Maripipi – Philippines – A Secret Escape

Maripipi - Sunset 3

JUNE 2016:



OVERVIEW:

In this post, I tell you a secret … I tell you about a little ‘hideaway’: Maripipi Island …

I tell you how you can spend a month living in peace and quiet on this idyllic little island … and do so on a GRANDPAcking Budget.Maripipi - Sunset 1


ABOUT MARIPIPI ISLAND:

Maripipi is an island in the province of Biliran, Philippines. It is the smallest and least populous municipality in the province. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 6,699 people. Maripipi has a coastal circumference of twenty-four kms.

Maripipi - Circumferential RoadMaripipi - Napo - Nearest VillageMaripipi is home to the famous Sambawan Island.

Maripipi has a charm of its own, known for its crystal clear waters, friendly locals and white biogenic sand.

Nowadays the island of Maripipi has its newest nickname “The Isle of Gems”; a recent increase in tourism has provided much needed income to the municipality and its residents.

Maripipi is also known as the “Island of no Return”. As the island is steeped in the story of love, they say that once you step on this place, a part of your heart will remain in the island. Others say that you will meet your soul mate right there.

Whatever the origin of this moniker, one thing is sure … it really is a place of love and beauty. The last frontier for unspoilt beauty.

Staying true to its legend, the island is drawing people to its shores and true to its moniker, they keep coming back for more.Maripipi - Napo - Red Sunset


CROSS REFERENCES:

Read Naval – Philippines – To Maripipi Island for more detail.

Read about Philippines Retirement Locations.

Read about other Philippines Destinations and Travel Budgets.

Read about GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.


GETTING THERE:

 There is only one Resort on the island: the Napo Beach Resort.

Maripipi - Ferry Port Naval - Ferry PortThe Napo is situated on the north of the island.

To get there you need to:

  • Catch a private Bangka from Kawayan direct to the Napo resort (PHP1,000)
  • Catch a public Bangka from Naval to Maripipi then island transport to the Napo

I strongly suggest that you contact Robert (the Owner) at the Napo Beach Resort. He will help you organise any transport that you need.

Local island transport is usually just a Moto. Many people will not want a 15-20 minute ride on the back of a Moto with their luggage. Robert may be able to organise more suitable transport (perhaps the local Pulis Car!).Maripipi - Ferry Seating


THE NAPO BEACH RESORT:

Maripipi - Napo - Hammocks Maripipi - Napo - PoolThe Napo is not really a ‘beach’ resort. It is a ‘swimming pool’ resort with watersports. The Napo has its own pier.

The swimming pool is well kept … and, they use it to train SCUBA Divers.

The outdoor area is nice and comfortable with hammocks, restaurant, and seating area.

The Napo have several different room options. The rooms and rack rates are:

  • Small Fan Doubles with shared bathroom PHP700 (or PHP800?)
  • A very small Aircon Double with hot water ensuite (PHP1,500)
  • A small Aircon Double with hot water ensuite (PHP1,800)
  • A Family Aircon Double with hotwater ensuite (PHP2,500)

All prices include a simple breakfast.Maripipi - Napo - View

THE FAMILY AIRCON DOUBLE:

Maripipi - Napo - Family Room Robe PHP42000 Maripipi - Napo - Family Room PHP42000In my humble opinion, the only accommodation suitable for GRANDPAckers for a long term stay is the large Aircon Double.

Make sure that you ask for the one with a wardrobe.

The rooms are spacious and the ensuite is a reasonable size.

There is no electric on the island between midnight and 6:00am.

Maripipi - Napo - Ensuite EntryMaripipi - Napo - Ensuite ShowerWifi on the island is poor – so bring your own GLOBAL SIMcard.

For the comfort of guests, the Napo provide good battery powered fans that can be used to keep your room cool during the electric outage.

With sufficient advanced warning (and, obviously, given no other bookings), the Napo are prepared to discount their Family Rooms down from PHP2,500 / night to as low as PHP1,250 – PHP1,400 / night for a 1 month advanced booking (depending on season).

At this price, you need to pay ‘cash up front’ and it is not refundable.

This is a ‘borderline’ price for GRANDPAckers … GRANDPAckers, typically, need to target no more than 50% of their daily budget on accommodation … the daily maximum is normally PHP1,200.Maripipi - Sunset 2

THE SECRET:

The Napo have a 1 bedroom house next door to the resort that they are renovating.

It is still a ‘work in progress’ so I cannot show you the final pictures. I suggest that you email Robert at the Napo Beach Resort and ask him to send the latest pictures before making a reservation.

vMaripipi - Napo - House Lounge PHP18000They will rent out the house for PHP18,000 / month. This is PHP600 / night.

Again, at this price, payment is ‘cash in advance’ and not refundable. The rental House gets full use of resort facilities … including the swimming pool. There is a patio at the front of the house where you can set up an outdoor area of your own.

The nicest thing about the House is the living area and the high roof. The high roof helps to keep the house cool. The living area will come with upgraded furniture, cable tv, and 2 floor standing fans (which you can move around the House to where you want them).

Maripipi - Napo - House Bedroom PHP18000 Maripipi - Napo - Standard Double PHP24000There is a small bedroom which is big enough to take a double bed (but not a lot more). By the time that it is renovated, it should transform to look something like the picture on the right.

