Day 10: Off Coast Biliran
The Island of Biliran, just north of Leyte, is another emerging tourist destination in the Philippines. It may be new to our senses but this neophyte province holds some of the nation's treasured jewels that could challenge the nearby commercialized tourist spots.
The mainland island alone is surrounded by with must visit places in Biliran, giving emphasis on more than a dozen of waterfalls littered around the island province. But of course your Biliran escapade won't be complete without stepping into the iconic Sambawan Island.
Sambawan Island is located off coast of the mainland Biliran and is part of the island municipality of Maripipi.
At 7am in the morning, we hurried to the Municipality of Kawayan to hop into a motorized boat bound directly to Sambawan . It took us less than 30 minutes to reach the beach of the island. Even from afar, the elongated snake-like islet has its astonishing view under the clear blue sky.
|Sambawan Island (the southern tip)|
The beach of Sambawan has a number of open cottages and comfort rooms. The "operator" have created also concrete staircases leading to the view deck located on a hilltop with a 360 degree panoramic view . I would prefer if the development in the islet be limited to keep its pristine look .
Erecting human made facilities are some of the big mistakes in the Philippine tourism industry, capitalizing more on the business interests rather than foreseeing a sustainable operation that would benefit the next generation through preservation and conservation. I just hope that the local government sees this before things turn out ugly in the future.
Two of the stewards of the island, Arnel and Pete Casio, accompanied and assisted me to one of the hills of the island. At the view deck , you will have a 360 degree panoramic view of the crescent moon like islet including the island municipality of Maripipi.
|Turquoise crystal water of Sambawan island|
I was so determined to reach the southern tip of the island that even the two meter tall sharp blade prairie-like grass did not stop me from exploring the place.
The splendor of Sambawan is accentuated with turquoise crystal water that would entice everyone who sees it to immediately jump into its tropical warm water .
a. There is an entrance fee of Php 50.00 in the island.
b. Visitors can stay overnight in the island by pitching your tent on the beach or simply sleep on the open cottages.
c. Remember to bring enough food and water and other personal necessities .
d. Do not bring any flammable materials on the grassland of the hills like cigarette as this can ignite grass fire.
d. And don't forget to pack your garbage before leaving to keep this paradise pristine as always .
Find your way first to Naval, the capital town of Biliran . Check my previous post for guidance.
There are two ways to reach Sambawan Island .
1. Naval-Maripipi-Sambawan (Public)
In Naval port , the ferry boat operated by Ma. Lourdes Bega Express leaves at exactly 10:00 am transporting passengers to the Island Municipality of Maripipi and returns to Naval 5:30 am the next day.
Ferry schedule is only Mondays to Saturdays. Fare is Php 60.00 and travel time is 2 hours. From Maripipi you can hire a motorized banca to Sambawan Island for Php 500.00 back and forth or depends on the arrangement you make with the boat man.
2. Naval-Kawayan-Sambawan (Special Trip)
From Naval , as early as 6:00 am you can take the regular jeepney bound for Kawayan . Travel time is 30-45 minutes but the waiting time at the terminal is almost an hour. In Kawayan port, there are motorized boats where you can haggle for the price of the transport to Sambawan Island.
In the case of this trip , we rented the boat for Php 1400.00 for a half day service with a direct route of Kawayan to Sambawan vice versa . For an overnight service the boat with a capacity of 10 people usually charge Php3000-3500.