Monday, February 26, 2018

Travel Guide: Sambawan Island

Biliran is one of the places I wanted to visit for some time now, and I finally got the chance to do so during my recent trip to Tacloban. Sambawan Island was on my itinerary, I decided to visit during my second day in the province.

Exploring Sambawan

Since I was traveling solo, I had to be patient. I didn't want to pay the P2500-P3000+++ motor boat rental to get to and from Sambawan. So when I went to Kawayan Port from Naval, I waited for other people who had the same plans I did. My wait didn't take long because there was one big group going to Sambawan. I joined them for the one way ride to the island.

It took around an hour to get to the island; there weren't a lot of people when we arrived. The group I joined was the biggest. I immediately looked for the view point where most of the pictures of Sambawan I found online were taken. It was a short walk up a flight of stairs built on the hill to make it easier to access.

The views were beautiful, just as I expected. The cerulean waters glistened under the sunlight, the stretch of sand and rock formations added a rugged appeal to the beachscape.

I took a dip in the cool waters to douse the mid-day heat. There are other activities to do on the island some of which include kayaking, snorkeling and diving. There are dive spots in various parts of the island.

There were tourist facilities on the island such as cottages, toilets, cooking areas and others to make a stay as comfortable as possible. Visitors also have the option to pitch a tent.

I had to return to Tacloban on the day of my trip to Sambawan, because my return flight to Manila was in the morning. I left the group I initially joined because they planned to leave the island at a later time. I was fortunate to meet other people who were about to go to Maripipi Island. They let me join them, the boat ride took around an hour.

I heard that there was a fiesta on Maripipi before I left Kawayan Port. When I arrived the festivities were in full swing. The other passenger on the boat invited me to eat, I couldn't say no (haha). The people were friendly and in a festive mood. The other houses were also open to their neighbors, there was plenty of food and drinks.

After a while, I was ready to leave for Kawayan so that I can catch the van returning to Tacloban. I took a habal-habal  to the port and look for a boat there. I was about to pay around P600 to return to Kawayan, but I was fortunate that there was a couple going to Maripipi from Kawayan. The boat they were on was going to return right after dropping off the passengers. So I just hitched and paid a small amount for the return trip.

How to get to Sambawan Island

From Naval, you can either wait for the multi-cab or jeeps bound for Kawayan, the fare is around P50 per way. Alternatively, you can hire a habal-habal or tricycle to take you to Kawayan Port for around P150 one way. From the port, rent a boat for Sambawan for around P2000-P2500; the boats can wait for you, whether you are going for a day trip or overnight.

Alternatively, you can rent a boat to Maripipi Island for around P600 one way and then hire a habal-habal to take you to another port town (I forget the name) and rent a different boat for around P500 round trip to Sambawan.

*I only paid P500 one way to get to Sambawan since I joined a bigger group that already made prior arrangements with the boatmen. If you went with your own group you'll pay less. I paid P70 for joining a different group going to Maripipi from Sambawan. For the return to Kawayan, I only paid P100 because the boatman was going back to Kawayan as soon as he dropped off his passengers.

Island Fees

Here are some of the fees you can expect:

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