It was 9 o'clock in the morning of April 19 when we left home to go to North Bus Terminal and hire a v-hire for Medellin. Sadly, there weren't any v-hires available because of the hectic travel schedule the day before, which was Good Friday, leaving us with no other choice but look for a bus that would take us to our destination, Kawit in Medellin. According to the info we searched on the net, we had to stop at Kawit, Medellin, and rent a pump boat to reach the island that everybody's talking about and our family have been planning to visit for our Easter Sunday celebration – the “Funtastic” Gibitngil Island.
After approximately 4 hours of land travel under the super hot noon sun, we finally reached Kawit, Medellin. From there, we then took a trisikad to bring us to the nearby resort where we could conveniently start our 30-minute pump boat journey to Gibitngil Island. The trisikads brought us to Kevin Beach Resort, a small yet quiet by-the-beach resort that offers a range of accommodations to guests, particularly those who, like us, traveled far just to discover the talked-about Funtastic Island. We chose the villa that costs 1,200 pesos because it was the cheapest and we thought we didn't need a sophisticated room anyway since we were just having an overnight stay in Medellin. The room's good for 2 persons only, and since we were 8, the owner let us pay 100 pesos for each excess person.
We then settled our things, ate late lunch, got dressed, and finally took off for Gibitngil Island. The pump boat we hired was spacious, clean, and fast, making us reach our destination in no time. The first things we saw on Funtastic Island were colorful cottages, huge rock formations, and white sands. We hired a cottage that costs 250 pesos so we would get the topmost area and clearly see the awesome view of the whole island. Luckily, we got the spot that was close to the famous cliff diving area that my companions were excited about. Minutes later, we started enjoying the blue-green waters of Gibitngil, took many pictures, and experienced the cliff diving! Well, 2 of my cousins were actually the only ones who did try since the rest, especially me, were too scared to even look at the 30-feet distance from the cliff diving board to the sea down below!
Aside from watching people go cliff dive, we swam and ate and talked and took more pictures and simply enjoyed the beautiful view. Then, we were fetched by our hired pump boat back to the resort after spending about 3 hours of short yet sweet exploration in the Funtastic Island. The rest of the night was then spent laughing, eating, drinking, and recalling about the great experience we just had hours ago.
In the morning of April 20, Easter Sunday, we went home with a heavy heart and an aching body. Yes, that trip left us quite unsatisfied because of the short span of time, but we sure did enjoy every moment of it. Thanks to the beautiful weather and the hospitable people of Medellin, we were able to go back to Cebu City safe and happy!
If you are now thinking of going to Medellin and checking out the Funtastic Island yourself, do start your journey early so you won't have to bear with the extremely hot 4-hour bus ride and get the chance to enjoy Gibitngil Island longer. It would also be great if you take a v-hire from North Bus Terminal since it's faster and more convenient compared to non-air conditioned buses, but of course, expect the fare to be higher. You can always choose to ride the ever-reliable air conditioned Ceres bus as well, especially if you are going with a huge group. Plus, don't forget to bring enough snacks, like sandwiches or biscuits or chips and water, which will go a long way in keeping you busy and less bored or tired during the 4-hour land trip to Medellin. Canned goods and cooked rice or puso may also come in handy if you want to spend less while renting a resort or swimming on the island. The resort we stayed in didn't require any corkage fee for the food we brought; however, if you really wish to prepare fresh meals or buy ice-cold drinks, you can always go to Kawit's public market.
Make sure also that you tell the driver or the conductor that you are heading to Gibitngil Island so they would drop you off in Kawit, specifically in Mahawak where you will be met by locals who offer a pump boat ride to Funtastic Island. Or better yet, book a nearby resort ahead so you can easily arrange an overnight stay after a tiring and fun day in the famous island. For questions regarding the place we stayed in, check out the official website of Kevin's Beach Resort at http://www.kevinsbeachkawit.com/.
As far as I can remember, we spent the following for our trip to Medellin:
- Ordinary bus (non-aircon) – 144 pesos regular fare/ 108 for students (so bring your student IDs!); an airconditioned Ceres bus, which we took on our way home, cost 130 for students and 150 for non-students (NOTE: Fares may vary depending on the bus liner.)
- Trisikad from the drop-off point to Kevin's Beach Resort – 10 pesos per head
- Pump boat rental from the resort to Gibitngil Island – 1,200-1,500 pesos for big pump boats and 1,000 pesos for the smaller ones
- Funtastic Island entrance fee – 10 pesos per head
- Funtastic Island cottage – 100-300 pesos
- Kayak rental – 250 pesos per hour
- Accommodation (rates based on Kevin's Beach Resort) – 1,200 per night good for 2, 100 pesos for every excess, 50 pesos as entrance fee for a day tour in the resort; other rooms cost 2000-2500 pesos (refer to the official website given above to know the room capacity and corresponding rates)
For the rest of the island's activities, rates, and other info, log in to http://medellin.gov.ph/.
More pics: (Credits to Deby Marianae Gilos for these beautiful photos!)