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Concepcion Iloilo: Island Hopping Fun

Mary has lived in the Philippines for over 40 years and still has a place in this particular beach in Concepcion and enjoys a holiday there.

Island Hopping in Concepcion



Concepcion: Philippines' Best Island Hopping Destination

Years ago, we set out from Iloilo to bring food and general help to the typhoon victims around Concepcion. That time, the roads were almost impassable even without a major storm, so very few people had ever been there just to poke around. If you have a boat of course, access was much easier as Concepcion is just around from Boracay, which is now Philippines most famous island destination. But the good luck of bad roads and the bad luck of big storms had left this piece of paradise quietly to the fishermen and their island families.

Our first trip was to help, so we were busy, but we made a vow to return when we had time to soak in the beauty, the crystal sea, the fantastic snorkeling and seafood. So, one summer (when schools close in March-May in the Philippines), off we went to Concepcion and what we've discovered made us go there often. In Concepcion as in most of the Philippines, everyday is summer. Its been our secret for years, but alas, we've been discovered!

The Beautiful Islands of Concepcion



Why Concepcion?

When schools are closed during summer vacation, what do you do with the kids for a month or two? Why not the beach and water sports? Time to learn how to swim, kayak, dive, snorkel and sail. Yes, explore the underwater world and know more about this largely unexplored world to millions of people.

Concepcion is not that difficult to get at. The flight from Manila to Iloilo is about an hour and as excellent road links Concepcion and the beaches and islands to Iloilo City, in 2 hours from the airport, heaven unfolds!

The internet destroys isolation as an outcome of sharing information and experiences and so Concepcion and its beaches and ocean park have seen increasing visitors in person with more to come if the 2plus million internet visitors are a hint of the future. This is to be expected as the place is really beautiful and you can rent a boat and swim in a different island each day or in several islands in one day.

The Still Pristine Waters of Concepcion



Concepcion Is Still Pristine

The place is still not crowded. often, you are the only ones island hopping or the most two boats doing it. There are no big resorts or towering hotels as many of the islands are either not inhabited except for the caretaker or still owned by fisher families that have been there for generations.

Needless to say, the international resort community has already approached many of them with amazing offers but that would be giving up a way of life and the decision is not easy. So, for now at least, some of them just operate small and really basic simple accommodations, mostly bamboo cottages.

You can come early, have breakfast in the fishing port rent a boat and captain, set up camp in one of the islands and do your Robinson Crusoe imitation. What are you waitiing for?

Take note that now some of the islands charge visitors to come and swim in their shores. It is still very cheap so it is very affordable. At least, the locals can earn a bit from the increasing tourism.

Island Hopping in Concepcion

Island Hopping in concepcion

Island Hopping in concepcion

Island Hopping - Fun?

Concepcion is ideal for island hopping as there are many small islands close to each other. Each of these islands has its own personality. Sometimes, the rock formation is different or the habitation. some are inhabited so you can interact with the people of the islands. They will always tell you their Typhoon Yolanda experience.

Today, you can see more of water life as there is now a Marine Park in the area. Except for the caretaker, some islands are not inhabited. You can claim it for the day unless other island hoppers have the same idea. For a fee, the caretaker will be happy to cook lunch for you. Seafood galore, fresh and tasty.

Uninhabited Islands in Concepcion

Uninhabited Island in Concepcion

Uninhabited Island in Concepcion

Where about is Concepcion? - Look at this map

Concepcion is a group of islands in Iloilo, a province in the island of Panay in central Philippines. It is in the same islands as Boracay, the most internationally famous beach in the Philippines.

See where Concepcion is

Concepcion is not inundated with tourists - Still rustic and quiet

An Island in Concepcion

An Island in Concepcion

Not Inundated with Tourists

This place has not been inundated with tourists as tour operators have not yet packaged it. There are still not too many facilities for tours so only small groups come. The roads have just been improved so even people in Iloilo have not really been here yet.

Things to Do in Concepcion

Boat in Concepcion

Boat in Concepcion

1. Go island hopping

Island hopping is so much fun in Concepcion. There are 17 islands to visit so you can choose one or two each day.

To go to the islands, you can rent a boat for the day to bring you to wherever you fancy. The rent is around $50. You can get a smaller one for less. The islands are still open for swimmers although some have charged minimal fees...$1 or less.

