Batangas Philippines Travel

A Side Trip to Sumbrero Island

“We don’t want to shower!” said my friend.

“Actually, I do,” is what I wanted to say but I let the words die on my lips. We were on a boat waiting to be taken to Sumbrero Island. We just trekked down from Mt. Gulugud Baboy where we camped for a night. Nobody was able to sleep because the wind lashed our tents the entire time. We have a saying that goes something like, “Magbiro ka na sa lasing wag lang sa bagong gising,” (You can mess around with a drunkard but not to a person who just roused from sleep). But in this case, the more appropriate statement is, “You can mess around with a drunkard but not to a person who didn’t get any sleep.” None of us was well rested to take some bullshit, and bullshit is what Philpan Dive Resort was trying to give us that morning.

We weren’t informed that when you pass through Philpan to get to the boats, you would be required to shower in this resort. Again, I was willing to take a shower, but I wasn’t about to shell out 60 pesos for it; not unless I’d emerge from the bathroom looking like Kristine Hermosa. The staff of Philpan didn’t take it too kindly. When our boatman told them that none of us were willing to shower in their resort, they shut the gate to us. They were like, “So you don’t want to shower here huh? Then you’re not allowed to pass through!” What is the world coming to that some resort is now forcing people to use their shower in exchange for passing through their vicinity? [Read: Why it’s hard to Climb Mt. Gulugud Baboy]

So if you don’t want to be forced to pay a ridiculous amount of money just to shower and if you don’t want some weird woman throwing profanities at you, request your boatman to NEVER LEAD YOU THROUGH PHILPAN. If you want to shower, don’t worry, there are people within the area who are offering their homes for this purpose and it wouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

After the morning drama, we sailed out to the sea for 20 minutes. Sumbrero Island got its name from its shape; from afar, it looks like a hat.

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (1)

It’s just a small island, its white sand bedecked by crushed corals. It’s amazing that only a few hours away from Manila, there is a beach as beautiful as this, and this is coming from a person who has already seen some of the best beaches in the Philippines.

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (2)

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (9)

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (8)

The island is privately owned by a man named Ed Mendoza, according to the boatman. There are some people manning the island including this old dog who seems to be enjoying the island vibe. I would too, I mean just look at how beautiful it is.

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (7)

The water is clear and teeming with jellyfish, yes, that little cute pinkish creature that stings. They are everywhere so be careful when you take a swim here. My friends did get sting a bit but they said it was bearable. Nah… I didn’t want to risk it. So I was out of the water the moment I heard one of my friends said that she saw a jellyfish.

There is an entrance fee of PHP 200 (USD 4.25) per person and you can rent a cottage for PHP 800 (USD 17). Yes, that’s a lot of money so if you are on a budget, it’s best to come with friends.

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (4)

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (5)

a-side-trip-to-sumbrero-island-coffeehan (10)

The boat ride is PHP 2,500 (USD 53) for 8 pax, additional of PHP 100 (USD 2.12) per head. There’s 11 of us so we paid PHP 2,800 (USD 60) all in all.

We were there for 2 hours, spent on either taking pictures or swimming. I almost didn’t get to see Sumbrero Island because of the thing with the Philpan staff, good thing my friends decided that we go as planned. Going back, the boatman docked elsewhere. We had to walk a long way back to the registration point but it was okay. I was able to get that much-desired shower in the house of Ate Lisa for only 25 bucks. She’s one of the people manning the registration point for the mountain climbers.

If you are going to Mt. Gulugud Baboy, I suggest that you take a side trip to this small island. Just remember where not to go if you don’t want the stress of being forced to shower.


You may view or download my itinerary for Mt. Gulugud Baboy and Sumbrero Islands trip by clicking the image below ↓ .













