Marbuena Island Resort, Ajuy, Iloilo

Share the joy
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

If you’re looking for an quiet, nature-oriented island get-away on Panay Island, something totally the opposite of Boracay, it’s hard to beat the island resort of Marbuena in Iloilo Province in the Philippines.  The resort owns the entire island.  Logging and hunting are not allowed and, of course, there are no vehicles of any kind. A beautiful ocean-front hiking trail circles the island.

We catch the pump boat to Marbuena at Mangorocoro, Ajuy, Iloilo Province

We catch the pump boat to Marbuena at Mangorocoro, Ajuy, Iloilo Province

The family we rent our Iloilo City apartment from often include us in their family outings. This time the trip was to the Marbuena Island resort near Ajuy, Iloilo, about a two hour drive north from Iloilo City. As you head north from Barotac Viejo, pass by Culasi port (Culasi, Iloilo not Culasi, Antique) watch for a Marbuena Resort sign on your right. The turn-off is well before Ajuy proper. You travel down a dirt lane to the settlement of Mangorocoro and the Marbuena waiting shed and dock. If you are driving you may leave your vehicle here. If you’re leaving a vehicle overnight, check with the resort in advance to be sure someone will be there to look after your vehicle.
Mangorocoro is a small and peaceful barangay of Ajuy, Iloilo. The above photo shows the waterfront at Mangorocoro with the dramatic summit of Pan de Azucar Island in the distance.
Marbuena Resort Pump Boat

Marbuena Island Resort Pump Boat

The charge for transportation to Marbuena Island is P1000, as of April, 2007. The boat was large, in good condition and well-manned. Getting on and off the boat involved some climbing and balancing so it might not be the best for the very elderly or infirm.

Pump Boat to Marbuena, Carol, Agnes and Noel

Marbuena Island comes into view

Marbuena can be considered one of the Conception Islands group. These several islands, many of them large, and some spectacular, have few tourist facilities and see few visitors. This is amazing given the beauty of these islands and the hordes of tourists at Boracay and other locations. Marbuena could be considered the “UnBoracay”, a quiet place where quiet and nature are the draws.
Approaching the beach, Marbuena Island, Iloilo

Approaching the beach, Marbuena Island, Iloilo

Bob and Carol in obligatory arrival photo.  Marbuena Island Resort, Iloilo, Philippines

Bob and Carol in obligatory arrival photo. Marbuena Island Resort, Iloilo, Philippines

This photo shows the sandbar which extends out from the resort a considerable distance.

Marbuena Island Resort - Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines

Marbuena Island Resort – Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines. The resort owns the island. There are no other residences or residents on the island.

First...lunch!

First…lunch!

We were welcomed with buko, a fresh coconut with the top cut off so we could enjoy the juice. We had bought fish and crabs in Mangorocoro and brought them with us. We had stopped at the Culasi public market to buy our seafood there but there was not much variety or quality. Much of the good seafood is shipped to Iloilo and the small town markets get the leftovers. We’re told that local fishermen stop at the resort to sell seafood to guests. The staff will prepare and cook it for you.

The seafood we brought with us was expertly cooked by the Marbuena staff and nicely presented on banana-leaf lined baskets.

The seafood we brought with us was expertly cooked by the Marbuena staff and nicely presented on banana-leaf lined baskets.

and a plate of small crabs.  Marbuena Island Resort, Iloilo, Philippines

and a plate of small crabs. Marbuena Island Resort, Iloilo, Philippines

Island Trail

Island Trail

A real plus at Marbuena is a foot trail which circles the island. After lunch we set off with Marbuena employee Hazel as guide and company.
Fruits Bats, Marbuena Island, Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines

Fruits Bats, Marbuena Island, Ajuy, Iloilo, Philippines

Many trees were filled with noisy fruit bats. The fruit bats are eaten in the Philippines, cooked adobo style. However, the owners of Marbuena work to preserve the island and do not allow hunting or cutting of trees. Many urban Filipinos maintain their connection to life in the provinces, including owning and maintaining a provincial retreat.

