Sumilon Island is a must-visit 24-hectare (59-acre) coral island situated in the Southeastern tip of Oslob Municipality, Cebu. This beautiful island is about 117 kilometers south of Cebu City and takes about three hours by any public transport.
The island boasts its verdant forest enveloping it, and proud of its beach area and shifting sandbar aside from its crystal-clear water and fecund marine life. Besides, you will be entirely taken cared-of if you avail the resort’s services on the island.
The story told about Sumilon Island’s locals is believed to be a story of gallantry and independence which are the traits of the Filipinos. Such bravery of defending one’s land has been proven when a historic battle between locals and invading pirates occurred, and the locals came out victorious. It was said that the last attack in 1782 left the church looted and destroyed. However, it had ended when the locals put an end the pirates’ attacks by winning in 1813.
One contributing factor to the victory is the systematic defense plan established by a young Spanish monk named Julian Bermejo. Aside from being a religious missionary, Bermejo led the townspeople to defend themselves from the marauders coming from other islands. He made a defense plan by building structures to help them protected and foresee the coming of the attackers.
One of this defense system which he successfully implemented are the ‘baluartes,’ or watchtowers, some of which are extant up to this day in some places. The one on Sumilon Island is still in existence and is one of the island’s attractions. This baluarte (watchtower) is a two-story structure has been useful to watch out for any incoming pirates and to sound church bells to alert them and prepare for a possible encounter.
Also, Julian Bermejo did not only built the watchtower but also taught the locals livelihood skills. Aside from the watchtower, the church he also built the church which is surrounded by thick walls made of mortar and coral blocks.
Despite the ‘Ceboom’ phenomenon, the continuous economic progress (booming) of Cebu Province, Sumilon Island remains an ‘undeveloped’ island. This is an idea or plan to keep it as natural as it is. To make the island preserve its flora and fauna as well as its fecund and diverse marine life, a project by Silliman University has been offered and implemented.
For some reasons (that need some clarifications), I cannot quite fathom why a neighboring province offered to make Sumilon a marine protected sanctuary when in fact Cebu Province itself has its own universities specializing marine biology studies. Most probably, it was Silliman University that advanced marine protection and preservation studies in the early days – then it makes sense!
Silliman University of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental Province, created Sumilon Island as a marine sanctuary in 1974. Under its guidance, Sumilon became the first marine protected island in the country. This remains to be active collaboration between Cebu government and Silliman University and proved to be a successful feat. For being a well-preserved island, both its land and marine biodiversity, visitors and frequent travelers come to explore and revisit the island and observe its colorful marine life through snorkeling or scuba diving.
Although I do not entirely support the idea that building human-made structures on an island is considered a ‘development’, however, I believe, on the other hand, that establishing a resort that is keen on preserving nature and environment could be a right decision rather than leaving unmanaged or unguarded risking to be exploited by various elements.
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort (not related to this website) is precisely the resort facility I am talking about. I have been to this resort by availing one of their package offers (lunch, pool, beach area and hiking the trails). I looked around, took photos, enjoyed the lunch, and also did quick hiking to the highest point of the island.
I have observed that the resort is trying to preserve the environment by conserving the nature and not constructing structures that can deform its natural coral composition. Although Sumilon is internationally famous and is being flocked by visitors, you cannot see a huge and tall hotel to accommodate people. They only provide native style cottages and rooms, and there are not even two-story structures. The only tallest structure on the island is the light tower, in fact.
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort offers the usual facilities and amenities for travelers and holiday-makers on the island. The resort has rooms with various rates and amenities. Basically, Bluewater has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, beach areas, massage parlors, boat transfer service and island guides.
Actually, Bluewater Sumilon does not have full control of the island. It only manages certain areas where it operates its business activities. The other side of the island is still considered a non-resort area where villagers live and do their daily livelihood activities.
Aside from the resort’s facilities, you can find areas that you can explore and enjoy with. There are hiking trails that you can follow to see more about the island and see the sea surrounding it and the distant islands, neighboring province and the main island of Cebu.
Various trails levels are available depending on your capacity or suitability to hike. Anyhow, while hiking you will be surrounded by verdant tropical trees of various species. Once in a while, you will hear birds singing or watch them if you make it as your purpose.
Some trails will lead you to specific spots where you will find particular sites or historic structures.
Baluarte (old Hispanic watchtower)
One or two of those trails will lead you to the ‘baluarte,’ an ancient watchtower which was used by locals as a structure to observe any approaching pirates and invaders who would loot, kidnap or pillage the villages. Sumilon baluarte is just one of the many baluartes built during the Spanish occupation in southern Cebu. The remains of the structure are still standing and worth reminiscing its historical significance and honoring it as a heritage and symbol of courage among Cebuanos.
