Capitancillo Islet is a tiny island just off the coast of Cebu Philippines. The closest city to the islet is Bogo City which is where I have lived in since the middle of 2008. I had been here quite a while before I ever heard of the island. I wonder if the city of Bogo has thought about putting up signs to encourage tourist to stay an extra day or come back for a visit to the islet. A visit to Capitancillo should be on your wish list. It is well worth a visit. The nature of Capitancillo Islet is about spending time with those important to you and experiencing the pristine natural world of the Philippines.
I was expecting an all day brownout for Sunday so I decided to finally make the trip to Capitancillo Islet. In fear of a brown out, I took the family island hopping. There was no brown out which means we made it through April 2012 without a major brownout. Cokes however, remain a commodity that is hard to come by with frequent outages.
Capitancillo is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’m use to crystal clear water but even Jessie was impressed with the water color near the islet. Once she said “Let’s go over there where the water is blue.” I looked at her a little odd, I was rather comfortable you see. Then I said, “Ahhh, the water look pretty blue to me here.” We did make it there. I walked around the island more than she did. I made at least three full trips around the island. While the island is very small, there is nothing small about the folklore of how Capitancillo was created.
How Capitancillo Islet Was Created
Captain Basillo angered a powerful and magical chief of the Philippines. I believe it was Chief Lapu Lapu’s kinsman Bugtopasan. You see, the Spanish Captain Basillo angered the chief. Fearing for his life, the captain tried to make a hasty retreat.
The chief mounted his enchanted white horse and pursue Captain Basillo’s vessel and flung a curse and spell on Captain Basillo. The thundering boom could be heard all over the Philippines and when the smoke cleared, the small islet appeared directly in Captain Basillo’s path.
Try as he might, the dazed captain did not have time to maneuver his ship around the island and struck it. Sinking his vessel and giving rise to the name of the islet in his honor or lack thereof. This is the story as I know it, I suspect there are some variations. I like this story so I choose to believe it. After all, who could make up such a grand tale?
The beauty of this islet cannot be described in words. Pictures can do it some justice but to truly appreciate this island one must visit Capitancillo Islet.
Capitancillo islet has enjoyed protection by the government for an extended period of time. I saw a seal on the islet with a the date of 1942 on it. I don’t know what the significance of that seal is but I suspect that is when the government began to protect the islet.
This has made the marine sanctuary a favorite for divers and snorkelers. There is a thriving coral reef that extends for about three miles running north and south of the islet. While we where there, a group of Japanese tourist were also enjoying the islet and they did go diving.
Me? I just went swimming, wading really, three times and two of those times were intentional. As we were departing, I throw my leg over the side of the boat and discovered the energy I had at 10am was long gone by 5pm. My leg didn’t make it all the way over. Caught on the side of the boat, I attempted to push my leg all the way over. Instead, I fell all the way back with a splash into the water. Which left me embarrassed but with a smile on my face.
The captain of our small fishing boat was worried, he had deep concern as if it was his fault. I don’t think he understood much of what I told him but it was something like “It’s okay, I went swimming dressed like this two times today.” Since my balance is not very good, I don’t carry the camera or anything but me when I get into the boat. Jessie and I knew it was only a matter of time.
I was a bit more careful on my second attempt to board our boat and arrived safely into the boat which turned out to be an epic journey for me.
How to get to Capitancillo Islet
There are several ports where you can hire a boat to take you to and bring you back from Capitancillo Islet. To get there, first most travel to Bogo City by bus or van. It is about a three hour bus ride from Cebu City.
Once in Bogo City, tell the workers at the bus terminal that you want to go to Capitancillo Islet. They will take care of it from there. You’ll likely take a trike out to a nearby port. There are four significant ports to choose: Polambato Port (farthest way to get there), Nailon Wharf, Marangog Cove, and the Odlot port.
Cost of Visiting Capitancillo Islet
Our ya ya’s (nanny) son has a fishing boat and we hired him to take us to Capitancillo Islet. The going rate for the boat ride is P1500 to P2000 but you can get it cheaper if you know someone. We paid her son P500 plus bought some fuel for the boat. The main reason we have not gone before is that we can go to Bantayan Island for less money and spend the night! Its not expensive though. Here is a breakdown of our cost:
- Renting a trike for the day p300 (to make sure we have a way home)
- Fishing Boat (P500 plus P100 or so for fuel)
- Docking fee for Capitancillo P300
- Covered table fee P200 (the large one is P600)
- Food about P1000 but could do it cheaper if you just had fish.
If you wanted to camp there, you’ll have to pay an additional P600 which I mumbled, “I can get an air con room on Bantayan Island for P800. Truthfully, I wanted to go camping there since I first heard about the location. It is something I want to do more now. I sold all my camping gear before I left the USA. A tent, an air mattress and a lantern would be a good idea. Maybe a stove but you don’t really need that. There are numerous places around to cook whatever you wish there. I’d skip the gas burning stove.
Capitancillo Islet doesn’t have any bars or shopping locations at all. Its not that kind of place. If you go here, it is to spend time with someone you want to spend some time with, to enjoy the beauty that this world can offer and if you have the means to do so, go diving. This is not a party location. The only party you’ll have here is the one you make for yourself.
The island has a caretaker so I don’t think safety will be an issue at all. The island is well maintained and thus the prices they charge for the use of the island. Even the lush sand is shipped in. The location is normally very rocky. Much of Cebu is that way.
I look forward to returning to Capitancillo and I have no doubt that I will. Right now, I have Malapascua on my radar. It will be similar to Bantayan Island but it is probably a bit more rocky there too. It too is a diving location. It is famous for its diving and less so for its beaches. Though, it is past time for me to check it out myself.
On this trip, we did take the family. Our ya ya and her beautiful grand daughter went with us. Her name is lovely. She is living with us for a few months. She’s headed to college soon. She’s a lovely, extremely polite, respectful, and shy Filipina. As usual she is hard to photograph as she hides from my camera. I can be rather a pain though until I get my way. If you have visited or want to visit Capitancillo Islet, please tell us about it!
To see more pictures of my visit to Capitancillo islet you an visit this link.
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