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Off-Vespa Destination: Isla Naburot

November 18, 2006

Isla Naburot is a small island off-Guimaras and accessible via a 40-minuite boat ride from Iloilo. If the name sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you’ve seen/heard it from a PAL infomercial back in the 80’s when the airline started promoting this private resort along with Puerto Azul, etc. If it doesn’t ring a bell, then it’s because the owners intentionally don’t want to market the place and simply rely on word-of-mouth. In fact, the resort attracted mostly foreign guests since it opened to the public in the late 70’s. The growth in their local visitors only picked up around three years ago.

The place is the perfect antithesis to the popular Boracay; Isla is not bustling with tourists, there is no nightlife to speak of, no fancy bars & restos, and most of all, there is no electricity. But that’s really part of its charm. That could be what pulls some visitors to keep returning. In fact, it’s also what draws me and my wife to return to this special place someday soon.

the view from the boat as we arrive in Isla Naburot

Our personal account of our stay in Isla appeared today in the monthly column I co-write with my wife for The Manila Bulletin. I would also like to share with you some images we took during our stay.

the only cottage on the beach & near the dining areastiltcotteges.jpg
tucked behind the foliage are 3 stilt houses on the hill
TIP: if you plan to go to Isla, book Cottage #1 (leftmost in pic) — it has the best view of the cove and the open sea!

the Guest Hall where tons of reading materials are displayed. There are dorms on the 2nd floor

the shower rooms by the beach. the facade are made of coral stones

old bottles

a mini-artwork on a pillar made of sand & broken glass

Parting Shot – my family with Anne Saldaña

Life’s a beach!



P.S. If you are considering going to Isla too, you may get in touch with Ms. Anne Saldaña thru these numbers: 0920.9275372 | (033) 321.1654 | (033) 321.0880.

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2006 6:55 am

    hi, i LOVE the pictures you guys took and i am interested in taking my husband there. if you can give me any information on how to get there, how much was your budget or tips, i’d appreciate it.


  2. November 20, 2006 3:12 pm

    Love the shower room facade against the greens and foliage backdrop. With such sight, visiting the john (oppps, no offense) becomes an artistic experience.

    And, do you think I can “steal” two of the green bottles?

    Great to go now while its still virgin, huh…pag nalaman ito ng marami, it will loose its charm and appeal ( i think…) Gotta get a couple for destination wedding, quick!!!

    Thanks for sharing

  3. jesse permalink
    November 20, 2006 3:17 pm

    Needless to say, hearing of your experience in Isla inspired me to go and get a feel of the place myself, with my fiancee. maybe you can provide me with info as to how much the entire trip cost you guys. Thank you for sharing this treasure you found…

  4. Michael Saldaña Tiongson permalink
    November 20, 2006 5:10 pm

    Just an FYI to everyone who wants to go to Isla: it was NOT affected by the recent oilspill in Guimaras. It occured further south.

    John, you should have taken pictures of the house located at the back of the island, the one facing the open sea. especially at sunset, it’s one of the most beautiful locations on the island.

  5. Benz Rana permalink
    November 21, 2006 4:28 am

    Hi Maan & Jesse,

    Ok to go to Isla you will be fetch at Iloilo, I suggest you stay the night there so you can leave first thing in the morning and not be bothered by delayed flights. The rate there is $120/pax (Local resident rate is P4500/pax; kids 50% rate) inclusive of stay and full board meals (and the meals are so worth it talaga – makes you want to pirate their cook and open a resto here) and a transfer fee of P5000 van from pickup point to port then ferry from port to Isla and back. Transfer fee is per group.

    Hay dont stay for just one night. :)

    Jesse, it is so much a well kept secret that we felt so blessed to be able to visit and enjoy it. The owners didnt want to advertise it as they are not too keen on making the place known they have regular guest na kasi and they are happy with their occupancy, galing noh?

    – – – –


    Hay the pace is so nice I cant help but call Tisha as soon as we got there, I was so filled up with good feelings IU just have to talk to somebody and share it, Tish was the one who mentioned the place kasi, I even sent lots of MMS to my barkada to tell them to go din.

    And speaking of bathroom you should have seen the bathroom of our cottage (cottage#1 nga) it is facing the open sea and the banka passing by CAN see you but they are far in between so you have plenty time to bathe hehehe.

