What constitutes an ideal beach trip? For me it’s being able sink my toes into fine, powdery white sand, basking in the sun whilst enjoying the cool breeze (and napping thereafter), swimming in the clearest azure waters, and enjoying simple amenities on a far-flung island with literally no data or mobile reception. Yes, Burias Island was this and more!
When I booked my trip, I had only one simple desire: to relax by the beach away from the big, bad city. I had researched previously and I knew the beaches here were exquisite, but had no idea they were this beautiful. The trip made me more grateful and proud to live in such a beautiful country. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s explore Burias Island together, shall we?
HOW TO GET TO BURIAS ISLAND
Burias Island is one of the three major islands of Masbate frequented by adventurers and backpackers. The other two are Ticao Island and Masbate Island.
The jump off point to Burias Island is Pasacao Port in Naga City. From Manila, you can choose to drive (8 hours) to Naga City or fly. Not surprisingly, I chose the fastest and more convenient route:
- fly to Naga City via Philippine Airlines (50 minutes)
- take the jeepney to the terminal, take the padyak trike to Pasacao Port (approx. 1 hour ++)
- take the public passenger boat to San Pascual, Burias Island (2 hours)
*If you’re coming from Masbate City, travel time to San Pascual is extended to 6 hours via boat.
NEED A TOUR GUIDE OR AGENCY?
For a hassle-free journey, I recommend Pacific Paradise Travel Services, a Bicol-based tour company that specializes in Masbate, Calaguas, and Caramoan expeditions. Their Burias Island itinerary starts in Manila then goes all the way to Masbate and back (land trip). This ensures you don’t have to go through the time-consuming effort of arranging everything. Just book and go. Simple, easy. Visit http://www.pacificparadise-travel.com or call 0916-7756145 / 0998-7932 720 for more details.
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
The most popular among all the islands is Sombrero Island, named because of its very interesting hat-like shape. I heard that there’s an impressive dive spot under the island which is interestingly called batok. Sombrero Island is of the most beautiful and pristine beaches I have ever laid eyes on and I became very emotional while standing on the shore staring at the beautiful blue water. How lucky are we to have something this pure and breathtaking in the Philippines?
In the island there is no electricity, no fresh water (it is rationed daily for a fee), amenities are simple (just cottages). You can stay here and pitch a tent. Minor inconveniences, really, because imagine waking up to this view every single day?
Previously covered in red Talisay trees, Talisayan Island offers the same pristine waters with the addition of a few tables for picnics and family gatherings. Climb up the hill and have your photo taken with a breathtaking view of the Philippine Sea.
Tip: There’s a sandbar that shows up during low tide, message me if you happen to see it.
Stunning rock formations welcomed us as we docked on Animasola, this was everyone’s favorite island (at least in our group) and was frequently compared to Kapurpurawan rock formations.
Anima Sola means “lonely soul” in Latin and according to the guide, this island is the place where you can purge yourself of work stress and renew your mind and soul. There’s also a small pool/lagoon where you can cool off on one side of the island, or you can snorkel in open water if you venture a little further out.
On the way to Tinalisayan, we passed by the Jubilee Cross which was said to be erected in 2001.
There are also a couple of sights on land, the most popular would be the Balinsasayaw House that is filled with 80,000 tiny swiftlets. The Espares family who previously lived here were “evicted” by the birds and the property is now delegated to a caretaker.
The poo stench can be quite overwhelming so you will be offered a cap and face mask prior to entering the stuffy basement. It was quite thrilling, I suppose, as I spent a good 15 minutes taking photos and touching the birds who didn’t really care much about my presence.
Balinsasayaw birds are popular because their nests laced with their saliva is a prized exotic ingredients used in the Chinese dish called “Bird’s Nest Soup.”
While you can camp in any of the three islands (Sombrero, Tinalisayan, and Animasola) for a Php 20-50 fee, we chose to stay at Atlaza Resort in San Pascual. It is one of the newer resorts with full amenities, a bar, and a bustling kitchen.
Water here is easily available (as compared to the other islands where it is rationed), it is relatively more “modern” with showers, and offers additional activities like kayaking. However, there are rotational brownouts still from 12mn-8am. For reservations and bookings, please call 0949-9901288.
Masbate was such a great destination, I felt so good that it was my jump off point for 2017. I think that I will be spending most of my time in the Bicol Region this year, so stay tuned as I head back to Naga in June.
What are your travel goals for the year? Where are planning to head next?