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May 1, 2012

FUNtastic Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu: The New Tourist Destination in Northern Cebu [It's More Fun in the Philippines]


Photo: FUNtastic Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu - My Destination

I had a 5-day long weekend vacation from April 4 - May 1, 2012 and it was a jam-packed one. Prior to this long weekend, I had to satisfy my gastric needs with the Food Festival in Lapu-lapu Shrine, in celebration with Mactan's Kadaugan 2012. I just spent April 4 with Kadaugan sa Mactan's Street Party with friends, also with the 1st ever 3K Beer Run. It's a 'til-dawn party, didn't sleep at all to prepare myself for my Northern Cebu escapade and the destination - FUNtastic Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu.

We had a bus ride from North Bus Terminal going to Kawit, Medellin with one-way bus fare around Php135 (Php150 as the maximum). The first bus trip in the terminal will leave 1AM (for those who are really excited, LOL). From what people said, it's a 3-hour trip. So if you were to leave 7AM, you'll arrive in Kawit by 10AM. In our case, that's not it. The bus left 7AM yet we arrived around 11AM, due to the delays caused by that humorous & entertaining driver (he can be a tour guide, as if we're riding a luxurious tour bus). Also, there are reconstructions of roads in Northern Cebu now (they call it e-Gwen Highway, there are one-way roads at some point which caused so much delay). There's also a 10-minute stop over in Carmen (restaurant) for those who wants to answer the call of nature or take some snacks. The sceneries going Northern Cebu are OK, but I took the ride as a chance to get some sleep.

PHOTO: A Greenery side of Northern Cebu

PHOTO: Reconstruction of Roads in Northern Cebu
PHOTO: Bogo City Market, beside the Bogo City Terminal

You'll get noticed when you're already in Medellin when you see those nice Golf courses, actually built to bring more Korean retirees & tourists. There's also an on-going construction of a 5-star resort along those golf courses. (It's a Php500 million investment). We then arrived in Kawit, Medellin after a 4-hr+ ride. Kawit is the barangay where we can take a boat going to Gibitngil Island.

PHOTO: In Kawit, Medellin

PHOTO: In Kawit, Medellin
Me and my friends decided to take lunch here in Kawit since we don't have much time to prepare food there in the island. The foods are affordable, the people are so kind. We then bought some foods as well to munch on at the island since there are limited stores there, foods are easily sold out due to high demand (if you badly need something in the island yet no stock, got no choice but to go back in Kawit. So make sure you complete your needs prior going to the island). We asked then people there where can we take a boat for transfer. We rented a boat, worth Php1500 for Kawit-Gibitngil Island transfer & vice versa, 1-day usage to explore as well the island. This boat can accomodate a maximum of 20 people. I heard there's a Php500 boat for rent as well, good for smaller group with 6 people maximum passengers.

PHOTO: The White Sand Beach in Kawit, Medellin

PHOTO: Preparing for our boat ride going to Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: On our way to Gibitngil Island
Gibitngil Island is just around 20-minutes from Kawit. One of the islands in Northern Cebu which has different rock formations due to the big waves from the Visayan Sea. We also passed by the White Sand Bar of Gibitngil Island, you can actually ask "manong" to have a stop over there if you want to go swimming before going to FUNtastic Island. Refer to below map for the location of the island, also to the images captured upon going to the main destination. (Click images to enlarge)

PHOTO: A Map of Northern Cebu, showing Gibitngil Island, Medellin
PHOTO: Gibitngil Island featuring it's White Sand Bar

PHOTO: Closer look at the White Sand Bar

PHOTO:The Cross at Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: The cross at Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: Small rock formations in Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: Mini bangka in Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: Greenery side of Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: Other tourists heading to FUNtastic Island

PHOTO: Large rock formation in Gibitngil Island

PHOTO: Closer to FUNtastic Island

Just to clear up things, FUNtastic Island is the place where the Cliff Diving, Zipline, Kayaking & major activities of Gibitngil Island are located. As of this writing, Entrance Fee per head is Php10. For the cottage rates (whole day usage), it ranges from Php50-Php250 wherein Php50 are those cottage of lower elevation while the Php200-Php250 are those in higher part of the area (I think these are the cottages just near the cliff diving). NOTE: I suggest to make some reservation with the cottage, if you want a hassle-free experience there since many people are already visiting this place. Simply call Madz at these Contact #s: 4362031, 09176236248 or 09328667661, or even email them at medellinmayor@gmail.com. If possible, ask also assistance from Madz about your trip for further details. (Click images to enlarge)

PHOTO: FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

PHOTO: FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

PHOTO: Cliff Diving in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Boats docking in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
Below are the rates of the activites & facilities offered by FUNtastic Island, Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu:

Cottage - Php50-Php250 (Whole Day usage)
Kayak - Php150/hour
Life Vest/Jacket - Php25
Zipline - Php50/ride
Cliff Diving - FREE

PHOTO: Cottages in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Kayaking in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Zipline in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Zipline in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

PHOTO: Zipline in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

I also had the chance to see the Mayor of Medellin, Mayor Ricky Ramirez, the one on shades riding that white and red speedboat (refer to below images, click to enlarge). I salute his dedication to lift up tourism of his town and you can really see that he's active in promoting the place, he was actually there to check if everything's OK.