    – – – –

    Hi Michael,

    Hay seeing Saldaña in your surname makes me so inggit!
    Yeah we do have photo of the Sunset Villa, will check if it is nice enough to upload also the CR pix hehehe.

    Hay will definitely go back. Have two groups to go with na nga eh.

    This is my happy place!


  6. Jolly Picache permalink
    November 21, 2006 11:22 pm

    Hindi ko matiis, I just needed to post a comment after reading the article and seeing the pictures of Isla Naburot.

    Every year after Christmas, our (small) clan goes out of town to the different provinces of the Philippines, trying a different one each year. Nakaabot na kami ng Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Bohol, Boracay, at marami pang iba, pero ang talagang super favorite naming magpipinsan, ang talagang hindi namin makalimutan, ang Isla Naburot. It has probably been seven years since we were there, pero yun pa rin ang pinag-uusapan namin kahit nasa Boracay o Bohol na kami. Ü Lalo na pagdating sa pagkain! Ü

    Paradise nga talaga siya. Todo bonding kami kasi wala naman ibang kailangang gawin, at walang ibang kailangang isipin. After sleeping and eating, relax lang sa duyan, usap-usap. Tapos naaalala ko pa may chess board at billiard table doon, yun lang ang linalaro namin. Other than that, kain lang kami nang kain. Ü Overflowing food — talagang hindi sila tumigil sa pagluto hanggang sumuko na kami at tumigil na sa pagkain. Ü At parang kakatapos lang namin kumain, tinatawag na ulit kami para kumain. What a life! Talagang worry-free at relaxed na buhay. Ü

    Tapos nung pauwi na kami, may baon pa kaming mga malalaking kaing ng mangga from Guimaras — one per family! Ü Ilang buwan siguro kami kumakain ng mangga pagkatapos ng trip na yon. Ü

    Sorry for the long post. Natuwa lang talaga ako na may ibang nakapunta doon, kasi sobrang dami naming good memories doon.

    And I’m glad to learn na hindi siya naapektuhan ng Guimaras oil spill. Yun yung una naming naisip nung nabalitaan namin yung oil spill: “Paano na yung Naburot?”

    Reading about Isla Naburot brought back many good, happy, fun (and yummy!) memories. Ü Thanks for sharing the article and the pictures. Ü

    I REALLY look forward to going back there. Ü

  7. November 24, 2006 10:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, Jolly! :)

  8. Benz Rana permalink
    November 24, 2006 4:50 pm

    Hi Jolly,

    At least now I know di lang ako exag talagang the place makes you feel so good you have nothing but the best words lang for it.

    Problem now would be everybody going there have this super high expectations. Hope you guys will also enjoy it the way we did.


  9. jolly permalink
    November 26, 2006 4:04 am

    hehehe. oo nga po pala, ‘no…

    well, I guess, as a disclaimer, I can add that there was one member of our family who didn’t enjoy — yung isa kong tito, kasi nga walang kuryente, tapos wala pang signal yung phone niya, so disconnected siya from everything in “civilization”. hehehe. but still, 1 out of 15 isn’t bad. at may pagka-kj naman kasi talaga yung tito kong yun. hehehe. :)

    So I guess it’s not for everyone, lalo na sa mga technology-dependent. :)

    But for those who love the kick-back-and-relax lifestyle and want to really “get away from it all”, I’m sure that Isla Naburot won’t disappoint. :)

    I hope everyone does enjoy their trip there as much as, or even more than, we had. Here’s to wishing everyone good memories! :)

  10. tootsee permalink
    January 18, 2007 1:08 am


    I am tootsee herrera, and i am a true blue guimarasnon, explains why i am a beach girl at heart, after having spent more than half my life away from home due to continuous schooling. naburot is one “paradise” that we have in guimaras. it is one of the reasons why i am blessed to have been born in guimaras. i am getting married on feb 20, and as my husband and i does not have the time to go out of the country for our honeymoon, naburot is one of the top options that we are considering now, as we both love the beach, moreso that we both think that we need the quite serenity of the isla, a significant break from the crazy lawyer world that we both live in. so reading your article further strengthened our resolve to spend a few days in naburot after our wedding. and yes, i am quite sure that naburot is not affected by the oil spill. thanks for sharing your isla experience!

  11. Benz Rana permalink
    January 18, 2007 4:36 am

    Hi Tootsie,

    Glad to have found another happy Isla Naburot dweller :)

    Have fun if you do end up spending honeymoon there, send our regards to Anne.


