tara Beach. It’s a beach that stretches on the other side of the island. After lunch, I didn’t stop myself from taking off my shorts and jumping on the cold water anymore. Just before our ride to another spot, I played with the kids, took shots of myself walking on its flawless white sands, and gratifyingly submerged myself in all its unpolluted seaweed-free glory.
- Visit the Janairo Heritage House
Zoilo Janairo Aguinaldo is also one of the first residents of the island. He is a brother of the late President Emilio Aguinaldo. To conceal their identities from the enemies decades ago, they have used the last name Janairo and continued to do so to this day. The Aguinaldos were being killed at that time and so they had to deem it only as a middle name. As one of the first to live in the island, the family was privileged to own almost 90% of the total land area of Sibay Island. Their living room’s walls are full of pictures of their family through the years. Hon. Ruben Janairo, an SB Member of Caluya, and one of the great grandchildren of Zoilo now maintains the heritage house and the farm ranch.
- Horse-riding at the Nasurahan Farm Ranch
Just behind the Heritage House is a horse ranch. Tourists are free to go horse-riding around the area. For beginners, there are guides that will gladly oblige to hold the horses. Hon. Ruben says that the island has approximately 300 cows, 100 carabaos (water buffalos), and 80 horses. Most of these animals are still wild. Horses are only tamed when they are already old and big enough.
- Boating across the Mangrove Plantation
Aboard a flat boat, we cruised through the 1.7 km stretch of mangrove plantation in Sibay Island. I don’t know what it is about mangroves that relaxes me. Just staring at them and the placid body of water calmed me so much.
Ha, sorry for putting a lot of pictures. The mangroves look absolutely perf. I think they are a different species compared to those in Guimaras. As we were passing through, we also caught a glimpse of a wild monkey and a flock of talibongs.
The island has plenty of trees outside private lawns. During summer, you can just ask the driver of the jeep to stop by a tree so you can enjoy picking sineguelas (Spanish plum), lumboy (java plum), and Indian mangoes. Of course, you only have to get enough for your personal consumption. Munching on freshly picked organic fruits guarantees you a full and happy stomach while on the road.
- Go on a Safari ride
Toploading is more fun in Sibay Island! Ensure a good grip and you’re on to a blast all aboard a witty “pun-tastic” jeepney. The Safari ride truly made the trip more exhilarating. I’ll admit, I imagined seeing a T-Rex or a mammoth running after us when we reached the wide plains. Along the way, we saw wild water buffalos swimming on a pool of mud and different species of birds preying on fruit trees. I bet if we stayed a little longer, we would have seen wild horses running or playing around too. That road trip was a great cap off to my adrenalin-pumping day at Sibay Island.
Fruit-picking x toploading
So you, thrill seekers, decide if this still isn’t worth your while. There are so many things to do just in one island in Caluya. I didn’t even include snorkeling and diving in here. And I haven’t even gone to Semirara, Panagatan, and Liwagao. There are so many reasons to go back and I would if given the means and the time.
I had the best time in Sibay Island. I just let myself go with the flow without even checking the time. I went cruising at the mangrove plantation even without rinsing my hair after swimming in the beach. I ate with my bare hands even without washing them! Can’t say it’s not for the prissy; wouldn’t say you forget about personal hygiene either. The beauty that the island offers just makes you forget your strict schedule. It transforms a Ms. Goody Two-Shoes (not that I am) into a Ms. Carefree.
Caluya Islands offer travelers the best of both worlds. It’s a paradise both for the outgoing and the timid while a seventh heaven for the ambiverts. It is where you can wallow in your own thoughts while listening to the sound of the waves crashing or go crazy in the company of the locals laughing under the beautiful night sky.
Thank you, Sibay Island, for an awesome and memorable adventure!
Photo and Video Credits