Maripipi - Napo - House Cellar PHP18000 Maripipi - Napo - House Kitchen PHP18000There is a downstairs room that is the coolest room in the house; it can be used for whatever you like. They will move your bed down here if you want them to.

I have included a photo of the kitchen so that you get a feel for the size … please look BEYOND its current state. It will be tidied up. You will be provided a gas cooker (gas included in the rental), kitchen utensils, a fridge, and a dining table with chairs.

I cannot show you any pictures of the toilet / shower. It was gutted at the time. But, it will be refitted with new toilet and a hot water shower. It is small though … don’t expect anything big and fancy.


THE RESTAURANT:

Sorry Robert, but your restaurant is not going to win any culinary awards.

Reasonable expectations of the restaurant need to be set to ensure that people are realistic about what to expect and are no unduly disappointed.

Maripipi - Napo - Free Breakfast Maripipi - Napo - Veg w Rice PHP100The free breakfast will not be included in the House rental but is included in the Family Room rental. You get a fried egg, some toast, coffee / tea, fruit juice, and a carafe of water.

The simplest meal from the menu will cost you PHP100. I tried their Vegetables with Rice. It was cabbage and carrot with rice.

I tried the Chicken Noodles for PHP100; it was a soupy pack of 2 minute noodles. I tried the Chicken Pancit Canton for PHP120; it was the same pack of 2 minute noodles without the soup (and there was no chicken).

Maripipi - Napo - Chicken Adobo PHP195 Maripipi - Napo - Squid PHP220You can get something like a Chicken Adobo with rice for PHP195. It comes with a carafe of water.

Or, Fried Squid with rice for PHP220. It comes with a carafe of water.

Effectively, expect to pay:

  • An average PHP125 each day for a simple Lunch
  • An average PHP200 each day for a simple Dinner
  • Nothing for water

Obviously, if you are staying in the House, you can pop in and out of town (or Naval) and stock up on your own groceries to do your own cooking.


OTHER INFORMATION:

YOUR HOSTS:

The owners of the Napo are great hosts and their staff are very friendly; come with the right attitude, and you will enjoy this ‘escape’.

YOUR HEALTH:

Theire is a very friendly and competent nurse on the island. She even comes to the Napo to see you if you are not well. She is, actually, a mid-wife but is more highly trained and has a relative in Naval that she can consult with. She doesn’t ask for any payment – just enough to cover the cost of drugs – so, you tip her what you feel is right for her efforts.

GROCERIES:

Naval - Bus Terminal Naval - Bangka to MaripipiThere are a couple of small Filipino-style convenience shops near the resort if you need odds and sods (such as rum and coke :-)).

A Moto trip to the Port in the main town takes 15-20 minutes and costs PHP50 each. You can shop for some groceries there.

If you are staying in the House, it may be worth a weekly trip to Naval to do a big shop. The cost for 1 person is a Moto to the port (PHP50 each way) and a Bangka to Naval (PH70 each way including Terminal fees).

WHAT TO DO:

Maripipi is an ‘escape’. You come here to get away from it all and relax.

The Napo have a kayak that you can rent.

You can fish off the Napo Resort pier.

For PHP500 you can get a local guide to trek you up the central peak.

For PHP800 you can island hop to the famous Sambawan Island for a bit of beaching and snorkeling. If you go on a weekend, you’ll meet lots of friendly locals partying there.


SPREADSHEET SUMMARY:

Maripipi GRANDPAcking Costs


WHAT IT SHOULD COST 2 GRANDPAckers:

COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):

Accommodation:

Rent the Napo House for 1 month. Cash up front. No refunds.

The bedroom and bathroom will be BELOW GRANDPAcking Standard. But the kitchen, dining area, lounge, and accompanying facilities make the accommodation acceptable.

Transport:

I have included a return trip for 2 people to Naval each week.

Communications:

You will need a prepaid 1 Month GLOBE ‘unlimited’ data package (with no texts and no talk time). Do not get SMART – it must be GLOBE.

Fees & Visa:

  • I have budgeted for you to spend a maximum of 2 months in The Philippines
  • There is good reason for this: the cost of the Visa
  • You get your first month free but it will cost PHP3,130 each to extend that for 1 more month
  • For the first 2 months, this works out to be an average of PHP52 / day
  • To extend for a further 2 months will cost another PHP7,840 each
  • This latter cost (for months 3 & 4) can be absorbed within your budget if you want to stay longer – but it means that your average visa cost increases to PHP96 / day
  • You will need to get your 1 month Visa Extension before coming to Maripipi

Food & Beverages:

  • I have given you a budget for cooking your own breakfast of Eggs, Toast, Coffee / Tea, and Fruit each morning
  • I have provided a budget for eating an average priced Lunch & Dinner in the Napo Resort Restaurant each day
  • Alternatively, you can use the same Lunch & Dinner funds to buy your own groceries and eat back in your own kitchen
  • Robert should be able to arrange for you to get large 2 Gallon containers of drinking water delivered to your House which should only cost PHP70

The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about PHP1,632 / NZ$55 / US$37 / €33 / £25 per day. This is 69% of your daily budget.

COST OF LIVING (COL):

This is about PHP748 per day to LIVE on (i.e. 31% of your GRANDPAcking budget).

With that money you can LIVE comfortably.


CONCLUSION:

If you need to ‘escape’, for whatever reason, you can look to Maripipi.

The locals are really friendly and genuinely happy to see you.

Expect to make your own entertainment.

TTFNMaripipi - Sunset 3


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