You may also like to read


  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    Such a beautiful island. The shower story is hilarious! Must say would love to go to this island soon. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 28, 2016 at 2:17 AM

    I don’t even know what to say! I can’t believe you would be forced to shower just so you can fork over some money. Outrageous. Glad you still made the most of the rest of your day. The island looks like it is a worthwhile side trip.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 4:39 PM

    I remember this. 🙂 Boset na Philphan un, kala mo may-ari ng dagat. May pagsara pa ng gate. Sugapa, nkakainis kpag naalala ko. hahaha!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2016 at 8:32 AM

    Firstly I love the layout of your blog! What an amazing little place – I would love to visit. It looks beautiful! Certainly an interesting story to tell about the shower.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2016 at 6:47 AM

    It sounds like a quite island to spend some time chilling out, happy that the bad experience with the resort staff and the lack of sleep did not dampen your spirits. And yes, a person deprived of sleep is like a lion deprived of meat 🙂

  • Reply
    Psychic Nest
    April 9, 2016 at 5:50 PM

    Hi Marjorie,

    Apart from the drama and the jellyfish, it looks like you had a great time. Amazing photos too!


  • Reply
    March 30, 2016 at 7:01 AM

    shower seriously? WTH?
    why bother with that, I mean, why would you need to pay something like that for entrance. Totally weird.

    I wouldn’t bother with them if that’s the way they treat tourists.

  • Reply
    Macy Santos
    March 24, 2016 at 7:05 AM

    This trip sure has its ups and downs. I can’t imagine that showering is a must- what a foolish way to extort money. Oh well, this is all part of the adventure. I am not sure if I have the guts to swim along stinging jellyfishes….

  • Reply
    Hung Thai
    March 24, 2016 at 4:36 AM

    LOL amen to that – don’t bother me when I just wake up 🙂

  • Reply
    March 24, 2016 at 2:05 AM

    It’s so beautiful! I really want to travel and visit this beautiful places that you guys post about. I can’t see a shape of a hat – what’s wrong with me?? hehehe

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 8:54 PM

    OMG , what an amazing place ! Look at that sea water , how clear !!! I live on an holiday island myself , but that beach and that sea …. woooowwww . Thanks for this excellent post !

  • Reply
    Kevin Wagar
    March 22, 2016 at 7:04 PM

    Wow! What a cool place! I have always dreamed of the quiet island off the coast where I could get away from it all 🙂

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 4:17 PM

    That is so crazy that the people wanted you to shower at their resort. I have never heard of anything like that before. Good thing you didn’t allow it to ruin the day and that you made it to the beach! It looked beautiful there but all of the jellyfish would have scared me completely! I really liked how you put the itinerary and how much everything was!

  • Reply
    Adina M
    March 22, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    I’d love to go to this island! Looks gorgeous. Philippines and surrounding area is on my immediate bucketliat! Nice photos, cute doggy 🙂

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 1:31 PM

    I have to admit that I loved your shower story. Amazing what people will do to make a buck. Must be some fancy showers for the cost.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 12:42 PM

    What’s with Philpan that they’ll force you to shower? Are they taking secret pictures or videos?

    Thanks for sharing your story kahit nakakagalit, BTW, I heard that the beaches on that part of Batangas either have jelly fish or sea urchins. Is that true?

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 4:20 AM

      Beats me! So I made sure to write about it to save the tourists the trouble of dealing with the staff of that resort.

  • Reply
    Arrianne Guzman
    March 22, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    I laughed so hard at this “not unless I’d emerge from the bathroom looking like Kristine Hermosa”, hahahahaha!!!!! Why do they have to force people like that??? Anyway, getting a dip from a climb looks like a very great idea to me! It sounds so refreshing. I’ll take note of this Sumbrero Island.