Trees along the trail. Marbuena  Island Resort, Ajuy, Iloilo Philippines

Trees along the trail. Marbuena Island Resort, Ajuy, Iloilo Philippines

In so many locations in the Philippines the trees have been logged off and the forests really amount to scrubby brush. Therefore, it was a pleasure to see mature vegetation on our hike.
The trail follows the shore with beautiful vistas.

The trail follows the shore with beautiful vistas.

More trail vistas. Marbuena Island Resort

More trail vistas. Marbuena Island Resort

As the trail neared the resort at the end of the hike we saw thriving mangroves.

As the trail neared the resort at the end of the hike we saw thriving mangroves.

The beaches were excellent for swimming.

The Marbuena beaches offered good swimming.

Gabriel in the garden

Gabriel in the garden. Marbuena Island Resort

The grounds of the resort contain many Catholic symbols. The protection of the island as God’s creation thankfully appears to important to the owners.

Marbuena Island Resort: Accomodations

Marbuena Island Resort: Accommodations

Here are some of the beach cottages. Some are air conditioned, some fan only. There are also two “tree house” cottages shown later. The fan accommodations (beach and tree house) are P500 PER PERSON. The air conditioned cottages are P2500 per ROOM. Electricity is available from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Contact Ninfa or Angie for reservations: 63-33-329-6798, mobile 0928-377-2731. Information as of late 2007. Marbuena’s website is: http://marbuenaisland.multiply.com/
View from balcony of one of the beach cottages.  Marbuena Island Resort

View from balcony of one of the beach cottages. Marbuena Island Resort. Can you imagine a more peaceful place to spend an afternoon with a book?

Marbuena Resort staff member Hazel shows us the "Tree House" accomodations.

Marbuena Resort staff member Hazel shows us the “Tree House” accommodations.

Picnic and napping shelter. You may come to Marbuena Island Resort as a day visitor for a fee of P100 per person.

Picnic and napping shelter. You may come to Marbuena Island Resort as a day visitor for a fee of P100 per person.

The beach in front of the beach cottages with the sandbar in the distance. Marbuena Island Resort.

The beach in front of the beach cottages with the sandbar in the distance. Marbuena Island Resort, Ajuy, Iloilo, Panay , Philippines

We stop to by nipa thatch on the way back to Iloilo City

We stop to by nipa thatch on the way back to Iloilo City

A beautiful vista of rice being harvested in Ajuy, Iloilo on our way back to Iloilo City

A beautiful vista of rice being harvested in Ajuy, Iloilo on our way back to Iloilo City

Comments (9) Write a comment

  1. tagpila mg stay sa inyo resort? lima ka adult and isa ka bata kmi tanan. pwd kdala pgkaon?

    Reply

  2. Pingback: Marbuena Island Resort, Ajuy, Iloilo | Philippines or Bust

  3. Tony,

    First of all, we are not owners of Marbuena. We just visited Marbuena Resort, enjoyed our visit and shared our photos and report on www.

    Now to try to answer your question. Marbuena is about 90KM northeast of Iloilo City, perhaps a bit closer to the new Iloilo airport in Sta. Barbara. You can negotiate with a taxi driver at the Iloilo Airport and maybe get to the Marbuena boat dock in a couple of hours.

    We’d strongly advise you to make your reservations and pick-up arrangements and with Marbuena Resort well in advance of your trip. They may meet you at the Iloilo Airport and transport you to the Marbuena dock. +63-929-646-5415.

    Contact Ninfa or Angie for reservations: +63-33-329-6798, mobile +63-928-377-2731. Marbuena’s website is: http://marbuenaisland.multiply.com/

    Reply

    • Hi,
      Good day! I’m eyeing to spend our next family holiday and this one private beautiful island resort could be our next destination. Just to ask some querry? As i’ve seen on some of the pictures posted, you guys brought your own vehicle, is there any safe place to leave or park the vehicle while spending days on the island holidaying without any worries at all for the safety and security of the vehicle?
      Many thanks. Kind regards!!!

      Reply

      • Louie,

        They do have a mainland dock and parking area. While I would consult with the resort owners, my guess is that your vehicle would be ok.

        Bob

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.