Exploring Burias and Alibijiban Islands

My very first island excursion experience

I can never forget this trip. This was the first time I went on an island excursion that took 3 days. Yes, 3 days of hopping from one island to another. Why so long? It’s because these 6 islands were located in 2 provinces: Masbate and Quezon. Both are separated from each other by bodies of water. This meant that we spent most of our hours at sea on our big boat doing nothing but talk, sleep, eat, drink and repeat. Haha!

The trip was somehow a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. It was a long weekend and I have got nothing to do. So when a best friend of mine heard about a group who planned to tour 6 islands in 3 days, we thought of joining them. I also invited my sister along and after we packed up all our essentials, we were ready and excited for this new adventure.

We started our trip early in the morning so we can reach Port of San Andres in Quezon Province on time. From Manila going to this part of Quezon takes about 6-8 hours so it’s a good thing that the view was nice and I had good company so the long trip wasn’t such a bore.

This photo was taken somewhere along the way. I have always loved watching the sun rising and setting and this picture is still one of my favorites.

At last, we arrived at the port and waited patiently for our boat to arrive.

San Andres Port. All passengers are required to register before boarding.

And then, we were off….

The whole crew.

We started embarking on our journey towards Masbate. There, we explored 5 islands that were part of what they call, Burias Group of Islands.

And so our adventure begins!

Our first stop was an island in San Pascual, Masbate called Dapa Island. Some call it Dinapa Island or Snake Island since many sea snakes live there.

A large part of the island is covered by massive rock formations that can serve as shade for those who want to go swimming. However, if you opt to see the view of the calm sparkling blue ocean, you must carefully climb the rugged terrain to reach the top. Just don’t forget to wear slippers or aqua shoes to avoid cuts on your feet as the rocks are sharp.

Tranquil waters are perfect for swimming.
Massive rock formations surround the whole island.
Instagram-worthy view from the top.
Sea snakes (walo-walo species) are seen resting all around the island. These snakes are nocturnal creatures so they sleep at daytime. Just be extra careful not to disturb them.

Another abundant species that can be seen all throughout the island are the pandan groves that grow into trees or shrubs with spirally twisted, candelabra-like branches and large prop roots.

Pandan groves in Dapa Island.

After getting enough of Dapa Island, we went on to explore the next one on the list.

We reached Tinalisayan Island late in the afternoon. There, we set up camp so we can rest overnight.

Our Camp site at Tinalisayan Island.

This was my favorite time during the whole trip because of the amazing sunset view.

Tinalisayan Island at sunset.
Sunset watching at Tinalisayan Island.

In addition to this, the island has a mini sandbar where you can sit down, gaze at the calm waters and reflect on how lucky you are to experience such wonder.

Tinalisayan Island Sandbar. (CTTO: Albert Henoguin)

After a restful sleep under the stars, we woke up realizing that the island’s view in the morning was as captivating as it was at night. We spent a few more hours basking under the sun before we went on to our next destination.

Look at this paradise.

Tinalisayan Island. (CTTO: Albert Henoguin)
Tinalisayan Island. (CTTO: Albert Henoguin)

Need I say more?

If you are not fond of water activities, this is also a perfect place for some R&R. Just set up a hammock and chill all day long.

This rocky part of the island is also an instagram-worthy sight.

Check out how much fun we had under the sun.

Tinalisayan Island. (CTTO: Albert Henoguin)

Now it’s time to proceed to another picturesque spot.

Animasola Island was the 3rd stop in our itinerary. From a distance, it just looks like an ordinary, boring island but once you dock and take a closer look, you will be able to witness some of Mother Nature’s masterpieces.

Animasola Island. (CTTO: Albert Henoguin)
Animasola Island. (CTTO: Albert Henoguin)

Huge sedimentary rock formations with distinct patterns created through years of erosions and depositions gave this island its uniqueness.

One of the main attractions for travelers is an isolated piece of rock that resembles a giant reptilian head. As I stared at that work of art, I can’t help but be amazed on how nature could created such beauty.

Another intriguing feature of this island is a nature-made pool of sea water enclosed by panels of big rocks. Its cool salty waters come from a small opening in one of the rocks which allows continuous flow. Taking a dip in the pool is highly recommended but be mindful of the barnacles clinging to the rocks as they might cut your skin.

Welcome to Animasola Island’s Jacuzz-sea. (CTTO: Plan B Tours)

As if these were not enough to leave us in awe, we were informed that by climbing all the way up to the peak of the gigantic rock formation through a wooden ladder, we can have a bird’s eye view of the island. I wanted to take a peek so I went up together with some other brave souls.

Gentle warning: The makeshift ladder they provide here is only a series of wooden planks held together by ropes, so this will not be an easy climb up and it will be more difficult climbing back down as there are no proper handles and the planks sway as you take a step so if you want to try this, take extra precaution.

Top View of Animasola Island. (CTTO: Plan B Tours)
Top View of Animasola Island with some of the brave souls. (CTTO: Plan B Tours)

Iniwaran was our 4th island and a small one at that. We just had a quick sightseeing here since it was getting a bit late and we had another island on our itinerary before we call it a day.

