Alibijaban Island and Burias Island: Travel Guide + Sample Itinerary

Alibijaban Island and Burias Island
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This is our long weekend trip to Alibijaban Island in Quezon and Burias Island in Masbate.

Alibijaban Island — a name that’s synonymous with a budget-friendly, quiet getaway in the province of Quezon. This foreign-sounding island is mainly known for the numerous mangroves lining up the shore of its beach.

Is it really as good as it seems in Facebook posts?

Alibijaban island has its own charm. In fact I know a few people who’d been here a couple of times already. To me though one visit is enough. Seeing fields of mangroves and relaxing in a beach with just a few people around was a good experience, but not enough to warrant a second visit. To be honest I think there is too much hype built in Facebook about this place.

Meanwhile, Burias Island in Masbate is somewhere I would like to go back to again, in particular to explore more of its islands.

Trip to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island

This excursion to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island, which happened back in May (as you can see this is a throwback post), was supposed to be for an outreach event organized by the founder Backpackers of the Philippines, Ming. I invited Hali along — we were still dating at this point.

Travel companions in Alibijaban and Burias islands
Supposed-to-be volunteers from Backpackers of the Philippines (BOP). (Photo by Hali Navarro)

On the night of our departure from Manila, we got information that another outreach group arrived a day ahead of us, and apparently there was no coordination with the local barangay so the captain was not aware that there were going to be two outreach activities. We decided to reserve our school supply donations for another community but still push through the trip, this time for a long weekend vacation.

We left at about 11pm in Manila and arrived in Quezon Province in the morning the next day. We stopped for breakfast and then proceeded to the port. In fairness to the local municipality, the San Andres port was nice and looked well maintained. Alibijaban stands just a 30-minute boat ride away from the port.

Alibijaban Island, Quezon: Mangroves and starfishes

Alibijaban is a small island located in San Andres, Quezon. It’s about 10 hours away from Manila. Based on friends’ advice commuting is a hassle, so it’s better to hire a private van particularly if you’re with a large party. Our safe budget for this trip was P2,500, though actual cost was just about P2,000.

Allibijaban Island mangrove
Lines of mangroves. (Photo credit to Hali)

When we arrived, the caretakers recognized Ming from a previous visit there and accommodated us well, giving us a large open cottage. Unfortunately, some of us were not able to bring tents because of the sudden change in plan.

The weather was sweltering hot, the kind where you want to take a dip but you’re too tired to move and then you want to go around somewhere with more breeze but again you’re too tired to move.

Mangrove in Alibijaban, Quezon
Alibijaban beach (Photo by Hali Navarro)
(Photo credit to Hali)
Small sprouts of mangroves. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

After having freshly cooked fish for lunch we were slightly invigorated and decided to explore the beach. The beach looked beautiful but not ideal for swimming. It is low tide in the morning and late afternoon, and the water level was so low the best we could do was walk shin-deep in the water. There was also a lot of starfishes and charcoal-black sea urchins.

I hope I’m not making the impression that the place was just a drag. I guess there was just too much expectation built up from people singing praises about the place. As I said before the beach in Alibijaban has its own beauty and it was still fun looking around, taking photos, walking along the shore to see the toppled-down trees at the far end, with pieces of shirts tied around the branches. I still wonder what those are for. Hali and I speculated that it was a site for dumping bodies.

Shells in Alibijaban beach
The beach floor was home to numerous starfishes and sea urchins. There were also some large, beautiful shells along the shores. I just have this thing for shells. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

The sunset was perfect for photo-ops.

Sunset in Alibijaban beach
Sunset with Hali. (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Sunset among mangroves in Alibijaban beach
The sun starting to recede, in soft colors. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

Since we didn’t have a tent, Hali and I slept in the exposed cottage. During the night (as would the following night), my skin was fodder for niknik or sand flies, which gave me several red spots all over the body. Hali was miraculously spared. I had since included bug spray in my must-have lists for out-of-town beach trips.

The morning was better and a refreshing sunrise greeted us.

Burias Island, Masbate: Beautiful small islands

Burias Island is one of the main islands in the province of Masbate. Within Burias Island, you can visit other spots and in fact this is a favorite island hopping destination near Manila.

At the time of our visit though, it was still an unknown spot and we didn’t know about all the islands we could visit here. We only planned a visit to Sombrero and Pulong Dapa islands.

One of my friends commented that Masbate is quite a leap from Quezon, but it’s actually just a 2-hour boat ride! This made the whole trip way, way better.

We alighted from the boat and stayed in a resort. They had huts and open cottages for reasonable fees, although our group talked the caretaker to allowing us to stay under the shade of trees free of charge, since we would be staying for a couple of hours only anyway (I actually do not recommend doing this; let’s support the livelihood of locals in the tourism industry). They also cooked us fresh fish for lunch for a fee.

