Sambawan Island: A reward after successfully climbing Mt. Tres Marias (Summit to Sea)


I remember a friend whom have asked me. Why would I go back to the same Island destination after visiting it. I smile back and said, don’t you know that second timers are smart enough to go back and experience more of what an Island has to offer, particularly if you feel like you’re not satisfied during your first visit? Then a friend of mine smiled and said, no wonder I kept getting back to its world and I feel like it’s always seemed to be my first visit. Whatever he had in mind, I smiled back and said, now you know.

This photo was taken during my first visit on Sambawan Island

There will constantly be an innate desire to explore every corner of the google map that can truly tempt the travelers to seek for a new and unfamiliar destination. On the other hand, travelling back to the same location or place, can also mean a fulfilling adventure or in every travel, it owns a new experience that we can treasure. I know that it may sound drudging for some if you already have taken pictures of a place during your first visit. But honestly, every time I had a chance to travel to the same place with different people, I felt like I’ve always been fulfilled.

Sambawan Island is located 5 km from the west coast of the Municipality of Maripipi and from the Samar sea, it is located on the south. Sambawan Island is truly blessed to own a stunning view and a beautiful white sand beach. It also owns an extensive wealth of marine life, beautiful corals that are in good condition which will certainly leave you in awe. Turtles and sea snakes can be seen there as well, which have enticed a lot of divers and snorkelers. Apart from all these gems that Sambawan Island has to offer, scuba divers are also electrified to see the well known beautiful black tip and bull sharks that are usually found in the 8 marked dive sites around the Sambawan Island.

This photo was taken during my first visit on Sambawan Island

A tiring day to be considered since we have just arrived from the summit of Mt. Tres Marias. But knowing that we have just reached the base of Mt. Tres Marias while enjoying the king sun as it slowly moves down below the horizon. Everything has truly been paid off. We started to see its perfect sunset hue as it reflects on a vast rice terraces which have mollified our tiring body. And to celebrate our successful trek to Mt. Tres Marias, we make sure to explore the nearby Island of Biliran which is the stunning innate beauty of Sambawan Island. We then headed to the kawayan Port which is about one hour of travel. While on our way to the Kawayan Port, we also savor the stunning sunset hue which has truly completed our day. It was already about 6:30 PM as we reached the kawayan Port and we had a quick time to buy everything that we need on Sambawan Island.

It was completely dark when we made our way to Sambawan Island. The beautiful moon has begun to show up and so kind to share its light with us. Everyone was exhausted and so hungry. We haven’t exactly figured out how we smell that time. All of us were excited to douse ourselves into the aquamarine water of Sambawan Island. The ocean breeze is touching our surface, leading me to take a nap. About one hour of boat ride has given me time to rest my tiring body.

Soon enough, the light from Sambawan Island seems to be shining like as if telling us that we are now so close to the island. Then we heard the wave kissing the coast and so our boat. One of the caretakers of the Island approach us while asking us about the space rental for the tent since most of us own a tent. He likewise told us about the price for the available rooms. Then we decided to simply get one room so we could have a good space to cook our dinner and breakfast on the following day. But most of us were just setting up a tent near the pebble coast of the Island.

I was so happy that we bought some bread from the mainland at least we have something to nibble while waiting for our dinner at some of our friends were cooking for the dinner. I couldn’t wait to eat and douse myself into the turquoise water of Sambawan Island. It was already around 9:30 PM when we had our dinner. So basically, all of us were really hungry and as anticipated, all food that we have prepared could not run from our famished stomach. That curve line marking our faces as we all have eaten our dinner was truly expressed.

We make it to a point that our time on Sambawan Island won’t be precisely like a typical vacation on an Island. We all gather together near the pebble coast, have some drinks and have fun. We couldn’t halt some moments where we get laughed out loud because of the jokes and comic stuff. We genuinely have enjoyed and after we had our social, we also take the chance to dip into the turquoise water of Sambawan Island. It was past 1:00 AM before we decided to get out of the water and of course have our final wash before moving inside our tent.