The area around Pan de Azucar has been declared a marine sanctuary. There is good swimming around here and very interesting rock formation. There are some very basic accommodations in the island right at Tambaliza beach. You can enjoy with the locals when they celebrate the Tampisaw Festival.

Bulubadiangan has the winding sandbar, an absolute delight for the sun bathers. Agho is a white sand paradise and no one lives there except the caretaker. You can spend a whole day there and enjoy a good swim.

These three islands are often the most visited but there are other islands that are also worth visiting. There is Pulo Pina or Pineapple Island. Some of them are inhabited so you can meet the locals and have some fun with them.

If you stay longer, there are interisland ferries you can catch and just explore the islands around.

Swimming in Different Islands in Concepcion - Choose where you want to swim in Concepcion

Swimming in Concepcion

Swimming in Concepcion

2. Swim in the shores of the islands

Each of the islands is unique so it offers different swimming places. You can even swim from one island to the next. Some islands you have to share with the sea urchins but there's enough space. Some have beautiful white sand sandbars.

Some islands are inhabited and it is interesting to visit and watch the men catch fish, go night fishing with them or the women dry fish.

The Concepcion Sandbar - Offers Wonderful Beach

Concepcion Sand Bar

Concepcion Sand Bar

Watch this video on Concepcion Iloilo - Showing some of the islands

See what to enjoy in your beach travel to Concepcion.

Depending on the tide, sand bars appear and you can really enjoy a stroll, a read or a run on the beach.

Inhabited islands in Concepcion - Island communities

Island Communities in Concepcion

Island Communities in Concepcion

3. Watch the Sun Rising on the Waters

You can watch the sun rising and enjoy as nature awakens and, once again, lets us know it rules the world.

It is so beautiful and quiet at dawn and often you can enjoy the sunrise on your own. You can always find an isolated place in the beach and contemplate the coming of day.

The Sun Rises in Concepcion - Such an Unfolding of a Beautiful Day

Silence of the Dawn

Silence of the Dawn

4. Be there for Tampisaw Festival in Pan de Azucar

The locals celebrate Tampisaw festival in this protected marine area in Pan de Azucar to promote eco-tourism and also to thank the spirits for the bounty of fish and sea food in the area.

Pan de Azucar is an easy climb when you're there. So, for those who want to climb a bit of hill, this is a good one. From the top you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the islands.

5. Snorkel in Concepcion

Concepcion islands offer different experiences for snorkelers. Several family members always go snorkeling and we always have fun. The corals in some places are very beautiful.

There are some interesting dive sites but we have still to check it out. The fishermen have checked it out and there is a WW2 Japanese ship but had already been ransacked.

Snorkeling in Concepcion - Do you?

Islands in Concepcion - Have their own personalities

Islands of Concepcion

Islands of Concepcion

Head to the Fish Port in Concepcion

The Fish Port in Concepcion is a hub of activity especially in the early morning. It is interesting to go there, have breakfast of fish soup and just watch the fih brokers and the fishermen doing their negotiations. It is very interesting. You can also buy the fish and seafood you like and have it cooked by the locals. You can enjoy the catch of the day and there are lots to choose from.

Concepcion Fish Port

Fish Port in Concepcion Iloilo

Fish Port in Concepcion Iloilo

7. Have some fresh sea food in Concepcion - Cook your sea food right on the beach

Fresh seafood is abundant in Concepcion. You can buy some in the fish port or you can go to the market where there are cafes and have some fresh fish soup. Or, choose whatever seafood you fancy and ask the locals to prepare it for you. Or you can prepare it yourself. There are facilities to do this in Sandbar resort.

When we visited Concepcion, my niece made the best paella I have ever tasted. What with the fresh seafood available, how can you not eat well?

Bring your recipe book with you and have a seafood cook-out. With all the fresh sea food, you will have a wonderful foodie experience.

6. Visit the town of Concepcion

Concepcion has over 43,000 people. It is often hit by typhoons so its beaches and islands have remained pristine. Before the roads were also bad so very few people visited. Nowadays, the roads are much improved so visitors have increased.

The town has a good market but the more interesting place to visit is the fish port. Go early so you'll se the fishermen bring in their catch and sell them to the fish brokers.

