Mararison – soon another lost paradise? Malalison born of a Tale

Mararison Island in the evening

Mararison is a small island off the western coast of Panay. Until now this pearl had been protected by the slow public transportation and the lack of hotel accommodation. This will change soon!

First the Tale

The name itself spells adventure. “Mararison” comes from the Kinaray-a “malalison,” meaning disobedient. According to legend, a young girl named Mara fell in love with a stranger. Despite her parents’ objections to the man, she eloped with him one night. The lovers were out at sea when a storm came. And you know what happens to disobedient children. The next day, the villagers found a beautiful island, which they named after Mara, the malalison.

Where is Mararison?

The small island lays about 3 km off the coast of Culasi in Antique on Panay island. You may zoom the map in and out. When I went the first time to Mararison, we had our own car. We needed about 2 hours from Kalibo, the capital of Aklan province to go over to Antique. A friend living in Culasi, Gottfried, did hire a bangka for our group. The trip from Culasi to the island lasts 10 to 20 minutes. This depends on the spot you would like to visit.

Soon you will be there by fastcraft

FastCat recently announced the opening of new routes. They will sail from Bulalacao (Mindoro) to Buruanga (Panay) and Culasi (Panay).

FastCat to Culasi

But there is hope for this wonderful island. FastCat opens very often new routes. They install their ramps in the ports. Then they test the new route. If it makes money, they keep it. If the new route is below expectations, they let it fall. We have seen this happen for the route Opol – Camiguin – Jagna. If you like, you may read here. Shortly after the schedule modification FastCat abandoned Camiguin. 

Malalison impressions

Malalison satisfies almost everybody’s desires. On the northern and eastern coast sunbathers find white beaches with pristine turquoise waters. Especially the white sandbar of the easternmost point is a dream for sun hungry tourists.

We always preferred the south-western beach near the Gui-ob cave. The beach is made of gravel and in the water are deep canyons inviting for free-diving.

Unfortunately the secret cove of Luyo beach in the west is now a tourist magnet. It is just a dream. White sand, some fisher-boats and some huts. Recent photos on Google Earth show that the path over the island has now solar powered lights and there are some new cabins and houses.

Mararison now

Let’s go a step back – memories …

Mararison - the Kawit Sandbar
Mararison – the Kawit Sandbar
Mararison - inland
Mararison – inland.
Mararison - the yet almost untouched Luyo beach
Mararison – the yet almost untouched Luyo beach
Local fisher folk
Local fisher folk
Leaving our secret cove
Leaving our secret cove with Gottfried, Ernst and Silvia
Good bye my beautiful girl - good luck!
Good bye my beautiful girl – good luck!

We strongly recommend to visit Malalison as soon as possible. Again an island in the Philippines could be occupied by a foreign hotel company. Once Henan or another international resort company has put their feet on an island, it won’t be accessible and affordable for you.

I’ll again go there this summer to kiss the beautiful girl “Mara” before she’ll get lost for ever.

My thanks

I would never have had the pleasure to be on Mararison island without Gottfried who lives (lived?) in Culasi. You can see Gottfried in the centre of the boat picture above. Unfortunately we lost contact. Internet in Culasi seems still to be a mess.
I would also thank Ernst and Silvia, with whom I lived my first year in the Philippines. They left the islands in 2013.

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2 Responses

  1. waebi says:

    There are strange people all over the world. But there seems to be a dense nest in Angeles City.
    Here are 3 feedbacks I got from AC guys:

    Angel Milev: Writing, posting, sharing this article seems like an oxymoron – how making noise about a place helps it stay untouched? 🙂

    John Reyes: Now I’m going to go and fuck shit up. Thanks for the info.

    Levz DeGuzman: As a successful business-man and constantly looking for future investments, I’m going to look for the opportunity of opening a resort while dodging Philippine labor & environmental laws; Built underground human waste pipes directly into the ocean with cheap Filipino labor.


  2. waebi says:

    They did it.
    Earlier this week FasCat celebrated their inaugural trip from Bulalacao to Culasi.
    Good luck my beautiful girl.

    Cheers, waebi

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