what's in the name?The name Alibijaban is uncommon. Unfortunately nobody in the island, at least the ones I spoke with, seem to have a clue what it means. A good portion of the islanders have roots in Masbate, a nearby province, and they said the island was already named as such when they came.
|after Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit)|
The island is located near the tip of the Bondoc peninsula in Luzon (see map) and while technically a part of the Quezon province, most of the population speaks the Bisaya dialect rather than Tagalog - the dialect one would most likely associate with Quezon province. Even in the nearby towns on the main land (San Andres and San Narciso), Bisaya dialect is widely spoken.
warm welcomeIts an arduous trip from Manila (details at the end of the post) and my friend and I arrived in San Andres on a Friday morning, several days after Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) laid waste to nearby provinces. No less than the barangay captain came with our host to San Andres' port to fetch us.
The island has no tourism infrastructure - no fees, no lodging, no tours, etc. Usually info gets spread through blog articles or through friends who have been there before.
After a 20 minute boat ride, our feet touched the soft cream colored sands of Alibijaban - population 1500 with 335 house holds, 700 registers voters [ did I tell you the elected barangay captain was with us? :) ] Our welcome party? Villages kids curious who the new faces are. We were the only visitors there that weekend.
tour of the islandFully recharged after our nap, we proceed to take a quick tour of the island's western side. Our host's kids have become our de factor tour guides.
|through the mangroves|
We walked along the shore to the mangrove forest at the mid section of the island, entered a foot trail inland that passes through two bridges, passed through an amazing bantigue forest [ Bantigue is a hardy coastal tree with very small leaves - prized by local bonsai enthusiasts. In some populated coastal areas these have been "harvested" in huge numbers], before coming out again to the shore lined with picturesque mangroves.
alibijaban sunsetSunset was a real treat. The burst of colors was short but intense, a perfect end to our first day in Alibijaban.
Related post: Alibijaban's paradise colors
I decided not to pitch a tent. I found perfect spot between two small trees by the beach, hung my hammock, and watched what remained of the afternoon clouds scatter to make way for a grand view of a million stars. I was tempted to take out my camera and shoot. But not tonight, it was too perfect to waste on worrying about exposures and composition. You couldn't pry me out of that hammock even if you use a crowbar.
welcome to an island paradise
travel guide to alibijaban
transportation (Manila - San Andres)
If the schedule of the direct trip to San Andres is not feasible to you, here are other options:
- Get on a bus to Aurora (old name of San Francisco - a town west of San Andres), get off at Mulanay (major junction) and get on buses and vans heading to San Andres. Mulanay to San Andres is 63 kilometers and average travel time is 1 hour (not counting the stops to pick up and drop off passengers)
- Get on a bus to Lucena Grand Terminal (Php 217, travel time: 4.5 hours). Lucena City is a major hub so there are several bus lines with trips to Lucena. From Lucena, there are buses heading to San Andres (Superlines and Barney, Php 216 pesos, travel time; 5-6 hours). Just remember that the last trip to San Andres is 12:00 midnight and the next trip would be at 2AM.
transportation (San Andres - Manila)
- Superlines (San Andres - Lucena - Cubao) - 4:30 AM, 4:30 PM, 9:00 PM
- Barney (San Andres - Lucena - Cubao) - 5:30 AM, 5:30 PM
- other vans and buses (San Andres - Lucena) - between 6:00AM to 11:00AM
transportation (San Andres - Alibijaban)
- Option 1: Hitch a ride with the locals, 50 pesos to cross to the island, disadvantage: no regular trips
- Option 2: Hire a bangka to fetch you at the port (contact Randy/Jinjin: +63-910-762-9271). Travel time: 15-20 minutes
accommodationsAlthough home stay can be arranged (with Randy), its best to bring a tent or a hammock (just slept in a hammock during our stay).
food/waterWater is from a deep well, which your host have to fetch from a considerable distance. You can buy your supplies from San Andres market before going to the island.