Best Food in Concepcion - Our Fish Dish

Fresh Iloilo Seafood in Concepcion

Fresh Iloilo Seafood in Concepcion

Sea Food in Concepcion - Your favourite?

How to go to Concepcion

Iloilo has a beautiful airport meeting international standards. In fact, recently, there is already a flight from Los Angeles straight to Iloilo.

If you come from Manila, there are many flights to Iloilo, almost every hour and several airlines service this route. The flight is about 50 minutes to an hour. The Iloilo airport meets international standards and the flight is quite pleasant. From Cebu, you can also take a flight to Iloilo and it is shorter than Manila but compared to Manila, the number of flights are less.

From the airport, you can rent a taxi to bring you to the Northern Iloilo bus terminal in Tagbak, Jaro and from there take the HPQ bus or tourist van to Concepcion. The fare is less than $3. The last trip is at 3:00 p.m. so if you arrive later than this, stay overnight in Iloilo city. Or, try to go to Sara, a town close to Concepcion and from there ask a motocab to bring you to Concepcion.

If this is too much of a hassle for you, take a taxi to bring you all the way there or prearrange with a tour operator to book your transport to Concepcion as well as your boat for the day to go island hopping.

This picture here is of Iloilo airport with the Dinagyang Festival dancers welcoming guests to the city.

It is better to stay overnight in Iloilo as the city has so much to offer. It is an old trading port with many old ancestral homes. Then, your hotel can easily make arrangement for you to proceed to Concepcion.

Time your trip to Concepcion - To coincide with the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo

This Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo is a must see as you can see in the picture one of the tribes performing for those arriving at Iloilo airport. Time your visit to have a chance to enjoy this festival.

Dinagyang Dancers Greet Visitors in the Iloilo Airport

Dinagyang in Iloilo Airport

Dinagyang in Iloilo Airport

Where to Stay in Concepcion

There are very limited choices here as the place is only beginning to draw tourists. Your best choice is the Sandbar resort at Bulubadiangan where you can rent a small villa (basic amenities) for less than $20 or pitch your tent for a minimal fee. There is Hotel Junbee in town as well. Some of the islands now offer basic accommodations as well.

Contact Sandbar resort owner Sonny at 63 906 819 7516. They have a small boat to pick you up from the mainland and also to bring you around to the islands.

Where We Stayed in Concepcion - A Private Beach House


Island Tourism - Its Impact on Development

Is tourism destroying island destinations? While tourism spurs development, it also puts a strain on the pristine natural resources of these islands. As tourism grows, people want to earn more and take advantage of the growth that sometimes, they forget to protect the resources that give them this livelihood.

The charm of these isolated islands are lost with so many people coming. However, we cannot stop people from enjoying these beautiful places. So, more awareness on how to support responsible tourism is important.

The Impact of Tourism on Beach Islands

© 2011 Mary Norton

Comments on Concepcion Iloilo Please - Anyone can do so

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 17, 2019:

Great. Just keep writing whatever is of interest to you.

Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 16, 2019:

I will try to write something about tourism teaching. Although technically I am a Librarian by profession that is why most of my articles are regards with reading.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2019:

Good to know you. I will be interested to know more about your experience in tourism teaching.

Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 16, 2019:

Wow, great to know that there is a Filipino writer here like me. And one thing I like also here is your style of writing and the topic. I was a tourism college instructor before. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 20, 2019:

I hope so Lora. It's a very beautiful place but nowadays, it is getting tourist attention but this can't be helped.

Lora Hollings on October 19, 2019:

Such a beautiful place! And your article of Concepcion and its natural wonders makes this a place that I definitely would love to go to, Mary. You did an extraordinary job with the photos too. What an awesome picture of the sunrise in Concepcion! I would love to see that one day. Thanks much for sharing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 19, 2019:

It is so pristine but now, with good roads, tourists come. When before, you can go from one island to the next, now you have to pay.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 18, 2019:

This sounds amazing. I wish I could visit.



Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on May 09, 2019:

Thanks Nithya. I hope you can, too.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 09, 2019:

Concepcion is amazing, I hope I could visit someday. I would love to watch ch the sunrise and have some island hopping fun. Enjoyed reading and seeing the photos, thank you for sharing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on May 03, 2019:

Am happy you enjoy it. It's beautiful except for the typhoon that hits it once in a while.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 03, 2019:

There is a huge world out there I have not seen. That is why articles like this one are so important, Mary. You do a service for those of us who cannot afford to travel to such places. Thank you for taking me along on this journey.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 16, 2019:

Hi Gregory. I'm glad you checked this place out. It is one of the most affected by typhoons in the Philippines but the place is beautiful. Fish soup is one of the Filipino favourites when you're in a fishing village.

Gregory DeVictor from Pittsburgh, PA on January 14, 2019:

Hello Mary. You have written a very informative article. The beauty of the land and the sea is incredible. I’ve never heard of fish soup for breakfast either. It sounds quite appetizing and much different than a smoothie. I am surprised to learn that Concepcion has over 43,000 people.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 10, 2018:

Thanks Peggy. That is our hope. One popular island has been recently closed by the government because it has really been over abused so hopefully this one stays manageable.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 10, 2018:

You help satisfy my interest in travel with just about every article you write. The pristine nature of these islands is amazing. Hopefully with more tourism they can maintain a good balance. I so enjoyed your photos and information as per usual Mary. Thanks!

Tom on March 22, 2018:

Great article. This set of Islands is magnificent/

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 14, 2018:

It is really beautiful but during typhoon months, it is hammered. I wish you have a chance to see it one day.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 14, 2018:

You have made me want to pack and head out. What fabulous photos which hint at the beauty that awaits. A part of my soul is connected to the waters of the earth so I know this would be a destination I might not want to return from. thank you for sharing...Angels are headed your way once again this evening ps

Tom on November 03, 2017:

Great review. I'm packing my bags!!!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 31, 2017:

What an interesting read! My wife and I enthusiastically look for places like this to visit so thanks for putting it on our radar.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 17, 2013:

It is sad that this place has really been affected by Haiyan/Yolanda.

Lorna from USA on May 22, 2013:

Just came back to give it "something" that I could not give before.

anonymous on May 21, 2013:

Beautiful place! Enjoyed the virtual visit. Thanks!

WriterJanis2 on May 20, 2013:

What a gorgeous photo journey you have created. Blessed.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on May 17, 2013:

I have visited here before but for some reason I had forgotten how truly beautiful your images are. Gorgeous scenery.

Takkhis on May 16, 2013:

These photos are beautiful! I am glad you had time to visit this wonderful place :)

Rob Hemphill from Ireland on May 01, 2013:

Another beautiful part of the world.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on October 31, 2012:

What a beautiful spot! Thanks for sharing!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 06, 2012:

@Sylvestermouse: It is truly worthwhile.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on July 06, 2012:

Beautiful photos! What a great adventure this would be!!!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 04, 2012:

@LaraineRoses: Thank you so much for the blessing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 04, 2012:

@Silverbullionaire: Hope so. Hope you get to Iloilo.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 04, 2012:

@FashionMommy: Philippines beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world.

FashionMommy on July 03, 2012:

This is an amazing lens. Concepcion seems like a very beautiful place, as with most of the beaches and places in the Philippines.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on July 03, 2012:

@coolmon2009 lm: I hope so. Let me know if you want to go to Concepcion.

Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on July 03, 2012:

Love the scenery there. Your photos are exceptional! Thank you! ~*~Blessed~*~

coolmon2009 lm on July 02, 2012:

I have been to Davao a couple of times; maybe i will get to visit Iloilo on my next trip to Philippines.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 28, 2012:

@biminibahamas: Isn't it? I want to own one.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 28, 2012:

@Michey LM: It is still peaceful and quiet. I hope it stays like that.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 28, 2012:

@mel-kav: Thank you so much.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 28, 2012:

@Kumar P S: It is really an amazing place if you like being in the beach.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 28, 2012:

@LouisaDembul: Boracay is number 6 in the traveler's choice top beaches for 2012 and Concepcion is in the same area.

LouisaDembul on June 28, 2012:

Years ago we went to visit Boracay, with a bunch of Filipino friends. It was beautiful, and I remember another friend invited us for crabs. Her father was a fisherman, and we got to eat as much as we wanted, absolutely fresh. Getting there in those shaky boats was a bit of a challenge, but really worth the effort.

Kumar P S on June 26, 2012:

Amazing place ! Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

mel-kav on June 24, 2012:

Absolutely beautiful! Wonderful lens.