The wind started to be strong and the sea breeze hugs me so tight while I was inside my tent. The sweet sound of the wave while kissing the coast was what lull me into a deep slumber. Isn’t it all just so lovely? A moment like that couldn’t bought by anything and truly nothing compares.

Early morning I was roused by a commanding voice of my friend, telling me that I have to wake up to see the sunrise. My eyes were still not in the mood, I rub it and slowly attempting to open it. Then a beautiful scene of sunrise hue, started to divulge.

In order for us to see the beautiful view of the sunrise. We get to ascend to the highest elevation of the Sambawan Island. While on our way to the top, the morning air was really relaxing and cold. It wasn’t that hard if you go up, but the stairs might challenge your legs and bones. We began to see the beautiful view and again on my second visit, I was left in awe. My last visit was really quick, I only had 30 minutes of enjoying the view, since we arrived almost evening on the Island to just see the view and the stunning sunset hue. So definitely, I’m not that satisfied during my first visit because of not owning a leisure time to really enjoy the Island.

This photo was taken during my first visit on Sambawan Island
This photo was taken during my first visit on Sambawan Island
This photo was taken during my first visit on Sambawan Island (Sunset viewing)

Along with the highest elevation of Sambawan Island, there’s a watch tower built where we get the chance to see the panoramic view of the entire Island. It actually serves as a viewing deck to witness the beautiful sunrise and sunset in which I’ve seen both. Truly, it won’t exactly leave you speechless, but it will capture your heart. Traipsing my feet along the viewing deck for the second time was truly amazing. I have enjoyed the semi-curved beach view with the towering beautiful rock formations and covered with green grass where you get to watch them moving like as if dancing when the wind blows. The interconnecting stony islets that connect the two beautiful main Island is what makes Sambawan Island beautiful in its own right.

On the highest elevation of Sambawan Island, there’s also a famous big rock that stands firmly while facing the panoramic vista. During my first visit, I was able to get to the upper side of the rock and even stand on top of it. Many other visitors and travelers would definitely try, but fails to make it. It really needs someone to assist you before you can make it to the top of the rock, unless if you are physically fit then you can definitely climb without someone’s help. Thus, my friends give a try and I voluntarily help them and fortunately it was successful.

We truly have enjoyed the morning and facing on the other side from the viewing deck, there’s also a huge rock and a beautiful view as a backdrop for your photos. Since, we were celebrating an Independence day that time, then the idea of waving the Philippines flag was simply perfect. Everything I’ve experienced on the Island was truly beyond compare. From the beautiful view wherever your eyes gazed and even the ocean breeze that hugs your surface is genuinely awe-inspiring. I couldn’t explain how I felt that moment, but one thing that I really love is the leisure time I’ve had on my second visit where I truly enjoy what Sambawan Island has to offer.

Photo Credit: James of ASANASADSIJAMES

The sun is continuously rising above the horizon and its getting hot. Then I decided to descend first while some of my friends were still enjoying the view. As I have reached the pebble coast where I pitch my tent, I fix all my stuff including my tent. I went to the cottage that we have rented since it’s included when you rented a room. I had my coffee there while enjoying the morning ocean breeze. Then, I found out a towering mountain from where I stand. It made me smile and a voice inside me saying, I couldn’t believe that I reached the summit cause that’s where I’ve been the other day.

It was about 9:00 am when we had our quick breakfast since the boat that will bring us back to Kawayan Port will arrive before 10:00 am. Everyone was actually ready, all our things were already packed before we had our breakfast. We truly have a luscious breakfast and making our stomach filled before leaving the Island is a must. Shortly enough the boat arrived and were all ready as well. We had a quick group photo and went straight to the boat.

While on our way back to Kawayan Port while enjoying the big waves, I was thinking of coming back on the Island for the third time cause I haven’t gotten the opportunity to experience and discover the Sambawan’s Island treasure underwater. I told myself that I’ll certainly be going back soon. Truly, our overnight stay on the Island has given me chances to not just bond with my adventurous friends, but also I have enjoyed the Island life and I’m so elated.

