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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Itinerary

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments (47)

  1. Vyjay
    Vyjay

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

    Reply
  2. Christina
    Christina

    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
  3. Jerny
    Jerny

    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
  4. Lala
    Lala

    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
  5. Voyager
    Voyager

    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
  6. Psychic Nest
    Psychic Nest

    Hi Marjorie,

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

    Zaria

    Reply
  7. mr_jeng
    mr_jeng

    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
  8. Macy Santos
    Macy Santos

    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
  9. Hung Thai
    Hung Thai

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

    Reply
  10. Raffa
    Raffa

    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
  11. Klaudia
    Klaudia

    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
  12. Kevin Wagar
    Kevin Wagar

    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
  13. alison
    alison

    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
  14. Adina M
    Adina M

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

    Reply
  15. Tara
    Tara

    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
  16. Sonnie
    Sonnie

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  17. Arrianne Guzman
    Arrianne Guzman

    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
  18. Me-An Clemente
    Me-An Clemente

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  19. Madz
    Madz

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  20. Kat
    Kat

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  21. Michelle
    Michelle

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  22. Dunja
    Dunja

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  23. Arni
    Arni

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  24. emiliana
    emiliana

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

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  25. Miranda
    Miranda

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  26. Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag
    Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  27. Sabine
    Sabine

    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
  28. Charu
    Charu

    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
      Marjorie Gavan

      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
  29. ROBERT LEE
    ROBERT LEE

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

    Reply
    • Marjorie Gavan
      Marjorie Gavan

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

      Reply
  30. Diego
    Diego

    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

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