Finding Serenity at Sanctuary Garden Resort, Sibuyan Island

Sanctuary Garden Resort

Sanctuary Garden Resort in Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon is probably the best place to stay in the island if you’re looking for a breather.  Besides Eat.Sleep.Relax, you can also hike for a view of the majestic Mount Guiting Guiting, and swim in the nearby Pawala River.     

 

Arriving in Sibuyan Island

 

We arrived Sibuyan Island through Ampulong Port in Magdiwang from San Agustin Port in Tablas Island, one of the three major islands of Romblon Province.  The other two major islands are Romblon Island and Sibuyan Island.  Okay, this sounds confusing but yes, Romblon Island is part of Romblon Province’s group of islands.

Ferries from San Agustin leave at 6 AM and stops at Romblon Island at about 7 AM. It then leaves for Sibuyan Island at 7:30 AM. Fare is Php 324, with Php 10 terminal fee (traveled in April 2017).  We arrived Sibuyan Island at 10 AM.

Here are photos to show you a glimpse of how a ferry ride to Sibuyan Island goes:

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Romblon is one of those places in the Philippines where top loading, be it jeepneys or tricycles, are common methods to get around.  These are eminent as you get out of the ferry.  From the port, we headed straight to Sanctuary Garden Resort.  This place was recommended to us by friends who are from Tablas Island who know the owner of the place and did not look anywhere else.  We took a tricycle at Php 40 per person and arrived at the resort in about 10 minutes.

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Sanctuary Garden Resort

 

Arriving at the resort with only a piece of rice cake (which we bought at the port of Romblon Island) as our only previous meal for the day, we were glad to be welcomed at the resort’s restaurant.  We ordered our brunch after choosing a dormitory fan room at Php 250/ head.

While waiting for our food, we asked the resort staff for places to go in Sibuyan Island.  With only half a day to explore on our first day, the staff recommended we go to Lambingan Falls.  He helped us arrange for a tricycle ride for that afternoon to take us to Lambingan Falls, then to a fishing village, then to a road nearby the resort, where one can get a view of the imposing Mt. Guiting Guiting, also known as G2. More about G2 later.

What I love about Sanctuary Garden Resort is that it lives up to its name of being a sanctuary and a garden.  The staff even told us that a few days prior to our arrival, several mountaineer groups took refuge at the resort after their planned climb to Mt. G2 was postponed due to the bad weather conditions.

The accommodations are made of a combination of stone and wood, which blends well with the surrounding greeneries.  We stayed at Sampaguita Building, a dormitory with shared bathroom.  The room is basic and made up of native materials.  It may be odd seeing the wood-made room then the marble-tiled shared bathroom, but not when you’re in Romblon.  Romblon isn’t dubbed as the marble capital of the Philippines for nothing.

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Hiking Trail at Sanctuary Garden Resort

 

There’s a hiking trail at the back of the restaurant, where you’ll ascend through paved stairs, until you reach a grassy slope.  Hike a little more passing through trees and if you’re lucky, you’ll be rewarded with a clear view of Mt. Guiting Guiting There’s also a small elevated hut that you can climb once at the viewing area. The hut isn’t tall enough though to have an unobstructed view of this magnificent mountain.

Guiting guiting means jagged in Romblon dialect.  The mountain is so called due to its jagged peak.  It’s also considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the Philippines.  The challenge is not because of the height, but because of the almost vertical hike.  Some portions, they say, you had to walk through the side of the cliff, sometimes covered with fog.

We went up here on a sunset and were lucky to view Mt. Guiting Guiting, with the sunset glow outlining the toothed contours of its peak.  I am not fit to climb this mountain so seeing it from afar already made me feel ecstatic.  Woke up early the next morning for a second (and last) viewing before we left Sibuyan Island.

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Pawala River/ Dam

 

At the other side of the resort is another trail leading to the riverside of the crystal clear Pawala River.  We saw some local kids playing at the other side of the river.  They were using the long roots of one of the trees as rope swing.

The water here is so clear and calm.  Adding to its mysterious appeal are the reflecting images of the green trees and blue sky over the water.

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I have never stayed in other accommodations in Sibuyan Island, but I will have no hesitation in recommending Sanctuary Garden Resort. (Note: This is not a sponsored post.)

Read my other articles on Romblon: 

The Beach and Hills of Aglicay Beach Resort

Lambingan Falls, Sibuyan Island

 


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Sanctuary Garden Resort

 

16 thoughts on “Finding Serenity at Sanctuary Garden Resort, Sibuyan Island

  1. Marya The BeauTraveler

    the dorm looks cozy and the sanctuary itself looks incredible! 😀

    i’ve never been anywhere but manila in the philippines, but i really want to explore the country once i finish my bucket list to the 10 asean country members, especially the archipelago. a lot of beaches in the philippines that i want to explore. now thanks to this post, i’ve got some more reference to make sure that i’ll be back to have more fun in the philippines. 🙂

    1. findingjing Post author

      Enjoy your ASEAN travel! Do come back to the Philippines to enjoy the beach, mountains, waterfalls, countryside, caves, etc. It’ll be fun for sure. 🙂

  2. bye:myself

    Oh my gosh, this garden resort looks so nice and fits perfectly in the lush nature surrounding it – wonderful! The views from the hike are just magnificent, I’d really like to visit there especially since it seems to be quite secluded and serene – I love places like that.

  3. Bernie

    I’m really bad at chilling out, so perhaps a resort like this is exactly what I need. I love the look of the hiking trail. The river and the dam are beautiful – great pics! – and I can imagine time on and near the water here would be well spent.

  4. Carolina Colborn

    I am a Filipina. Congratulations on featuring a off-the-beaten path destination in Sibuyan Island in the province of Romblon! You are doing great for our country!

  5. Brianna

    Sounds like an amazing place to stay! I love those thatched walls in the dorm room, and I really like how you can hike to see the mountain, right from the property. It’s almost like you don’t need to leave the resort at all.

  6. Ryan Trinidad Santiago

    I miss riding the jeep sans the horrible traffic jams. 😀 The tree house looks marvelous, Jing! I haven’t been to Romblon but if I decide to go it’d be to climb Mt. Guiting-Guiting. Do you plan to climb it?

    1. findingjing Post author

      Hello, Ryan! We were also vying for that tree house but it was occupied at the time we went. I have only heard stories and looked at awe-inspiring pictures of views during the climb. Hearing from their stories, I do not know if I will be fit enough to actually do the climb. One thing common is that they say it’s totally worth it so get yourself physically ready and go for G2 climb! 🙂

  7. Jas

    I’ve never heard about this island and I’m glad to have stumbled upon this now! Mt. Guiting Guiting is absolutely stunning. Climbing it sounds a little dangerous so I think I’d be happy viewing it from afar hahaa. How long did the hike take tho?

  8. Grace | Impulsive Adventures

    I love your pictures! Sounds like a perfect place to relax and enjoy some beautiful mountain scenery. What a great find! 🙂

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