Header Photo by Dom Calalo and Arts Enriquez
The inside scoop on everything you need to know to make your visit to Sicogon Island a memorable one.
Take a moment to envision a seductive destination with sand bars caressed by azure waters and warm, balmy weather, where local culture blends harmoniously with luxurious amenities, and biodiversity is cherished above all. Such a place does exist, and it’s called Sicogon Island, nestled in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.
Once a preferred playground for high society and jet-setters from around the globe, this hidden gem had faded from the spotlight over the years. But with the steadfast commitment of Ayala Land Inc., Sicogon Island is reborn as a sustainable, fully-integrated community and a meticulously-planned tourism destination that promises an unparalleled experience.
Spanning over 1,100 hectares, Sicogon Island is a jewel in the crown of the Philippines. It boasts the pristine 5-kilometer-long beach of San Fernando and a unique character that blends seamlessly with the local environment. It offers a perfect balance of luxury, adventure, and natural beauty that is sure to captivate even the most discerning of travelers. The island’s rich history is reflected in its vibrant culture and delectable cuisine, providing visitors with a true feast for the senses.
From the memories of Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz astride a horse, filmed on the island in 1974, to the present-day fusion of local and international elements, Sicogon Island is a place to savor, cherish and enjoy.
Our exclusive MANTLE guide offers you the inside scoop on everything you need to know to make your visit to Sicogon Island a memorable one, from the best way to reach the island, to the finest places to stay, and the most extraordinary experiences to have. So, prepare to rediscover Sicogon Island, the captivating, hidden gem of Western Visayas that will capture your heart and imagination.
How to get there
Sicogon Island is located in the northern part of Iloilo province, about 2 to 3 hours away from Iloilo City. The island can be reached by land or sea transportation.
01. Take to the skies: AirSWIFT offers a direct flight from Manila to Sicogon Island Airport every Monday and Friday morning. Aboard the 50-seater Turboprop plane, your travel time is a mere 55 minutes.
02. Over land and sea: If you’re looking for an adventure-packed journey, consider taking a bus or van from Iloilo City to Estancia, which will cost you around P200. From Estancia, take a boat ride to Sicogon Island which usually takes 45 minutes to an hour depending on weather and sea conditions, and costs P80.
03. Port of call: To reach Sicogon Island via the esteemed Carles Port route, take a 4-hour bus or van ride from Iloilo City to Carles, followed by a short 30-minute boat ride to the island. The bus fare costs around P170-P180 per passenger, and the boat fare is ₱100.
04. Private transfer and tour packages: For a luxurious and stress-free voyage, why not arrange for a private transfer or join a tour package? Some resorts on the island offer private transfers or can arrange for one on your behalf.
Where to stay
When it comes to finding the perfect accommodation on Sicogon Island, travelers are spoilt for choice. The island offers a diverse range of accommodations, from upscale resorts to charming boutique hotels and laid-back beach hostels, that cater to every kind of traveler’s preferences. To facilitate finding the best deals on accommodations with ease, the Turista.ph app is your quintessential guide.
Tucked away on the idyllic San Fernando Beach, Huni Sicogon offers a contemporary tropical retreat that seamlessly blends comfort with natural beauty. With 52 thoughtfully designed rooms featuring clean lines and contemporary finishes, the boutique hotel is an ideal escape for discerning travelers seeking a serene sanctuary. The hotel’s name, “Huni ng dagat” or “hum of the sea,” pays tribute to its stunning surroundings, where the gentle sound of the ocean provides the perfect backdrop for relaxation. Guests can enjoy a refreshing swim in the free-form infinity pool or savor delectable local cuisine at the hotel’s all-day restaurant, which showcases the rich flavors of the region.
At Balay Kogon, take in the true island paradise. The “Cogon” grass that grows profusely on the island served as inspiration for this delightful boutique hotel, which has 26 small rooms and is surrounded by lush vegetation. Take in the tranquility of Buaya Beach, which is only a few feet away, and the breathtaking sea views from the view deck. You’ll feel right at home in this genuine, private refuge with kind hospitality from the locals. In addition, it’s not far from Tumaquin Island, providing a chance for exciting island-hopping excursions.
Hatch Sicogon is the ideal option for a chic yet modest boutique beach hostel experience. 24 rooms are now available at this recently opened hostel complex, while another 28 rooms are currently being built. Visitors can chill at the beach bar while taking in the breathtaking views or take part in the spectacular high-flying kiteboarding sessions offered by the Hangin Kite Center. Hatch Sicogon is the best place for budget-conscious travelers who wish to unwind and recharge while taking in the beauty of Sicogon Island because of its minimalist and trendy design.
Hatch Hostel offers comfortable bunk beds starting at P1,250 per bed, which is perfect for larger groups who want to stay together in one room.
Alternatively, for a more luxurious getaway, Huni Sicogon and Balay Kogan has an ongoing “Shape your Escape” package for a 4-day, 3-night fly and stay starting at P23,400 up to P26,800 and P18,850 up to P22,250 respectively.
The package includes roundtrip flights, airport transfers, room accommodation, daily breakfast, dining credits, resort amenities, Wi-Fi, taxes, and service charge. This promotion is valid for bookings made from March 31 to May 31, 2023, with travel dates from March 31 to December 21, 2023.
Sicogon Hit List
San Fernando and Buaya Beach
For thrill seekers, San Fernando beach is the ultimate aquatic playground. Kiteboarding, kayaking, paddleboarding, beach volleyball, and frisbee are just a few of the activities available for those seeking an adrenaline rush. And when you need a break, take a leisurely stroll along the sandbars, where the sunset casts a stunning pink hue over the starfish-dotted shores.
For those seeking a challenge, going to the summit of Mt. Opao is an absolute must. The two-hour hike may be a test of endurance, but the breathtaking panoramic views of the island and surrounding sea make it all worthwhile. For a more laid-back adventure, the newly opened Lagoon Eco-Trail offers a scenic route to spot local wildlife such as birds and pigs. Yes, Visayan warty pigs.
Islas de Gigantes
No trip to Sicogon would be complete without exploring the nearby Gigantes group of islands. Embark on an island hopping tour that takes you to some of the most stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and limestone cliffs in the region.
Marvel at the dramatic cliff views of Cabugao Island, the unique rock formations of Antonia Island, and the magical saltwater lagoon surrounded by towering cliffs on Tangke Island. And let’s not forget to mention the fresh scallops served during the tour—simply divine!
Huni All-Day Dining and Happy Hour
Huni presents a local fare that will leave visitors craving for more. From succulent crabs to kinilaw, chicken binakol, and KBL (Kadyos, Baboy, Langka), and the much-celebrated Gigantes scallops, this tropical paradise is an epicure’s haven. The scallops, in particular, are a must-try and can be savored in various forms, such as fresh, baked, cooked like adobo, or as a crispy snack to take home. And what better way to wet your whistle than with Huni’s version of daiquiri, where they’ve added a fruity twist to this classic cocktail with the addition of batwan—an indigenous fruit native to the Visayan region.