Alibijaban Island and Burias Island: DIY Guide + 2 Days Itinerary

Sombrero island in Burias Islands
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One of the best beach getaways near Manila is Alibijaban Island (located in Quezon Province) and Burias Island (Masbate Province). We went here on a long weekend sometime ago, and I’d since then updated this guide to Alibijaban Island and Burias Isalnd including a 2 days itinerary!

For a little background:

Alibijaban Island is a quiet, budget-friendly island in San Andres, Quezon. The name sounds foreign, but it’s a now-popular local destination especially during summer. Its known for its white-sand shores surrounded by mangrove trees.

Just 2 hours away from boat, you can reach Burias Island. Burias Island is one of the three major island groups in Masbate (along with Ticao and mainland Masbate). It’s composed of small islands: Sombrero Island, Dapa Island (also known as Snake Island), Tinalisayan Island and Animasola Island.

Without further ado, here is our experience on the trip.

Our trip to Alibijaban and Burias Island

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

We took this trip a while ago, as organized by Backpackers of the Philippines. I invited Hali along; we were still casual dating at this point.

It was supposed to be an outreach event, but another outreach group went ahead of us without coordination with the local barangay, so our group decided to reserve our donations for another community in the future instead. sstill We decided to push through with the trip for leisure.

We left at about 11PM in Manila and arrived in Quezon Province in the morning. We stopped for breakfast and then proceeded to the San Andres Port. In fairness to the local municipality, the San Andres port was clean and well maintained.

Alibijaban Island was waiting just 30 minutes of boat ride away from the port.

Alibijaban Island (Quezon Province)

Alibijaban is a small island located in San Andres, Quezon Province. At over 400 hectares in size, it’s home to a local community whose one of main incomes is tourism. The island is blessed with stretches of fine white sand and lush mangroves.

There are homestays and cottages open to tourists staying in the island.

Mangrove in Alibijaban, Quezon
Alibijaban beach (Photo by Hali Navarro)

When we arrived, the caretakers led us to a large open cottage. We dropped our bags and rested after the night-long trip to get here.

It was difficult to enjoy the moment because it was sweltering hot — the kind where you want to take a dip or look somewhere else with more breeze but the sun was too harsh and it makes you too tired to move.

We were slightly invigorated after having a lunch meal of freshly cooked fish. Hali and I decided to go to the beach.

The beach in Alibijaban was beautiful but wasn’t good for swimming. It was low tide so we could only walk shin-deep in the water. Also, there were a lot of starfishes and sea urchins in the sand. There was an area a little further which was better for swimming, but we didn’t go there.

I was a little disappointed. There was too much expectation built up from seeing the island in social media, but we wanted a place where we could enjoy a proper swim.

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

For the rest of the day, we walked around the island and took photos of the beach area.

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. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

As sunset came, Hali prepared the camera for some photo-op.

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)

Due to the sudden change of plans, some of us weren’t able to bring tents, including us. Hali and I slept in the exposed cottage. During the night, my skin served as fodder for niknik (sand flies). I woke up with red spots all over the body. Hali was miraculously spared. (Can someone explain to me why sand flies favor other people and ignore the rest?) I had since included insect repellent in my must-bring items for out-of-town beach trips.

The morning was better and a refreshing sunrise greeted us. It was time to island hop to Burias Island in Masbate, about 2 hours away from the island.

Burias Island (Masbate Province)

Burias Island is one of the three main islands in Mabaste. Currently, it’s a favorite island hopping destination especially of tourists in Manila.

It’s composed of several islets, including Sombrero Island, Dapa Island, Tinalisayan Island and Animasola Island.

At the time of our trip, it was still a relatively unknown spot. We only scheduled a visit to Sombrero Island and Dapa Island. However, I’ve included the other must-see islands in Burias Island for your reference.

Sombrero Island

Beach in Sombrero island, Masbate
Hali and I, with the hat-shaped islet at the background. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

Sombrero Island is a private island located on the western tip of Burias Island. As we alighted the boat, a caretaker came to us to offer open cottages in the resort for day use. The resort is located along a stretch of white-sand beach with dazzling-blue water, which any beach-goers will love. There is also a long sandbar that forms a natural pool.

