Biliran: The beautiful province you haven't discovered yet

If you have another day to go around, head over to Tinago Falls, Biliran’s most famous waterfalls, a powerful cascade flowing down to green pools. (READ: The enchanting blue river of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

GREEN POOLS. Tinago cascades into vivid green pools like this.

GREEN POOLS. Tinago cascades into vivid green pools like this.

Tinago Falls is in Caibiran, the municipality on the other side of Naval.

TINAGO FALLS. Tinago is the most popular of the waterfalls in Biliran

TINAGO FALLS.

Tinago is the most popular of the waterfalls in Biliran

And, Biliran has hot springs too. Mainit Hot Springs is also in Caibiran, which you can go to before or after Tinago Falls.

HOT SPRING. Biliran also has hot springs, Mainit being one of them.

HOT SPRING. Biliran also has hot springs, Mainit being one of them.

Then, head south to Kasabangan Falls in the neighboring municipality of Cabucgayan.

KASABANGAN. Kasabangan Falls boasts refreshing but chilly waters.

KASABANGAN. Kasabangan Falls boasts refreshing but chilly waters.

Getting there to the falls can be quite an adventure, too, as you will walk on a wooden bridge while looking at the forest floor below and the stream to your right. Brace yourself when you dive into Kasabangan’s pool as the waters can be ice-cold – in fact, don’t be surprised to find cases of soft drinks there, as locals put them there to chill them. 

If you want to explore more, Kasabangan has more tiers of waterfalls on top which you can get to with the help of a guide.

After Kasabangan, go to the next municipality, Biliran, and get off at Biliran bridge, the bridge you passed by when commuting from Leyte to Biliran. It’s a 150-meter bridge which connects Leyte to this island province. Walk along the bridge and savor the view of Biliran Strait. 

BILIRAN BRIDGE. This bridge connects Biliran Island to Leyte.

BILIRAN BRIDGE. This bridge connects Biliran Island to Leyte.

WOODEN BRIDGE. A walk on a long wooden bridge will take you to Kasabangan.

WOODEN BRIDGE. A walk on a long wooden bridge will take you to Kasabangan.

If you have more time: Higatangan Sandbar and Sambawan Island

More time in Biliran will allow you to explore its islands farther from the mainland. Higatangan Island, 45 minutes by boat, has a sandbar which changes shape and direction as the wind blows across it.

CHANGING SANDBAR. Higatangan Islandu2019s sandbar changes shape and size depending on the windu2019s path.

CHANGING SANDBAR. Higatangan Islandu2019s sandbar changes shape and size depending on the windu2019s path.

The sandbar also changes color according to the time of day and is beautiful to watch at sunrise and sunset. 

CHANGING COLORS. It is also nice to look at the sandbar at different times of the day for its changing colors. This photo was taken during sunset.

CHANGING COLORS. It is also nice to look at the sandbar at different times of the day for its changing colors. This photo was taken during sunset.

At night, the island’s skies are one of the clearest and starriest, especially after 10:30 pm, when the electricity shuts down, as power in the island is limited.

You  can take the passenger boat to Higatangan which leaves Naval port between 11:30 am to 12 noon daily and returns to the mainland 7:30 or 8 am the next day, or you can rent a pumpboat to Higatangan for a quick day trip. 

SAMBAWAN. Sambawanu2019s quiet stretch of white beach. Photo by Elizur Orejola

SAMBAWAN. Sambawanu2019s quiet stretch of white beach.

Photo by Elizur Orejola

There is a resort there, Higatangan Island Resort, with simple accommodations and on whose grounds you can also just pitch a tent. 

CAMPING. Though there is a resort in Sambawan with basic accommodations, you can camp also to save on costs. Photo by Elizur Orejola

CAMPING. Though there is a resort in Sambawan with basic accommodations, you can camp also to save on costs.

Photo by Elizur Orejola

Sambawan Island, meanwhile, is arguably the most beautiful island in Biliran, with a scenic view of trees, grass, white sand, and blue seas, when you trek up its hill. It also has probably one of the quietest beaches you will find.

If you’re a diver, the island also has several dive spots. There is also a dive shop there to assist you though you have to bring your own wetsuit, mask, fins, and booties. If you need more assistance, you can contact dive shops in neighboring Malapascua, Cebu, as Sambawan is part of their dive tours. (READ: Diving in Malapascua, searching for thresher sharks

It takes more time and steps to get to, though. You can either take the 10 am or 10:30 am passenger boat from Naval port to Maripipi Island (around two hours) then hire a boat to take you to Sambawan Island (around 30 minutes). 

Or, from Naval you can take a bus, jeep, or habal-habal to Kawayan, Biliran’s northern municipality (around 45 minutes), and then you can hire a boat to Sambawan (around one hour). Facilities are limited in Sambawan. If you want to stay overnight, there is a resort but you can also just pitch a tent. You can also opt to just take a day trip in Sambawan and sleep at one of the lodges or homestays in Maripipi Island.

Spend at least 3 days in Biliran so you can experience both its waterfalls and at least one of its beautiful islands. – Rappler.com

Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.