Adrenaline & Adventure · Islands and Isolation · Philippine Gems · Travel Tales

A Detour To Sombrero Island, Shall We?

Living in the Philippines where I’ve been spoiled with the pleasure of being near different beaches, my idea of a lovely day would of course include a short boat ride to a secluded island. Yup, an island. Accessible beaches are nice too, but a short mini adventure to an island that keeps me away from civilization is my absolute cup of tea. I am however not fortunate enough to be living within a close range to this wonderful’s countries best islands. Being in mainland Luzon, my opportunity to venture my way to nearby islands that actually meets my standards doesn’t come by too easily. So when my aunt randomly invited me to go camping with her and her 6-year-old daughter at an isolated beach, you know I had to hop on that chance.

We planned to go camping at Masasa Beach, an unspoiled hidden gem in Tingloy, Batangas. Unspoiled and hidden usually comes with the inevitable fact that it’ll be a challenge to reach, which I was completely fine with because I knew I’d be rewarded very well. Knowing that we’re in for quite a journey, we decided to make the best of it and include Sombrero Island as a side trip before we go home. I have been there during my childhood, but my memory of it only depends on the photos I’ve seen. But those photos I’ve seen from the early 90’s did not do any justice to the undebatableย beauty I found when our boat touched down.

Sombrero Island isย about a 30-minute boat ride away from Masasa Beach. It’s approximately 3 hours away from Manila– close enough to the city, yet far enough from civilization. You can easily reach it from Anilao or Mabini and a typical island hopping tour around the area will include this as one of the stops. I believe we spent about 1300 php ($28) for the boat ride from Masasa to Sombrero Island, and then to the port of Mabini. When it comes to renting a boat, it’s usually better to go with a bigger group in order to split the charges for a smaller bill. But then again $28 to reach an island we can have to ourselves for the day wasn’t such a bad investment.

Now this may not be the best island you’ll ever see, especially if you’re a beach freak like I am, but it will give you the fix. It’s a small island but the good thing is it’s looked after and very well kept. There is a small entrance fee and naturally since the island is privately owned, there are also fees for the huts and tables. Camping is also allowed in the area, which I actually plan to do sometime with a group of friends. (Read here for 5 best islands to camp at near Manila)

The water is clear and wonderfully blue. It felt incredibly nice too. Usually, I find Batangas ocean water to be a little sticky. I was expecting to get that sting-like sensation when I was in the water but I didn’t get any of that. The white sand is a bit rocky so water shoes are recommended. Also, Anilao is known for their wonderful underwater life and Sombrero Island actually makes a pretty decent snorkeling spot. You could also do a bit of hiking around the island but I skipped that since I was having too much fun in the water. Other than those, there really isn’t any more to do in this island but to bask in the sun and frolic in the water. In other words, indulge in it.

I had a fantastic time and it was definitely a brilliant idea to make a detour here before heading home. Would I recommend Sombrero Island? Absolutely– it’s a nice little getaway from the city on a weekend, or just something to do on a Tuesday. Because of it’s semi-close proximity to Manila, it makes a great escape you know we all need and want. I don’t know about you, but the further away a beachย is from society, the better the experience. Sometimes, the best days are spent far, far away from human beings ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Get To Sombrero Island:

Coming from Manila, take a bus headed to Batangas Port. From the port, take a short jeepney or tricycle ride to the jeep terminal that would take you to Mabini/Anilao. Just ask, that’s how I get by. From there, you should be able to find a boat man that you can negotiate with. There are also other spots you can check out if you’reย doing an island hopping tour that you could consider if you don’t want to stay put in one island for the entire day.

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70 thoughts on “A Detour To Sombrero Island, Shall We?

  1. I think I have heard about this island from one of the travel blogs I have visited before…the water is so clear and the place looks so unspoiled… a very relaxing spot indeed…
    thanks for sharing and I hope I can visit this place soon


  2. I haven’t heard about Masasa Beach but I know Tingloy because I’ve been there before. It’s a nice beach from what I see even though I am not a beach bum. I know Sombrero Island because if I am not mistaken if I ride a boat going to Pisa (near Tingloy) I think you will pass by at that Island which is somehow shaped as sombrero or hat. Btw, you really pay that much for a boat ride?


    1. We rented the boat for our small group, it also came with an option to see other nearby islands but we didn’t really have time. From Masasa, he took us to Sombrero, and from Sombrero, he took us back to the Mabini port. I think it was a pretty decent price.


  3. Wonderful photos! And the beach totally looks unspoiled.
    True enough that $28 is a small price to pay for a quiet and solace experience away from the bustling cities in the Metro.
    Will definitely list Sombrero Island in my beaches to-go-to list.
    Thanks for this post!
    – Nik


  4. I noticed from the pics that there are no other visitors aside from your group (?) Is it because it’s a weekday?

    The place seemed a great escape from a stressful urban life.


  5. I’ve heard about Sombrero island before but I’ve never really seen it in photos. Thank you for this. Now, we know where we can escape the bustle of city life. I hope that it is still secluded on weekends though. Cheers!


  6. Never heard of Sombrero Island before, but it looks amazing. I know for a fact that my husband and kids would love to take a trip here and enjoy the beach. Bucket listed!


  7. Mabini is a few minutes ride away from my dad’s family home in Batangas and my friends who live in Batangas too have always asked me to go to Tingloy. Hopefully by next year, I can finally go to the places near our area. I’m already jealous of other people who doesn’t live around the area but has the time to explore and enjoy the place.


  8. OMG! Philippines is such a country! We are so blessed. The beach is white, sunny! Oh and seems like you guys are alone there, you’d truly enjoy the place, very seems so private for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    hope you can visit my blog so i could add you on my linkex project!


  9. First time to hear about this place. I can’t wait for my next escapade with my hubby as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Is that your daughter or sister? She looks beautiful with that smile on her face. ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. This looks like paradise! We haven’t been to the Philippines yet, but when we do, we’ll have to go to Sombrero Island! There is nothing like an unspoilt, isolated beach!


  11. What beautiful and clear water on Sombrero Island. Very tempting indeed. The Philippines has so many beautiful areas to discover.


  12. I agree with Toni. The idea of hiking and snorkeling on a beach in the Philippines sounds like a nice weekend trip for me as well. It looks like you had a great time, and it makes me want to go and relax there as well!


  13. It seems like a great place for a getaway, even if it may not be the prettiest island in the Philippines, it still looks like heaven to me, compared to the stinky Dutch beaches…


  14. It looks GORGEOUS! It’s grey and cold in London today and if that’s not the best beach, well, frankly it’s quite good enough for me!


  15. Sounds amazing – it’s very rare for a place to live up to what it was in the 90’s – sadly so many of the beautiful places I visited as a child have since been developed or overrun and ruined by tourism. So I’m so psyched that this place is still untouched! Overnight trip from Manila when I get the chance to visit!


    1. I completely agree. I can only take people’s word for it, and some photos I find online. Luckily, there are some places in the Philippines that government is protecting to avoid ruining it.


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