Sambawan Island : An Unforgettable Experience

Sambawan Island is a small island located north of Biliran (former sub-province of Leyte) and nearest to Maripipi island. The island offers a stunning view and Batanes-like feel.

sambawan island

Finally, got the time for Sambawan Island.

I and my close friends have been eyeing Sambawan Island for so long, but due to forgotten reasons, we kept on postponing the plan. We’ve been itching to visit the island because of its picturesque nature and a promise of crystal clear waters.

At long last, we were able to execute our plans last April 10, 2015. The funny thing was that we visited the island without concrete planning and organized itinerary. All we knew was that we just have to get to Leyte and take whatever rides to get to the island. We even dared to add side-trips. Of course, we didn’t want to spend our two and a half days of our trip on the island alone. We managed to list down all our possible side-trips just hours before but with no further research of each destination as to where their exact locations are and how to get there. And yes that’s how we do things. If anything fails just ask the locals, they know better

We met in Cebu Port’s terminal 1 and got into the first trip to Ormoc City.  It took around two hours to reach Ormoc City. There are plenty of vans right outside Ormoc’s Port. We then got in a van bound for Naval and arrived at around noon.

Sambawan Island is just part of our whole Biliran adventure. To read more about our trip, click here.

 

There are two ways to get to Sambawan Island from Biliran.

Via Kawayan

  • From Naval, ride a “habal-habal” to Kawayan
  • From Kawayan, charter a boat to Sambawan

Via Maripipi

  • From Naval, catch boat to Maripipi
  • In Maripipi port, ride “habal-habal” to Ol-og
  • From Ol-og, charter a small boat to Sambawan

 

We got it all wrong.

As what we initially researched, we will save a decent amount of money when we choose the second option. So we chose the latter.

A funny mistake we made was thinking that we can buy our food supplies in Maripipi for our Sambawan stay. Unfortunately, all their supplies come from the mainland either from Naval or Kawayan, and they do not have any market as we imagined. With no choice left, we just looked for a sari-sari store in Ol-og and hoarded their canned goods, crackers, and anything ready to eat. Thank fate, though, they got rum!! Hahaha. So if you are planning to go to Sambawan, secure your supplies from the mainland.

sambawan island

At Ol-og, we were able to charter a small “bangka” for a cheap price. It was small, just enough to fit the four of us and the two “bangkeros”. The ride was a thrill for a small boat on huge waves. Regardless, we arrived safely after twenty minutes of the heart-pounding ride.

sambawan island

 

What a cold night!

It was gloomy when we arrived on the island. Upon arriving, we paid their entrance and environmental fee. We also rented one of the available open cottages for our overnight stay. Right after settling our things, we then enjoyed what has to be enjoyed. The crystal clear waters, the pebbled beach, and the picturesque scenery. It drizzled for a while but the gloomy atmosphere just added more dramatic feels on the island.

sambawan island

The night came and the winds started to get harsh. It was definitely one of my unforgettable experiences ever. We were staying at an open cottage and I did not bring any warmer. No jacket, no blanket, and not even a towel. It was really cold. We only have a bottle of rum to warm us up. We didn’t even have a proper meal. Instead, we just settled with the canned goods and crackers we hoarded from Maripipi. I don’t know how we managed to fall asleep. Maybe because we were already drunk that our eyes got heavy.

 

Getting back to the main island.

About getting back to the mainland, you can always do an on-the-spot deal with “bangkeros” right on the island the day prior to leaving the island or you can arrange from the main island before setting to Sambawan. As for us, we were able to get a trip back from the island to Kawayan right on the island and through rigorous haggling. The price really depends on your haggling skills. We then headed straight back to our next destination right when we arrived in Kawayan.

sambawan island

Find out where we went next.

List of our expenses

Super Cat Cebu to Ormoc725 PHP
Cebu Port Terminal fee25 PHP
Ormoc to Naval100 PHP
Naval to Maripipi ferry60 PHP
Maripipi port to Ol-og25 PHP
Ol-og to Sambawan250 PHP for the whole bangka
Sambawan entrance fee80 PHP
Environmental fee20 PHP
Cottage overnight rent500 PHP

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