Fifteen minutes off the coast of Bancogon in Oslob rests Bluewater Sumilon Island, a tiny landmass measuring at only twenty-four hectares. To most tourists, the parcel of land is quite renowned for its shifting white sandbar. However, the privately-owned island is more than just the sandbar and to discern more of what it is truly about, I spent the rest of my first day in Oslob on a day tour in Bluewater Sumilon Island.
After getting acquainted with the heritage sites of Oslob, it was time to move along on my journey into discovering the many marvels of South Cebu. But first, I had to fulfill my obligation to my grumbling tummy and decided to have a quick bite at a burger stand along the highway. While eating, I asked the staff on how can I get to Bancogon Port and she was kind enough to flag a habal-habal from a nearby convenience store to drive me to the dock. We locked in the deal at 75 pesos for a one-way ride to Bancogon Port before leaving. It took us a little over 10 minutes to get from Barangay Poblacion to Barangay Bancogon and the driver dropped me off at the parking lot inside the Bluewater Sumilon compound.
I immediately approached the service desk to confirm my arrival and to register (advanced booking is required). The staff said that the next boat scheduled to go to the island is not until 11:00 AM. She told me to make myself comfortable and find a seat at the lounge while waiting, afterwards a welcome iced tea was served. With about thirty minutes to spare, I moved around the spacious compound for some snapshots. The Bluewater Sumilon facility in Bancogon is primarily used to hold guests, those on a day tour and the regular guests, waiting to be transported to the island.
Boat schedules to and from Bluewater Sumilon Island are as follows.
Safety Comes First
When the boat arrived, everyone at the waiting area lined up at the dock for a security check. Security was strict (which should be). They were inspecting all of our belongings for any prohibited items before they can let us through to board. As soon as we stepped on the boat, we were handed a life vest and the staff made sure that we donned them properly. The slightly strong winds gave way to some huge waves. There are times that Oslob Coast Guard officials cancel trips to and from Bluewater Sumilon Island if the sea conditions are rough. Luckily for us, the sustained winds that day weren’t that bad and we were able to set sail.
In about fifteen minutes we have reached the eastern side of the island. Disembarking was quite a task as the waves were more relentless and the boat could not be stopped from moving. But the boat staff were most helpful and assisted us until we have landed our feet on firm ground.
Just in Time for Lunch
We arrived at quarter before noon just in time for lunch. After a warm welcome from the island staff, we were then ushered to the buffet area down by the beach. Day tour guests in Bluewater Sumilon Island get to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch with one round of non-alcoholic drink.
The buffet line resembles that of a “sari-sari” (variety) store stand made from wood and “pawid” (dried leaves) embellished with native bits and pieces. Their food selection was a mix of all-time Filipino favorites and International cuisines to cater to both their local and foreign guests. Tables were set up under a huge canopy where guests can enjoy alfresco dining.
Guests can choose whether to face the sea and watch as the wild waves pound the shore or they can look toward the mangrove-filled even-tempered natural lagoon for a more tranquil scenery. As for me, I preferred to gaze at the former as I savored the delectable dishes prepared by the Bluewater Sumilon Island staff.
Things to Do on a Day Tour in Bluewater Sumilon Island
A few Payag or open cottages made from bamboo as well as hammocks tied between trees were lined along the beach perfect for those who just want to take a siesta after having a fill. I lay down on one of the payags, put my feet up and listened to the sound of the waves. It felt very soothing that it almost lulled me to sleep but I had to fight it because there was still so much to see and do. So, I got up and went under the shade of a tree instead to keep me awake while I admire the landscape.
Kayak and Fishes
Just opposite to where the hammocks are, is a natural lagoon lined with lush mangroves. The tranquility of the lagoon makes it easy for anyone on a kayak to paddle through. However, if you do not want to jump in a kayak, you can stay on the floating cottage and take pleasure in feeding the fish. Whichever interests you, you’ll definitely have a blast in this effortless, fun-filled, close-to-nature activity.
Bluewater Sumilon Island also boasts of an infinity pool and Jacuzzi with a gorgeous view of the deep-sea. It is situated right in front of the Front Desk. Children will surely enjoy the shallow parts of the pool but should be kept guided. The pools deepest part measures at six feet.
Its alluring clear blue waters that is teeming with marine life is the first marine protected area in the Philippines and was made a fish sanctuary. There are designated areas around the island where snorkeling is allowed. Use of mask and snorkel are for free. The whole island is surrounded with coral gardens and different dive sites however, diving is not included in the day tour package.
Listen to the splash of the seas, feel the cool breeze touching your skin, smell the freshness of lush greens and feast your eyes on spectacular panoramas while having a calming massage in an open cottage at the edge of a cliff. A truly relaxing multi-sensory experience. Although I have not tried the Bluewater Sumilon Island massage service as it was not included in the day tour package, I would love to give it a try next time. 🙂
Sumilon Island Sandbar
Truth be told, the famed white sandbar was the main reason why I was pulled in to book for a day tour in Bluewater Sumilon Island. According the front desk staff, it takes approximately ten minutes to walk to the sandbar from the pool. Guests with difficulty in walking can ride the tram/multicab that runs from the reception area to the sandbar and vice versa.
