Updated: Jan 15, 2022
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Two hours from the prominent Boracay in the Philippines and about 4 hours from Iloilo (The City of Love) in the Philippines, you will find a pristine, unspoiled, and exquisite hooked shaped 55 hectare island called Malalison Island or as the locals call it Mararison Island. Regarded as the small Batanes of the Visayas (reminiscent of the rolling hills in Batanes), the island is located about 20 minutes from the Municipality of Culasi in the Philippines. Mararison Island is one of the best beaches in the Philippines. This tropical paradise is a must visit in the Philippines.
We were lucky to find the Mararison island reservation center in the Philippines about 5 minutes away from our private beach resort. When we reached the reservation center, I observed 3 kittens roaming around and Filipinas comfortably sitting down at booths while collecting reservation fees. After paying a terminal fee of 10 pesos or $0.19, and environmental fee of 20 pesos or $ 0.37, and a pumpboat fee or 150 pesos or $2.88 for 1 person or 750 pesos or $14.39 for five persons, we grabbed all of our belongings and headed to the pumpboat on the ocean side. Next to the booth were a set of beautifully shaped wooden tables and chairs. The chairs had wheels mounted upon them.
The assistants on the boat quickly secured our belongings. Then we boarded the boat. As we set off towards the Mararison island, I noticed the waters were a little choppy.
While cruising towards the beautiful island in the Philippines, I admired the beauty of the ocean and the mountainous region in front of me. When the pumpboat entered the middle of the ocean, the waves suddenly increased and slammed our boat. In shock, I quickly secured my canon 80d camera until we reached the island.
When we approached on the island after a 15 minute boat ride, we were amazed by the island’s stunning picturesque beautiful and refined powdery white sandy pebbled beaches, the sparkling clear turquoise waters, grassy rolling hills, and towering mountains in the distance.
Upon entering onto the charming island by pumpboat, we moored on the sandy beaches. At the corner of the island was a colorful sign that read "Welcome to Mararison Island." Several friendly Filipinas assisted us in retrieving our belongings from the pump boat.. We found an open air nippa bamboo cottage, where we relocated to eat lunch. The cottages were situated next to the Kawit sandbar. It was such a beautiful day. The bright sun was penetrating down upon the sand. The weather was perfect for snorkeling.
Prior to eating my lunch, I grabbed my Scuba Pro Seawing Nova Open Heel Fins, SeaDive Monarch RayBlocker-HD Mask, and Go pro Hero 4 and sprinted towards the beach. After donning my mask and fins on, I slowly entered the water.
My go pro was recording everything in its vicinity. As I continued to hover over the ocean floor, I noticed the depth of the water begin to increase.
The water depth quickly changed from 5 feet to 15 feet. When I entered that depth, I caught a glimpse of the unraveling beauty of the corals. While observing the sparkling corals and big fish in a distance, a big eel quickly stormed off to my area and hid in one of the rocks next to where I was floating.
An eel next to the coral.
Additionally, I observed large spiny sea urchins etched in the corals. You do not want to step on one of those creatures because they will create a sharp and intense pain. The great abundance of sea urchins on the bottom floor was evident as I prevented myself from touching the bottom. I wanted to eat sea urchin, but I did not have gloves to grab them.
School of minnows
It is important to watch the depth of the water when your snorkeling in any ocean especially in the Philippines. I was not too far from the sandbar and I noticed I had already ventured into deep waters. At 30 feet deep I scanned my area for sharks and others predators. Seeing none, I begin gradually swimming to the shore. As I started swimming towards the shoreline, a strong current forcefully overtook me. As begin to notice the current was sweeping me out into this time the deep blue ocean, I quickly started swimming parallel to the shore. As the wind and the waves increased, I found myself struggling to reach the store. Then an explosive ball of fury came out of me as I had enough of this current. I was livid. Without hesitating, I tightened the straps on my fins and quickly shot parallel to the shore and paddled ferociously until I reached the shore. I reached the shore line in about 5 minutes. I was amazed at how quick the wind and waves had escalated. If you are not a great swimmer, I would not recommend venturing out very far.
Upon reaching the store line, I quickly removed my fins and mask and just rested on the beach for about 10 minutes. Following that, I ambled back to the hut to eat lunch. We ate masarap pusit (squid), lapu lapu (grouper), and rice.
Lapu lapu Sinigang
When the clock struck 1600 or 4 pm., we trekked through some villages in the Philippines and found ourselves at the start of a hill. We were informed that a travel guide was mandatory for the trip. Since we had limited time on the island, we decided not to take the hike. Instead, we just admire the magnificent mountainous landscape and ocean view.
Around 1700, we boarded the pumpboat and headed back across the island. After disembarking the boat, we headed to one of the main streets. At first, I was quite baffled why the captain of the pumpboat dropped us off far from where we parked our vehicle. The argument was the ocean side next to the reservation area was rougher and the ocean side further on down was a lot calmer. I did not understand that. Nevertheless, we landed safely on the beach.
Keep in mind the Mararison island is a place where you can find relaxation and enjoy the serenity of nature. The island is not a place of luxury because you will not find any elegant hotels or restaurants. Simplicity is key not only on this island but on many of the islands in the Philippines.
What should you bring to Mararison Island?
1) Camera- You will take lots of pictures of this magical island. On this trip, I took my Canon 80d. At first I was very hesitant because we were crossing to another island. I cautiously shot several photos while we were moving to the island. Then I secured it. If you are looking for the best cameras on the market, I wrote a blog entitled "The Top 6 Cameras in 2020. If you decided to bring a DSLR camera, I would highly recommend bringing a GoPro Hero 4 or Go Pro Hero 5 for snorkeling.
2) Swim suit- You will more than likely snorkel or swim in the crystal clear waters.
3) Sunscreen- If you are like me and get burned easily, sunscreen is a must in the Philippines. 4) Rash guard or wetsuit- if you want to be comfortable in the water and want to avoid any possibility of bad sun burn, definitely bring a rashguard or a wetsuit.
5) Extra Pesos- Unfortunately, the island does not have any ATM machines. Therefore, bring extra pesos on your trip to the Maririson island.
6) Towel and extra clothes- if you swim, you will definitely need a towel and a change of clothes.
7) Hat- I would recommend wearing a hat to protect you from the sun.
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