Burias Island Travel Guide – Masbate’s pristine destination and pride

The Philippines is studded with beaches that have different characteristics and beauty. No wonder why the country has been a favourite summer destination not just for locals but also for foreign travelers. One of the summer destinations in the country that is starting to gain attention is Masbate’s Burias Island and its neighbouring islets.

Burias Islands – Masbate’s pride

Burias Island is one of three main islands of Masbate near the Bicol Peninsula. The island and the destinations that surround it truly has their own unique characteristics that would make your summer adventure worthwhile.

If you are looking for a summer beach adventure that is quite different from the usual sun, sea and sand, then you may wanna explore the less beaten path (or in this case, islands) of Masbate which offers more than that.

Here are the things you need to know before heading to Burias Island, to fully enjoy your summer adventure.

Getting to and around Burias Island

Getting to the island could either be via land or air, and sea transportation. There are also several access points to Burias Island. See details below:

How to go to Burias Island?

Metro Manila –  Naga – Pasacao Port (Land/Sea 9 – 12 hours; Air/Sea 3 – 4 hours)
From Metro Manila, take a bus or fly to Naga City, Bicol. Then take a jeepney from Naga to Pasacao Port, the jeepney ride will take approximately 30 minutes to one hour. From Pasacao Port, take a public boat to Burias Island. The boat ride will take approximately 2 hours.

Metro Manila (Cubao) – San Andres – San Andres Port (8 – 12 hours)
Take a bus from Cubao Terminal to San Andres, Quezon. You can take Superlines bus that will head straight to San Andres. Then from San Andres, you can hire a tricycle going to the port. From there, you can ride a boat to Burias Island or to your camping site.

Metro Manila (Cubao) – Lucena – San Andres (12 – 14 hours)
Take a bus from Cubao Terminal to Lucena Grand Terminal, Quezon. You can take Superlines or JAC Liner bus (check their website for their updated schedule). Then from San Andres, you can hire a tricycle going to the port. From there, you can ride a boat to Burias Island or to your camping site.

Cebu – Legaspi – Naga – Pasacao Port
Take a Cebu Pacific flight from Mactan International Airport to Legaspi City. The flight will last for 1 1/2 hours. From Legaspi City, take a bus to Naga City which will take approximately 2 hours. From there, take a jeepney to Pansacao Port.

Public boat rides to Burias Island from respective ports range from PhP 150 – 200 (USD 3 – 4). Another option is to hire a boatman that will bring you from the port straight to the destinations and your camping site which could cost PhP 7,000 – PhP 8,000 (USD 134 – 154) depending on the number of passengers.

You can also contact tour operators in advance who are mostly based in Metro Manila ranging from PhP 2,799 (USD 54) to PhP 3,000 (USD 58).

Island Tour Destinations

There are several islands/islets that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Burias.

1. Dapa Island – Also known as Snake Island, it is home to sea snakes that live in its stone crevices and holes. The island also has sufficient green land covered with shrubs that could be conducive to the reptile and it’s really easy to imagine snakes crawling in and out of the greenery.

Wildlife aside, the island is surrounded by cavern-like rock formations and clear waters ideal for basking under the sun.

Dapa Island - Burias Island

Snake-Island Burias Island

2. Iniwaran Island – One of the biggest islands in the area and is famous for cliff diving best for people who want to experience the adrenaline rush as part of their summer adventure. Although the dive may not be as high as compared to other islands, it’s still worth the try.

Iniwaran Island- Burias Island

3. Templo Island – Boats seldom stop on this islet but you could admire this island from the sea. It is fairly easy to distinguish from other islands since it is the only island with a white cross on top erected in 2001.

Templo Island - Burias Island

4. Sombrero Island – The island has two parts, the main island which serves as the mainland and the smaller island which is shaped like a hat (sombrero). Its clear and shallow waters are also one of the best if you’re the type that loves to enjoy the heat of the sun while wading in crystal clear waters. It is also one of the islands where travelers could camp and spend the night.

Sombrero Island - Burias Island

Sombrero-Island - Burias Island

NOTE: Sombrero Island has been closed to tourist by San Pascual’s Municipal Government. Read the press release here

5. Tinalisayan Island – The island is famous for its sandbar that could be seen during low-tide. If you’re fortunate, you could also set foot on the sandbar that is almost in the middle of the sea, a bit far from the main island. It is one of the islands with the most campers (next to Sombrero Island) due to its sandbar and coconut-laden beach that is sure to make you feel like a castaway (in a good way).