Since I cannot wait for the ride to arrive, I followed the tracks and headed westward. The tree-laden trail spared me from the penetrating heat of the sun. As I got closer to the end of the trail, I can already hear people’s voices…A LOT of people’s voices. True enough, there were groups of people that were on the water and boatloads more coming. It was a weekend so it was kind of expected for the place to be mobbed but not all of those people were Bluewater Sumilon Island guests.
The resort has opened the sandbar part of the island to other visitors even if they have not booked a day tour to their resort as a goodwill gesture. The only downside is, of course, they cannot use the resort’s amenities and they would have to “bring their own baon” or have lunch before leaving or when they get back to the mainland. They would also have to endure the heat of the sun on the beach alone or they can find a spot under the trees at the edge of the cliff.
It was around 1:30 in the afternoon when I got to the sandbar, but the tide was high and the sandbar was submerged in water unlike the Bantigue Sandbar in Gigantes Island and Bulog Sandbar in Coron, Palawan which were both fully visible when I visited. I asked one of the staff if the water will subside later on and he said that it might around 2:30 PM or 3:00 PM, but not guaranteed. So I’ve decided to check back later. Hopefully, it will show itself.
While I optimistically wait for the water to recede, I moved along to do some trekking around the island. Bluewater Sumilon already has an established trail for different types of trekkers. The paths marked with yellow flags are for beginners, blue flags for intermediate or moderate and red flags are for the advanced explorers. All three trails lead at some point to the Lighthouse and Baluarte but I went easy on myself and pursued the road with the yellow flags. 🙂
As I marched farther down the trail, the rock-strewn footpath made it a bit burdensome to walk on. The plant life grew denser and I can hear no other sound except for the humming of the birds and the resonance of my own breathing. It felt like I was in a maze and I must find my way out fast. After ten minutes of sticking to the yellow flagged rocky road, it had led me to the Sumilon Island Lighthouse. Next to the lighthouse is the Baluarte Ruins or the ruins of the watchtower. It was once used to monitor the activities of intruders and warn the people of the island.
After spending some time at the lighthouse, I made my way back to the sandbar by taking the blue trail. The blue (moderate) track required treading mostly on the edges of the island. The vista was picturesque but I had to be more cautious and to constantly look at where I was stepping because it was right next to a cliff. The blue trail was lengthier and it took me a while to get back to the sandbar.
Upon reaching the sandbar for the second time around, I was disheartened to see that the sea level was still high. Nevertheless, I had a blast going on a day tour to Bluewater Sumilon Island. It may have been costly but with the food, wide array of activities and amenities included in the package, it was worth to indulge myself every once in a while.
How to Get to Bluewater Sumilon Island
Take a taxi cab going to South Bus Terminal and ride a Ceres Bus going to Bato Oslob. You may just inform the driver to drop you off in Bancogon Oslob at Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort’s port. Time Travel is 3-4 hours land travel and 7-10 minutes boat ride going to Sumilon Island. Information from http://www.bluewatersumilon.com.ph/
Take a taxi cab going to Sibulan port and ride a fast craft or a pump boat going to Li-loan port for 30 minutes. From Li-loan port you may take a public vehicle going to our port in Bancogon Oslob. Time travel is approximately 1hour land and boat travel. Information from http://www.bluewatersumilon.com.ph/
From Oslob – Cuartel – Barangay Concepcion:
Take a habal-habal or bus from the national highway and ask the driver to drop you off in Bancogon Oslob at Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort’s port.
- Advanced booking is required
- Keep and bring your receipt, voucher, text or email from Bluewater Sumilon Resort just in case they need to verify it.
- Try to avoid going on a weekend if you can.
- For your safety, wear a proper footwear (not just flip-flops) if you decide to trek on the trails. The rocks can be sharp and might injure you.
- Bus Fare – South Bus Terminal Cebu City to Oslob – Php 144
- Habal-habal – From Barangay Concepcion (Cuartel) – Bancogon Port – Php 75
- Bus Fare – From Barangay Concepcion (Cuartel) – Bancogon Port – Php 20
Bluewater Sumilon Island Day Tour Rates
- Php 1,500 net per person (Mondays to Fridays)
- Php 2,000 net per person (Saturdays to Sundays and Holidays)
- Resort child policy applies: 50% discount for children with ages 6-11 years old, FREE for ages 0-5 years old
- Entrance Fee
- Buffet lunch with one round of non-alcoholic drink
- Roundtrip boat transfers (Mainland Bancogon – Sumilon Island – Mainland Bancogon)
- Island Activities (kayaking, snorkeling – free use of mask and snorkel, island trekking and fish feeding)
- Use of resort facilities including beach, infinity pool, payags and shower rooms
- For inquiries and reservations, please contact (032) 318 9098, 0998 964 1879 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.bluewatersumilon.com.ph/
This is not a sponsored post.
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How about you? Have you been to Oslob? Have you visited Bluewater Sumilon Island? What was your favorite activity? How was your experience? We would love to hear from you? Share your thoughts.