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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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December 15, 2014

alibijaban island: welcome to an island paradise

Its one of those islands you probably would not know unless someone really point it out on the map. And with the 7107 islands in the Philippines, that's quite understandable. But if you are into unexploited destinations, this one should be right near the top of your list.

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)
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 welcome

Its 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.

Alibijaban Kids
Alibijaban kids

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.

Alibijaban beach front

We wasted to time getting down to business: finding a shaded spot by the shore and hitting the snooze button. There is no use resisting the cold breeze and the soft splashing of the waves.

tour of the island

Fully 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.

Bridge by the Mangrove forest
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.

Bantigue Forest
bantigue forest


While our "guides" took a dip at a nearby river (water was shallow due to the low tide), we took our time looking for stuff to shoot when sunset comes.

River and Mangrove Forest

The shore was littered with debris brought by the recent typhoon, but it just goes to show how raw the island still is.

Alibijaban Afternoon

alibijaban sunset

Sunset 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

Back bones

It was already dark when we returned from our short expedition. Hot shell soup, spiced with ginger and flavoured with lemon grass was waiting.

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

Unplugged Alibijaban

"Put it on an arch to welcome visitors", remarked an ex-barangay official to a friend who visited the island some years back. Its an island paradise indeed, its raw beauty complemented by the warmness and generosity of its folks. 

Can it handle an influx of tourists? Probably not at the moment, for there is no infrastructure in place for more commercialized tourism. Its probably for the best and I personally hope it will stay that way. The income from tourists can certainly help the community though, so a tricky balance is needed. 

travel guide to alibijaban

transportation (Manila - San Andres)

Bus schedules
The photo above shows the schedule of Superlines bus in Cubao as of Dec 11, 2014. Schedule may change so its best to contract the bus line in advance of your trip. (+63 943 483 3592).  Direct trip to San Andres costs Php 470 (travel time: 10 hours).

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.
For this trip, we got on a bus to Lucena (JAC Liner in Kamuning, 8:00 PM departure) and arrived in Lucena around 12:30 AM. Luckily a Barney bus heading to Aurora was running late and arrive in Grand Terminal around 1AM. The bus left for San Andres at 1:30 AM and we arrived in San Andres at around 6:30 AM. (Barney buses are non-aircon, ordinary buses but they have WiFi)

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


Although home stay can be arranged (with Randy), its best to bring a tent or a hammock (just slept in a hammock during our stay).


Water 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.

Fresh Catch
fresh catch
You can buy fresh catch every morning or in the afternoon. During lowtide, you can join the locals in picking up shells for a nice soup!

electricity/cellphone signal

Some homes have solar panels and they often use batteries to power their lights.  Although you can asked Randy to charge your phones/batteries, its best to bring extra batteries and "powerbanks" for phones and cameras. Cellphone coverage is good, with 3G signals for major networks.
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Anonymous said...

very interesting. would love to visit this place. thanks for this post.

lagaw travelogue said...

would you happen to know the operating hours of Bangka from San Andres to Alibijaban? thanks for your post

Lantaw said...

No regular hours. But Randy can fetch you as early as 5AM

Byaherang Barat said...

hi, can i have the contact info of randy..pls..thank you for ur post:D

Byaherang Barat said...

oh hi,,im so sorry,i read the blog again,and yah,i found randy's num,,haha,,,thanks again sa post mo:D ill call him,,

lagaw travelogue said...

Is it really in Basco Peninsula? Or Bondoc? :)

geldv said...

Do the buses from san andres going to cubao pass thru antipolo city? How much is the bus fare from San Andres to cubao? Planning to go there nxt week. Do u think 1,500 is enough? I'm from antipolo. Thanks so much in advance!

geldv said...

Did u already have ur trip to alibijaban? :) how was it?

Lantaw said...


Lantaw said...

No the buses do not pass through Antipolo City. Route is via South Luzon Express way. 1500 could get you there, you have to bring everything you need with that budget though

geldv said...

