Burias Islands is one of the three main islands of Masbate in the the Bicol region. The two other major islands being Ticao and Masbate Islands. Burias is not a common destination for tourists but its beauty is comparable to the more famous beaches in the country. One can go island hopping directly from San Pascual jump off point in Masbate and another option is to go from a nearer jump off point in Alibijaban Island, San Andres, Quezon.
Coming from Manila, it will take you 9-10 hours to get to Naga plus 2 hours or so to get to Masbate and at least 30 minutes to Burias Islands, whereas it will take you 7-8 hours going to San Andres. We left at around 11 PM on a Friday in Makati and arrived at San Andres, Quezon by 7 AM the next day. The group had breakfast at a carinderia in town before heading to the port and take a boat to Alibijaban.
The camp site is called Alibijaban island (a-li-bi-ha-ban), about 30 minutes away from the port. It is a small island with a few hundred families that live off fishing in the seas of Quezon and Masbate.
Buy your food at the market in San Andres before going to the island. There are sari-sari stores in the island and you can also ask the local store owner to cook food for you. Just pay them a reasonable amount if they don’t give you a cost upfront.
We pitched our tents in the island but if you want to stay in a more comfortable accommodation you can rent a tiny hut. The huts nearest the shore are usually available for rent. Huts cost Php1000/night while tents are at Php300.
Not too far away from the main camp site is Alibijaban’s sandbar. You can actually walk to get there but you will be passing by mangroves and it will take about 30 minutes to an hour! Depends how fast you try to get there. We decided to rent a small boat for Php400 and arrived there in less than 10 minutes!
Make sure to go early if you wish to see the sandbar or ask your local boat man of the best time when it’s low tide. When we were there, the water began to rise quickly by 8 or 9 in the morning. There were a lot of small fishes and starfishes that you can simply pick them up.
Ask around before paying for a tour fee. If you are traveling on a budget, it is best to know your options first. We opted for a Php400 boat good for six passengers however after asking around when we got back and after a bit of research (too late!) we found out that tours to Alibijaban sandbar usually cost Php30 pesos per head. You can also ask a local to guide you there by walking and tip them a few hundreds afterwards. But, if you have the money to spare, just rent and pay your local boat man for the services. You are helping them an awful lot that way.
This is where the famed rock formation can be found. It may look quite difficult to climb but it is possible. A few guys went up first and they helped the others by hoisting them up.
There is also a grotto in the island though you have to do a minor trek to get there. We passed this up because we weren’t prepared for the climb. The stones in the sand were sharp and the wooden railings and stairs that were installed were kind of falling off.
Tinalisayan island has the most beautiful sandbar and fine white sand. I thought this was the best island among the three that we visited because of its calm, crystal clear waters which make it ideal for swimming.
A little farther from the shore is a spot that would’ve been good to set up tents in. Consider staying the night here if ever you decide to visit the island because you can get the best unobstructed view of the rising and setting sun in the wide horizon.
You can also harvest your own coconuts here because the trees are so low! However, I don’t encourage you to do it by yourselves if you are not used to it. Just let the locals climb them for you. After all they sell these at Php20 each.
We entered a private resort in Sombrero Island and went for a short game of beach volleyball. The heat was unbearable that afternoon that the idea of swimming wasn’t so inviting at all. There are huts available for rent in the island if you wish to stay the night.
Boat fee from Alibijaban to nearby islands
Small boat – Php400
Big boat – Php800 – Php1200
Depends on the maximum capacity
How to Get there
Slightly above the Burias island marker you can see San Andres, Quezon and if you zoom in a little you will see Alibijaban Island near San Andres.
We rode a private van to San Andres by joining a group tour that we found at an online travel community. If you plan to DIY for this trip you can try the following options:
Take a bus to Naga. Then from Naga take a jeepney or a van via Pasacao. From the port of Pasacao, there are regular boat trips going to San Pascual.
Take a bus to San Andres. From San Andres terminal, hire a tricycle to take you to the port to Alibijaban Island.
Where to Stay
You can choose from any islands mentioned above just bring your own tents and sleeping bags! Huts are available for rent at Alibijaban island for Php1000 a night. There are no rooms available in other nearby islands in Burias, except in one private resort in Sombrero island.
You can find more photos of the islands on our Facebook account.
Thank you for reading!