Michey LM on June 23, 2012:

Nice and quiet place to relax. Like your photos. Blessings!

biminibahamas on June 23, 2012:

Interesting watercraft ... water looks lovely!

madoc on June 21, 2012:

What a lens! Fantastic!!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@rallo-smith: Thanks. We had been there several times already.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@anonymous: Thanks for remembering. Thank you for visiting again.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@dellgirl: Thank you so much for the blessing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@KimGiancaterino: It truly is a beautiful place.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@rawwwwwws lm: Give my regards to your Dad.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@Anthony Altorenna: It is paradise.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@Mary Crowther: I hope so.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@Close2Art LM: Thank you for the blessing.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on June 21, 2012:

@randomthings lm: This is really a beautiful place.

randomthings lm on June 21, 2012:

Wow this place is beautiful, and this page provides all the info one could need to visit!

Close2Art LM on June 21, 2012:

wonderful lens, love the pics...very beautiful...BLESSED

Mary Crowther from Havre de Grace on June 20, 2012:

This is quite a beautiful place. I hope to visit someday!

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on June 20, 2012:

The beaches look pristine, the mountains are intriguing and the water is beautiful. Concepcion looks like the ideal island paradise.

rawwwwwws lm on June 20, 2012:

My dad is from IIoilo, po. I will definitely show him this lens in the morning.

KimGiancaterino on June 19, 2012:

Gorgeous photos! This is my first exposure to Concepcion Iloilo. It's sure a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it.

pawpaw911 on June 19, 2012:

Stunningly beautiful.

dellgirl on June 18, 2012:

Congratulations on making Popular Pages - Featured Lenses. Amazing lens, thank you so much for sharing it. I really like what you have done to showcase Concepcion Iloilo. **SquidAngel Blessings**.

justin-yao on June 17, 2012:

Concepcion is really a wonderful place.

rallo-smith on June 17, 2012:

Amazing! So beautiful! I feel as if I were there with you. Thanks for sharing this great trip.

anonymous on June 13, 2012:

Wow, you have added a lot here since I stopped by. I'm amazed!

Concepcion Iloilo, is a beautiful place, I would love vacation at. :)

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 29, 2012:

@sousababy: Do visit. We can share oour favourite place with you.

sousababy on February 10, 2012:

Definitely I'll bring sunscreen, my Tilley and sunglasses if / when I visit (sounds like my kind of place, not too busy).

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 01, 2012:

@Lady Lorelei: Thank you. I wish I can tell you more but it is really beautiful.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on December 16, 2011:

My gosh but you have included everything into this article that one might ever want to know about Concepcion IIoilo. I love your pictures. The very best of seasons blessings to you and yours.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 03, 2011:

@anonymous: Shhhhh....but anytime you want to share this paradise, let us know.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 03, 2011:

@Elle-Dee-Esse: Thank you so much for being such a generous angel.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 03, 2011:

@ouriloilo: We were lucky to have that beach place there.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 03, 2011:

@TonyPayne: Thank you so much for the blessing. Let me know when you like to visit.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on November 16, 2011:

This looks like it's just the sort of place I like to visit, maybe one day I will be able to go there. Just wish me luck winning the lottery :) Excellent lens, you always put so much into your lenses, blessed.

ouriloilo on November 06, 2011:

When I was in high school, I always attended church youth camps in Tambalisa, Concepcion. Great place.

Lynne Schroeder from Blue Mountains Australia on October 30, 2011:

This looks like a stunning place to visit! Angel blessed and featured on Angels In Paradise:

nort43 on October 23, 2011:

My favourite relaxation location!

anonymous on October 22, 2011:

Shhhhh.....I won't mention Conception Illio and all of its wonders to a is now our secret paradise!

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 17, 2011:

@jp1978: I hope you will visit. Am happy for your visit.

jp1978 on October 17, 2011:

Iloilo is one province away from my family's home province.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 14, 2011:

@anonymous: Thanks. It is really a great place for island hopping.

Mary Norton (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 14, 2011:

@Virginia Allain: Thank you. I love this place as well.

anonymous on October 14, 2011:

looks like a great destination, earned a 'thumbs up' from me.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 13, 2011:

Thank you for sharing the beauty of this island with us. I very much enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading about it.

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