Islands and Isolation · Philippine Gems · Pretty Places · Travel Tales

The Struggle And The Rewards Of Getting To Colibra Island

Hi. My name is Erica and I have an addiction. A beach addiction, if you may. But unlike many beach obsessed fiends like myself, my obsession revolves around islands that’s extremely addicting to the naked eye. The kind where you see no one in sight and you could claim the island for yourself the entire day. The kind where the sound of the ocean is in harmony with the sway of the leaves of the tree. The kind where the sand is kind enough to let me walk barefoot without hurting myself from the heat or from the rocks. The kind where the blueness of the water makes me forget about my problems and insists that I stay just a little bit longer. The kind of beach that I’d happily go out of my way for. (READ: 5 Beautiful Islands to Camp at Near Manila)

It’s no lie that the Philippines has extremely spoiled me with extraordinary islands and beaches. My standards isn’t getting any lower, and the more isolated and untouched a place is, the more my lust grows. Although it’s nice too, I don’t care so much about five star treatments on the beach. I like it raw and untouched. And as overused as the word is, I like it in all its authentic glory. Those kind of places usually take a little work to get to. But for a true island girl, that’s never been a problem.

 After trekking a volcano, my girlfriends and I had an itch to be under the sun while actually not hating its existence. It was right in the beginning of summer and the sun’s wrath is unapologetic, but we couldn’t care less about that– if we were on a beach. A beach on my kind of island, that is. So after a little bit of necessary google search, we found ourselves heading to the bus terminal at 5:30 in the morning.

We were already in Tarlac City and I was staying with my friends at they’re grandparent’s house so this trip has been extremely pocket friendly for all of us. From there, we took an ordinary bus to Alaminos which took us at least 2 hours to get to. It was a long uncomfortable ride, and although I have mentioned many times that long bus rides happen to be a strange affinity of mine that I can’t quite explain, this is one of those rides I could have managed without. With the early morning sun and the lack of airconditioning in the bus, you can only imagine the humidity we all had to endure. With crowing roosters, bags of fish, and a very obnoxious techno mix of cheesy 80’s and 90’s pop music, it was one of the longest 2 hours of my life. (READ: Tips For Long Bus Rides)

You’d think the struggle of our journey ends there, but it’s just the beginning. From Alaminos, we had to take yet another short bus ride to Burgos Market, which we will then be hopping on a tricycle for another long ride. After an hour, though it seemed like an eternity, we reached Tambobong beach, which is the drop off point to Colibra Island (or Snake Island). The ride was daunting and even more uncomfortable. The first half of the tricycle ride wasn’t too bad, but the last part, which seemed to go on forever, was an extremely rocky and dusty ride. At that point, I was thinking to myself that this island better be worth it.

Tambobong beach itself was already nice. Tambobong is a small little village with very friendly people. It’s a nice, lovely place to spend a couple of weeks in. That’s of course if you’re like me who finds joy in small beach towns. We found a little guesthouse which serves breakfast all day so we had our usual silog meals (Filipino breakfast rice meals) while we looked for a boat man. The owner of the guest house who happens to be a Fil-Am too was nice enough to find us a reliable boat man for a reasonable price of 800php for the day. If you don’t know standard pricing in the Philippines, then let me tell you that 800 is a great deal. That’s CHEAP. Today, that rounds up to $17. Our rental included trips to other spots as well, but because we had too much fun in Colibra, we ended up just utilizing our time there.

Less than half an hour boat ride later, we managed to reach the beautiful shores of Colibra Island. I already expected it to be small, but we didn’t need much. There were no shade, but there were a bunch of shrubs and some trees that held up my handy dandy Thai skirt that I use as a beach blanket. We put our resiliency to use and little do you know we were having the perfect tropical time. No, there were no cocktail drinks at request. And no, there were no beach chairs. But we had music, the blinding sands, the alluring ocean, and the company of each other– and that was enough.

Another boat appeared with a group of awkward men claiming to be cops and asking us if we would mind if they practice their shooting at the back of the island. Umm, yes, as a matter of fact, we would. Although they were decent and nice enough to ask and to consider us, they kept trying to talk to us. I swear we’re not stuck up and we really enjoy socializing and meeting new people. But there are days when the people you meet just doesn’t give out the right connection and some days where you and your girls really just want to enjoy each other’s company. In other words, they were awkward (AF) and it was uncomfortable so we went to the back of the island to check out the rock formations. Great idea, because by the time we returned to the front beach, they were gone.