White sand in Sombrero island
Alone in a beautiful beach, that’s paradise. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

Sombrero island has a small land mass that you can wander around, end to end, in just under an hour. The actual sombrero-like (or hat-) rock formation is separated from the resort and you’d need a boat to cross, although we’ve been told that it’s possible to simply swim across the islet.

Sombrero island in Burias, Masbate
This huge land formation is shaped like a sombrero (hat). (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Beach in Sombrero island, Masbate
Hali and I, with the hat-shaped islet at the background. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

We were also told that the islet was, at one point in time, connected to the bigger island where the resort stands until sands were mined for transport to Boracay. Unlike in Alibijaban, the water here was a great blue and more than apt for swimming. There was also a long picturesque sandbar, with a small natural pool at the end.

Our next stop was Pulong Dapa Island. Here it was rocky, and seaweeds and corals were close to the shore. It was a nice place for snorkeling and seeing small blue fishes that seemed to glow underwater. You can also climb up the rocks to have an overview of the place.

Pulong Dapa Island, part of Burias islands
The rocky shore of Pulong Dapa island. (Photo by Hali Navarro)
Pulong dapa island. Masbate
Beautiful view in Pulong Dapa Island. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)
View in Pulong Dapa island, Masbate
Flora in Pulong Dapa Island. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

There was also a series of small “caves” inaccessible to us. I don’t know what they are but they looked amazing.

Cave formation in Pulong Dapa island, Masbate
I wonder what this formation is called. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

On the way back, we passed by a huge fishing boat that gave us (for free!) a large basin full of their catch. I read in an article somewhere that it’s a tradition among fishing boats to give some of their haul to boatmen who were less lucky in their catch. We spent another night getting bitten by niknik (or at least I did) and drinking around a campfire. The next morning, we packed our bags to go home.

And thus concludes our long-weekend visit to Alibijaban and Burias islands.

Travel guide to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island

How to get here

Here are the commute directions:

  • To go to Alibijaban Island, ride a bus in Alabang or Cubao to San Andres, Quezon. Rent a boat that will take you to Alibijaban Island.
  • To head directly to Burias Island, ride a bus in Cubao en route to Naga. Ride a van or jeep to Pasacao terminal and then walk towards the port. Ride a passenger boat to San Pascual. Inquire and register at the tourism office.

I suggest going in a group so you can hire a private van, which is more convenient compared to commuting, or going in a packaged joiner tour so transport is already taken care of.

Weekend itinerary

Here’s a sample itinerary for Alibijaban and Burias islands in case you only have a weekend to spare.

Day 0
– 10:00PM – ETD Manila to San Andres

Day 1
– 6:00AM – Arrival in San Andres, shop for supplies
– 8:00AM-6:00PM – Island hopping in Burias island (Sombrero Island, Dapa Island, Tinalisayan Island and sandbar, Animasola Island)
– 6:00PM – Set camp in Sombrero Island

Day 2
– 8:00AM – ETD Sombrero Island to Alibijaban Island
– 10:00AM-3:00PM – Explore Alibijaban Island
– 4:00PM-12 midnight – Travel back to Manila

Costs and expenses

We were a big group and we spent about P2000-2500 each.

For those who’re planning to do it DIY, here are the island hopping rates:

  • P8000 for a round-trip boat service to Alibijaban Island, including side trip to Burias Island, good for 20 pax (updated as of May 2015)
  • P3000 for island hopping in Burias Island only, good for 6 people, care of San Pascual tourism office (updated as of March 2017)

You can also explore other parts of San Pascual as side tours.

For hassle-free travel, you can easily find packaged joiner tours in Facebook. As of 2016, joiner tours for Alibijaban and Burias islands are priced at about P2500-3000 per person.

Contact Details

  • Kuya Fidel, boatman to Alibijaban (including Burias Island): 0998 411 6076
  • San Pascual tourism office: 0909 498 8530


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  1. Hi kat, were going to visit alibijaban x burias this coming holyweek.. may cellphone signal kaya sa area? 🙂

    1. Hi Ariene, I honestly can’t remember. I think your best bet would be to ask around once you’re there. 🙂 Please do update us!

  2. Hi Kat, if we bring private car in San Andres port any idea if there’s a parking lot that we can leave our car for a night?

  3. Burias island is in my list thank you for sharing. the water its clear and like the serene of the island specially in remote one.

  4. The sombrero and pulong dapa islands look stunning. Truly, Philippines has the best islands in all of Southeast asia

    1. I agree, Tamz. For someone like me who has been around, and I do mean around, I am still discovering more places that I have never been to, much less heard of. Truly, our country has countless destinations that even for us who live here, are just hearing about.

