Story and photos by Lovel Aniag
Travel date: 14 -17 December 2016
Alibijaban (A-li-bee-ha-ban). It’s a mouthful. Much like its name, it’s also pretty hard to go there. For one, travel time from Alabang to Alibijaban can go up to 10 hours straight. Also, regular buses are the only available transport. Imagine how uncomfortable it can get during summer.
The island is about 30 minutes away from the tip of Quezon Province, belonging to the Municipality of San Andres. While modern technology has reached the island, fishing is still the main source of income. However, tourism is slowly catching on as the island becomes a popular backpackers’ destination.
Day One: Island Hopping
On our first day in the island, our host, Ate Jen invited us to join her and her friends for island hopping. It was her friend’s son’s birthday. We eagerly said yes and left Alibijaban around 7 a.m. to our first destination: Animasola Island.
The island is about two hours away from Alibijaban, and is already a part of San Pascual, Masbate. It features exotic rock formations resembling Kapurpurawan in Ilocos – only smaller and darker.
Our group decided to have our brunch here. We sat on the rocky beach and shared meals and overflowing beer. It was here that I noticed an interesting fact of the Alibijaban life: women can handle their beer better than men.
I was with my people!
After enjoying our meal and beer, we moved to our next destination (and my favorite): Tinalisayan Island.
The island has all sorts of beaches you can imagine: rocky, white sand and pebbly!
Still part of San Pascual, Tinalisayan has two islands: Malaki and Maliit. Tinalisayan Maliit features a sand bar, camping grounds (with proper toilet) and white sand beach. Ideal time to go is early morning or late afternoon to catch the sandbar.
We went Maliit (small) – and it literally was. It took me about 10 minutes to go around.
ur host says it is a popular camping site among travelers because of its isolation. But due to its size, the island becomes crowded during the weekend.
With our tummies bursting from good food and our heads dazed with alcohol, we moved to our last island: Isla de Sombrero.
Sombrero Island features a long stretch of white sand beach. It has three separate resorts with cottages, vast campsites, beach volleyball and videoke to boot! The place is perfect for barkada or family trips.
Photo op in one of the cottages for rent in Sombrero Island.
While the first two islands we went to were free, Sombrero Island has a stricter policy on entrance fees (very minimal). So be prepared to pay for it should you decide to go there.
After a few photo ops, we decided to leave the island and head back to Alibijaban.
Day Two: Mangroves
Day two was for the Mangroves.
The mangrove site can be reached on foot or via boat. We opted to take the boat for a quick tour.
The island boasts of having one of the most expansive and unspoiled mangrove forest in the country.
Camping is allowed in the area. Just make sure you have insect repellant.
Day Three: Beach Bum
Day three was spent building sand castles, exploring the town and bumming on a hammock by the beach. There wasn’t much to do, aside from watching weekend travelers arrive.
Alibijaban is safe for solo travelers and is ideal for travelers who prefer the peace and quiet of an island life versus the party atmosphere most beaches in Manila offers.
How to get there:
To go directly to San Andres, board SUPERLINES or BARNEY BUS LINES at the Starmall terminal in Alabang. Around PHP 400
Follow BARNEY bus line Facebook Fan Page for inquiries on schedules (They reply!): https://www.facebook.com/BarneyAutoLines/
From San Andres, ask around for the port and ride the boat heading to Alibijaban. PHP 500 (RT, 2pax)
For boat transfer and island hopping, contact Kuya Randy at 0998.275.8413
There are no ATMs in the island, bring enough cash.
If you can, take the first trip from Cubao or Alabang, so you can arrive at the island early to maximize your stay.
Camping is allowed in the island. You can camp beachfront or near the mangroves. Should you decide to camp out by the mangroves, be ready with your insect repellant.
Your campsite may require you to pay an environmental fee of PHP 100.
Not sure how much our homestay accommodation is, but we were charged PHP 3,500 for three nights’ and three day’s stay, plus island hopping and mangrove tour. (2pax)
Enjoy and see you on the road!
Know a place I should discover? Or want to travel together? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org