This wooded five-and-a-half hectare island, encircled by a golden sandy beach lined with coconut trees, is a little paradise for diver and lovers of peace and quiet. Bonito Island is on the eastern tip of Maricaban Island, midway between Batangas and Puerto Galera. At certain times of the year, particularly between November and February, the 45-minute banca trip can be quite bumpy and should be avoided if you have children traveling with you.
Before becoming a resort in the 1970s, the island – also known as Culebra Island – was the holiday home of its owner Conrad C. Leviste (CCL) a dive enthusiast. The place progressively acquired a reputation among the diving clubs which became instrumental in convincing him to transform his home into a dive resort.
The resort offers lodgings, either in the main building or in the duplex cottages. The main buildin, known as the Long House, is a tile-roofed bamboo structure with five rooms in a row, linked by a common balcony facing the beach. It is also here that the terrace restaurant is located. The cottages have two rooms and are convenient for families.
CCL and Mabuhay cottages are nicely facing he sea. CCL is a cement structure with nipa roof. Its interior is warm and comfortable, the bamboo walls contrasting with the marble floor. A sliding door separates the two bedrooms which is perfect for a family. A private balcony opens onto the sea. The last cottage is slightly off the beach.
The beach which encircles the island is enticing. One part near the main building is a wonderful area for snorkeling as the water is shallow and clear. Before venturing out to sea, be wary of the strong currents.
At the end of the afternoon, do not miss the chance to admire the sunset from the summit of the hill. In the evening, after diving, it is nice to have a drink at the bar facing the illuminated coastline of Batangas.
There are two dive sites at the nearby Islands of Bonito and Malajibo-manoc (chicken feather). The latter, also a good snorkeling site, has hot water springs 20 meters deep. Further on are two dive sites on Verde Island. You can also go there by speedboat for a half day picnic to Malaibo-manoc or to Masasa, a beautiful white sand beach on Maricaban Island.
How to get there
By land and sea (4 hours), 3 hours by car from Manila to Mainaga pier in Mabini (near Batangas harbor) . From Manila, there are two possible routes, both accessible via South Superhiway. The faster route is to get off at Calamba exit no. 50A toLucena, turn right to the Star tollway, to Batangas, get off at Lipa/Talomo exit the end of the expressway, turn left to Batangas. The more scenic route is to get off at Sta. Rosa exit no. 40 and pass by Tagaytay and Lemery before reaching Batangas harbor. To reach Maniaga pier in Mabini, proceed through Bauan and after the 144 km sign, turn right to Petron Terminal Mabini. Maniaga pier is near Petron’s terminal. It is 45 minutes from Maniaga to Bonito Island by banca.
More photos here