A view of Biliran from the hills of Almeria

 

Bagongbong Falls, Almeria, Biliran

 

Dalutan Island, Biliran

 

Higatangan Island, Biliran

 

Iyusan Rice Terraces, Almeria, Biliran

 

Just one of the many waterfalls in Biliran

 

Tinago Falls, Biliran

 

About Biliran

According to folklore, Biliran derived its name from the native grass - Borobiliran - which was abundant on the plains during the Pre-Spanish period. Long before this era, seafarers passing through the narrow straits of Biliran, separating mainland of Leyte and the island of Biliran, had noticed the fertile plains and the lush green hills of the island.

In the early 18th century, a group of settlers, led by Fr. Gaspar settled in Albacia (now a sitio of Barangay Hugpa in the municipality of Biliran). Years later, this same group of settlers now led by Fr. Lorenzo Rivera transferred to Magsanoc. Unfortunately, Magsanoc, (now sitio Nasunugan) was burned to the ground. These settlers finally settled on the plains of Biliran. This settlement developed and grew. In 1878 it was formally declared a municipality of Leyte by the Spanish authorities - the first town in the island of Biliran. This significant event led virtually to the naming of the whole island as Biliran Biliran became a regular province on May 11, 1992 after a plebiscite was conducted in accordance with R.A. 7160. The island province, which was formerly a sub-province of Leyte, belongs to the Eastern Visayas region (Region 8). It is surrounded on the north by the Visayas Sea, on the south by the Carigara Bay, on the east by the Samar Sea, and on the west by the Strait of Biliran.

The province of Biliran consists of 8 municipalities and 132 barangays. It is a lone congressional district. The seat of government is in Naval, the capital town.

The main island has slightly flat to rolling and rough terrain. It has narrow coastal areas or lowlands with mountainous interiors except for the municipalities of Naval and Caibiran that have wider plains and rolling terrain extending about 7 km from the coast. Mountain ranges occupy the major portion of the island municipality of Maripipi.

Biliran has a combination of warm and cool climatic zones, thus the prevailing climate is ideal for the cultivation of a wide range of agricultural crops. There is no distinct dry season but the heavy wet season generally occurs in December.

Biliran Province is endowed with natural tourist attractions that lure both local and foreign tourists: coral reef gardens, scenic waterways, white sand beaches, natural hot and cold water springs.

White Sand Beaches. The island takes pride in its white sand beaches: the Agta beach in Almeria, the Banderahan Beach in Naval, the exotic island of Dalutan with its sculptured rock formations, the Sambawan Island with its rich marine life and coral gardens, the Higatangan Island, famous for its moving white sand bar, the Cogon Beach in Kawayan which is ideal for edible shellfish hunting, and the Genuruan Island in Kawayan which is ideal for water skiing and deep sea diving. There is also the Tingkasan Island, famous for its mysterious bat caves and edible shellfishes. The panoramic island of Maripipi has a beautiful marine seascape.

Waterfalls. The clear and sweet tasting water that flows from the Tomalistis falls is believed to be one of the best in the world. Other falls include the Kasabangan Falls and Casiawan Falls in Cabucgayan, the Kinaraha and Pundol Falls in Almeria, and the newly discovered falls in Pulang Yuta in Caibiran which resembles the Pagsangjan Falls.

Water Springs. The Libtong Hotspring is located in Naval while the Mainit Hotspring can be found in the municipality of Caibiran.

The more popular swimming pools are the Masagongsong Swimming Pool in Kawayan and the San Bernardino Swimming Pool in Caibiran. These pools never run dry nor require chlorination because their waters flow freely from their cool underground natural spring source. Both have amenities like kiosks, conference halls, dressing rooms and rest houses.

( from http://www.biliran.gov.ph )

What to do?

Dalutan Island , Almeria Biliran
Dalutan is an uninhabited island with a beautiful white beach. The rest of the island is covered with huge rocks. The island teems with forests and exotic birds that make the island their nesting place. There are kiosks for day picnic and a neat cottage for overnight stay. The nipa cottage is a plain and basic shelter for the night sans modern world amenities. A caretaker arrives to collect kiosk rent and prepare the nipa cottage for those who wish to stay overnight. It is a must to bring your own supply of water and food. Dalutan Island is fifteen minutes by boat from the town of Almeria. VCR Resort and Agta Beach Resort in Almeria have a boat trip for guests to Dalutan Island.

