Hali and I went on a 4 days trip to Panay Island. This wasn’t the most thorough plan that we’ve had since we mainly just want to have a vacation, but we did visit nice places. Here I’m sharing our itinerary!
We visited Boracay (Aklan), Carabao Island (Romblon) and then finally Malalison and Seco Island (Antique). This route covers beach destinations so it’s ideal if you’re a beach lover like me.
At the end of our trip, we realized we should have planned for a week-long vacation instead. We weren’t initially excited about Boracay which is why we only went there as a “layover” for the morning trip to Romblon, but it was better than expected and we were honestly looking forward to going back there.
Anywhere here’s how our trip went.
4 Days Itinerary in Panay Island
When I first published this post, I only talked about the places we’d been to. A lot of people asked me about our itinerary in Panay Island, so here it is finally!
|– Flight to Kalibo airport
– Ride bus or van to Caticlan Port
– Ride a passenger boat to Boracay Island
– Free time in Boracay
|– 7AM Ride passenger boat back to Caticlan
– 8AM – 9AM Ride passenger boat from Tabon Baybay Port to Carabao Island
– Tour via habal-habal / Free time
|– 6AM – 7AM Ride passenger boat back to Caticlan
– 7:30AM – 9:30AM Ride bus to Culasi
– 9:30AM – 10AM From Culasi Port, charter a boat to Malalison Island
– Explore rolling hills & sand bar
|– 4AM – 6 or 7AM Ride boat to Seco Island
– Free time to Seco Island
– 12PM – 2PM Ride boat back to Culasi Port
– 2PM – 4PM Ride bus to Kalibo
– Flight back home
Here’s a little more about our trip! I have also written separate posts for each, which includes a detailed destination guide.
Day 1 – Boracay (Aklan)
We only allotted one day for Boracay since it’s easily accessible and hence easier to re-visit and also it was only for a layover for our early-morning trip to Carabao the day after.
From Kalibo Airport, we traveled via van for 2 hours to reach Boracay.
As a backpacker, I didn’t have high expectations for Boracay since I often head to remote, off-beaten places which to me are more “authentic” and “natural”. Boracay is a nice surprise though.
We stayed at Station 3, which is a quiet part of the island. There we enjoyed the beach, with its famous fine sand and pleasing blue-green water. It was clean and beautiful. Moreover, we only came across a few tourists — a far cry from what I expected from the “Party Island of the Philippines”.
We then headed to Treehouse Bar & Restaurant for an early dinner and view of the famous Boracay sunset.
Hali and I had a good time here and we’re looking forward to staying longer in the future.
Day 2 – Carabao Island (Romblon)
Carabao Island is the exact opposite of Boracay. While the latter is famous for its bar hopping tours and night partying, Carabao Island is a relatively quieter beach destination. As of our trip, it’s still a secret spot.
We rode the early-morning passenger boat from Caticlan Port to Carabao Island. From the moment we got off the boat, we were amazed at the long stretch of white sand that runs beside the road.
We spent the afternoon swimming in the beach and then rode a habal-habal to tour the island. We visited a hill overlooking the island of Boracay, a cliff-jumping area and cave with underwater tunnel that goes out the ocean and then an old cave home to bats.
We spent the night having a dinner with a fellow backpacker whom we chanced across the island.
Carabao Island is wonderful. We only spent a day here and we felt that it was enough, unless you are looking specifically somewhere to relax and do nothing for days.
Here’s a travel guide to Carabao Island in Romblon.
Days 3-4 – Malalison Island (Antique)
This is the only part that I have pre-arranged since I already contacted a boat operator that will take us to Malalison Island.
From Carabao Island, we rode back to Caticlan Port and then hopped on a bus to Culasi. The bus dropped us off at the port and after registration we head on to Malalison Island, which is only 15-20 minutes away.
Malalison Island is a small community island. In the afternoon, we hired a local guide to tour us in the rolling hills. The rolling hills is often likened to those in Batanes. My favorite view here is the one that overlooks the coastal community and the coral patches, which look like sunken islands from above.
The morning after, we set off before dawn to island hop to Seco Island. We saw bioluminescence in the water, sailed through a sea storm and came across a group of dolphins.
Seco Island is a tiny island famous for its sand bar. For the adventurous, it’s also a kitesurfing destination.
The island wasn’t what I expected. The island is flanked by seaweeds on both sides, but at the sand bar area the water is shallow and clear. Hali and I swam, took pictures, ate a meal of freshly cooked fish.
We then rushed back to Kalibo and arrived just 5 minutes before the boarding time. This is one of the things you risk when you didn’t research enough, but hopefully you won’t make the same mistake we did!
Here’s a travel guide to Malalison Island and Seco Island.
You can watch the highlights of our vacation here:
Here are the commute directions if you plan on going the same route. These can also be found in the separate travel guides for each location. 🙂
Kalibo Port to Boracay:
- From Kalibo Port, ride a bus or van to Caticlan. Travel time is 2 hours.
- Walk to Caticlan Jetty Port and ride a passenger boat to Boracay Island.
Caticlan to Carabao Island:
- From Caticlan, ride a tricycle to Tabon Baybay Port where there are daily passenger boats to Carabao Island. Morning schedule is 8-9AM. Travel time is 1 hour. Return trip to Caticlan is 6AM.
- You can also charter private boats from Boracay Island to Carabao Island.
Caticlan to Malalison Island:
- From Caticlan, ride a bus bond to San Jose (Antique) and get off at Culasi. Travel time is 2 hours.
- From Culasi Port, ride a boat to Malalison Island. Travel time is 15-20 minutes. Let your boat operator know if you also want to go to Seco Island, which is about 3 hours away depending on the sea condition.
Culasi to Kalibo:
- From Culasi, ride a bus to Kalibo. Schedules may depart hourly. In case you don’t want to wait, an alternative is to ride a bus bound for Caticlan and get off at Nabas Crossing. From there, ride a jeep or van to Kalibo.
Budget and expenses
Hali and I took this trip in 2016. Our budget then is P4000-5000 per person.
What to read next:
This is part of our backpacking trip in Panay Island. Here are the places we’d been to:
If you like this post on our Panay Island itinerary, feel free to share it in Pinterest!
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).