Danjugan Island is a 43-hectare privately-owned island located in the Sulu Sea, in the Philippines. The island is known for its diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and it is a popular destination for ecotourism and conservation activities. It was declared a marine reserve and bird sanctuary in the 1990s.
The Danjugan island is also a popular spot for diving, snorkeling, and other water-based activities due to its healthy coral reefs and diverse marine life. Additionally, The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation (PRRCFI) which is a non-profit organization, manages the island’s ecotourism activities and conservation programs.
How To Get to Danjugan Island
Danjugan Island is located in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, and it is situated in the Visayas, municipality of Cauayan in the province of Negros Occidental.
The nearest airport to Danjugan Island is Bacolod-Silay Airport, which is located in Bacolod City. From there, you can take a bus or a car to the town of Bulata, which is the jump-off point for trips to the island.
From Bulata, you will need to take a boat to reach the island. The trip takes about an hour and a half by pumpboat. The trip is usually organized by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI) which is the organization in-charge of the ecotourism activities and conservation efforts on the island.
You can also get to Danjugan Island from Bacolod by land, via the town of Cauayan. It’s about two hours ride from Bacolod to Cauayan, you will then take a habal-habal (motorbike) and tricycle ride to Barangay Bulata.
It is important to note that the island is remote, and access is limited to protect the island’s ecosystems. As such, visitors are asked to comply with the island’s regulations and guidelines, and to be mindful of their impact on the environment.
Where to Stay in DanjuGan Island
There are several options for staying on Danjugan Island, as the island is dedicated to ecotourism and conservation.
The main accommodation on the island is the Danjugan Island Eco-Camp, which offers camping facilities and a basic dormitory-style accommodation. The camp is designed to be as environmentally-friendly as possible and features solar-powered lighting and composting toilets. Guests are encouraged to be self-sufficient and bring their own camping gear.
Additionally, the island’s marine and bird sanctuary also offers homestays with the local communities. Visitors can also stay in the island’s marine research station, which can accommodate up to 12 people.
Please note, Danjugan Island is not an all-inclusive resort, rather, the visits and stays are centered around environmental education, conservation, marine and wildlife experience.
HISTORY OF DANJUGAN ISLAND
Danjugan Island has a rich history, dating back to the pre-colonial period when it was occupied by the indigenous Suludnon people. The island was used as a source of food, medicine, and raw materials, and the Suludnon people had a deep reverence for the island’s natural resources.
In the late 1800s, the island was purchased by the British trading company, Jardine, Matheson and Co., which used it as a base for collecting bird nests and turtle shells. These activities greatly impacted the island’s wildlife populations and ecosystems.
In the 1970s, the island was purchased by a Filipino businessman, who used it for cattle grazing. This further degraded the island’s ecosystems and wildlife.
In the 1990s, the island was purchased by a group of conservationists and ecologists, led by Gerry Ledesma and his wife, Linda. They established the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PRRCFI) which is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the island’s ecosystems and wildlife.
Under the management of PRRCFI, Danjugan Island was declared a marine reserve and bird sanctuary, and it became a popular destination for ecotourism and conservation activities. Since then, the island’s ecosystems and wildlife have slowly begun to recover, and it is now considered a model of conservation in the Philippines.
THINGS TO DO IN DANJUGAN ISLAND
Danjugan Island offers a wide range of activities for visitors interested in ecotourism and conservation. Some of the things you can do on the island include:
1. Snorkeling and diving: The island’s coral reefs are some of the most diverse and healthy in the Philippines, and they are home to a wide range of marine life, including sea turtles, sharks, rays, and hundreds of species of fish.
The island’s lagoons are great spot for snorkeling as they are protected and surrounded by diverse marine life. The Lagoon Point, located on the northern side of the island, is an excellent spot for snorkeling, diving and also birdwatching. There’s also an excellent chance of seeing marine turtles, rays, and schools of fish.
Visitors can also snorkel at other areas around the island, such as the Marine Cave which is home to bats and is a feeding ground for different species of fish. Snorkelers can also visit the island’s many dive sites, where they can see a wide variety of coral, sponges, and fish, as well as sea turtles, sharks, and rays.
2. Lagoon: The island has a beautiful lagoon that’s surrounded by lush vegetation and a sandy beach. It’s perfect for swimming and relaxing, and it’s also home to a variety of fish and other marine life.