Oh, that's a shame. I guess we'll just have to figure out which buses fron quezon pass thru antipolo, cause we frequently see buses from manila to quezon pass thru here via tanay highway.would you happen to know if there is any environmental fee? Thanks again! Your blog is awesome and it really helps! :) more power to ya!

Lantaw said...

The buses that passes through Antipolo are headed to Infanta/Real Quezon, quite the opposite direction of Bondoc peninsula. If you check this map you'll know what I mean: https://www.google.com.ph/maps/place/San+Narciso,+Quezon/@13.9630555,121.8397522,10z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x33a245667f8b7111:0xe5909cd74bba093a?hl=en

No environmental fee.

Unknown said...

sir okay po ba yung road nya? kahit sedan kaya po ba? thanks in advance

Lantaw said...

Yes kaya naman, you just have to go really slow on that rough road portion.

kiel said...

sir, may cellphone signal ba dito?

Anonymous said...

i read na wala pong schedule ang bangka, ask ko lang po kung magkano ang banka. kung mga 9am kami aalis ng quezon city anong oras kaya kami makakarating ng isla? salamat po.

Lantaw said...

50 per head but you may rent the whole boat for 300 for special trip. As for travel time allot 10 hours but this depends on traffic conditions and bus schedule if commuting

ina mendoza said...

from alibijaban can anyone go to masbate? by boat?

Lantaw said...

I guess that is doable. Some of the locals do it, as a lot of folks in the island are from Burias. You'll have to hire a boat

Raymond Jabel Tan said...

I'm from San Andres and been in the island for several times. I must say the island is such a beauty.

Unknown said...

Can you camp?

Unknown said...

Can you camp?

Lantaw said...

Please.see accomodation section


may tent space naman?

Lantaw said...

@aris, look that the photos, and judge for yourself if there is enough space there to pitch a tent ;)

Anonymous said...

Im an anxious traveller. Just want to know if there are any cliffs/mountain going to san andres from manila?
Thank you.

Lantaw said...

Mountainous area after Pagbilao and between Mulanay ang Gumaca, but road is well paved and bus drivers our cautious, at least on one of the buses I rode on before. Our driver reduced speed to about 40kph on one of the mountainous sections and when we asked why he said the the curves are tricky and dangerous.

Kaye said...

pwede po ba ang innova?...in case po san po pwede iiwan un sasakyan dun?...tnx much

Kaye said...

pwede po ba ang innova?...in case po san po pwede iiwan ang sasakyan dun?..tnx much

Kaye said...


Lantaw said...

Yes pwede. Iwan nyo sa town hall

Lantaw said...

Yes pwede. Iwan nyo sa town hall

Anonymous said...

Kaya po Innova, iwan an lang po sa port ang sakyan mababait po mga tao dun

janjan@13 said...

hi po bukod po sa tent at me room po ba na pede i-rent pra po sa may baby na tulad ko?

Lantaw said...

There are available home stay accommodations, you may opt for that.

adreana said...

Good day Sir!

Hi! My name is Adreana Remo from DENR. I saw your photos of the Alibijaban Wilderness Area at Facebook. I would like to ask if you would be interested to contribute photos for the Coffeetable book that we are making. The book will feature the 17 protected areas in calabarzon region and one of the highlights of the book will be the ecotourism sites that are found in the area.

We understand the difficulty of getting photos like this so rest assured that due credits will be given to you and that we will give you a complementary copy.

Hope to hear a positive response from you Sir. And we hope that you could help us in showcasing the beauty of CALABARZON thru this book. Thank thank you very much po!

Sincerely yours,


PS. My email ad is reannesantos@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

hi po, kinokontak ko po un number ni sir randy pero unattended na. do u hav any number.. planning to go there by 3rd week of April dis year with 12persons. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi nag inquire ako ngayon kinontak ko yun number ng randy pero iba nagreply saken ang sabi is 600 daw boat ride tas 100 ang entrance.. for 2 pax..

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, pano mo na contact? Been trying that number for sometime now invalid/incorrect number daw

Haffy said...

Hi :) may new number po ba si kuya randy?and if we bring a car where can we leave it?thank you planning to go kasi this may

Lantaw said...

@haffy, some said he is responding to the same number.

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