  12. January 23, 2007 6:08 pm

    When is the best time of the year to go and is there a website or email to book?

  13. January 23, 2007 7:02 pm

    Hi Alfonso!

    If you would like the island all to yourself, I suggest you go there during off-peak months. Peak season here is March-May and December-January.

    You need to call them to book though. They neither have a website nor an email for booking, so you have to call. Btw, if you plan to call, the Philippines’ country code is +63. Just remove the first zero in the numbers I stated above.

    By the way, I visited your site and you’ve got amazing images there. Nice work! ;)


  14. January 24, 2007 6:40 am

    Thanks for the prompt reply and kind comments about my site. Is there a direct flight to Guimaras followed by a quicker bangka ride comapared to Iloilo? Is there a generator and hot water? Is the food included in the price? Any help would be great!

  15. January 24, 2007 7:00 am

    Hey Alfonso! From what I know, Iloilo is always the starting point for every visit to Naburot. When we arrived there, there were guests leaving Isla through the backdoors of Guimaras which is literally just a swim away. It sure did cut the banca ride to Iloilo but I don’t know exactly how long their inland travel in Guimaras took them. I also don’t think there are direct flights to Guimaras.

    There’s no generator and no hot water as far as I can remember. The food (breakfast, lunch & dinner) is included in package rate you will pay for.

    In case you haven’t yet, just read our personal account on our trip there in this page: ;)

  16. Dynes permalink
    March 30, 2007 4:33 pm

    I am very concern about the lack of electricity, which means no air conditioning. Did you find your sleep at night comfortable?

  17. Benz Rana permalink
    March 31, 2007 4:21 am

    Hi Dynes,

    We went around August so it was rainy and winds are strong, it was cool. Though our daughter wasnt comfy but my guess was it was psychological.

    You may bring the battery operated fans if it helps. And Anne said it can be quite warm during summer.

    Hope this helped!


  18. steve french permalink
    July 16, 2007 3:07 pm

    i was in isla naburot last feb 2007 with my friend from norway, my 16yo sister, best friend and cousin.
    We have planed to stay for about 5 nights but the morning after the first night found out that my friends body bag and my bag wer missing from our room.
    I lost a lot, all my jewelries, our diving camera,…esp my dads rolex that i inherited and my friends TAG H. watch. We lost little things but they happend to be highend brands thus making them expansive in the market. values lost amounting to about 1,000,000.
    The worst experience in my life! the place has no security…it wasnt our first time there thats why we felt at home and didnt worry about such thing can happend. Ive been to many places all over the world and always been vigilant to theives. I really dont know how this can happend with an island so secluded, unless someone from the inside tips an outsider about a guest. Anyway, Im happy they didnt take our life. The case isnt solved yet…

  19. Benz Rana permalink
    July 17, 2007 12:51 am

    Hi Steve,

    oh, what happened to you and your companion is so sad. it’s a pity your isla naburot experience is now marred by that experience now. last i heard the family is no longer going to open the place to the public which is another sad news… which we also hope is temporary news.

  20. christine castro permalink
    July 22, 2007 1:19 pm

    hi…your pictures were great. The place is still the same as it was 17 years ago..And Anne Saldana still looked good after all these years..I wonder if “midnight” the German Shepherd was still there..Planning on visiting the place again soon..thanks again..

  21. giegie permalink
    September 9, 2007 10:39 am

    hi. my mom is from Antique and studied in Iloilo. I only got to be in Guimaras once. And i am planning to go back there. I have been to panglao, bora, palawan and dumaguete and is so amazed that there is a beautiful white beach in guimaras which is much nearer and hopefully less expensive. my Alubihud experience was such a long time ago. And i want to have a fresh look into Guimaras. Have you heard about Isla still being open for public? good luck and thanks!

  22. benz rana permalink
    September 12, 2007 6:35 pm

    Hi Christine,

    There is a black German Shepherd when we went am just not sure if he/she’s Midnight :)

    Oh I wish to go back there too!

    Hi Giegie,

    I got in touch with Anne and found out it is now her sister Dr Araneta who is handling Isla Naburot. Rate is still P4500/night full board meals and cottage and P5500 for boat transfer for the group.

    Oh have fun if you do decide to go there.