Tinalisayan Island - Burias Island

Tinalisayan-Island Burias Island

6. Animasola Island – Also known as Sapatos Island. This island is the most famous of all the islets in Burias primarily because of its wind-and-water-carved rock formation and boulders. In fact, it even exudes a unique ethereal beauty that is truly picturesque and worth setting sail for.

Animasola Island - Burias Island

Animasola Island - Burias Island

Camping Sites

There are two islands where you could camp or rent a kubo (nipa hut or traditional Filipino houses) and experience a back-to-basics lifestyle by the sea. The vibe is really laid-back and simple, the electricity is either limited or non-existent.

If you want to make the most of your trip, spending a night in one of these islands is a must:

1. Sombrero Island

Accommodation: Kubo costs PhP 3,000 (USD 57.27). There’s no limit to the number of people who could use it but its bed could only fit 2 persons. Additional mattresses cost PhP 150 (USD 3) each. The kubo has its own toilet.

Renting a tent costs PhP 300 (USD 5.80) and tents are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Public restrooms are available for a fee per use.

Food: Buffet food is available for everyone at a cost. If you paid for an all-in tour, most of the time, the food in the island is already included.  You could also purchase food from a store but expect that the food could be pricey.

NOTE: Sombrero Island has been closed to tourist by San Pascual’s Municipal Government. Read the press release here

Electricity: The island’s power runs from generator and is switched on only from 6:00PM till 6:00AM. However, the sockets in kubos don’t work. You can charge your gadgets in the island’s store which will cost you PhP 30 (USD 0.6) for cell phones and PhP 50 (USD 1.0) for power banks.

2. Tinalisayan Island

If you’ll be camping in Tinalisayan, you will need to pay the environmental fee and pitching fee. However, unlike Sombrero Island, you’ll need to bring your own tent and food and there’s no electricity at all. The island also has ample shade of coconut trees.

Harv Experiences

Here are top harv experiences you shouldn’t miss while in Burias Island:

1. Sun setting from the sea? Truly a must-see – Sunsets in the Philippines are just stunning, and is truly one of the most breathtaking natural phenomena there is. The same is true in Burias.

Sunset Burias Island

2. Watch the Milkyway glimmer from above – See Orion and even Venus as you lay down on the sand on a starry evening. You’ll realize how amazing it is to see all the stars twinkling from up above, far beautiful from the city lights or any man-made illumination for that matter.

3. Admire the power of nature in Animasola – The islet is truly a sight to behold. Breathtaking and stunning, it has attracted tourists from all over the archipelago who aim to see this wonderful work of nature. While you’re at it, look closely and touch the rocks and you’ll feel that this seemingly man-made rock formation is nothing but a pure work of art carved by the powerful sea breeze and waves.

Animasola Rock Formation Burias Island

Tips and Reminders when visiting Burias Island

1. Leave no trace behind – Although the islands aren’t as spoiled as some of the beaches in the Philippines, there are already wrappers and trash almost everywhere.

2. Bring your summer necessities – Bring your sunblock, rash guards, etc. Some of the islands offer little to no shade, and bringing/wearing protection from the sun is a must.

3. Boat rides could be bumpy – The Bicol Peninsula is known for having big waves regardless of the weather condition. If you’re prone to seasickness, make sure to take an antiemetic prior.

4. The islands are so fine, but not the sand – The islands are mostly surrounded by coral sand which makes the water turquoise and crystal clear. With that, expect that the sand wouldn’t be as fine.

5. Wear sandals or aqua socks – Since the sand isn’t fine, it would be best to wear a reliable footwear even when swimming.

6. The signal is weak or even non-existent – You may need to delay your Instagram stories or social media posts a bit in some instances. Only a few islands do have a signal.

No two islands are alike

Geographically speaking, no two islands are exactly similar. However, aside from each island’s physical difference, each island exudes a unique vibe that could leave a lasting mark on the memories of anyone who sets foot on them.

Burias Island and its neighbouring islets may just be few of the islands in the Philippines, but they are not lacking any wonders, scenic destinations, and unique experiences that are sure to leave you with good memories for a long time.