Samabaun Beach, Maripipi Island, Biliran
The beach of Sambauan Islets in Maripipi is popular for its crystal blue water, a favourite destination for picnics and swimming by locals. Samabuan is an uninhabited island which means you have to bring plenty of water and food to last for the day. The main town of Naval in Biliran is the jump off point to Maripipi Island. The trip lasts for one hour and thirty minutes. From the island of Maripipi one can also hire a boat for a day to take you to Sambauan and back. It is recommended that you stay and explore beautiful Maripipi.

Maripipi Island, Biliran
Maripipi is an island municipality of Bilirian with 113 barangays. Motor boats from Naval to Maripipi are one hour and thirty minutes. Maripipi has a very rich marine life, coral gardens, and palm fringed beaches. It is a laid back town whose time runs along the day’s rhythm. Explore the islands ruins and pre-Hispanic settlements.

Higatangan Island
Higatangan Island was thrust into popularity when Jens Peters used the island’s photo as the cover of his guide book. Thanks to it’s out of the way location, Higatangan Island is yet to be overrun by commercial tourism. It remains to be the same laid back, pristine island as it was before.

The 200 meter sand bar that juts out to the sea changes its location depending on the wind and tide. The sand bar or ‘lawis’ is studded with gigantic clam shells, and other exotic sea shells washed in from the open sea.

Around the island are empty white beaches, and amazing rock formations. You can rent a bike to explore the island for a day.

For accommodations:
Higatangan Island Beach Resort has 2 cottages with 2 bedrooms each to accommodate guests. They also have a function hall that can accommodate 150 people. They also have camp tents and Contact/Reservations : Beth Ngoho +63 9052622010 The fastest way to get to Higatangan Island is by a 45 mins boat ride from Naval to Mabini or Libertad in Higatangan. Fare is P40.00

Bagongbong Falls
Barangay Caucab, Almeria, Biliran From the town Almeria, one takes a habal- habal to Brgy. Caucab ( fare P35 pesos per head as of Nov 2008) In Barangay Caucab, guides will swarm to you offering their services. It is a must to take a guide, the hike involves a maximum 1 hour and 30 minutes walking through thick jungle. The fair price for a guide should be a P100.00 (as of Nov 2008). The hike is moderately difficult but offers astonishing view of the villages below. Enjoy the Inayusan rice terraces from a distance. Bagongbong is a breath taking 30-feet waterfalls amidst tropical forest. A cacophony of birds and the local “Kalaw” is ever present. Expect to see monkeys perched on treetops. A natural pool around the massive falls is ideal for bathing, and picnic. A governments study revealed that if the fall’s hydro power is tapped it can provide 3.5 megawatts of electricity.

Tingkasan Island - Kawayan, Biliran
This island can be reached by a 30 minutes pump boat ride from Kawayan town proper. Enjoy swimming and bathing on the empty white sand beach. There is a bat cave for those who like a little adventure. The waters around the island abound with edible shellfish.

Mainit Hot Spring - Caibiran, Biliran
Mainit Hot Spring is 40 minutes by jeepney from Naval . The portions of the road is unpaved and rough, expect a bumpy ride. Concrete seats for visitors have been built around the spring. Enjoy the dip in warm water with medicinal sulphur that is believed to be good for arthritis, rheumatism, and skin allergies.

Casyawan Falls - Cabucgayan, Biliran
The falls is a short walk from Brgy. Casyawan. A majestic beauty tucked hidden in the jungle. The hike is an experience in itself. Heavy undergrowth and huge mahogany trees stand like giant sentinels of the jungle, some with roots over three meters wide. A narrow steep trail leads to the falls. A towering 40 foot waterfall drops to a large natural pool below.

How to get there:

From Manila via Tacloban

Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air fly from Manila to Tacloban twice a day, seven days a week.

PAL Flight Schedule leaves Manila- Tacloban Daily:
5:40 AM, 9:00AM, 1:05 Pm and 5:20 PM

Cebu Pacific Flight Schedule Manila:
Tacloban Daily - 4:20 AM, 12:05 PM, 2:45PM, 4:15PM

Zest Air Flight Schedule Manila:
Tacloban Daily – 4:00 AM and 5:55AM

From Tacloban City, aircon shuttle vans and ordinary fare buses are available in going to Naval, capital of Biliran Province. Van trip lasts for 2 hours; fare: P150.00.

Van for hire to Naval, Biliran can be arranged even from the airport.

Aircon Shuttle Vans/Buses Serve the Naval - Tacloban City and Naval - Ormoc City routes. Naval - Manila route is served by several major bus lines.

From Cebu
Fast crafts ply the ports of Cebu City and Ormoc daily. Continue with aircon shuttle vans to Naval from the port of Ormoc. Direct voyage from Cebu to Naval is available 3 times a week.

Shipping Lines provide direct voyage from Naval to Cebu City. Ordinary fare, tourist and cabin accomodations are available.

Getting Around
The habal-habal (motorcycle) is the most common mode of transportation as most of the roads outside the main highway are rough and rougher. Haggle with the driver to get the best possible rates or hire on a per-day basis. Local buses make the cross-country trip from naval to the eastern coastal town of Caibiran.

ATM
There are Landbank and PNB Branches and ATMS in Naval proper but bring enough cash as a precaution.

Accomodations:

Marvin’s Seaside Inn
Brgy. Atipolo Naval, Biliran
Total Number of Rooms: 23
Contact: Tele/Fax: +6353 500 9171 / +6353 500 9688
Types of Rooms: All rooms are deluxe with aircon.

Rooms and Rates:
1 single bed …………… 600.00
Twin sharing …………… 800.00
(seaside area)
Twin Sharing………… 1,000.00
(poolside area)
Triple Sharing ……… 1,200.00
(seaside and poolside area)
Room with matrimonial bed and refrigerator … 1,500.00
(seaside area)
Family room ………………………… 1,500.00
(seaside and poolside)

Amenities and Services:
Complete Conference Facilities
Pavillon Open Conference Venue
Swimming Pool
Back-up Generator
24 Hours Security Guard
Island Tour (Higatangan Island and Dalutan Island)
Wi-fi Internet

Meeting Room:
Function Room (aircon) ……… 2,500.00
Pavillon
Meeting only…… 2,000
Wedding with sound system………… 5,000
Birthday ……………………… 3,500
Debut ………………………… 4,500

Location:
Biliran Town, Biliran
Total Number of Rooms: 4
Types of Rooms: All rooms are deluxe with aircon.
Contact: +639203930162

Amenities and Services: Air-conditioned conference hall for up to 100 persons.
Tennis Court
Capacity: 10 pax
Rates:
Rooms:
4 rms - …………… PHP 1,500

Biliran Garden Resort
Address: Villa Cecilia Sitio, Lomboy Brgy. Calumpang, Naval Biliran.
E-mail us: bilirangarden@tourisminthephilippines.com
Website : www.tourisminthephilippines.com

Amenities:
Wide and spacious halls for seminar-workshops (up to 200 persons)
Standard billiard hall
Karaoke bar
Mini zoo
24-hour security
Stand-by generator
Spacious parking area
Large floral garden and quiet nature setting
Riverside grill and function rooms
Gerry’s Bar
Trellis garden and koi fish pond
Kiddie pool with fountain, adult pool with waterfalls
Souvenir shop
Laundry and massage service

Room Rates :
Rooms facing swimming pool
DeLuxe Single and Double –P 1,600.00
A choice of 1 Queen Size Bed or 2 Twin Beds
Air-conditioning, Hot and Cold Shower, Cable T.V.,Mini Bar

Rooms facing parking lot –P 1,500 toP 1,300
AIrcon, Cable TV, Extra bed – P250.00

Brigida Tourist Inn
Address: Castin Steet (Hospital Drive), Naval Biliran

Room Rates:
Double Room - P550.00
Family Room - P1100.00 ( Family of 4 )

Extra bed – P150.00
All rooms are Airconditioned, with cable TV , and hot/cold Shower.

Villa Antonia
Address: Villa Antonia Masagongsong Kawayan, Biliran

Room Rates:
Single Room – P600.00
Family Room for Four – P800.00

VRC Resort
Address: Barangay Talahid, Almeria, Biliran

Accomodation:
Jimmy’s House - P 2,500.00 per day
Two air-conditioned bedrooms each with double bed with views down the beach
Kitchen area with gas oven, 4 burner hot plate, refrigerator
Dining area
Family room with satellite television
Hot water shower
Separate toilet
Veranda overlooking beach and sea
Serviced
Generator backup

Vacation Room – P700.00
1 Matrimonial Bed
Air-conditioning
Cable TV
Hot & Cold Shower

Simple Vacation Room – P600.00
1 Matrimonial Bed
Air-conditioning