Travel date: 14 -18 December 2016
Alibijaban (A-li-bee-ha-ban). It’s a mouthful. Much like its’ name, it’s also pretty hard to go to. For one, travel time from Alabang to Alibijaban can go up to 10 hours straight. Another: There are no air conditioned buses heading to San Andres, Quezon. Imagine how uncomfortable it can get during summer.
After arriving at the municipality San Andres, going to the island takes about 30 minutes of boat ride crossing the narrow channel separating the island from the tip of Quezon Province.
While the people living in the island already enjoy internet and cable TV, much of its way of life are still very much provincial. Electricity has daily cut-off times, and there are no paved roads. Dogs roam around freely – along with carabaos, tamaraws, chickens and pigs. It is a good mix of simple and modern living.
Day One: Island Hopping
On our first day in the island, our boatman Kuya Randy’s wife, Ate Jen invited us to join her and her friends for the day. It was her friend’s son’s birthday and they were going island hopping to celebrate. We eagerly said yes. There’s no better way to experience a new place than with locals, after all!
We left Alibijaban around 7am for our first destination: Animasola Island.
The island is about 2 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.
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. Our host says it is a popular camping site amongst 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.
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 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. Also, the people are so unbelievable warm and friendly. Probably because the island is so small, everyone is literally family.
How to get there:
To go directly to San Andres, board SUPERLINES or BARNEY BUS LINES at the Starmall terminal in Alabang. Around 400php.
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 of 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 Php3,500 for three nights and three days 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