PHOTO: Medellin Mayor Ricky Ramirez at FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Medellin Mayor Ricky Ramirez at FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Many are asking: "Is overnight staying allowed in the Island? Are there any resort with room accomodation there? Electricity provided in the cottage? Give us an idea what to prepare for an overnight stay there.". Let me answer this one-by-one:

Q#1: Is overnight staying allowed in the Island?
A#1: Yes, you may have an overnight stay, only in FUNtastic Island. You can have the cottage for your overnight stay, but you will have to pay again (if you had a day usage on the island) for the rate of that cottage you chose for an overnight stay. As with my experience, we decided to stay overnight there, the rates of the cottages are higher for such option. The most expensive cottage for overnight stay is Php500, the biggest & top-most cottage near the cliff diving (the one we availed) since it has a mini-room (don't expect much from here, it's a simple room, wood-made), area for "sugba" stuff, nearby comfort room (don't expect much with their comfort room) and the best of all, the Sunset View is really amazing, the setting of the Sun (it's like hiding behind Bantayan Island. Yes, Bantayan Island can be seen in the island). You can also bring tents (camping) if you opted to stay there, I think there's no charge at all if you stay within your tent. You can have it in that small white sand bar near the docking station of the boats. For your dinner, you can take a ride of the boat back in Kawit Area/Market to buy fresh meat, fish or whatever menu you're planning to venture during your night stay, also drinks & don't forget to bring plenty of WATER. Just inform "manong" boat operator to pick you up early in the morning the following day (8AM the following day is the cut-off time mandated).

PHOTO: Sunset View in  FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Sunset View in  FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu
PHOTO: Sunset View in  FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Q#2: Are there any resort with room accomodation there?
A#2: Within the island, currently no resort available. You can only use the cottages for your overnight stay or a camping tent placed in the white sand bar near the boat docking station. There are resorts in Medellin proper to accommodate you, just make early reservations since many people are visiting nowadays to explore the eco-adventure as well offered in Medellin proper, as well as the golf courses in the town.

Q#3: Electricity provided in the cottage?
A#3: Gibitngil Island is using Solar Energy as source of electricity. The cottages only have lightings at night, but you can't actually charge your cellphone or laptop directly using your charger, I forget what socket/plug the residents there are using. Anyways, you can ask assistance from the residents just nearby the place, they're willing to help you.

Q#4: Give us an idea what to prepare for an overnight stay there.
A#4: When staying overnight, I suggest you prepare the following: 1) Food & Water are the most important  of all. Especially during midnight, you'll surely gonna look for it to munch on. 2) Jacket. Yes, you need to bring one if you want to have a short yet satisfying sleep there. Windy & cold breeze will be there to make you either feel comfortable or annoyed. 3) Something to play with like cards, board games or whatever. There's no karaoke or discobar in there to fulfill your nightlife like the city can offer. If you're a hyperactive person, that will definitely make your group's overnight stay more fun. Just enjoy what the place can offer as well, be imaginative. Just refrain from doing Cliff Diving at night, not good at low tide.

With regards to the Mobile Network Signal, I end up using 2G/EDGE signal since there's no 3G at all in the island (I'm under Sun Postpaid. I also have Globe & Smart but still I use 2G signal with my stay there).

Our overnight stay was OK, you can really feel the ambiance of being away from the city life. If you need something or assistance, the island caretaker or even the residents are willing to help you at their end but be careful upon going outside, there are dogs wandering around especially at dark places (a bark from them will be a warning sign, LOL). You can also go night swimming (midnight would be exciting) though it's low tide. We are not actually the group who took an overnight stay there, there are other cottages filled by visitors who chose to stay there (but not as many as those during morning & afternoon).

