Escape to Eastern Visayas: Sambawan Island

The Samar and Leyte regions aren’t really on my priority list of places to visit in the Philippines. When a friend was relocated to Tacloban for work, we decided to do some exploring last February. I didn’t have any expectations and it turned out to be quite an experience!

Since we only had 4 days and attractions were quite far from each other, we decided to do a relaxed trip and just cover 2 places: Sambawan Island in Biliran and Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte.

From the van terminal in downtown Tacloban, it took around 6 hours to the island: upon reaching the port in Biliran, we took the (slower) local ferry to Maripipi island, where we took a smaller boat to Sambawan island. It was almost 2pm when we arrived.

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The island has this unique formation, and the waters were so inviting. You’ll need to climb up steps to the view deck at the left side of the island where the view is perfect.



The 4 of us rented out an open cottage for the night, which we shared with 3 new found friends from Cebu and a couple with whom we shared the boat to the island. We entertained ourselves with charades and guessing games throughout the night, under the stars.


Our second day on the island turned out to be different. Our friends from Cebu have already left, and since it was a Sunday, a lot of the locals from Maripipi were in Sambawan for swimming and family time. We made friends with a family of around 20 people- they had a lot of food typical of Filipino reunions, offered us to eat and eventually we just hung out. By the time they were leaving, they offered us to come with them and stay for the night (!!!). Everyone was really nice and we didn’t have any plans so we just agreed. Haha!

It was a wild ride to Maripipi aboard their private boat. They had a lovely home by the shore. After shower they took us around town. We had dinner back home then spent the night singing on the videoke and downing alcohol. Fun times!


It was raining the next morning, but we had to leave for the port. They were off to Ormoc and so we hitched a ride to the port of Naval so we can go back to the mainland and catch a van to Kalanggaman. The family invited us back in April for their town fiesta. Would be happy to see them again soon! 🙂

The people you’re with can really make or break a vacation. So choose wisely!



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