Summer is not complete if you can’t go to the beach. Here in Iloilo, there are a lot of options on where to go. While the usual suspects include Villa, Guimbal or Oton, there are still a lot of undiscovered beaches here. One such place is the Sandbar Island Beach Resort in Bolobadiangan, Concepcion.
How to Get There
Concepcion is located in the northern portion of Iloilo and is more or less a 2 and a half hours drive from Iloilo City. You can either go to the Boracay/North Panay Bus Terminal in Tagbak, Jaro or if you are going with the barkadas, rent a van. Both options will not cost more than 120 pesos.
The island itself is some 30 minutes boat ride away from mainland Concepcion. You should call ahead to arrange for someone from the resort to meet you in the Concepcion market (”banwa”) to take you to the island. A big motorized bangka which can sit up to 15 will cost around 1500 pesos for a round trip travel.
What You Can Enjoy
Upon arriving, you can see a white sandbar about half a kilometer long, framed in the horizon by the Pan de Azucar mountain and other islets. The water is clear as glass and very inviting. One word to describe it would be “breathtaking”.
You may opt to rent one of the two bamboo cottages near the sandbar or pay for a home stay in any of the concrete houses of the Eusala and Fransisco families who make up the island’s native population. An overnight stay will cost 1000 pesos in any of the cottages.
Unspoiled as unspoiled could get, Sandbar Island Resort doesn’t have most of the modern conveniences found in the city. Lights are run by solar energy in the Eusala ancestral house while the rest of the cottages in the beach area are powered by a generator.
Fresh fish can be bought from the main island of Concepcion or from the neighboring islands like Agho. You must also bring any other things that you might need (ice, rice, canned food etc.). You can then request the resort cook to prepare food for you for a minimal fee.
After you have your fill of sunbathing, swimming or sunset watching, you can ask for someone to take you island hopping. There are still a lot of beautiful beaches and islets surrounding the island and you can take your time to explore and know the area even more. The views around the island are simply magnificient.
In the afternoon, you can join the natives in “panginhas” - collecting shells and other edible marine life during low tide before sunset. In the evenings, the same could be done with the aid of a torch or petromax. We call this “panulo”.
After dinner, you can arrange for someone to make you a bonfire. However, you must inform the resort beforehand (ideally in the afternoon) so that they can collect firewood for you.
There are some hammocks scattered around the island. These are definitely perfect for you to lie on and just enjoy some solitude, after from the busy buzz of the city life.
Sandbar Island Beach Resort
Contact Person: Manong Sanny
Concepcion Municipal Tourism Office
Contact Person: Mario Lazarito, Municipal Tourism Officer
Mobile: (+63)9194588451 or (+63)918311923
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