Roughing It Out In Alibihaban Island
On the contrary, if you're game for a night or two in paradise and you don't mind the 7- to 8-hour long drive, as well as sleeping on a tent under a tree and eating grilled fresh catch with your bare hands, then by all means, read on.
Over the Labor Day weekend, while everyone was having margaritas and mojitos in LaBoracay, our group went all the way to San Andres, Quezon, in the quaint place called Alibihaban Island. Also known as "pulo" to the locals, the island is fast becoming a popular destination for camping and barkada getaways. Alibihaban Island is a fourth class municipality located off the southeastern tip of the province of Quezon.
|Arriving at the San Andres port in time for sunrise|
How to go to Alibihaban Island:
- The most convenient way to go to Alibihaban Island is through a 7- to 8-hour land trip via private transportation. This gives you the flexibility to have stopovers in between, as well as the freedom to choose the less crowded route. Our group rented a 2013 Toyota Hi-Ace Commuter 12-seater van from Mec Tiangco (+639336309660). We left Makati at around 10:30 PM and arrived at the San Andres port at 5:30 AM.
- Alternatively, you can take a bus from Cubao, which goes straight to San Andres. Superlines (aircon and non-aircon) and Barney Auto Lines (non-aircon) ply this route. Please make sure though to call your preferred bus line as the schedules may vary from time to time. Travel time is approximately 10 hours.
- You may also board a bus (like JAC Liner and DLTB) bound to Lucena and from the grand terminal, take a van or bus to San Andres. Travel time is approximately 10 hours excluding waiting time at the grand terminal as well the several stops to pick up and drop off passengers.
- From San Andres public market, you may walk towards the port where your boat will pick you up. In our case, since we were on a private van, we went straight to the port where we left our vehicle for the night. Minimal parking fee applies.
- Boat transfers to and from Alibihaban Island can be arranged through Kuya Randy (+639107629271). Please call him as he doesn't reply via text. We rented his boat at Php 1,500. We were 12 in the group plus huge bags and tents so the boat was quite overloaded. I suggest you limit the capacity to 10 people max in a boat so it is more comfy and it feels "safer." The boat ride takes around 15-20 minutes depending on sea conditions.
|The cream sand at Alibihaban Island|
There are no posh resorts or inns on the island but there are locals who offer their homes for the night. You may ask Kuya Randy or his wife Ate JinJin (+639107629271) as they are one of those who have a room and a hut for rent. The room is priced at Php 500 good for 3 pax. Do not expect too much though as the room is just basic, enough to keep you safe and warm at night.
Alternatively, most tourists just camp the night away. Our group opted to bring our own tents and do the same.
Entrance fee to the island is Php 100 per person for an overnight stay and Php 30 for day tour. This is a just a new "policy" being implemented by the barangay.
There are no restaurants on the island but you can either bring cooked food enough for the duration of your stay from the mainland, or buy ingredients and have it cooked at Ate JinJin's place. There is no standard cooking fee but best to clarify with Ate JinJin first. Reasonably priced rice, water, sodas, canned goods, and alcoholic beverages are also available on the island. We opted to buy meat at the public market and water, rice, and sodas from the island so we can somehow support their small enterprise.
There are clean, basic bathrooms at Ate JinJin's place that are shared by the guests camping on this side of the island. Water is priced at Php 10 per bucket.
|Our view from our tent|
|Our suite =)|
The island is laid back and not yet developed so there's no other thing to enjoy here but communing with nature. Just in front of Ate JinJin's place, a few steps on the cream-sand beach is a nice spot for snorkeling. There are huge corals (but not much fish) out there. Beware though as oversized sea urchins and schools of jellyfish are also enjoying the view as much as you do.
|Underwater in Alibihaban Island|
|Sea urchin is everywhere!|
|Sunset on the island|
|Everyone was waiting for the sunset|
|The island is surrounded by pocket beaches|
|While my friends were snorkeling, I enjoyed the view|
|The rock formations on the island are also amazing|
|This is part of the sandbar|
|The entrance to the river|
|The boat that cruises along the mangrove-lined river|
|On our way back to our base camp|
|The azure waters and cream sand right in front of our base camp|