Sambawan Island (Biliran, PH)
Sambawan Island is a top destination of the 4th smallest island province in the Philippines, Biliran. Part of the island municipality of Maripipi, this up-and-coming gem is a world of enchantment with its shifting blue to green crystal clear waters, undulating cliffs, teeming corals, IIndian almond (talisay/Terminalia capitata) trees dotting the white coralline and sandy shoreline, and a few karst formation. The best part? The island’s irresistible charm is not messed up by commercialism (yet, and hopefully would be kept that way).
Personally, the view offered by this island from the top of its hills has to be one of the most picturesque I have seen. I can just sit down all-day and gaze my eyes at the very pleasant, 360-degrees sight that can make you forget how life can be torturing at times. Since I cannot fully describe how lovely and stunning and lovely and stunning and (you see I am lost for words)… I will just have to allow my photos to do the talking… (And oh, did I mention that the sunset is as glorious as one could imagine. Check photo below. I am betting that the sunrise is as equally glorious as the sundown from this island).
If you are interested in staying overnight at the island, a kiosk or an open cottage (no walls) are available in the area. These can accommodate 5 persons, with which they charge P500 for a 12-hours stay and the bigger kiosks they call kamalig for P1,000 per night. There are also three-beach cottages with three large beds, with own comfort rooms and attic. The cost of stay is at P2,500 to PHP3,000 that can accommodate 10 persons. They have a generator that runs from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. and solar lamps. If you are on a tight budget, you may pitch your tent for a Php100 fee.
However, visitors are advised to bring food (although there is a small store in the island). A grilling area is available so one can buy some fresh sea produce and prepare it in the island. Drinking water is said to be available for free. The fresh spring water of the famous Viga Water Springs in Maripipi serves as the source.
How to Reach Sambawan Island:
From Manila (or Cebu), the fastest way to reach Sambawan Island is through plane via Tacloban City. From city airport, take a cab and alight at the van terminal bound (Duptours) for Naval, Biliran located at the corner of P Burgos and Salazar Streets (van fare as of this writing is around P150). Travel time is around 2 to 2.5 hours.
There are also ferries from Cebu City that directly goes to Ormoc, Leyte. From Ormoc, there are vans bound for Naval.
Once in Naval, ride a bus or jeepney bound for Kawayan. If you opts for a faster means, you can take a habal-habal ride too. Once in Kawayan, walk your way to their port. Rent an outrigger boat that will take you to Sambawan. For a boat that can accommodate upto 10 people, the price ranges from P1,000 to P2,000 (depends if you are for a day or overnight stay + your haggling skills). The travel time is 45-60 minutes depending on the time of day and current of waves.
A cheaper alternative (but longer) is to take the public ferry boat to Maripipi that leaves Naval at 10:00AM and goes back to Naval from Maripipi at 5:00AM the following day. Ferry schedule is on a daily basis except Sundays. The fare is P60 and the travel time is about 2 hours. In Maripipi, you can hire a boat to Sambawan and back to Maripipi for P500 (again, depending on your haggling skills). The travel time is around 20-30 minutes.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust.