One of the things that you can do while in Tabaco City is island hopping! I was surprised to know about this too since I thought Tabaco City is all about town tours and land attractions.
The islands you can visit are not under the jurisdiction of Tabaco. Tabaco Port is just one of the jump-off points for island hopping in this area.
Our island hopping tour in Albay
Our group met up at about 9AM in the town center and we went directly to Tabaco Port. From there, it’s about 40-45 min before we reach our first island – Vanishing Island.
Vanishing Island is also called Wara-Wara Island and it’s located at Malilipot, Albay. The sand here is cream colored and the beach looks so pristine. If you have a snorkel, you can actually see small fishes in the shore. This is the best place to take a swim while island hopping because it’s basically all sand.
There are several cottages in Vanishing Island where you can eat.
As its name implies, the island is visible during low tide. You have to ask your boatman what time is it best to visit here.
Our next stop is Pinamuntogan Island (also spelled as Pinamuntugan Island) in Balacay, Albay. The name roughly means “pinagbabaran”, i.e., a swimming hole for the locals. Pinamuntogan Island is beautiful, with lots of coconut trees and greenery. There’s a rock formation at the other friend, which my friend Joemar of Lakwatserong Irigenyo says changes every year due to typhoons.
Pinamuntogan Island is a great place for you to have lunch. There are cottages in the island, but in our case, we opted to eat our food in our boat since it was too much hassle to carry everything inland.
As a swimming location, it’s not very ideal because there’s a lot of seaweed, star fishes and occasional sea urchins. I was told by our boatman though that there’s a snorkeling area nearby, but you have to get permission from the barangay to swim there first.
Our last stop was Maliktay in Tabaco, Albay. We were supposed to stop here to drink — according to our tourism officer Vern — “unlimited” coconuts. Unfortunately, it was still low tide and it meant a long walk to the shore. We were running a bit late from our late-afternoon appointments in town so we just decided to take pictures from our boat and then leave.
Aside from these islands, there are other islands you can visit via Tabaco Port. One is San Miguel Island. San Miguel is a popular local and tourist attraction in Tabaco because it has several beaches you can visit, most notably Punta Beach. Another is Guinanayan Island, which has a distinct narrow tip which lets you enjoy its turquoise water on both sides.
If you’re planning on island hopping in Albay, make sure to allot a whole day so you can visit all the stops!
How to get to Tabaco City
You can visit these islands in Albay thru Tabaco City or Bacacay Port, whichever is closer to you. We went here via Tabaco Port.
From Manila, you have different options to get to Tabaco City, Albay:
- Take a local flight to Legazpi via PAL or Cebu Pacific (~45 min) and then ride a jeep or van to Tabaco City (30 min to 1 hour).
- Take a bus direct to Tabaco City (12 hours). You can also book a bus to Legazpi and, as above, take a jeep or van to Tabaco City.
If you’re going the land route, I recommend taking Bicol Isarog because it’s a reliable bus line and offers comfortable travel. It has terminals in Cubao, Buendia, and Alabang.
From the town center, you can ride a tricycle to Tabaco Port.
Islands you can visit in Albay
Here are the islands you can visit in Albay via Tabaco Port:
- Vanishing Island (also called Wara-Wara Island) (Malilipot, Albay)
- Pinamuntogan Island (also spelled as Pinamuntugan Island) (Bacacay, Albay)
- Maliktay (Tabaco, Albay)
- Guinanayan Island (Rapu-Rapu, Albay)
- San Miguel Island (Tabaco, Albay)
You can visit these islands in 1 day. I suggest allotting a whole day for island hopping. We island hopped from 9AM to 3PM (back at Tabaco Port at 4PM) and it was not enough time to drop by the other islands.
Where to stay overnight
If you want to stay overnight, you can arrange for an overnight stay at Pinamuntogan Island where you can bring your own tent or book a room in San Miguel Island where you can find a few local resorts.
Otherwise, you can stay in the mainland of Tabaco City. Here are the best hotels and resorts:
Budget and expenses
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2020):
- Island hopping rate depends on boat capacity and number of islands to visit. Rate starts at P2000.
- Pinamuntogan Island docking fee – P10 per person / cottage rental – P400
Things to know before you go
- It’s best to bring you own food and water.
- Don’t forget the Leave No Trace principle! Take your trash with you.
- You can wash up back in your accommodation in the mainland.
- Island hopping tour : Kuya Hermie Veron – 0916 873 4408
- Tabaco City Tourism Office – Facebook
Disclaimer: Big thanks to Tabaco Tourism Office for organizing this activity!
Has this guide on island hopping in Albay via Tabaco Port been helpful to you? If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below!
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- Tabak Festival in Tabaco City, Albay
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).