A ceramic composition is provided to insulate ceramic matrix composites under high temperature, high heat flux environments. The composition comprises a plurality of hollow oxide-based spheres of various dimensions, a phosphate binder, and at least one oxide filler powder, whereby the phosphate binder partially fills gaps between the spheres and the filler powders. The spheres are situated in the phosphate binder and the filler powders such that each sphere is in contact with at least one other sphere. The spheres may be any combination of Mullite spheres, Alumina spheres, or stabilized Zirconia spheres. The filler powder may be any combination of Alumina, Mullite, Ceria, or Hafnia. Preferably, the phosphate binder is Aluminum Ortho-Phosphate. A method of manufacturing the ceramic insulating composition and its application to CMC substrates are also provided.