Iniwaran Island has 2 parts: Norte and Sur. The Norte part has 2 cliff diving spots but no one from our group did any jumps at that time. We just opted to walk around the Sur part of the island and had photo sessions at the beach.

Selfie at Iniwaran beach.

And then we were off to see our 5th island, Sombrero. Just by looking at its shape, you will know how it got its name.

We just had another quick tour here. A few people from our group wanted to go to the hat-shaped rock formation but my sister and I were already tired of walking so we just goofed around the place as we waited for them to come back.

One quick selfie with my sister in Sombrero Island.

The sun was nearly setting so we needed to get back on our boat so we can head on to set camp for the night on our 6th and last island, Alibijiban. We saw a rainbow on the way and I just had to take a snapshot.

Alibijiban Island was the last island on our excursion list. Since it was already dark when we arrived, we just had a quick dinner, freshened up and laid down to rest to prepare for our activities for the next day.

Now here’s what we did on our 3rd and last day.

Sunrise watching at Alibijiban Island.
Swimming and starfish diving (PS. we returned all the starfishes back to the sea after some quick photo-ops)

This island has a mangrove community and the others decided to explore that area while a few of us stayed near our boat to swim and float on bamboo rafts.

After a couple of hours of fun, it was now time to go home. We purposefully made Alibijiban Island our last stop since it was already near the port where our rented vans and private cars were parked.

Everyone fell asleep all throughout our journey back home. The whole experience was really physically tiring. As for me, my whole body was aching but my heart was full and it was all that mattered.

I went home with many realizations after that trip. It reminded me of how awesome our God is for giving us the gift of beauty in the form of NATURE. From that day on, I promised myself to never stop exploring God’s creation and to help spread awareness in preserving nature’s beauty for the future generation.

Below is a video link made by Plan B Tours who organized the whole trip. Check out how much fun we had.

Till my next trip! — xoxo, Cherry

Burias X alibijaban 2015

last year independence day burias X alibijaban

Posted by PlanB Tours on Saturday, May 14, 2016

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A fun day at Holy Carabao Farm

Have an amazing farming experience for only 300 pesos!

Welcome to Holy Carabao Holistic Farm!
About an hour away from Manila, this serene place is located near Acacia Waldorf School in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Holy Carabao Farm, Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Founded more than a decade ago by two moms, Melanie Go and Hindy Weber, the farm continues to live up to its mission. It aims to grow and provide healthy and whole foods for Filipino families. The farm also conducts different lectures and workshops to spread awareness on proper farming techniques, nature conservation and overall wellness.

I heard about this place through my sister. She planned the farm visit together with the family so that her two-year old toddler can have first-hand experience on farm life and of course to see real farm animals (her favorite!)

When we arrived at the farm, we proceeded first to the Farm Shed Café and ordered some food and drinks.

The café also serves as the meeting place for those who want to do the farm tour. Here, you can read books, play board games or have your kids draw and color to pass some time.

The Farm Shed Café

Here are some of the things to do during your visit (P300/person):

Breathe in the fresh air

Feed and interact with the farm animals

Learn about organic farming and its benefits

Chill and dine the healthy way at The Farm Shed Café

Buy organically grown products:

~ Chemical-free Veggies & Fruits
~ Grass-fed Beef & Pork
~ Pasture-raised Poultry & Eggs
~ Non-GMO Rice & Grains
~ Cold-pressed Juices & Elixirs
~ Hormone-free Milk
~ Wild Honey & Raw Sugar
~ Gluten-free Bread & Cookies
~ Artisanal Ice Cream
~ Artisanal Cheese & Chocolate
~ Culinary & Medicinal Herbs
~ Fermented Foods, Drinks & Condiments
~ Toxin-free Household Products
~ Paleo & Vegan Options
~ Veggie Box Sets

Unlimited rides on a swing zipline (my favorite part of the tour!)

How to get to the farm:
Holy Carabao Farm and The Farm Shed Café are located in the area of Acacia Waldorf School, an exclusive private school. The most convenient way to reach the farm is by using a private vehicle. If you are using waze, set the destination to The Farm Shed Café/Acacia Waldorf School. Take SLEX, then ETON exit. Follow the road towards Sta. Rosa, making your way towards Nuvali. Before you get to Nuvali Solenad, there is a huge Sta. Elena City sign on the left (right across Jollibee). Turn left at the sign and proceed towards Georgia Club / Promenade / Belle Reve. Go straight until you see a blue guard house. Inform the guard on duty that you are going to Acacia Waldorf School. Make a right at the rotunda then go straight for about 2 kilometers. The farm will be on the left side of the road, right beside the school. There are parking spaces available inside the school parking lot.

To learn more about Holy Carabao Farm, visit:

Website: www.holycarabao.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/holycarabao

Instagram page: @holycarabaofarm

Contact: 0977-813-4659

Operating hours:
8:30AM to 5:30PM on weekdays
9:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturdays

Here are more activities and workshops offered by Holy Carabao Holistic Farm. Check them out!

HAPPY FARMING EVERYONE! Feel free to share this good news!


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