Burias Group of Islands (San Pascual, Masbate)

I have started loving going to places just this 2016 and I usually go DIY (Do-It-Yourself). When someone says DIY, in a traveler’s jargon, this means you have to commute going to your destination. You literally have to do it yourself and make it alive to the place you want to go to lol. But just this November 2016 when I got extremely addicted to Facebook that I spent most of my time on it, I saw this Burias Group of Islands and digged more on the posts. That’s when I came across with this event organized by a stranger. I checked on it, read the itinerary and one thing was for sure, I was so joining that event. I sent a message to the organizer and voila! I was so going to Masbate to visit the Burias Group of Island from December 4-6, 2016.

On the night of December 4, we met at Starmall in Alabang. My friend whom I have invited joined the group who came from Cubao so she had to stay in the other van. We were a group of strangers in the van I was in. Some has someone else or two with them, some were alone, some were couples. When we finally settled at the ride, we took off. We had a 6-hour drive from the city to San Andres port where the boat will pick us up. Luckily, I met a couple who were so approachable that I didn’t even feel out of place even if I was alone. Surprisingly, there were 30 of us I think in that tour. While waiting for the boat, we had our first meal of the day and changed into our swimwears. We left San Andres Port (Quezon) at around 7 in the morning and headed to our first destination – Animasola Island.

Right before our tour, I have been searching for these islands as I was too excited to see them with my own eyes. Our first destination, Animasola Island, is a two-hour boat ride from San Andres and is also best known for its amazing natural rock formations. It’s beauty is indeed waaay beyond words. There is literally so much to see in there. Moreover, I also found that it was not even part of Masbate anymore but of Camarines Sur.

After an hour of walking under the scorching heat of the sun, we went back to the boat for the next destination: Tinalisayan Sandbar. It was one in the afternoon when we got there, the sandbar isn’t out that much. So what we did is some beach bumming at its wide-stretched shore with fine sand in the island nearby. When we were summoned for lunch, we went to the part of the island which was like a campsite and had a sumptuous local food.

We were supposed to pay a visit to another island called Snake or Dapa Island but the waters were high so the boatmen and our organizer decided that we would come back for it earlier the next day of the tour. We headed instead to Sombrero Island to settle for the night.

We arrived at the island at around five in the afternoon. The ambiance was just so relaxing since we also had a good view of the sunset. After strolling at the shore for. while, tents were distributed by the organizer for pitching. My friend, Jess, who brought another friend with her, her colleague and I, shared a tent. What’s good about that island is that, they also offer nipa huts for accommodation for those who are not accustomed to staying in tents or  camping. There are also number of washrooms which offer tap water (which they bought as well from the mainland of Masbate). There’s also electricity! But of course, not free of charge to the tourists/ guests. After pitching our tents, we were summoned for dinner which was quite exciting because we had a boodle fight! After dinner was socials! This is what I liked about this tour. Since we are group of strangers, the organizer took this chance for us to get to know each other. They lit a bonfire at the shore and called everyone. What’s fun is everyone was on and participating! At first we were divided into groups and we played games. After that, we formed a circle around the campfire and started introducing ourselves one by one. Then, as we introduce ourselves, the others are given a chance to ask us at least two questions. One thing is for sure about that night, it was as if we really knew each other by heart. We were laughing our hearts out. When we were all tired, we retired, called it day. Some stayed up drinking all night.

At 6 in the morning, some of us had risen and walked by the beach. We took photos with the remarkable formation of Sombrero Island itself and went back to the campsite afterwards for breakfast. It was a good deal of food! After breakfast, we break the camp and packed our stuff, getting ready for the next islands. At 8 in the morning, when everybody has secured their bags and has done their sunblock rituals, we headed to Dapa or Snake Island. We were thinking that it was called as such (Snake Island) because there are many snakes in there. Our assumptions were proven. lol. we saw snakes, dead and alive at the island. We were given such a good view but the rocks were killers. They were too sharp that they pierced through our rubber flipflops. You really have to be extra careful if you don’t wanna get wounded. Further, the waters were high during that time allowing us to do some cliff diving at the edge of the rocks. While the others were cliff diving and chilling by the boat, some were up at the island walking around and getting good spots which are quite instagrammable. After an hour, we headed back to the boat for our last destination: Alibijaban Island in San Andres, Quezon.

It took us an hour or two I think going there from Dapa Island. Can’t really remember, lol. We were lulled by the waves it brought us to deep sleep while sailing. Soooo, Alibijban! The underrated Alibijaban. I’ve been seeing it on my news feed but I never dared trying DIY travel to it because it seemed so far and I can’t find someone to be with or who would come with me. It’s famous for its fine white sand, sandbar per se and the mangroves in it! We did beach bumming at its finest again and photo ops of course! the place itself is instagrammable. You just got to find the right angle and strike your best beach pose. At 12 noon, we decided to return to the boat because we are all famished, not to mention the long drive as well from San Andres to Alabang!

It was just like a twenty-minute boat ride from Albijaban to San Andres. We washed up in there, too. It only cost us 20php for the bathroom use. While some were prepping up for home bound, some were having their lunch. Then, at exactly two in the afternoon, we bid goodbye to the paradise and hesitantly embraced reality at around twelve midnight. Cinderella reference right here lol.

What’s good about Burias and why is it worth a visit? Each island that we have visited has different features. One has awesome rock formations, the others have sandbars, you can do cliff diving on one, and a lot more! These made the tour extraordinary and exciting at the same time because it gave us, the tourists, something to look forward.

Want to experience the same thing? Check on Cheapid Travels PH on Facebook. Erwin Briones is the one who made these things possible. We enjoyed a lot. The food was great, the people I was with were grand, the place was more than awesome! And by the way, yes, we were strangers on the first day of the tour which was 5 months ago I think, but the joiners made a pact and we still see each other til now as friends ?

Click the link below for more tours! ???

Anne Elizabeth Gumiran, also known as Queenie, is a 20-something, full-time public school teacher, a part-time travel blogger and a freediver. She started putting her stories of adventures and misadventures into words and pictures in 2017 and continues to do so as she shares her advocacy, Sustainable Traveling.

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