Northern Cebu is quite known for the two equally beautiful tropical islands of Malapascua and the crowd favorite Bantayan. Now another island is looming to take the spot light from them on the unofficial war of the tropical islands in Cebu. The quiet and verdant island of Gibitngil (Jibitnil) is on the run to capture the hearts of tourists with its stunning white beaches, haunting rock formations and complete eye candy FUNtastic island. Just as what the name entails it offers what we all want to experience on a getaway - have FUN. By staying true to that formula they ramped up the usual by strategically building brightly colored cottages not on the coastline but high up in the limestone rock formations near the coast. To justify the word they offer some fun activities on the island such as island ziplining, cliff diving, kayaking, bamboo rafting and it has an ideal spot for snorkeling and diving too. To top all that is the very inviting emerald green water and the luxurious white sandy coastline with the century old limestone rock formations that barricaded to hide such a beautiful marine sanctuary from the outside world. With all that said : Is there more to this place that meets the eye? Unfortunately there is and it might dissuade you. Read further to know everything you ever need to know about the island.
Location: Sitio Baring, Gibitngil, Medellin Cebu Philippines
Contact: call them 4362031 or text through 09176234925
Island Activities: zipline, cliff dive, kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, underwater deep diving
ETT from Cebu: 3 - 4 hrs
It is Sunday, I woke up early while the others are still fast asleep due to the drinking and card session last night. We are staying in Daanbantayan and this is the day we will visit the island. It's just 10 - 15 minutes tricycle ride to the port in Kawit Medellin.
We arrived in Kawit Port 30 minutes late from schedule and the weather is gloomy which is not ideal to head to an island but we still push through with the plan. It is advisable to bring food and water with you because once you're there it would be hard to obtain any.
We got the ride that can accommodate 20 people and there were only 12 of us so there was a lot of space inside. As always I sit at the edge of the boat contemplating on the blue waves filled with excitement of what experience awaits ahead.
A streak of blissfully white shore welcomes our sight when we are nearing the island. It's the famous white beach of Gibitngil and you can request the boatman to take you for a short stopover there if you want but in our case nobody seems interested for any side trip because our minds are fixed in those colorful cottages.
What follows are towering cliffs made of limestone rock that forms into beautiful nature's architecture that seemed like an ancient fortress constructed by giants to conceal the hidden beauty of the island from the outside world. As we drew near the cliff color shifts from sapphire blue water to emerald green and you can see some patches of white sand and underwater caves near the base of the cliff. It was a sight to behold indeed.
Excitement fills our senses when we spotted the colorful cottages sitting under the gigantic rocks. Even with a bad weather it still look stunning on a distance.
It's only when we got closer to the shore that I was put off and reminded that this is no private resort but a public attraction. The beautiful shoreline lost it's appeal with all the garbage left by the locals. To make bad than it already is when I see an animal or probably even a human dung behind a rock when I got off the boat. There are stray dogs looking for some leftovers in the shoreline and some naked children asking for anything they can get from you. And everything after that lost it's appeal to me. The beauty that I envisioned it to be fades into thin air and all that's left is disappointment.
A friend of mine says 'It looks deceiving in pictures' and I don't blame him because it does. The paint on the cottages somehow starting to diminish and it was noticeable that the place was not maintained well when we got there. It is so evident that time did starting to catch up to it and they're not doing anything to restore it. When you are there the place seems so average though there are some awe inspiring angle but nothing special when you are really there.
We rented the top most cottage and the only cottage that has its own small room and some cooking area all costs for only Php250. The view up there though makes up for the dreadful sight I witness below. My friends right away tried the cliff diving and I must say it was very tempting but cowardliness gets the best of me with the height of the plunge and the sight of a huge rock below.
I lost the will to stroll in the shoreline of FUNtastic island with the feces I witness earlier because I couldn't shake the thought that I might step on one. Instead, I explored the other side of the island where the base of the zip-line is. I pass a poverty stricken community on the way that makes me think of what these people do for a living on this island besides fishing and if there children ever goes to school. That prompts a question on my head if what the government is doing with the funds that comes out of this place if not helping these people earn a living or any help that they could offer. It is no longer out of my capabilities but I'd like to believe that these people benefited also from the cash flow on this attraction.
It is a steppe climb to reach the base of the zipline and the view up there is magnificent! It's probably the highest point on that part of the island and thanks to that I spotted an unspoilt
beautiful cove on a distance that soon the group spends most of the time swimming.
Some of my friends tried an adventurous route by rafting to get there but I preferred to navigate with my feet to get there. It was such a beautiful cove wherein there's a small patch of white sand that sucks your feet like a sinking sand and some opening of what seems like a cave.
FUNtastic island has a fair amount of activities that will surely keep you entertain for awhile and the surreal experience of being above a 30 ft. limestone rock on the sea with an astonishing view will surely put your mind at ease. Just don't expect much of it's shoreline due to encroaching human activities it has lost its former beauty but you can explore the neighboring isolated coves that still has an unspoilt beauty because it is away from human territories. You'll never know what you'll find with your exploration. The degree of damage cause by human exploit is still reversible though if strict rules will be implemented in the locale to limit human activities near the shore. Or a much better alternative which is to set a wall to keep the shore off limits to stray dogs and other exploitations that might happen. It is a very beautiful nature spot back in its unspoilt days but now only the colorful cottages that attracts it for visit. It is still worth a visit though...
|the super beautiful Gibitngil when FUNtastic island was still not established|
BUS FEE: Php300.00 (two way)
PUMP BOAT: Php500.00 (good for 6 pax) Php1500.00 (good for 20 pax)
ENTRANCE FEE: Php10.00
COTTAGES: ranges from Php50.00 to Php250.00 (add Php500.00 for an overnight stay)
ZIPLINE FEE: Php50.00
BAMBOO RAFT FEE: Php120.00 per hour
KAYAK FEE: Php150.00 per hour
HOW TO GET HERE FROM CEBU :
Head over to NORTH BUS TERMINAL *Mandaue area* ---> take the bus with KAWIT sign --> 3-4 hrs travel for Php150.00 --> arrival in MEDILLEN PROPER you can find lots tricycle to take you to Kawit Port --> find lots of pump boat to take you to Gibitngil island / FUNtastic island for Php500.00 (smaller good for 6 pax) and Php1500 (bigger ones good for 20 pax) try to wager with boatman you'll be lucky to get a discounted price.