  • Reply
    Me-An Clemente
    March 22, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Whoa! Philpan resort has some rude staff. How long does it take if you don’t pass through Philpan resort? The beach looks rough on the feet and, as you said, there are jellyfishes, so I think this island is only good for side trips. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 4:18 AM

      It would take you around 15 minutes if you take another route.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    Oh wow! P60 for a shower?! that’s ridiculous! I’ve heard of Sumbrero islands but have never visited.Will make sure not to pass through the resort you mentioned.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:44 AM

      Hi Madz, remind your boatman to take you to another route.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 5:50 AM

    I am baffled by the resort staff forcing you guys to take a shower. Anyway, I’d heard of Sumbrero Island before and similarly was told it’s a good side trip after hiking in the nearby mountain. 🙂 Though I think there are times the sea water gets infiltrated with moss. Best to ask the locals what season is best to visit the island I guess.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:43 AM

      The moss is always there, I believe. The best season of course is during summer according to some locals.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 5:45 AM

    That is so weird to be required to shower to rent a boat. What does that have to do with boating? Glad you got to visit the island. I certainly wouldn’t have gotten in the water with jellyfish. No thanks. But still looks beautiful!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:38 AM

      Hi Michelle. The boat has nothing to do with it, it’s separated from the resort. But if you want to get to the shore where the boats are docked and you pass through Philpan’s backyard that’s when you will be required to shower in their place. In short, you can’t pass through their vicinity if you don’t intend to shower there. Ridiculous eh?!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2016 at 10:03 AM

    Beach looks wonderful! But i’m terrified of jellyfishes (it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true haha) so i don’t know how much would i enjoy lol

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:36 AM

      Well you and I both! I just want to look at the jellyfish but I don’t want to get in contact with them if you know what I mean hahaha…

  • Reply
    March 21, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    My last memories of Sombrero Island was around year 2000-2001. The island was empty, there weren’t cottages yet. We took small private boats during a meditation retreat around 4:00 am and we meditated on the island for an hour while watching the sunrise. I remember lots of sea urchins, It was a beautiful island.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:36 AM

      Glad to know you have been to this beautiful island too Arni. I didn’t see sea urchins, maybe because I didn’t really go that far from the shore haha…

  • Reply
    March 20, 2016 at 3:25 AM

    I love the island photos! I’d love to go to Sumbrero Island soon.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:35 AM

      Go ahead Emiliana, you’re gonna love. it 🙂

  • Reply
    March 20, 2016 at 3:00 AM

    This island looks so pretty but making you shower there at the resort is a little ridiculous in my mind. Thanks for sharing your experience along with your pictures.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:34 AM

      It is ridiculous indeed. I do hope they change their mind about it because they are giving their resort a bad rep.

  • Reply
    Dorothy Mae C. Torretijo
    March 20, 2016 at 2:29 AM

    Wow!! What a lovely post indeed! All your photos are amazing and Instagram worthy. I’m so excited on my next adventure this summer!
    Thank you for sharing xx


  • Reply
    Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag
    March 20, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    I’ve been to Sombrero Island before but that was almost 2 decades ago. It’s nice to see that its beauty has been preserved.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:33 AM

      Hi Teresa, yeah, it still looks rugged and beautiful.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2016 at 12:13 AM

    This looks so fantastic and would be the kind of trip And experience I could soo use! I love the pictures and your article. Thank you for taking me with you on this trip.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2016 at 10:51 PM

    Marjorie it must have been super interesting although annoying to be pushed into taking a bath, by someone who is not your mom. Lol. I can truly understand your irritation though.
    The island looks lovely and good u stayed away from Jelly fish. We faced the same dilemma in Hua Hin Thailand it decided to stay clear. Especially with kids

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 22, 2016 at 9:03 AM

      We argued with them for like 10 minutes, can you believe that?! Hahaha… Oh yeah, I can’t deal with them jellyfish, I’m scared!

  • Reply
    March 19, 2016 at 4:38 PM

    I remember this island! I have dived in this area already decades ago! It sure brings back memories.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 29, 2016 at 2:32 AM

      Oh you’ve been there too, that’s awesome 🙂

  • Reply
    March 19, 2016 at 4:27 PM

    So that’s what those ladies were yelling? they wanted us to shower there? lol WTH… I never understood what it was they were saying. I knew you guys said they wanted to rip us off, but by forcing us to shower? haha thats ridiculous!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      March 19, 2016 at 5:17 PM

      Now you know. Ridiculous isn’t it? Hahaha…

    Leave a Reply