Soon enough we reached the Kawayan Port and the V-hire that brought us to Kawayan Port from the jump off area of Mt. Tres Marias was the same V-hire who brought us to Ormoc City. It was 1:20 PM when arrived at the Ormoc Port and we immediately secure our boat ticket back to Cebu City and the departure time was around 10:00 pm. Since we still have enough time to explore, we decided to hire a Jeepney going to the stunning beauty of Lake Danao which I’ll publish next on my blog post.

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HOW TO GET TO SAMBAWAN ISLAND

From Ormoc City

There are daily schedule of boat and fast craft trip from Cebu City to Ormoc City. You can take a fast craft for 2 hours or a boat via Roble Shipping Line and travel by night for 6 hours. The moment you arrived at the port area, simply walk a little bit going to the outside of the port and you’ll be seeing V-hire there or go to the Ormoc terminal and ride a V-hire that bound for Naval starting at 5:00 am. Travel time from Ormoc to Naval, Biliran is around 2 hours.

From Naval, Biliran and if you’re traveling with a group of friends, renting the whole V-hire going to the Kawayan Port is a good choice. And from Kawayan Port you can rent a boat going to Sambawan Island like around PHP 3,000 to PHP 10,000 depend on the boat passengers capacity. In our case, we ride on the same V-hire going to Kawayan Port with the same V-hire who brought us to the jump off area of Mt. Tres Marias. For the boat ride, our guide during our climb to Mt. Tres Marias was the same person who negotiated our boat with only PHP 2,500.00. You can contact our very good guide through mobile number + 63 915 569 2569. His name is Kyle Ryan. Just call him and ask his recommendations and references about the boat rental to Sambawan Island.

From Tacloban City

There is no airport in Biliran Province and the only nearby airport is in Tacloban City. Most Travelers from Luzon and Mindanao and other part of the Visayas are flying to Tacloban City to get to Sambawan Island. From Tacloban Airport, ride a jeep to the downtown area, then ride a Grand Tours Van going to Naval Proper, fare is around (Php 130.00), and travel time is around 2.5 hours.

From Naval, Biliran and if you’re traveling with a group of friends, renting the whole V-hire going to the Kawayan Port is a good choice. And from Kawayan Port you can rent a boat going to Sambawan Island like around PHP 3,000 to PHP 10,000 depend on the boat passengers capacity. In our case, we ride on the same V-hire going to Kawayan Port with the same V-hire who brought us to the jump off area of Mt. Tres Marias. For the boat ride, our guide during our climb to Mt. Tres Marias was the same person who negotiated our boat with only PHP 2,500.00. You can contact our very good guide through mobile number + 63 915 569 2569. His name is Kyle Ryan. Just call him and ask his recommendations and references about the boat rental to Sambawan Island.

Other Option:

You can take a passenger boat from Naval port going to Maripipi and leaves around 10:00 am from Mon- Sat and leaves the following day for Naval at 4:30 am. And the boat fare is around PHP 60.00. The travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once you’ve reached the town of Maripipi, hire a Habal-Habal going to Brgy. Ol-og and fare is PHP 30.00 per person and the travel time is around 20 minutes. From there, take a boat ride going to Sambawan Island like around 20 minutes and the boat rental is around PHP 500-600 for 5 people.

TRAVEL TIPS

  • There are available cottages, bathroom facilities, rooms, diving gears and beachfront camping are subject to a fee.
  • Purchased the supplies needed for the trip. There is no convenience store on the island that sells basic needs, drinks and snacks.
  • Traveling after 5:00 pm is not advisable, especially if the weather is not okay. In our case, we still travel even at 6:00 PM cause the weather was okay and the waves was not that strong.
  • You can actually just drop by on the Island for a day trip and enjoy the view just like what I did during my first visit, but I’ll suggest that you stay overnight on the Island to really experience what it has to offer.
  • There’s always an advantage when you travel in groups, especially if you’re a budget traveler just like me. Going to Sambawan Island is really expensive if you travel alone.
  • Bring your own camping gear like your tent and all the necessary stuff that you’ll be needing during your stay on the Island. If ever you didn’t bring your tent, you can always check If there’s an available room for rent on the Island or rent a camping tent.
  • Since Sambawan Island is a perfect place for those that loves to explore the paradise under the ocean. I advise you to bring your own swimming and snorkeling gear.
  • Always remember that, It is your garbage your obligation.
  • Never leave your garbage when visiting this Island, as you depart the island bring them with you and leave them on the mainland or ask the boatman where to leave it. Don’t forget to bring your food waste bag.
  • Please remember to leave no trace behind. Take good care of our mother nature. Just enjoy and be responsible enough.
  • Note: This is part of our Independence adventure that happened last June 9-12, 2017 from summit to sea. Trekking to Mt. Tres Marias and exploring Sambawan Island and Lake Danao.

