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 undebatable beauty I found when our boat touched down.
Sombrero Island is 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 beach is from society, the better the experience. Sometimes, the best days are spent far, far away from human beings 🙂
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’re doing an island hopping tour that you could consider if you don’t want to stay put in one island for the entire day.