Everywhere I go, I always make sure to learn and discover uncommon things that places can offer me. We are all adventure seeker and new things come to be our examination to test whether if we can pass and aim for a goal in this world. We are all humans who are busy doing our assigned tasks; if you’re not studying then maybe you are working. All we want is a rest and vacation after a too hectic schedule. Then what list of options this country, the Philippines can offer us? By its nature’s wonders we can definitely earn a relaxing kind of escapade we always wanted in our entire life. You can do it now, well me I’ve done it already and constantly discovering places to give you an idea about.
Welcome to Sambawan Island!
My Sambawan Island escapade happened to my next travel destination right after Maripipi Island where I have stayed for an overnight rest to get ready for this adventure. I took a motorcycle service from Maripipi town proper to Brgy. Ol-Og where the Sambawan boat station is located. As I was waiting in this likely simple rest house, I had first an informative conversation with the island’s developer who started the Sambawan Dive Camp and Beach Resort, Mr. Nelson Macorol and with her sister Lilian who I expected to be a Chinese national the first time I saw her but opposed to my intuition she is a Filipina. They accommodated me well enough as they entertained my all my curiosity regarding the island and its qualities. They served me a simple breakfast that comes with a delicious coffee which I thought to be “barako” and Spanish bread. Nelson and Lilian were really glad to have me as one of their visitors most likely because of my enthusiasm to witness the beauty of Sambawan. Even though I have waited for a certain time in the boat terminal, it was still worth it. That feeling was exceptional as I assumed that these locals really enjoyed chatting with me.
The time has come when the boat service was about to leave. I went down to the shore and negotiated with the boatman. He allowed me to pay for a one way boat ride that cost PhP 250/head. While on board, I noticed that my co passengers are so called Sambawan steward and I expected to see more in the island. They brought food supplies from the boat station specifically potable and fresh water which is being sold to their visitors for bathing purposes right after enjoying beach adventures. It took as about 20 minutes of sea travel and we have experienced high waves while approaching the route so our driver redirected our path to the rear side of the island. Finally we have landed on the island safe and sound then moved toward the path going to the registration area. I paid for a registration fee of PhP 100 including the environmental and entrance fees. I have observed that most part of the island specifically the path we went through to the main beach is untouched. The hills that accommodate the huge part of the island are pretty alive with high grasses and big stones while the shores have proven how this island can be considered as a distinctive place to visit for.
I met the head caretaker or steward of the island in this little canteen which serves its visitors and had a conversation with her, she’s Ate Sally. She was serving the island with Nelson, the developer way back then. I asked her a bunch of questions some personal and mostly regarding the island. She informed me that the island started to develop in 2010 when Nelson was advised by the local government of Maripipi to take charge of the island’s development then he found out that this paradise really has a big potential in tourism industry. I told Ate Sally, Nelson and Lilian to put up some adventure activities in the island including zip line and water sports to encourage additional visitors. Well, they informed me that they have already proposed for that innovation and planning to open those projects in the near future. I have stayed with Ate Sally in the resort’s cafeteria and she allowed me to leave my belongings in their store since that I was a solo traveler so that I will think of renting a cottage.
After a busy chatting time with Ate Sally, I have prepared myself to dive into the water of Sambawan. Prior to that, I have decided to see the well-known spot of the island in which most travelers are looking forward to. The 130+ step way to the view deck situated on the hill of Sambawan has set to be the most photographed site of the island. I have taken some pictures and have proven to myself that the picturesque 360 view of Sambawan is really an eye catching. I took advantage of being solo that time where I had a relaxing time in the view deck made of Nipa leaves and bamboo. After staying on top of the hill, I went down to walk around the seashores. I have witnesses that Sambawan Dive Camp and Beach Resort developed by Nelson is really considered as a tourist destination based on the visitors who came all the way from various places in the country and around the world. There were different groups of divers from the nearby Malapascua Island and towns came to explore the underwater life of Sambawan. I remembered Nelson and Lilian once told me to consider snorkeling or SCUBA diving but I responded to them that I was contented enough with the experience I had inside a couple of hours I have stayed.
