The Philippine’s Hidden Gem: Concepcion, Iloilo


Concepcion 2009


The Visayas is often associated with beautiful beaches. The popularity of Boracay, however, sometimes over-shadow the other similarly beautiful beaches scattered in the area. Among which are the 16 hidden gems of Concepcion in the Province of Iloilo.  Concepcion is just 2.5 to 3 hours away from Iloilo City, hence, a great place to visit when in Iloilo.

If taking a bus, it is best to stay overnight as the last trip in Concepcion going back to Iloilo City is at 3pm and 4pm for going to Sara (the next municipality where there are several bus trips by Ceres Liner going to the city). If bringing a private vehicle, one day of fun is do-able.

The maximum number of islands that one can visit in one day is three: Pan de Azucar, Agho Island, and Bolobadiangan Island.

Take a Leganes-bound jeepney and get off at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro. HPQ Liner has regular trips going to Concepcion daily. Take note, however, of the last trip which is at 3pm. Beyond 3pm, Sara-bound jeepneys are available and from Sara, there are numerous bus trips bound for Iloilo City.

Pan de Azucar  is 40 minutes away by boat from the mainland. It is famous for Mt. Manaphag, towering at 573 meters and ideal for mountain climbing. As one approaches the island, one can already see the looming presence of the steep mountain. There are no resorts in the island. There are, however, several rest houses owned by the town’s prominent residents. Unless you know them, camping is the only way to go. The beach is not really a good place to swim anymore. One could check out an interesting rock formation on one side of the island instead.


Pan de Azucar 2009  

Approximately 25 minutes from Pan de Azucar, is Agho Island. Agho Island is a paradise. One can have the island for the whole day without anyone else. Besides being private, the sand is white, the scenery picturesque, the breeze heavenly, and the water crystal clear. It is noted for different kinds of shells and Tabon birds. A word of caution though, there may be sea urchins in the area depending on the season. There are no resorts in the island. Only the caretakers inhabit the island. So, if one would like to stay the night, one should bring a tent and enough food and water. Do not fret, Malangabang Island (where a sari-sari store is available) is just a kilometer away. 


Agho Island 2009


Agho 2009


Bolobadiangan Island  is often visited by tourists because of its long and winding white sandbar. During low-tide, the sand bar extends as far as if it almost touches the next island. Owned by the heirs of the Eusala family, accommodations is available through the Sand Bar Beach Resort situated in the island. There are simple cottages that visitors can rent, which ranges from Php500-800. One can also rent or bring their own tents and pay a minimal amount. The island resort does not have a restaurant, so one should bring their own food and drinking water. Water for bathing is for sale at Php10/gallon.


Bolobadiangan Island 2009


Concepcion beaches offer world-class quality beaches. It would be a shame not to visit these hidden gems, when it is so close to Iloilo City.




– Concepcion
Junbee Recreation Center
Mr. Augusto “Jun” Garilva: 09209021681; 3920371, check their website, here, and read review, here.

– Bolobadiangan Island
Sandbar Beach Resort
Mr. Rex Eusala: 09207198042

– Agho Island
09296089830; 09155454616


Ronnie (boatman): 09072897111
Sandbar boat operator: 09129575002
Municipal Tourism Officer – Mario Lazarito: 09085929096;



Junbee accommodation: P200-250/pax
Sandbar accommodation: P800 (big cottage); P500 (small cottage)


3-island tour with Ronnie: P1800
Sandbar boat operator: P2000 (back and forth only)
Island tour arrangement with Municipal Tourism Officer: P1500 (small boat), P1800 (2-island tour), P2200 (3-island tour)

Entrance Fees

Agho Island: P50/head
Bolobadiangan Island: P25/head


P120 each way/head


for more photos

Pan de Azucar

Agho Island

Bolobadiangan Island


for a video experience

Agho Island video





~ by Happy Sole on January 26, 2010.

29 Responses to “The Philippine’s Hidden Gem: Concepcion, Iloilo”

  1. i am glad you were able to visit these mesmerizing beauties. i wasn’t able to see the full length of the sandbar bulubadiangan island, as it can be seen when it’s low tide and it happens in the afternoon.

    fascinating, isn’t it? i love the trip to these islands. 🙂

    • hi perkyperps, thanks for visiting! the place is definitely a gem. it is a place you would want to go back again and again. i would also love to explore the other islands. 🙂

  2. i so love pics #3 and #5 =) hope to be there for real =)

  3. wew!!! one of the “nami” places…a beauty beyond boundaries…kadto na kamo!!!