By the time it was getting a little late, we got back on the boat and instead of going to the other island, we decided to just go in the middle of the ocean to snorkel and jump off the boat. We really were trying to get the perfect jumping shot, but we weren’t very successful. I probably burned a lot of calories from climbing back up over and over again, but it was definitely a fun way to end the day.

When we arrived back to Tambobong, we had a nice dinner prepared for us. However at one point, we thought we were going to have to spend the night because we failed to make an arrangement with our tricycle driver. There are no other means of transportation heading outside the village at that hour, but somehow we managed to find a tricycle that would take us back for a price. It took us awhile to find one, and by the time we left, we’ve somehow gotten to know the locals and the employees of the guest house. We also found out there are other things and places to do such as snorkeling at a sunken ship, a cave of sea snakes, and other secret spots the locals were telling us about. If we had more time, I would have loved to stay and explore more of Tambobong and Cabongaoan Beach, another destination not too far.

Now another unnecessary trouble is that there were no more buses passing by Burgos Market to take us to Alaminos. We were there by 7:30, and sadly, the last one was at 7 and the next bus wouldn’t be passing by until 11 pm. Without letting panic strike us all, I found another tricycle to take us to Alaminos and one of us rode with the employee from the guest house who’s on his way there as well in his motorcycle. In the end, it all worked out for all of us and we reached Tarlac City in one piece. Phew!

The struggle and the rewards of getting to Colibra Island is something many people wouldn’t mind doing without, but for a beach freak like myself, it was worth all the effort. It was an adventure, and when will I never say no to that? I used to think that there’s a line between adventure and just pure hardship. It turns out, that line is a beautiful, quiet island.


How To Get To Colibra Island

  • From Manila, you can take a bus straight to Alaminos. This is also the drop off point to Hundred Islands.
  • Take a bus heading to Sta. Cruz and ask to be dropped off at Burgos Market.
  • Take a tricycle to Tambobong beach (300 php).
  • Find a boat man in Tambobong to take you to Colibra Island.

Bet you haven’t been to Colibra Island, or have you? How was your journey there? Do let me know down in the comment box! Please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so I can keep you updated with my latest adventure! See you there 🙂

29 thoughts on “The Struggle And The Rewards Of Getting To Colibra Island

  1. That is one seriously sexy looking beach there. Trust the Philippines to come up with another one 🙂

    Love your underwater images and looks like really great fun.


  2. Wooww!!! Philippines keep surprising me in so many good ways. Went to a few islands this year, but never heard about Colibra. Thanks for the tips, for sure will try to put this island in our next trip there, that hopefully will be in a few months! 😉


  3. Wow! this is a new island for me. You’ve got awesome shots and awesome bodies! Great paradise island! Always love to travel and explore places like this too, I’d love to set foot on this island one day too!


  4. Wow – this island is really gorgeous! I guess it was worth the not so nice trip to be in such an amazing (and cheap!) place. I really enjoy your posts about all of these exotic places. I hope to see more coming up! 🙂


  5. If I ever have another week off, I need to get my ass to the Philippines and spend a week on the beach. Just reading and doing nothing… thanks for the inspiration!


  6. I agree about wanting to find a beach that is raw and exactly the way nature intended it to be, rather than a manicured resort somewhere. I’m sure there are tons of great unspoilt beaches there!


  7. An awkward bunch of men claiming to be cops . . . that DOES sound awkward AF and probably untrue. Glad you decided to part ways with them and enjoy the rest of your beautiful day! 😉 Hehe


  8. I have never heard of this Pangasinan island before. I have only been to the Hundred Islands in that province and that was years ago. Good to know about this place. Looks like you had it all to yourself. – Fred


  9. You guys(or girls) seem to have really enjoyed your tip.. haha wish i got invited.. lol haha. but honestly speaking the place looks so beautiful. I selon go out of town so whenever I see people going on trips like this, i kinda feel envious.. haha


  10. Wow, getting to Colibra Island is quite a challenge, I don’t think I’m one who would go that far since I’m not an island girl at heart, more of a landlubber haha. It’s the indoors for me. Looks like you had a great time though, and the view is just amazing!


  11. so beautiful, i’d been there last year. we stayed there for two days, so breath taking can’t wait to go back.


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