Biliran is one of the newest and smallest provinces in the Philippines. It has two main islands, Biliran Island and Maripipi Island. Biliran is home to beautiful waterfalls such as Tinago waterfall, while Maripipi boasted Sambawan Island.
Biliran is not that known among travelers or tourists yet. Like most people, I didn’t even know that Biliran is a province. I thought it was part of Leyte. But then again, I am always bad at Geography.
How to Get There?
There is an overnight boat traveling directly to Naval. But for daily trips, it is better to go to Biliran, via Tacloban or via Ormoc. From Cebu, it was easier for us to go to Ormoc. We took the fast craft from Port 1 in Cebu Pier, at around 5 A.M., and arrived in Ormoc at approximately 8:30 t0 9 A.M. Near Ormoc Port, you can take a van to Naval, for about 1.5 hours or more. It was a bit tight in the van since they packed it beyond the capacity. Plus the A/C was not working at all. Prepare for one of the most uncomfortable rides of your life. Other option would be to bring your car or rent the whole van. But we were traveling on a budget, as always, so sucking it is part of the deal.
Places to Stay
Upon our arrival in Naval, we directly headed to the port to check the boat going to Higatangan. The boat only costs P50. However, the trips available to and from the island are only in the morning; it means staying overnight. Since we missed the boat, we took a jeepney ride for about an hour to the town of Almeria to find a place to stay for a night. We checked Agta Resort but the room was quite small and a bit pricey for us. So we ended up staying at VCR resort. They have bigger rooms, pool, and friendly staff. We paid 1300 for an air-conditioned room, which is good for 5-6 people.
Places to See
The planned before leaving was to hit all the waterfalls and islands for three days that we would be there. But we realized after our arrival how futile it was. First, three days is not sufficient considering that all places are a bit far from each other. Second, it could get quite expensive. Despite traveling with a group this time, and dividing the cost among ourselves, we had to go beyond our supposed maximum budget.
There are plenty of waterfalls in Biliran. But to see them all, you need to spend more time and money. Our first option was a nearby waterfall. It’ll cost P500 to go there. But upon learning that Tinago is much more beautiful, we opted to go there and paid P750 to the driver, which was divided among the three of us. The waterfall is 45-60 minutes away from Almeria. The motorcycle ride was painful to the bum.
The waterfall was exquisite and not touristy. We took a plunge and enjoyed it for an hour. On our way back, we had an accident though. Our motorcycle wheelied (the front went up and we were thrown off). It was a bit horrifying to see a big bike falling towards you. We weren’t seriously hurt but I ended up with few bruises and a big gash that certainly left some scars. Despite the pain, the adventure must continue. We had to catch the boat to Sambawan Island.
Few of our companions have been in Sambawan already. Their verdict was that it was not that nice. But when I travel, I always want to judge the place for myself. So we ended up going there. The island is not developed yet. There is only one available resort. There are few cottages and maybe tents that you could rent for a night. We opted for an open cottage and some tents since the room was beyond our budget.
Was it worth it? For me, yes. However, you must take into consideration that the voyage might be a little bit rough. The boat is small, and the waves are quite high. The boatmen will usually discourage the trip if the water is rough or the weather is not good. Not only that, the boat could cost P3000-P3500. So for a solo budget traveler, it’s a bit expensive. But we paid P2500 for our boat. Other option will be to go to Maripipi Island and from there, hire a small boat for a lower price.
Also, I suggest you bring some food and cooking utensils. The only available store offers only canned goods. Considering the location, they charge more.
All in all, Biliran is a great place to explore. But to do so, one must have plenty of time.