POSSIBLE TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE WHOLE TRIP

  • Boat fare from Cebu to Ormoc via Roble – Php 510.00
  • Cebu Port Terminal Fee – Php 25.00
  • Ormoc to Naval via Van- Php 130.00
  • Breakfast – Php 60.00
  • Ormoc to jump off area via Van – Php 70.00
  • Lunch – Php 50.00
  • Entrance Fee (Mt. Tres Marias)- Php 50.00
  • Fare from the Drop off area of Tres Marias – Kawayan – Php 100.00
  • Food, Guide Fee and Boat going to Sambawan Island (Food – Php 289, Boat (2,500÷12) = Php 208, Guide (1500÷12) = Php 125) = Php 622.00
  • Entrance Fee Sambawan Island – Php 100.00
  • Kawayan to Ormoc City – Php 250.00
  • Snacks – Php 75.00
  • Ormoc to Cebu – Php 420 (sitting)
  • Jeep rental from Ormoc to Danao Lake (Php 1,500÷9) = Php 167.00
  • Lunch – Php 115.00
  • Lake Danao Environmental Fee – Php 5.00
  • Lake Danao Entrance Fee- Php 25.00
  • Lake Danao Cottage, mini Boat and Life buoy, (Cottage – Php 150, Boat Php 100, Salbabida or Life buoy Php 50 = Php 300 ÷ 9 = Php 58) – Php 58.00
  • Dinner in Ormoc – Php 55.00

TOTAL – Php 2,987.00

Note: All expenses are split up into a number of people who joined during the entire trip. We are around 12 excluding our 1 guide to Mt. Tres Marias during this trip.

ITINERARY FOR THE WHOLE TRIP

DAY 1

  • 10:00 PM – Boat ride going to Ormoc City
  • 04:30 AM – ETA Ormoc City
  • 04:40 AM – Depart for Naval, Biliran
  • 06:30 AM – ETA Naval, Biliran
  • 07:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 08:00 AM – Buying food for Lunch
  • 08:20 AM – Depart for Tres Marias Drop off area.
  • 08:50 AM – ETA Drop off area
  • 09:00 AM – Registration and Stretching
  • 09:30 AM – Start trek
  • 10:00 AM – ETA Ulan Ulan Falls
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Recoletos Falls
  • 11:40 AM – Depart for Lunch site
  • 01:30 PM – Lunch
  • 02:30 PM – Depart to Camping site
  • 04:30 PM – ETA Camping site
  • 05:30 PM – Prepare for dinner
  • 07:00 PM – Dinner
  • 09:00 PM lights off

DAY 2

  • 05:00 AM – Prepare breakfast
  • 06:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 06:45 AM – Trek to Tres Marias Summit
  • 09:00 AM – ETA Mt. Tres Marias Summit
  • 09:30 AM – Depart for Camping site
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Camping site
  • 11:20 AM – Prepare for Lunch
  • 12:20 PM – Lunch
  • 12:45 PM – Depart from Camping site
  • 05:20 PM – ETA Jump Off Area
  • 05:30 PM – Depart for Kawayan
  • 06:30 PM – ETA Cawayan Port
  • 07:00 PM – Depart for Sambawan Island
  • 07:45 PM – ETA Sambawan Island
  • 08:00 PM – Prepare for dinner
  • 09:30 PM – Dinner
  • 10:30 PM – Socials and swimming time