Yes, there is a lighthouse, and it is the lone tallest structure on the island. This is not as old as the baluarte but a modern structure to provide a safety signal to sailors or pilots. It is a fairly good distance to hike if you want to exercise a bit and explore the island.
It is a calm area of the island and belonging to the resort. It is located right below the cliff facing the mainland of Cebu and just opposite of Oslob Municipality.
One can do canoeing in its shallow water but deep enough for you to paddle around and enjoy gliding over. It is safe as the water is not affected by sea waves. You can rent a canoe from the resort, or it can be part of your package.
Besides canoeing, you can also have fun fishing, which is suitable for kids and family activity. The fishing area has a canopy made of natural materials including bamboo and grass leaves or nipa leaves. However, if you wish to catch bigger fish, you might need to hire a boat to take you to the open sea.
You do not have to do anything while by the lagoon. You can do meditation or sit under a hut’s shade by the lagoon.
The beach area is located closer to the resort’s facilities. It is where sumptuous lunch is provided for a day visitor (which I totally enjoyed). Makeshift canopies, tables, and chairs are set up for lunch. I guess this is also used for other events, such as weddings, parties and other gatherings.
You can find lockers for your valuables and personal effects and so not worry about leaving them around while you are enjoying the water or other beach activities.
Also, a rental office for any available offers, such as SUPs, canoes, boats, is located in this area.
Swimming is allowed in this area. Although the sand is not so powdery, the water is crystal clear, and it is excellent for swimming. Of course, you can do sunbathing here.
If you wish to do some games or beach volleyball, you will enjoy it here as it is spacious and it is a flat area.
It is a newly coined word for doing outdoor camping using better facilities. It means “glamorous camping”. Glamping area is also located in the beach area but in the safer and inner part. There are sturdy tents complete with facilities for your camping. This seems to be an alternate for staying in a usual four-walled room of hotel accommodation.
This famous sandbar of Sumilon Island is one of its natural attractions. It is located on the opposite side of the beach area. Visitors from other islands, through dive and tour agencies, come here to enjoy this interesting sandbar. You cannot see this sandbar all the time but only is a specific time of the day.
Talking about the private resort, Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort offers almost everything you want to avail during your visit and holiday period on the island.
Day Tour Package
You can either book their package by visiting their website or arriving early in the morning at their office in Bangcogon, which is located on the mainland and across the island. A day tour package, which I enjoyed, gives you a glimpse of the island’s resources for holiday and activities.
This package mainly includes a boat transfer from the office to the island; a sumptuous lunch, swimming pool, beach area, and a towel. Of course, you are also free to explore the resort’s environment, but you are limited to its area only. Outside the resort’s land area is a village where locals live.
Bluewater Sumilon offers various accommodation facilities with various rates and amenities.
If you want to, you can see the price/rates here at Agoda.
You will not get starved when on this island and resort. Food sources are outsourced, but some are produced on the island itself, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats. Otherwise, the resort would transport other food supplies from the mainland.
It is the main dining spot for Bluewater’s guests. This restaurant offers tasty and special dishes prepared by its chefs who have their respective specialties. Both local and international dishes are available for its various guests with various taste preferences while enjoying a great view of mainland Cebu.
Bluewater Sumilon Resort also offers a themed dinner. It simply means that you will not taste the same food every day. For example: Tuesday – Fiesta Flavor (Filipino Dishes), Thursday – Mexican, Friday – Seafood, etc.
The Cliff Bar is open for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic guests. I had my island’s cold beer here resting after my hiking adventure to the forested part where the ‘baluarte’ and lighthouse are located. It is a great refreshing area with a fantastic view of the ocean and mainland of Cebu Province.
Day Tour is my introduction to Sumilon Island (and Bluewater Resort) as I avail this offer. I was delighted as I experienced most of what they offer. However, if I really would want to experience more and better, I should be staying in one of their accommodations.
So, for the Day Tour package, the resort offers a buffet lunch, kayaking, snorkeling, trekking, fish feeding, infinity pool, among others. It included the roundtrip boat transfers from its office in Mainland Bancogon and Sumilon Island.
Water Activities (Aquamania Offers)
You need to book it at the resort’s Aquamania Center (office) and have fun snorkeling or scuba diving at the islands amazing dive sites.
If you are not into getting wet and afraid to get underwater, you can avail the kayaking and fish feeding at its lagoon. Alternatively, you can register for an early morning banca ride (pumpboat) to watch some dolphins and whale sharks crisscrossing their favorite migratory routes.
You may directly book with Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort for such activities.
Other relaxing and fun activities include trekking the island, evening dinner parties, romantic beach picnic, afternoon tea, lounging at the ‘payag-payag’ (small native cottage), boat tour, massage, and more.
Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort offers fantastic services for any event you wish to hold on the island.
Address: Sumilon Island, Oslob, Cebu 6025
Tel: +6332 318 9098
Mobile: +63917 631 7512 or +63998 964 1879
There are various groups of people that travel or pilgrim to Sumilon Island. Most locals and those living in the nearby places, come to Sumilon to fish, swim or simply do picnic by the beach.
Other groups are those from the province itself and neighboring provinces. While another group comes via a tourism agency that provides sea tours and sea activities including whale shark watching, diving, and snorkeling.
The last group is the one fundamentally traveling using the Resort’s private facilities. As a travel destination island, Sumilon Island is not only famous among locals but also international travelers. They either booked through online service or through other travel agencies that offer their services through the web.
If you love the sea and some adventures, you will not get disappointed when you visit this area. All sorts of activities or non-active activities are available on this island. Since most of the activities and facilities are provided by the resort, you can avail them through them alone. Except that the Shifting Sandbar is available to other visitors from other places, but they do not have access to the resort.
In short, you can do the following activities:
Of course, what you can do are not limited to the things aforementioned as other tour agencies drop by the area and do their own travel activities.
As mentioned above, divers and snorkelers in southern Cebu would not miss the dive sites near Sumilon Island. Its dive sites are the usual route among dive and tour agencies. They do it after they do Whale Shark Watching in Tanawan, Oslob.
There are four popular dive sites in Sumilon. They are famous due to its high visibility, amazingly colorful reefs, and teeming tropical bio-diverse marine creatures. Some people have mentioned that occasional sightings of Black Tip sharks happen. It is quite possible as this shark species belongs to reef shark family.
Enough said, let us take a look at the four dive sites among other ones.
Presuming you are in Cebu City, just head to Cebu South Bus Terminal and take the bus that travels to Oslob Town. It usually takes over three hours to get to the area. Get off at Barangay Bancogon where Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort’s office is located and where you can take their boat. Tell the conductor ahead about your drop off area – they know the place.
Port of Oslob Town
From the port of Oslob, there are pump boats that will bring you to the island. Another route to Sumilon Island is via Dumaguete City since it is also close to the island.
From the port of Oslob, there are various boats on the island. Another route to Sumilon Island is via Dumaguete City since it is also close to the island.
Negros, Dumaguete City
From Dumaguete City, take a public transport for Sibulan Pier (Negros Oriental), which takes about thirty minutes. Then take a boat that will cross the Tañon Strait to Cebu province. In Cebu (South Bus Terminal) take a bus that travels to the South. When in Oslob, you can a ‘bangka’ (pumpboat) at Oslob Pier that crosses for Sumilon Island.
Alternately, you can get off at Bluewater Sumilon Resort’s booking office located across Sumilon Island. You need to tell the driver ahead of your drop off area. If you are in Oslob Town, you can just take Jeepney or Habal-habal (motorbike) for Bluewater Sumilon’s booking office.
Dive Shop, Dumaguete City
Another option is preferably good for divers or snorkelers. Look for a dive shop in Dumaguete or Dauin and tell your plan. Many of such establishments make frequent trips to Oslob Whaleshark Watching site and then head to Sumilon Island for diving activities.
If you are coming from Manila or from outside the country, please see the following page for some details on the airlines traveling to Cebu City on a regular basis. Getting to Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 and Terminal 1.
On your way to Sumilon Island
From Cebu City, you will pass by some interesting municipalities that are also known for its travel attractions and local heritage and history. To mention but a few, you can check out specific municipalities specially chosen for your information.
It is located about 46 kilometers south of Cebu City. Among its popular places, people visit the Balay’ng Tisa, Spanish Kiosk, Old Church, Villadoid watchtowers, Caves, etc.
It is about 66 kilometers south of Cebu City, and it is famous for its beaches and beach activities (Mahayahay Beach, Looc Garden Beach Resort).
It is around 85 kilometers south of Cebu City and also famous for its beaches.
You are getting to Sumilon when you are in this municipality, so be prepared by now. It is about 103 kilometers from Cebu City. One of its popular sites is the Old Church built during the Spanish period and its belfry in the Gran Baluarte.
Now, you are already in the area where Sumilon Island belongs to politically. Oslob is the town of Sumilon. Among its historical and cultural heritage, it is famous for its old Church (Immaculate Conception Church), Oslob Baluarte (watchtower), Spanish Cuartel, Freedom Park, among others.
Of course, you can visit Barangay Tanawan where you can swim with the famous and gentle whale sharks of Oslob.
Booking & Rates Updates:
Please, see rates updates or book here: Bluewater Sumilon Island Resort
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Always have safe travels!