Many resorts have opened in the Philippines, especially lately. Yet, a lot of these are too a bit too expensive for the average Juan looking to spend a vacation in the sun and the sand.
Here’s where Canigao Island truly shines! Not only does the island have actual glittering waters, it’s easy to get to and you can expect a great vacation without draining your bank account.
The islet is located a short boat ride west of Matalom, Leyte. Even though Canigao is tiny, it reserves huge bragging rights due to its powdery white side, turquoise clear waters, and a colorful variety of marine life. Since the islet hasn’t been thoroughly developed, the fish, sharks and coral reefs have thrived in the waters around it. Locals and tourists even spot wild monkeys inland.
Here are the key spots in Canigao Island:
White sand beach
Of course, we’ll start with the best feature of the island! The star of Canigao is a beach that spans 500 meters long – all covered with fine white sand. The sand gently slopes into the tantalizing waters, easing you gently into the caress of the clear waters. The beaches have great views of the neighboring islands, which really sells the feeling of being in a tropical island paradise!
Featuring sharks and all kinds of tropical fish, the fish sanctuary should be on your list! While the scenic platform leading to the bamboo house has been weathered, you can still ask the locals to guide you to a viewing spot!
Near the main island is an almost 200 meter long sandbar. It’s accessible by walking, and is covered with the same powdery white sand as the beaches. This spot is one place you shouldn’t miss if you’re visiting Canigao.
Something definitely deserving a mention is the market inside the island. Some locals have shops set up in here that sell water, food, drinks, and other basic needs. Around the area, some stores also sell both raw and cooked food and meals. The wet market is the best place to get your fresh seafood. Some notable seafood sold here are the saang, tikod-tikod (tikod amo), wasay wasay. If those don’t ring a bell, think oysters but more exotic!
While the east side of the island contains the long stretch of beach, the west is home to a dense forest of trees. The trees give an almost total shade over the sandy terrain, and is the perfect spot to pitch some tents and lie down near the sea. This area is also known to be inhabited by wild monkeys.
If you wish to hunker down and get comfortable in a cottage, there are several available on the east side of the beach. This area is near the markets, and rates differ for day use and overnight renting.
The best time to visit Canigao is in summer from March to May, and when the weather is clear until June or July. It’s better to avoid going in the rainy season because it would be a total bummer to miss out on the crystal clear waters on sunny days!
While Canigao island may be a great paradise with lots to enjoy, it’s important to know that the north and west areas of the island are placed under nature protection as a sanctuary. Marine activities like swimming, diving, snorkeling, and boating in these areas are limited by law, and fishing or taking any marine life is strictly prohibited. Be sure to consult the locals before going into the waters!
Traveling to Canigao Island is not expensive unlike other beach destinations in the Philippines. Prices of goods are close to usual rates and aren’t overinflated unlike in most urbanized and overdeveloped resorts in the Philippines.
RATES & OTHER INFORMATION
- Entrance fee: ₱40 for adults, ₱20 for children 6-12 years old
- Open hours: N/A
- Open Cottage Day rental: PHP 500
- Open Cottage overnight fee: PHP 700
- Rooms for rent: PHP 1,500
- Tent pitching: PHP 100
- Boat fare: ₱65 per person, pickup from island back to port is 5PM
- Corkage fee: None
- Contact number:
- Canigao Island Mayor’s office: 0975-393-8856
- Email address: [email protected]
HOW TO GET THERE?
Exact location on Google maps: Canigao Island, Matalom, Leyte
BY VAN/COMMUTE: From Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, head to Tacloban New Transport Terminal. From the terminal, ride a van bound to Maasin and ask the driver to drop you off at Matalom Municipal Hall. The ride takes about 3 hours. From Matalom Municipal Hall, ride a passenger boat to Canigao. The boat ride takes around 30 minutes.
BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set your destination to “Matalom Municipal Hall” in Leyte. Park your car near the municipal hall or near the pier, and ride the passenger boat to Canigao. The boat ride takes around 30 minutes.