  5. Glad I had the chance to read your post. I’m from Bicol but I poor me, I haven’t been to Masbate. I should go to Masbate soon to see and experience this too.
    How much did you spent for the Masbate trip?
    I didn’t know that Masbate is just a 2-hr boat trip from Quezon. Thanks for sharing!

  6. the name of the place does sound foreign. I have relatives in Quezon. How do I not know this place? hahaha I should have a serious talk with my dad lol thanks for sharing this one. The place looks fantastic!

  7. I hadn’t heard of these islands before. I really loved to read your article. Aside from the sand flies, it sound very nice to me. I’m from the Netherlands, I see these kind of islands rarely :). Love to see them in your article. Makes me want to go to a sunny Island. The fresh cooked fish sounds amazing. And I really love the selfie you made at Sombrero island, looks great!

  8. haven’t heard of this haven in Quezon! Looks so serene! Great that it is not as commecialized as other beaches so that you are really one with nature. How much was your total spend when you went there?

    1. Our budget was less than P2500. Nowadays there’s a lot of tours for Alibijaban and Burias islands for less than P3000. 🙂

  9. I love the sunset. This is the first time that I have heard alibijaban island. The place looks calm and great place to relax with

  10. Hali is a good photographer, the photos bring life to your story. The places you visited seems to be a nice escape from the urban jungle– and just enjoy nature and fresh foods. I guess the only downside are the sea urchins. I got stung by one when I walked thru a low-tide beach, and it took about three weeks before it was completely healed.

    1. Aww, really? I didn’t know it takes that long to heal. My friend got stung once and it just took several minutes for the pain to subside. Anyway, I still don’t like swimming in areas with sea urchins which is why I liked our trip in Burias islands better than Alibijaban island.

  11. Haven’t heard of this place in Quezon. The beach is very beautiful. I would love to go there but when I read about the travel time — 10 hours! I dunno if my back can endure long hours sitting down. Any idea how much it will cost to hire a van? The 8k is for the boat only, right?

  12. I’ve always heard of Burias of my mom and how they have lots of sandbars, but I still haven’t really visited it yet. Hopefully, once I resign from my job, she’ll bring me to her hometown and we get to explore the islands she’s talking of including the islands you’ve featured.

    Truly, Sombrero island and the rock formations in Pulong Dapa island really sparked my interest in going to Masbate. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. My father is from Masbate as well. 🙂 He was surprised to know I already visited his hometown haha it slipped off my mind.

  13. oh wow, that’s a great place!!! ♥ I know someone who lives in Burias Island but I’ve never been there. There are so many wonderful spots to visit in the PH!

  14. I love this posts because you really let me see the view. I hate travel posts where it’s selfies everywhere haha. It does look like a charming place and definitely worth a visit.

  15. Hi, may I ask for the itinerary and budget list? And yung 2k na budget niyo, kasama na yung sa burias island? Also confused ako dun sa 8,000 RT sorry. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hi, our itinerary is like this:

      Day 0 – ETD Manila
      Day 1 – Arrival in Alibijaban, pitch tents, explore
      Day 2 – Island hopping in Burias islands
      Day 3 – ETD Alibijaban to Manila

      There are other islands in Masbate that you can include in your itinerary such as Animasola and Tinalisayan Islands.

      Yes, budget mentioned covers all-in expenses.

      P8,000 is the rate we paid for the boat to Alibijaban and back and island hopping in Burias islands. 🙂

      1. Uy, thank you very much for the quick reply! Yung sombrero and tinalisayan islet talaga yung target namin, malayo pa ba yun sa burias?

        1. You mean from the port in San Pascual? I read that it’s 2-3 hours. From Alibijaban, Sombrero Island is 2 hours away. Tinalisayan Island is close by, if I’m not mistaken. 🙂

          1. We’ll be coming from Alibijaban po kasi, the boat you rented po ba also provided the island hopping tour? Here’s our itinerary:

            DAY 0 – ETD Manila
            Day 1 – San Andres port to San Pascual then island hopping or derecho na kami island hopping tapos overnight
            DAY 2 – Alibijaban Island tour then mga hapon back to San Andres port to Manila

            Is this itinerary fine? Can we manage to explore the 4 islands in masbate? We’re fine if hindi naman maexplore lahat sa Alibijaban. What do you think? Thank you!:)

  16. Hi kat. As im reading this blog.. we are literally on our way to San Andres going to Burias Island. Si Kuya Fidel din kinuha namin.. sa Bop ko rin nakuha itong idea ng Burias Island Adventure.. just want to thank you for the tips… we will be staying at Sombrero Island.. hopefully no sand flies please..


    1. Hi Roda! Bring insect repellents na lang to be safe, the sand flies’ bites lasted for weeks in our case, they were really itchy. There are other islands in Burias like Tinalisayan, perhaps you can island hop in those as well. 🙂

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