DAY 3

  • 05:00 AM – Waiting for Sunrise
  • 09:00 AM – Breakfast
  • 10:00 AM – Depart for Kawayan Port
  • 11:00 AM – ETA Kawayan Port
  • 11:10 AM – Depart for Ormoc City
  • 01:20 PM – ETA Ormoc City
  • 02:00 PM – Depart for Lake Danao
  • 02:30 PM – ETA Lake Danao
  • 05:45 PM – Depart for Ormoc City
  • 06:30 PM – ETA Ormoc City
  • 07:20 PM – Dinner
  • 08:10 PM – Strolling around Ormoc City
  • 09:20 PM – Ormoc Port
  • 10:00 PM – Depart for Cebu City
  • 04:00 AM – ETA Cebu City
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50 comments

  1. I don’t usually go back to the same place twice, with the exception of Palawan and Boracay just because I have fallen in love with these provinces. A place has to be really special, it should impress me enough to make me want to go back.

    But I do understand your point, you wanted to give it a second chance, especially when you weren’t able to stay that long the first time. And with that view, I mean who could resist it.

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  2. This place is beautiful though honestly, this is the first time I heard about Sambawan Island. Thank you for a very detailed post as it is very helpful to those who are planning to visit. Will ask my friends to consider this on our next out of town trip.

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  3. Should I go back to the same place I have been to? Probably yes especially if the place has done so much good to me – experience wise. I could be real sentimental and do not matter if I repeat doing things. I will opt to, though, to go back with a different companion so that that loved one would also experience what I had.

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  4. I could relate to your sentiments about going back to a place over and over.. Sometimes, a day or two isn’t enough. And oftentimes, some places are just worth it! I am glad you’ve covered all the travel details I need in case I’d visit this place! Thanks so much!

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  5. WOW, sounds like an awesome hike and the island looks amazing! We heading to Philippines in 2 months but unfortunalty we wont make Sambawan Island this time.

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  6. Dang! This place is like paradise on Earth! I got freaked out (a little bit) when I saw your photo standing on top. I guess that’s part of the adrenaline rush you feel when you travel? But, I wonder if have you traveled to your hometown and blogged about it. Would lovely to see that if ever. 😃

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  7. Wow! Another beautiful place featured here! Seems to be a lovely piece of heaven that is awaiting to be explored by many more travel enthusiasts. I admire how detailed you are when posting itineraries and the budget! Yay! This is something i need to learn when sharing about our occasional explorations as it is very useful for future travelers 🙂

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  8. Your passion shows through in this post. Tell me one thing- why haven’t you included an advisory regarding bull sharks? Aren’t these animals dangerous for the divers? Have you taken any photos of these sharks while they are gliding through the waters?

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  9. I haven’t been to an island yet , let alone traveling there at night. Through your post, I could do a virtual travel and really get a feel of how it would be like. Thanks again for the detailed itinerary. I will plan a trip here sometimes

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  10. Looks like you definitely made the most of every minute, judging by that well-packed itinerary. You captured some fabulous photos, too. Thanks for sharing your advetnures!

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  11. Beautiful island and lots of information!

    That’s a good point for returning, what you said right in the beginning. I have been the one who never returns to same places, as I have thought there is so much to see in the world, that I can’t waste time nor money to re-visits. But last year we went to Budapes among a few other places on the same holiday, and really fell in love with it. This May we had a chance for a 5 day city break, and ended up back in Budapest! I thought for long that it’s stupid, especially with only 8 months in between, but when we were there we were really happy visiting those places which we had missed on the first visit!

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  12. I have visited places again too as the second time you get to see much more and experience it better. Sambawan Island is so beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to go back to again. The views of the sunrise and the beach is really amazing!

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  13. Incredible pictures! Sambawan Island seems like an amazing escape, and a great place to unwind after a big climb. I might even finally learn to snorkel in order to get the most out of the water there! Also, I think Andy and I would definitely love hiking up to that big rock to get a full view of the surroundings. It all seems magical! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Yet another beautiful hike in the Philippines I had no idea about! I would love to go back and do this! I want to plan hiking so I can end at the beach taking a refreshing swim at those gorgeous beaches.

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  15. Thanks for another lovely post and the itinerary for the visit. You have some beautiful beaches in your country and this island is no exception. I loved the sunrise shot from the tent. What a view to wake up to !

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