Early morning, we decided to leave the place around 6AM, fetched by our rented boat. You may refer to below photos/shots of the other side of the island where we passed by on our way back to Kawit, Medellin. (Click images to enlarge)

Photo: Morning view of the Zipline base in FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: My friends enjoying the Morning View of FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: Sunrise at FUNtastic Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: Rock formations at Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: Rock formations at Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: Rock formations at Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: Rock formations at Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Photo: Amazing Rock formations at Island in Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu

Upon arrival in Kawit, Medellin, me and my friends took a short breakfast in a Burger Stall nearby the highway while waiting for the bus heading back to Cebu City. The frequency of the bus passing by was around 30 minutes (it depends on what bus liner it is, for Ceres it's 30 Minutes as observed). We then chose Ceres Bus liner (the regular bus since the airconditioned one has an hourly frequency I guess, that would be too tiring at our end to wait, given the fact that we don't have enough sleep). The bus fare on that time was Php145. My eyes wanted to sleep already but I really want to take shots or photos of Northern Cebu, since I was in a window seat. We also had a 5-10minute bus stop at Bogo City Terminal & Market, for us to buy necessities for this long trip. A bit surprised since heading back to the city was just a  3hours+ trip (the driver was really taking the ride so fast actually) unlike the other way around trip we had prior that day. You may refer to below shots/photos of Northern Cebu captured along the way. (Click images to enlarge)

Photo: A river in Northern Cebu

Photo: An intersection going to Daan Bantayan in Northern Cebu

Photo: A reconstruction in Northern Cebu

Photo: Safari-like setting in Northern Cebu

Photo: A river in Northern Cebu

Photo: The fields in Northern Cebu

Photo: The fields in Northern Cebu

Photo: The fields in Northern Cebu

Photo: The fields in Northern Cebu

Photo: Bogo City Complex in Northern Cebu

Photo: Bogo City in Northern Cebu

Photo: Bogo City Terminal in Northern Cebu

Photo: Bogo City Public Market in Northern Cebu

Photo: Beautiful Park in Northern Cebu

Photo: Mountains in Northern Cebu

Photo: Camotes Island view in Northern Cebu

Photo: A river in Northern Cebu

Photo: The highway with beach view in Northern Cebu

Photo: The highway with beach view in Northern Cebu

Photo: Relaxing Nature of Northern Cebu

Refer to below for the over-all expenses for this FUNtastic Gibitngil Island, Medellin, Cebu trip
(the rates are as of this writing):
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Roundtrip Bus Fare (North Bus Terminal to Kawit, Medellin):
*Around Php300 (possible maximum fare, Php150/oneway)

Boat Rental (Whole Day usage, Roundtrip Transfer from Kawit to Gibitngil Island):
*Php1500 (good for 20 people) or Php500 (good for 6 people)

FUNtastic Island Entrance Fee:
*Php10/head

Cottage (day & night usage, depending on size):
*Around Php50-Php250 for day usage
 *Around Php250-Php500 for overnight usage
 
Kayak (only 2 kayak boats available):
Php150/hour

Life Vest/Jacket:
Php25/jacket

Zipline:
Php50/ride

Cliff Diving:
FREE
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 If you were to ask my opinion with my experience there, here it is:

PROS: This place is recommended if you want to experience summer with additional adventure (not just having sun-kissed skin with those white sand beaches alone. That's so mainstream for summer.). Also it's a New Tourist Destination for sure in Northern Cebu since the Town of Medellin is promoting the place with a BANG along with Mayor Ricky Ramirez' support. So savor the moment while this place is offering you very affordable/low rates (Php50 Zipline in the beach is the bomb). The silence at night is really commendable, indeed very relaxing at night (if you bring with you necessities for a comfortable sleep in a trip like a comforter, jacket, pillow, etc.).

CONS: Overcrowded during weekends (I don't know with weekdays or it's just summer where people would love to visit this place. Also, they're celebrating their Annual Town Fiesta prior that day we visited the island). Unfortunately, there were too many people and thankful enough that we had reservation with one of the cottages there. So if you are just nearby Medellin, then I would suggest you visit the place early in the morning for you or your group to experience the fun without being disturbed as well with other visitors. But if you are a distance away from Medellin (like our group, city people), then I suggest you to take the earliest bus trip if possible for you to arrive early as well in the island or you can also choose to go there around 4PM (late afternoon) since majority of day visitors are leaving the place on that time and of course venture an overnight stay (few number of people stay take an overnight stay there).


Thanks for reading my blog! More adventures to come! Keep loving #CEBU PHILIPPINES ;)

About the Author

Engr. Moon Ray Lo is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. He is currently working as an Oracle EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), B2B and eCommerce Systems Analyst. He likes blogging, landscape photography, travel and graphics design. [ For inquiries, suggestions and concerns, CLICK HERE to Contact Engr. Moon Ray Lo ]

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