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