  4. I like the treatments sa photos. 😉

  5. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it greatly. I am the tourism officer of Concepcion, Iloilo. They can contact me through 09085929096. My email address is Our website is

  6. […] some of the most idyllic and pristine white sand beaches. Grab your sandals and head to Carles and Concepcion in the northern part of the province. If you yearn for the island party mood, Boracay is just a […]

  7. […] if you would like to widen your option, it is only walking distance from the town market. Click here to find out what the islands are […]

  8. […] Choose from among Concepcion‘s 16 hidden gems and bask in the sun for hours end with no one in sight. Read more … […]

  9. mayo gd ini nga pag-advertise! 🙂 (like!)

  10. I would like to visit this place too of Iloilo actually torn between Carles as well but do the sands of the island are really white? I saw a blog exploring these islands especially the sandbar and it was cream colored but your pics clearly says it is really white or these just depends on the lighting of the sun?

    We are planning to stay in Junbee resort, and they were offering 2,000 for a maximum of 8 person for a trip to these islands, do you think this is affordable already for 4 person in our group?

    • the sand in Concepcion is not as fine and as white as Boracay but you will like Agho Islands’ privacy (you can have the island for yourself for hours end) and Bolobodiangan Islands’ long sandbar. think Boracay 20 years ago.

      i am personally torn between Carles and Concepcion. each has characteristics unique to the other. 🙂 i’d choose both.

      by the way, the 2k package is reasonable already. we got the same rate back in 2009. I’m not sure if it’s still the same, but Junbee doesn’t have a cut in it (that’s what they said to us). It’s their way of helping the locals make a decent living. You will actually be handing the payment personally to the boatman. So, it must be true.

  11. Hi Happy sole, just back reading, is the entrance fee to each island is separate from your payment of the boat rental? Or is it inclusive.

  12. It is now P320/head. Package deal na daw sila ngayon. Entrance, boat and cottage. My question is, what if mag isa ka lang pupunta, ihahatid at susunduin ka ng boat for just that rate?

    • there must be a minimum no. of persons for that rate.. you should ask them directly. they are nice people, just ask them anything you wish.

      • This rate is from the local tourism. We are in a big group and Sonny said na nagulat daw sya sa charges ng local tourism kasi ang alam lang nya entrance at boat lng ang handle ng local tourism and the boat can be optional din kasi Sonny can hire a boat for the group. Local tourism never told us na optional ang package deal nila, it sounds like there were no other option when my sister talk to them kasi yun na daw ang package deal. My foreign friends are very disappointed coz this place is really nice but people who doesn’t even own/manage this island are trying to screw up this hidden treasure just to get money from tourists. I am a Filipina who is trying to introduce beautiful places in the Philippines to my foreign friends. ANYWAYS, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GO TO THIS PLACE, CONTACT SONNY DIRECTLY.

      • I wouldn’t recommend going through the local tourism officer.. 😦 he’s rates are usually expensive. better to deal directly with the locals e.g., resort owners & boatmen. i’m sorry you had to experience what you did.

  13. The place is lovely, as in super beautiful, the problem is the owner is mukhang pera and impolite… so low daw ang pictorial fee na 500 (actually the agreed price before we went there was 300 pesos) .. it got me thinking what is really their rate???!!!!!!! and with an additional comment of — makabayad gani kami kwatro mil sa video (we can actually pay for 4ok for the video) with this statement i conclude the impoliteness and being money hungry. and we had our reservation since the middle of april, yet when we arrived there we have no place to stay in, but we agreed to stay in much higher rate cottage as well as agreed to transfer to another if the occupants will leave, whats important is that we can change and start immediately the make-up and prenup pics.. then came the money hungry old man owner of the island, saying that we cant stay there because they have guests arriving and have reservation?! we answered that we agree to transfer if the other occupants scheduled for check out is out na.. daw d pa sya magsugot.. i said whats wrong with him, that we’ve already finalize everything with the tourism and yet here he (owner) comes and doesn’t want us to stay anywhere? what does he expect the bride to change clothes in the middle of the sea? so impolite and muney hungry… i was so disappointed because I’ve been there many times even before wen it wasn’t still develop, times when it was still a bare island. doesn’t the owner realized that with prenups the island will be promoted, especially because the videographer has a website to show their finished products. hopefully the management realize their mistake, and will not fall hard on the floor even without rising that high in the tourism industry.. sayang ang place, maganda pa naman

  14. It’s nice that you visited in a time when the sun is bright. Unlike my visit, where it’s gloomy and cold. What were we thinking? The pictures here are fun, happy, and full of life. Kudos!

  15. I’ve just blog my trip to Concepcion after 2 years since my visit and it was a great experience. I’m hoping to come back. Thanks for all the guides and I’ve learned from you. ‘Hope you share more travels!

    • that is nice, Ian! i want to go back and visit Concepcion as well. have they recovered from typhoon haiyan when you visited? i will visit your blog once i finish this reply. 🙂

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