I Left My Heart in Biliran (Part 3: Sambawan Island)

Melo taking the lead

I left my heart in Biliran…in Sambawan Island to be precise. Until now, images of this idyllic piece of heaven remain in my mind, and the desire to go back intensifies day by day.

Our second day in Biliran was dedicated to exploring the nearby islands of Sambawan and Dalutan.  Melo, our guide, had pre-arranged a boat for us weeks ahead. We were kinda nervous that the island hopping activities would be postponed due to another typhoon that was about to hit the country that time, but thank God, it was all sunny albeit windy when we arrived at the port of Kawayan, the municipality next to Almeria. From Agta Beach Resort, the port of Kawayan is a quick 15-minute scenic drive heading north.

Port of Kawayan

At the port of Kawayan, our boat (a typical fishing boat that could probably fit up to seven people) was already waiting for us. We could already see the island of Maripipi from the port and a glimpse of Sambawan Island on the horizon. Boat rentals from Kawayan to Sambawan range from Php 2,500 up depending on the season and the size of the boat. Sambawan Island is about an hour away by boat on a good sea condition. Since the sea was a bit choppy, it took us more than an hour to cruise. 

If you wish to do it DIY-style, you can start from the town of Naval, take the passenger boat to Maripipi that leaves at 10:30 am and goes back to Naval the next day at 5:00 am. Travel time is 1.5 hours on good sea condition. From Maripipi port, you can hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) to the other port where you could rent an outrigger boat to Sambawan. Price starts at Php 500 and travel time is around 20 minutes. Take note though that if you're doing it DIY-style, you have to stay in Maripipi or Sambawan for the night.

We started sailing the Biliran Strait and the Samar Sea, braving the waves high enough to make the small islands from afar disappear from our peripheral vision. I was scared actually, but then I remember the waves at San Vicente were even worse. Our boat captain had advised us that since the wind was strong, we had to roll up the boat’s shade. It’s fine since we’d rather get tanned than be in danger.

See the waves?

Beautiful rock formations on the way to Sambawan Island
The heart-thumping ride was all worth it when the picturesque island unfolded in front of us. With the beautiful rock formations, azure waters, and verdant hills...man this is paradise!

The island is managed by Sambawan Dive Camp and Beach Resort, and an entrance fee of Php 50/pax is imposed. 
Sambawan Island from afar

Closer to paradise
The long stretch of white sand was captivating. It's not powdery but its white, with bits of corals on it. The water was as turquoise as Calaguas.

Sambawan Island's beachfront

There are huts for rent at Php  200 and houses for overnight stays at Php 2500 (can fit 10 pax). You can also pitch your own tent at Php 100 (bring your own tent of course!).

A hut for rent at Php 200

Aside from the pristine beach, Sambawan Island boasts a spectacular view of rock formations from the view deck. You have to hike for about 5 minutes depending on your pace. Don't miss this! This is the highlight of your trip here!

Step 1

Wheeeww! That was exhausting! =)

A rock at the foot of the view deck

From the view deck, a panoramic view of Sambawan Island awaits

The other side of the island

The view deck
At the view deck, you can have a 360-degree view of Sambawan Island and the nearby Maripipi Island. We were all awestruck!
I obviously love it here
From the view deck, we went down to the beachfront and geared ourselves for the most awaited activity of the day -- snorkeling. Sambawan Island has a rich marine biodiversity that in fact, you might even come across a sardine run or a shark or sea turtle sighting. And did you know that the first bull shark sighting in the Philippines took place here?

At knee deep water
Sambawan Island is also a nice spot for diving. Melo, who happens to be the divemaster at Agta Beach Resort swears by the beautiful underwater scenery on Sambawan Island.

Too bad my Sony Cybershot TF1 underwater camera died here for the second time (I don't know what's wrong with this model!). We could have taken beautiful shots underwater. =( Btw, generally, fish feeding is not allowed in Biliran.

If you're planning to spend a day or even go overnight at Sambawan Island, make sure to bring your own food as there are no stores there. Melo took care of ordering our food from Agta Beach Resort, too! So what do we have for lunch?

Lechon kawali (thumbs up!)

Pancit Bihon (for our birthday)
And since it was our birthday trip, Melo brought some mango float! Nommmnommm!!!

Couldn't get enough of Sambawan's beachfront
So now, do you understand why I am madly in love with Biliran's gems? I bet you do. Come, join me when I go back!!!


Where to stay in Biliran:

Agta Beach Resort
Brgy. Talahid, Almeria, Biliran
(63)927-9772867 / (63)927-2880331 / (63)927-3343934

Special thanks to 
Toni Noriega and Melo Sabitsana 
of Agta Beach Resort


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