At the end of the island, you can see the sombrero (hat)-shaped islet which the island is named after.

The caretaker told us that the islet was once connected to the island, until sands were mined for transport to Boracay. He also told us that it’s possible to swim across to the islet, but for safety reasons, I think it’s best to get a boat.

Sombrero island in Burias, Masbate
This huge land formation is shaped like a sombrero (hat). (Photo by Hali Navarro)
White sand in Sombrero island
Alone in a beautiful beach. Thatโ€™s paradise. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)

Hali and I were happy that we’d included an island hopping activity on our trip. Unlike in Alibijaban Island, the beach here was perfect for swimming. I swam near the shore, while Hali snorkeled and swam alongside schools of small fishes. We also walked around — the island is small so you can explore it in under an hour.

The caretaker cooked us fresh fish for lunch for a free. Afterwards, we went to our next stop in the island hopping tour.

Dapa Island

Pulong Dapa Island, part of Burias islands
The rocky shore of Dapa island. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

Dapa Island (also known as Snake Island) features a small beach cove surrounded by rugged rock formations. The beach here is a little rocky, and close to the shore, you can already see seaweeds and corals. As such, it’s a good place for snorkeling. In particular, you can see schools of glowing blue fishes.

You can also climb up the rock formations to enjoy an overview of the island.

Pulong dapa island. Masbate
Beautiful view in Dapa Island. (Photo credit to Hali Navarro)
View in Pulong Dapa island, Masbate
Flora in Dapa Island. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

There was a series of small “caves” inaccessible to us. Hali took a snap before we left the island.

Cave formation in Pulong Dapa island, Masbate
Small cave-like inlets.. (Photo by Hali Navarro)

Back on the boat, we passed by a huge fishing boat that gave us a large basin for free. I read somewhere that it’s a tradition among fishing boats to give some of their haul to boatmen who are less lucky in their catch. I’m touched by the generosity of the locals here in Masbate.

Tinalisayan Island

Tinalisayan Island in Burias group of islands, Masbate
Drone shot of Tinalisayan Island including sand bar.

Tinalisayan Island is a favorite stop during island hopping tours in  Burias Island. During low tide, you can see a picturesque sand bar surrounded by bluish water.

It’s best to visit Tinalisayan Island from morning until lunch time.

Animasola Island

Animasola Island in Burias group of islands, Masbate
Animasola Island rock formation.

Animasola Island is known for its remarkable rock formations. In particular, at the eastern end of the island, you can seeย a giant rock formation with wavy lines. This piece is made up of sedimentary rocks which formed a pattern over the years.

Currently, tourists are not allowed to climb up the rock formation but you can still take photos in the ground. You can also take a swim at the natural pools found at the back of the island.

Overall

I enjoyed this weekend trip with Hali and the rest of our group.

However, I will be honest. Alibijaban Island has its charm, but there’s too much hype built around it. I know a few people who’d been here a couple of times already and love it. For me though, one visit is enough. Seeing the beach and mangroves was nice, but the beach area was mostly shallow and filled with sea urchins and our 2 nights were filled with bites from sand flies. The sand fly thing is now a topic of joking around us, but it’s not something I would want to experience again.

Again, this is just my experience.

On the other hand, I enjoyed our island hopping tour in Burias Island in Masbate. I’d love to go back here again, in particular to explore the rest of its islands and whatever else the province offers.

It’s no wonder that it’s now one of the popular summer destinations in Luzon.

Travel Guide to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island

As promised, here’s a travel guide to Alibijaban Island in Quezon Province and Burias Island in Masbate.

How to get here

From Manila, there are 2 options for the jump-off point to island hopping: San Andres in Quezon or San Pascual in Masbate.

Via San Andres Port

San Andres is about 7-8 hours away from Manila. San Andres Port is the common jump-off point to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island.

Here are the commute directions:

  • From Alabang (Starmall) or Cubao, ride a bus bound to San Andres, Quezon (about P450-500 per person).
  • From the terminal, walk or ride a padyak (side car) to San Andres Port. Once in San Andres Port, register in the tourism office first.
  • From San Andres Port, you can either take a motorized banca to Alibijaban Island only (P50 per person, 30-45 minutes) OR charter a private boat for Alibijaban only or island hopping to both Alibijaban Island and Burias Island.

Note: If you’re bringing a car, there is a parking lot in San Andres Port where you can leave your vehicle overnight.

Via San Pascual Port

Another option is San Pascual via Naga.

Here are the commute directions:

  • From Cubao, ride a bus bound to Naga City (P700-1000 per person, 8-9 hours).
  • From the terminal, take a tricycle to the north-bound terminal and then ride a jeep or van to Pasacao (P70 per peson, 45 minutes).
  • From Pasacao, ride a ferry to San Pascual in Burias Island (2 hours, about P130 per person). Once in San Pascual, register at the tourism office.
  • Charter a boat for island hopping.

2 Days Itinerary to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island

Here’s a sample 2 days itinerary for Alibijaban and Burias islands.

Dayย 0
10PM – ETD Manila to San Andres

Day 1
6AM – Arrival in San Andres / registration
7AM – Breakfast / shop for supplies
8AM – 6PM – Island hopping in Burias island (Sombrero Island, Dapa Island, Tinalisayan Island and sandbar, Animasola Island)
6PM – Stay overnight in Sombrero Island or Alibijaban Island

Day 2
7AM – 3PM – Explore Alibijaban Island
3PM – 11PM – Travel back to Manila

From San Andres Port, the ideal start of island hopping tour is Animasola Island, which is the furthest island (2-3 hours away), and then the rest of the islands in Masbate.

You may choose to stay overnight in either Sombrero Island or Alibijaban Island.

Budget and expenses

Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2020).

Boat rates from San Andres Port:

  • Boat to Alibijaban only: P1500 (good up to 10 people)
  • Boat to Burias Island only: P3000 for 3 islands (Animasola, Tinalisayan, and Sombrero) + P500 each island added (Dapa, Arena, Templo, Taguingui, and Busing)
  • Boat to Alibijaban and Burias Island: P9000 (good up to 10 people)

Fees in Alibijaban Island:

  • Entrance fee: P100 per person
  • Tent rental: P200 (good up to 2 pax)
  • Room for overnight stay: P700-1000 (good up to 2-3 pax)

Fees in Burias Island:

  • Animasola Island: Entrance fee – P20 per person
  • Tinalisayen Island: Entrance fee – P50 per person
  • Sombrero Island: Entrance fee – P80 per pereson
  • Dapa Island: None

For hassle-free travel, you can easily find packaged joiner tours in Facebook. As of 2020, joiner tours for Alibijaban and Burias islands are priced at about P3000 per person.

Contacts

Here are some boat operators you can contact:

  • Kuya Fidel: 09984116076
  • Kuya Randy: 09107629271/ 09982758413

Others:

Reminders and Tips

  • Commuting to either port may be a hassle. I highly suggest going in a group so you can charter a private van for transport or join a packaged tour to Alibijaban Island and Burias Island.
  • If you don’t have a pre-arranged meal setup, you can buy ingredients in San Andres Market and have it cooked for you in the island for a fee. You may also buy fresh catch from the island locals.
  • Bring aqua shoes for protection. There are sea urchins in Alibijaban Island, as well as Animasola Island and Tinalisayan Island.
  • Bring insect repellent, especially if you plan to stay overnight in Alibijaban Island.
  • You can also explore other parts of San Pascual in Masbate as side tours if you still have time.

What to read next:

Here are popular destinations for the summer:

Also read:

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33 Comments

  1. Hi kat, were going to visit alibijaban x burias this coming holyweek.. may cellphone signal kaya sa area? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Ariene, I honestly can’t remember. I think your best bet would be to ask around once you’re there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Please do update us!

  2. Hi Kat, if we bring private car in San Andres port any idea if thereโ€™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. Last year I visited this place too. Mine is still with uneven tan. I am a big beaching person too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. My father is from Masbate as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ He was surprised to know I already visited his hometown haha it slipped off my mind.

  14. oh wow, that’s a great place!!! โ™ฅ 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    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. ๐Ÿ™‚

      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. ๐Ÿ™‚

          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!:)

  17. 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..

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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