Before Boracay's international appellation, an island from the northwestern part of Iloilo province was one of the top tourist destination in Asia. During 1970s to early 1980s, Sicogon Island, which is part of the Gigantes group of islands, was famous for its long stretch of white sand beach which was said seven kilometers longer than Boracay.
Approximately an hour and half pump boat ride from Barangay Bancal, mainland of Carles, one can take pleasure watching the long stretch of white coastline of Barangay Buaya, Sicogon Island, lined with coconut trees forming a refreshing divide between the lush forest and the blue waters. Fronting the white sand beach of Barangay Buaya is Tumaquin Island known for its aura of fantasy. This unhabited island has clear waters and creamy beach. Identified as a potential scuba diving site which holds the elusive qualities of undersea world. Trekking farther on the north east of Barangay Buaya, approximately two kilometers, is the majestic Mt. Opao, the pride of Sicogon Island. Standing at the top one can have a breathtaking view of the island and the neighboring islands. Its forested slopes are acclaimed to be the haven of wild boars, bald eagles, pitcher plant and various species of flora and fauna. The whole of Sicogon Island depends on the natural spring coming from MT. Opao for their water system.
Another attraction of the island are its abundant coral reefs which is good for scuba diving and snorkeling. Giant clams are also abundant in the island. This clams can grow up to 4 feet in diameter and most of this clams can be found near the entrance of old Spanish churches used to hold holy water.
Formerly, the Sicogon Beach Club was composed of two sites. The site where the main facilities are located such as the Clubhouse, cottages, swimming pools, sports and recreational facilities, wharf, airstrip and other facilities. The second site was used for picnics, swimming and scuba divings. The prior site was located at Barangay San Fernando while the latter site was at Barangay Buaya.
Entertainment stars and royalties used to go and spent their vacation in the island. Mr. Dolphy Quizon, the comedy king's family used to spent their family outings and parties in the island. "Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa" of Ms. Gloria Diaz was shot in the island, the scenes of the movie shows the unspoiled natural resources of Sicogon.
During the mid 70's to early 80's Sicogon had a world class resort where different local and international tourist visited and stayed in the island. Today, remains of the resort's hotels and cottages, swimming pools and the private airstrip were still visible in the island.
Unfortunately, on its way to be known worldwide, the developer, a Marcos crony, defaulted his loan and country's security issues and travel advisories after the death of Benigno Aquino caused the closure of the island's operations.
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