- One of the lagoons on the island is located on the western side of the island, and it is surrounded by lush vegetation and a sandy beach. It’s a perfect spot for swimming and relaxing, and it’s also home to a variety of fish and other marine life. This lagoon can also be accessed through a kayak or by swimming
- Another lagoon is located on the northern side of the island and it’s known as the Lagoon Point. This is an excellent spot for snorkeling, diving and also birdwatching. There’s also an excellent chance of seeing marine turtles, rays, and schools of fish. This lagoon is located on the shore of the island, allowing visitors to enjoy the view while swimming or snorkeling
Both lagoons are included in the Danjugan Island marine and bird sanctuary, which is managed by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc (PRRCFI), therefore, the usage of these areas are guided by them to ensure the preservation of marine and terrestrial life.
It is important to note that the lagoons in Danjugan island is not intended for mass tourism or commercial use, the visits and stays are centered around environmental education, conservation, marine and wildlife experience.
3. Hiking and birdwatching: The island’s terrestrial ecosystems are just as diverse as its marine ecosystems, and they are home to a wide range of bird species, as well as other wildlife such as bats, monitor lizards, and primates.
4. Island Hopping: The island itself is a part of Danjugan Island Protected Area, which includes six other islets that offer different marine and terrestrial activities.
Some of the islets in Danjugan Island Protected Area that can be visited are:
- Taptapan Island – This is the island closest to Danjugan Island, and it features a sandy beach and mangrove forest. It is also a good spot for birdwatching.
- Bulog Island – This is a small rocky island that is home to seabirds and marine turtles. The island also has a lagoon that is great for swimming.
- Tanon Strait Island – This is an important marine turtle nesting site and it’s closed to the public during nesting season. It also has a lagoon that can be visited during the proper season and a great spot for snorkeling.
- Margaha Island – This island is known for its beautiful sandy beach and crystal-clear water. It’s an excellent spot for swimming and relaxing, and it’s also home to a variety of fish and other marine life.
- Canduyong Island – This is a small rocky island that is home to seabirds and marine turtles. The island also has a lagoon that is great for swimming.
- Sipalay Island – This island is farther from the Danjugan Island but can be visited as part of the island hopping activity. It’s a popular spot for birdwatching and for visiting the local community.
5. Environmental Education: The island is also a popular destination for educational trips and workshops. The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation (PRRCFI), which manages the island, offers a variety of educational programs that focus on conservation, sustainable living, and marine science.
6. Beach combing and Relaxing: The island is a great place to enjoy the serenity of nature, and it has several beaches with white sand, crystal-clear water and lush vegetation.
7. Sustainable living practices: Visitors can learn about sustainable practices and the low impact lifestyle on the island, such as composting toilets, rainwater harvesting, solar-powered lighting, and waste segregation.
Please note that, it is important for visitors to be mindful of the fragile nature of the island and adhere to the guidelines set out by the management organization and community.
Getting Ready for your Danjugan Island Trip
When visiting Danjugan Island, it’s important to bring the right gear and supplies to make the most of your trip and to minimize your impact on the environment.
Sun protection: Bring sunscreen, hats, and long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself from the sun.
Bug repellent: Bring bug repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects.
First Aid: It’s always a good idea to bring a basic first aid kit, including any personal medication you may need.
Water and snacks: Bring enough water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and nourished throughout your trip.
Camping and Snorkeling gear: If you’re planning to camp on the island, bring your own camping gear. If you’re planning to snorkel or dive, bring your own snorkeling and diving gear.
Clothing and footwear: Bring comfortable clothing and footwear that can get wet. Make sure to bring a change of clothes for your return trip as well.
Waterproof bag: bring a waterproof bag to keep your valuables and gadgets safe and dry.
Cash and ID: you’ll need cash to pay for the boat trip, environmental fee and other incidentals. Also bring a valid ID, just in case.
Visiting Danjugan Island is a unique and rewarding experience for those who appreciate nature and conservation. The island’s diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems offer visitors a chance to see a wide variety of wildlife and to learn about conservation and sustainable living practices. Whether you are interested in snorkeling and diving, birdwatching, or simply relaxing on the beach, Danjugan Island has something to offer.
With its commitment to environmental education and conservation, a visit to Danjugan Island not only offers visitors the opportunity to experience one of the most beautiful and untouched islands in the Philippines, but also to contribute to the protection of this unique and fragile ecosystem and the community who lives in it.