Philippines // The Visayas //

Sibuyan Island

Dominated by the ragged saw-like bulk of Mount Guiting Guiting, verdant Sibuyan Island in the easternmost of the Romblon group has everything an adventure traveller could dream of: a sparkling coastline, a thickly forested interior and a couple of daunting mountain peaks. Dubbed “The Galapagos of Asia”, Sibuyan boasts an extraordinarily rich range of wildife including 700 plant species and 131 species of bird. Five mammal species (one fruit bat and four rodents) are unique to the island. Much of the Sibuyan was declared a nature reserve in 1996. However, this has not prevented the island from being targeted as a potential mineral mining site, and much to the dismay of environmentalists and local communities, a Canadian mining company was granted exploratory mining rights in 2009.

Sibuyan’s 47,000 residents, mostly subsistence farmers and hunters who rely on the forest and the ocean to supplement their meagre incomes, rarely see tourists but know every cove, trail and cave on the island and are happy to act as guides. Most of them live in three towns, San Fernando, Cajidiocan and Magdiwang.

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