    Contact Dr. Araneta at 0918.9098500


  23. September 25, 2007 3:19 am

    hello john and benz,

    we’re sherwin and elaine, we’re one of your w@wies members. we read your post re isla naburot and just wanted to ask a few stuff about the place. my wife and i had thought of the idea about going to the place before but, just in passing (medyo short lang kase yung una naming honeymoon we were planning another one this year hehe). now that we’ve read it from you here, it made us all the more curious. yung cottage po ba nila furnished? sorry ha, i know the question is a bit duuhh… :) i mean, do you need to bring anything aside from clothes? maybe your own cot? hehe. did you have a hard time sleeping at night? any insect problems? no mosquitoes? were the bed linens okay? (were not looking for anything fancy. simple and clean is good enough) tapos yung food? talagang eat all you can huh? i mean all throughout the day? what did they serve you? mostly seafood ba? we luuuv sea food kase hehehe. bigyan mo naman kame nang tips on what to bring if we should push through. thank you.

    • Wendell Tan permalink
      February 14, 2011 9:50 am

      To Sherwin and Elaine Domingo,

      If this is my very good buddy Sherwin way back from flying school JF super air. Pls. respond. OK? I’ve been trying to get hold of you for many years now. Thanks!

  24. krystellereignedrops permalink
    September 25, 2007 3:49 am


    My boyfriend and I are planning to go to Isla Naburot soon and just wanted to ask if the P5,500 boat transfer fee is fixed. I mean, there’s just two of us and it is a bit costly.
    Is there another way to go to Isla Naburot? Any suggestions on how we can go about this?
    Thank you so much and very nice shots. :)

  25. September 26, 2007 2:06 am

    Hi Sherwin & Elaine,

    The place is really worth visiting. Like what we said in our article it is the kind of place that you’re already wondering when you’ll be back just when you arrive.

    The linens are clean and good. The stay is luxurious as you will want nothing more naman. No need for cots as the bed was king size even. Mosquitos? hmmm didn’t notice them or maybe it wasn’t mosquitos season when we went? Eat all you can kasi super dami, we had seafoods but since John & our daughter Kite are allergic to seafood, they had to serve us something else. Food wasn’t serve throughout the day but there’s bfast, lunch, merienda & dinner and the food is so good you will tend to eat a lot thus you don’t feel hungry in between meals. I wasn’t able to eat the chips we brought with us there. Bring snorkel sets and aqua shoes. Bring books as it is so conducive to read there. We spent less than 24 hours there as we arrived 11am and left 9am the next day so am not sure if staying 2 nights will be a bore but I really, really doubt it. Maybe bring a bottle of wine if you are a wine drinker. They have porch perfect for watching sunset while drinking wine.

    If it is any comfort, please know the Zobels and a LOT of the ultra rich are regular guests there so you can imagine what kind of service they are used to giving. They have annual visitors from Europe who comes to the Philippines just for Isla Naburot so they pass Manila just to go straight to domestic airport. It is definitely not roughing it there. :)

    Hi Krystellereignedrops,

    Yes the transfer fee is fixed but maybe you can call them and ask when they will next have visitors and ask if you can share the transfer fee with the other group if you go the same time they go? I never asked about this but it should work.

    That is the reason why we chose to stay just one night, we didn’t want to gamble and stay in the off chance we won’t enjoy the place.

    Hope this helps!


  26. September 26, 2007 5:23 am

    wowoweeee mukhang sarap talaga dun huh…thanks for the pointers i-se-set na lang namin ni misis etong jan 2008. tamang-tama first year anniversary hehe :-P uber thank you talaga. tipo bang nakahinga nako nang malalim due to your testament. e nung sinabe mo yung the zobels para bang nakabasa kame nang warranty at guarantee card hehehe. lalo nang nafortify yung resolution namin pumunta hehe. thank you, thank you po ulet.

    PS cute nang name nang baby mo ha… KITE, unique

  27. Benz Rana permalink
    December 20, 2007 3:25 am

    Hi Sherwin & Elaine,

    Please share with us your Isla Naburot story ha. I know several people went na after reading and now they are Isla Naburot preachers din like us hahaha.

    Ohh will check if we can make a trip to Isla Naburot on 2008. Hmmm will gather more people to join to split the transfer fee :)

    Our Isla Naburot pictures are one of my uppers actually when am feeling not too ok.

    I wish…. *law of attraction* we’d go there again on 2008… with an LV Neverful Murakami Bag… hahaha sulitin ang wish!


  28. kiko capitan permalink
    December 21, 2007 4:50 am

    hi there,

    i found it interesting about this island. can you please tell me how can we book to isla naburot. im getting married this feb and im looking for a perfect honeymoon spot. ok po ba na mag honeymoon here? safe po ba yung place? please send me po info on how to go there and the rate. thanks po!

    God bless!

  29. Mike Tiongson permalink
    March 17, 2008 6:16 pm


    to reach Isla management for reservations/bookings, you can call/text the following people, my aunts and my mom hehe:

    Dr. Teresa Araneta: +639189098500
    Dr. Victoria Tiongson: +639173029136
    Issa Jalandoni: +639189018072

  30. March 18, 2008 12:55 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the update. You have an email to add so I can update the W@W Directory? Also pls ask naman for the current rates for the stay and for transfer. When I am asked I would still give the rates we had 2 years ago eh.

    Any idea where and what Anne is doing na? Send our regards to her if you do get to see her.

    Thanks a lot!


  31. Mike Tiongson permalink
    March 19, 2008 10:57 am

    hi benz,

    i entered my email in the comment box, i thought the blog owner could view it? Anyways it’s The rates are the same i believe, last i asked about a month ago. 4.5k a night, 6k for for transfer from airport to island and back.

    Tita anne is in iloilo, enjoying her hiatus. after all she had been living in Isla for a long time.

  32. April 10, 2008 10:53 pm


    Can anyone tell me if it is possible to make a day trip
    by boat from Boracay to Isla Naburot or any other resort in Guimaras? We are having an family reunion in Boracay, where we are booked to stay from May 21 to 25.

  33. tricia permalink
    April 19, 2008 6:57 am


    Im very interested to go to Isla with my family. Benz is it worth to go there overnight like what you did? or at least 2nights? its kinda expensive thats why im already computing the expenses.

  34. June 8, 2008 8:14 pm

    Hi All,

    Please visit for more info on the island. You can also e-mail us at

  35. July 19, 2008 1:59 am

    Hi Tricia,

    1 night is ok naman but a bit bitin and for sure you will be like us, craving to go back.

    2 nights? I havent tried it yet eh. Compute compute hahaha.

    But next time we go for sure 2 nights kami at least.


  36. August 26, 2008 9:06 am

    hey! nice place.

    me & my fiance were planning for a getaway to spend for our 10th year anniversary. me contact po ba kayo sa isla naburot?

  37. Mike permalink
    September 8, 2008 3:41 am


    My wife and I are planning to go back to the Philippines for a vacation and I want to surprise her I love to bring her to Isla Naburot

    Do you have any contact info with regards reservation?


  38. ogi sugatan permalink
    January 19, 2009 7:39 pm

    One word: schwiiiiingggg!

    Now I know where to bring my family next. Thanks for this great page!

  39. January 27, 2009 12:58 pm



    5,500 Php per person a day which includes 3 meals a day and a cottage plus 5,000 boat transfer from the iloilo pier to Isla Naburot.

    For reservations: +639189098500

    (I recommend you send an SMS to the number above, sometimes kase di ma contact ung number na yan)

  40. felisshi permalink
    March 5, 2009 5:53 am

    Hi! It just popped in my mind and there I was reading about Isla. I’ve heard about Isla since the 80’s from friends here in California who are from Iloilo. Whenever they ask me my family name and I would reply “Saldana”, they would ask me if I am related to Pons Saldana. I’d politely tell them that Tiyo Pons’ my father’s first cousin.We’re orginally from Guagua, Pampanga. The only relative I’ve seen and known from Iloilo are Tiyo Serafin, Tiya Enyang, Tiya Angeling. Tiyo Pons and Tiya Binyang ( a nun) were familiar names but I have not seen them yet. Anyway, I’m really impressed with Isla by the way you described your experiences there. I feel kind of proud that people do remember the place with such fond memories and love.

  41. December 18, 2012 4:52 pm

    wow lindota baya sa isla naburot nohh.. per0 wahh.. pa k0 ka adt0 jod dahh.. wa m0ney….

  42. December 18, 2012 4:53 pm


  43. faith permalink
    March 3, 2013 4:50 pm

    sir/maam how much ang room rates??? lets say good for four


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