How to get there
There are two options going to San Andres, the jump-off point to the Alibihaban Island. From Manila (Quezon City or Pasay bus terminals):
- Ride a bus directly going to San Andres via Superlines in Cubao. Travel time: 4-5hrs, or
- Take the Lucena-San Andres route. There are several bus lines enroute to Lucena like JAM, JAC, DLTB, and Lucena Lines among others. Get off at Lucena Grand Terminal then ride a bus going to San Andres via Super Lines, Raymond, or John Tom liners. Travel time: 5-6hrs
On an average, it will take around 10hrs to get to the island but for our trip, it took us longer for about 19hrs of travel time since we had to wait for a bus bound to San Andres (we arrived in Lucena at 4pm, buses to San Andres arrived at 8pm). If you will chose Option 2, I recommend you ride either Super Lines or Raymond buses than John Tom. But if you have a lot of time and would want to be on the road longer, take John Tom. It’s like a slow and old train in a form of a bus.
Once in San Andres, go to the port and your contact person/boatman will fetch you from there. Travel time: 15mins
If you ever get stuck in the port while waiting for your contact from the island, San Andres port has a hall where you can stay. They have clean restrooms and sockets for charging your gadgets. Seen in the photo is my best friend, Monica. The men on duty that morning when we arrived at 1am provided us with a mattress and electric fan so we can sleep off while waiting for any boat we can hitch-hike to Alibihaban.
Who to contact and where to stay
Based on several blog posts available online, the only contact person is Randy and his wife Jinjin. I decided to get the contact details of the locals we get to know in the island so other travelers will have other options. All of these people can be contacted for boat transfers to and fro San Andres-Alibihaban, tour around the island, and a detour to Sombrero Island.
- Kuya Randy – 0946 7372555
- Kuya Dung-Dung – 0910 1004854. This is Ate Normalita’s number, his wife. We hired their boats for our detour to Sombrero Island. Just tell them that you got their umber through me or this blog. They will be happy to hear that 🙂
For accommodations, like i mentioned in my previous post about Alibihaban island, there are no infrastructures in the island for a more commercialized tourism, travelers pitch tents in the shore where boats dock from mainland San Andres. Initially, we contacted Kuya Randy, he’s the only one who has a transient home for travelers who do not have tents, but we met people who are camping in the more secluded part of the island (where Mangroves are). Apparently, that side is an underdeveloped property of a former Quezon official being taken care of Kuya Guido and his family. A few conversations after, we were housed in their humble abode.
- Kuya Guido / Ate Myla – 0919 4318753 or 0930 2987339.
Note: Since that side is a private property, campers and visitors are asked to pay Php50 each. We paid Kuya Guido Php150 for our stay, fresh water, and an entirely new island life experience 🙂
Quezon Province speaks Tagalog in general, but in Alibihaban island, most of them speaks Bisaya. It won’t be hard to communicate with the locals as they speak Tagalog too but it would pay to learn or speak a little Bisaya when talking with them.
Again, based on several blogs as well as the locals from mainland San Andres, travelers are reminded to be wary of the food they will eat in the island. The concern probably lies on how these foods are cooked. Another factor is the water supply, as they fetch fresh water from San Andres and transport it via boat from time to time. We were warned a couple of times that we should be careful on eating food in the island, but it was a spontaneous trip, we did not bring enough food and water with us so we had no choice but eat the island food. We ate at Kuya Roland’s eatery (Pancit, Burger, Egg), I may have had a couple of “food embarkation”, it’s unfair to entirely blame it on their food but here I am still alive and well!
Recommended: Roland’s Eatery and CJ Store – For affordable food and grocery items
- If it will cause you to go paranoid on the idea of eating food cooked by locals in the island, you can always bring canned goods or bring raw ingredients and cook it there. It was a camping after all. By the way, you can buy fresh items in the island too, the cooler part is if you want to buy fish, you can buy from fishermen in the open sea!
- Rule of thumb: Bring Mosquito repellent.
- Stock up on cash. There are no ATM in the island. It’s not as if you have to shell out a great sum for your stay (it’s actually a really cheap island), but it’s better to have extra cash on hand.
- Interact with locals. They’ve got a lot of stories to tell and it’s humbling to hear what they have to share.
Pack your bags and visit the island while you can still enjoy its virginity.