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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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