I dipped into the water for a moment and laid down my body on the island’s white sand beach. The beach is surrounded by tiny corals and white stones while some parts were comprised of wave rock formations. Since it was weekday that time and few visitors were present in the island, most of the cottages were not accommodated so I have stayed for a while in one of the beachfront huts. I was staring at the sea and absorbing the nature’s wonders. After a while, I went back to the cafeteria and had some lunch. Ate Sally served me a pancit canton with boiled egg. After having my lunch I have informed one of the boatmen in the shore to notify me if there will be a boat going back to Kawayan or Maripipi. Then afterwards a driver told me that there is a group of four growing ups who are planning to leave in the afternoon and I can go with them. While waiting for this group of people, I have passed my time inside the canteen then suddenly Lilian who was in Maripipi that morning came. She visited Ate Sally and noticed me sitting on a chair. We had some conversation with Ate Sally and their Architect. It was a good feeling that I have still made my waiting hours productive with them. Finally at 3 PM the boatman called me and I have said my goodbyes and appreciations to everyone and promised to them my plan to come back. Nelson has given me some sweet items to bring home.
While on a boat going back to Kawayan, Biliran I talked to these four young people who I assumed to be my same age bracket. They told me that they came from Ormoc City and I told them that I came from Cavite. We had a good talk then all of a sudden I found out that they are planning to go to Kalanggaman Island the next day which is planned to be my next travel destination a day after. I have paid for PhP 300 to the boatman which is a negotiable fare since that these four people who I met has set a roundtrip boat service for PhP 3,000. It was less than an hour boat travel from Sambawan to Kawayan and from there I rode a habal-habal back to Naval. It took the driver about 40 minutes to drop me at Van Van’s Terminal in Naval then I paid him PhP 150 fare. It was already 4 PM and I decided to get in the van so that I can arrive in Palo, Leyte earlier. I paid PhP 120 fare from Naval to Palo and it was already 7 PM when we landed at Palo Cathedral. I have stayed in my sister’s house in Palo, Leyte and prepared for Kalanggaman Island, my next expedition.
07:00 – Maripipi Town Proper to Brgy. Ol-Og via habal-habal (about PhP 50/head)
07:20 – Arrived at Sambawan Island Boat Station in Brgy. Ol-Og
08:00 – Boat Station in Maripipi Island to Sambawan Island
08:20 – Arrived at Sambawan Island, paid Registration/Environmental Fees at PhP 100 and left belongings at the island’s canteen
09:00 onwards – Took photos at the island’s famous site (view deck), swam at the beach, lunch at the canteen and walked at the seashore (PhP 100 for meal)
15:00 – Left the island, boat ride from Sambawan Island to Kawayan Port, Biliran (PhP 300 fare)
16:00 – Rode habal-habal from Kawayan Port to Van Van’s Terminal in Naval (PhP 150)
16:40 – Arrived at Van Van’s Terminal and took a ride to Palo (PhP 120)
—End of Sambawan One Day Travel—
- Sambawan Island is accessible via various routes but the most available are the Brgy. Ol-Og in Maripipi Island and Kawayan Port in Biliran Island.
- Snorkeling, SCUBA diving, swimming and picture taking on its beautiful landscape views are the most common things to do in Samabawan Island.
- The total fee of PhP 100 being collected upon arriving in the island proceeds to Environmental, Maintenance and Development Fees.
- The island’s cafeteria do not serve alcoholic beverages rather the visitors are allowed to bring their own.
- It is best to enjoy Sambawan with friends, family, colleagues or by yourself. Just don’t forget to be an adventurous traveler. 🙂
- Explore the entire island by owning it for one day or so.
- Finally, always be reminded of the saying; “Leave nothing but Footprints, take nothing but Pictures and kill nothing but Time.”
Who to Contact?
- Mr. John Guaco (boatman who accommodated me from Maripipi to Sambawan) at (0935) 520 6342
- Mr. Nelson Macorol (Sambawan Island Developer) on Instagram at Sambawan Dive Camp and Beach Resort or contact number at +63 918 910-2141
Bon Voyage! #TravelGuide101