By Gael Hilotin | Pinay Solo Backpacker
Yahoo! Philippines News
Vastly made up of rolling hills and coastal communities, the bucolic Biliran is rarely on the radar of tourists. If you fancy underrated destinations, then this small province will surprise you with immaculate natural attractions blissfully untainted by luxury trappings.
Biliran is located in Eastern Visayas, just off the northern coast of Leyte Island. It is composed of 8 municipalities, and one of them is the isolated Maripipi Island, the smallest township. Maripipi Island can be reached by passenger boats that ply daily to Brgy. Ermita or Brgy.Binalayan.
The most common way to get around is by chartering a habal-habal (motorcycle). If you plan to overnight here, Judith Gaviola’s homestay in Bgry.Ermita is a good option for solo travelers and small groups. Larger groups may opt to camp, or occupy one of the native cottages in Sambawan Island for as low as Php 500. But if you’re looking for some pampering, spend a lavish day at Napo Beach Resort.
Start your tour by visiting the modest Church of St.Michael the Archangel and the ruins of an archaic Spanish watchtower. Take a refreshing dip in the placid pool of Viga Cold Spring. Don’t pass up the chance to see the rugged coastline of Maripipi Island. And if you are looking forward to swimming and snorkeling, rush to Candol Beach, a local favorite. Its tranquil shore is clad by mountains draped by lush vegetation plummeting into the glimmering turquoise waters.
Cap your journey in Maripipi Island by visiting Sambawan Island, just 20 minutes away by boat off the coast of mainland Maripipi. It is a chain of captivating islands shaped by the waves smashing against the rocks; a nearby volcano adds more drama to the already striking escape. Hike up its windswept hills for a scenic view of the craggy coastline on one side of the island. Marvel at the beautiful blend of cerulean and turquoise waters. Frolic in the coral beach and make sure you bring your snorkel gears with you to explore the colorful marine life under. Snatch a decent spot by the shore, and set up your gears for camping for a maximum enjoyment of this gorgeous island.
Gael Hilotin traveled around the Philippines for 7 months. She blogs at The Pinay Solo Backpacker.