ABOUT SAN PABLO ISLAND
Dive into the blue waters of San Pablo Island also known as Pong Gamay in Hinunangan, Southern Leyte. It is simply one of the most beautiful hidden getaways there are in the locality. The Island were locally popular in Leyte. This island is close to my heart especially the locals living there. Way back 2017, we (Leyte Samar Photography Club – LEYSAMFOTOinc) actually donated hundreds of slippers to the community.
This is the only island that feels like home to me. Actually at first, I was hesitant to post blog regarding this Island because, this is my relaxing spot (selfish af). I can come here anytime without worrying about my food and etc but I am looking for the bright side. The island is not yet popular for some tourists. I hope in my own way, I can help them through this post.
(Help people, even when you know they cant help you back).
There are many sights to see here in San Pablo Island and there are a lot of nearby islands for a great island hopping adventure. San Pedro Island and Snake Island (literally snake Island). San Pedro Island is also knows as Pong Dako, the twin island of San Pablo. Ill post a separate blog regarding San Pedro island. And also, as for my friend who own and operate his pumpboat, he can also accommodate trips going to Dinagat Island. Hmm Sounds interesting to me. Ill check on it soon. In San Pablo, snorkeling activities are on the top of my bucket list. There are numerous species of fish and corals to see when snorkeling, you can even see some marine life that are of the same seen in the Disney movie, Finding Nemo. Just the sight of such blue to blue green waters gives off a refreshing sensation. I would recommend San Pablo Island if you ever come by Southern Leyte.
Pictures below are my recent travel to San Pablo Island
THINGS TO DO
Stay overnight in Tocmo Beach
In our case, we always stay at my favorite place, Tocmo Beach which was found at the southern end of the island. To enjoy your San Pablo Island trip, I encourage to stay at Tocmo. Trust me, you will never regret it. The resort has 1 bungalow house with 2 bed rooms and personal comfort room. There were also 3 large sized cottages along the beach with common comfort room and shower room adjacent is the cooking area. They also have private generator for electricity during the night. The place was spacious enough and surrounded with trees that adds relaxation and help us connect to nature and our surroundings. You can also rent the whole place whole place for an overnight stay for only 1,500 pesos. Perfect for team buildings and big family outings.
We rented the whole place for 1,500 pesos only. (exclusive)
The picture below is the cottages. 350 each cottage.
Setup a hammock and tent beneath the trees.
Disconnect your self from city life and connect yourself to the nature.
This is my kind of 5 star hotel.
Mandatory group shot
Always have a good group shot once settled.
Pictures will bring back memories.
And my favorite part. The Snorkeling. Also one of the reasons why we this island is my favorite. Bring your gears if you are going to this Island. I always use my flippers because the water current here is unpredictable. Though the water is clear and perfect for snorkeling. The water is also dip enough to practice free diving even during low tides. We had a great time swimming enjoying the view of corals beneath. As what I’ve expected, I saw Nemo & Dory in the area.
The Island has fish sanctuary at the end point of the Island. 20 mins walk going to the sanctuary. Snorkeling fee is 50 pesos each. Ask the caretaker for someone who can guide you to the sanctuary. Or let your pumpboat men take you to the sanctuary and tour San pedro Island for 500 pesos.
Just a friendly reminder, please don’t step on the corals.
Tocmo beach has a diving board also though not high enough unlike the adjacent resort who has 10ft high diving board.
Currently, Tocmo diving board is under construction as of May 15, 2018.
As per Nanay Nila, the construction will last 1 to 2 weeks.
Enjoy the perfect sunset. As for us, its not a perfect sunset if there’s no silhouette shot.
The good place to watch the sunset is at the mini bridge / diving board.
Chillax at night time and feeling the island vibe of San Pablo while waiting for the perfect Milkyway shot
Bring your bluetooth speakers and play it with maximum volume. The place is exclusive, so its fine. He he he. 🙂
There you have it. I hope I wont regret posting and sharing my secret place to the world. Everytime I visit this place, i feel so relax and forgot all my problems. I think the trees along the beach in Tocmo beach can also add the chillaxing vibe of the place. I hope everyone who will visit this place will be considerate enough. I often visit the place. Like once or twice a month.
Hoping to see you there happy and enjoying the place just like me . 😁
How to get there
If you’re coming from any part of the country, book a flight to Tacloban City. From Tacloban airport, take a ride going to Tacloban North Bus Terminal. Then, look for a van / bus going southbound that are travelling to St. Bernard Southern Leyte. Make sure that it traverses through Silago Municipality. Tell the driver to drop you at Brgy. Canipaan, Hinunangan Leyte. Canipaan is your jump off point to San Pablo Island. Travel time is about 2 hours and 30 mins.
Once in Canipaan port, i suggest to rent the whole pumpboat for your convenience. Travel time going to San Pablo is just 20 mins more or less.
Agas-Agas road section closed to traffic as of March 14, 2018 until further notice.
Cadac-An bridge in Abuyog Silago road is also closed effective May 24, 2018 until further notice.
I suggest to take the Baybay-Bato-Bontoc road.
Tips for your San Pablo Island Trip
-Contact a pumpboat going to the Island
Our contact was Kenneth – 0905 593 4539
If you have private cars, tell Kenneth to reserve a parking space for you.
-To fully enjoy its beauty is to travel and stay overnight on weekdays where it is less crowded.
I encourage you guys to stay at Tocmo Beach. Our contact was Nanay Nila – 0905 100 2343
-Bring life jacket, aqua shoes and flippers.
The beach is mixed with white sand and pebbles / corals.
-Bring Sunblock and Sunscreen
As for me, I always use beach hut with 100 spf
-Bring your cooking set as well.
Though Nanay Nila and company can cook for you.
Just give them some tip. I usually gave 300 to 400.
Also if you want fresh fish and fresh octopus, just let Nanay Nila know in advance.
-Bring you flashlights / led lights.
They have generators for your electricity overnight. But just incase.
-Bring your sleeping bag with you. Though you can rent a foam bed with 2 pillows included.
-Camera with wide angle lens to capture the stunning landscape.
The place is also perfect for night photography and astro photography.
-Drone to capture the other perspective view from above.
-Make sure to bring your own food and drinks before jumping off to the boat.
There’s a community living on the island, so expect small sari-sari stores.
-Electricity is only available from Sunset to Sunrise so make sure to charge all your devices during night time.
Electric sockets are limited, bring your own extension wires or ask Nanay nila for your concern. 🙂
Rates and Fees
Our breakdown in San Pablo Island. In our case, stayed at Tocmo Beach and we rented the whole area.
The area was actually large enough for us.
-Pumboat (back and forth) – 1,000
-Snorkeling and environmental Fee at Fish Sanctuary – 50 each
-Extra fee for the San Pedro tour– 500
-Tocmo Beach – 1,500 exclusive
-Foam bed with 2 extra pillows – 100
-Parking fee at Canipaan Port – 100 per car overnight
-Tip to Nanay Nila – 350