Chasing nature, waterfalls in Biliran

Fun fact: It is a small province, but you can find a total of 30 waterfalls in Biliran. Only several of them are visited by tourists, and you can see most in a whole day. I think this means that the rest are either too small or undeveloped.

I’m not a waterfalls person to be honest. I’m not into long treks or cool water. Instead, I prefer hot springs and beaches. Hali is though, and he was happy with our day tour here.

The most famous waterfalls in Biliran are Tinago Falls in Caibiran and Ulan-Ulan Falls in Almeria.

Ulan-Ulan Falls, Almeria

Ulan-Ulan Falls from afar. (Photo by Hali)
Up close. (Photo by Hali)

Ulan-Ulan Falls is the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen. It might be comparable in aesthetics to Tinago Falls in Iligan, although I haven’t been to the latter yet. Ulan-Ulan Falls is bigger than what it looks here.

What sets Ulan-Ulan Falls apart from other waterfalls in the country is that it has remained undeveloped. No part of the trail or the basin has been changed. Normally what LGUs do is create a man-made pool to replace the natural basin of waterfalls, like that in Tumalog Falls in Cebu. A man-made pool is better for swimming, better for tourism. But natural beauty is still incomparable.

When you look at it from afar, it looks like a summer wonderland… high cascade of water surrounded by greenery, in a place so quiet the only thing you can hear is the rush of the water.

Ulan-Ulan can be reached by about 30 minutes of trekking from the jump-off point.

Recoletos Falls, Almeria

Recoletos Falls. (Photo by Hali)

Recoletos Falls is located above Ulan-Ulan Falls. I wonder why it’s considered another waterfall because it seems to me that both are part of a single waterfall system.

Jumping from the tree branch. (Photo by Hali)

This falls has a wider, dark-green basin. People can cliff dive from the tree besides the falls.

Pondol Falls, Almeria

Trail to Pondol Falls. (Photo by Hali)
Pondol Falls. (Photo by Hali)

We were initially reluctant to visit Pondol Falls because Hali has read of roaming thieves in the area, but since it’s near we decided to give it a go.

There were small kids and families having a picnic when we arrived. Pondol Falls looks small in photos, but it’s really about medium height. Hali and I both liked it better for swimming. The pool at the bottom of Pondol Falls is wide, and water seems to be cooler, fresher. Families would sink bottles of soft drinks in the water to cool.

Iyusan rice terraces. (Photo by Hali)

Pondol Falls is about 15-20 minutes from the registration area for Ulan-Ulan and Recoletos Falls. We passed by the better part of Iyusan rice terraces on the way here. It takes another 15 minutes of walking to reach the main stream.

Tinago Falls, Caibiran

Tinago Falls. (Photo by Hali)

Tinago Falls isn’t hidden as its name suggests. Maybe at some point it was, but today “tinago” is a misnomer. Of the waterfalls we’d visited that day, it’s the most developed. But not in a bad way. Thankfully, the LGU has spared the main drop from any developments.

There’s a proper set of stairs to Tinago Falls and a shed has been constructed beside the bottom pools.

There were other groups of tourists when we arrived, but few actually swam in the main basin of Tinago Falls because of the strong current and huge boulders. It’s easy to get swept away.

All in all, it’s one of the better-managed waterfalls in the country.

Travel Guide: Chasing waterfalls in Biliran

Other waterfalls and attractions in the area

There are other waterfalls that seem worth visiting in Biliran. There’s the needle-like Kasabangan Falls and Casiawan Falls in Cabucgayan, the latter considered the highest waterfalls in the province at 40 meters high. There’s the Tomalistis Falls in Caibiran, which is reported to have the sweetest-tasting water by Guinness (I couldn’t find a direct source for this though).

There’s also Mainit Hotspring. We skipped this one because a local we’d talked with said it has become dirty and neglected, and similar reviews from TripAdvisor say the same thing.

Exploring Biliran via habal-habal

Fellow bloggers suggest spending a whole day in Biliran to chase waterfalls, instead of just a few hours as some tourists do, so you can see as much as you could.

There are lots of habal-habal drivers that can tour you around Biliran to see the waterfalls. If you’re staying overnight in a resort or inn, the reception staff can probably point you to someone. I highly suggest getting a reliable contact beforehand or at least know the rates for the tour so you won’t get duped.

A fellow traveler I’d talked with paid P500 for the tour. Others pay P800. There doesn’t seem to be a standard rate and it all comes down to haggling. As for us, we paid P1000.

We talked to another driver who said rates are P1000 to P2000. I haven’t heard of anyone who actually paid beyond a thousand.

  • Kuya Fernando, habal-habal guide (recommended by another), 0907-328-3676

 

Anything you’d like to add in this guide to the waterfalls in Biliran? 🙂

P.S. Don’t forget to read our travel guide to Biliran and Leyte here. You might also be interested in:

9 Comments

  1. Hey Kath, thanks for the follow in my blog! Can’t see comment section in your About page so I just dropped by here.

    Next to mountains, waterfalls are always in my top list. The luscious greenery around the falls suggests a bone-shivering dip I’d say.

  2. Hi! Thank you for this guide! I was wondering how much of the day was consumed when you guys visited these falls?

    1. We started at 9AM and were back at the resort at around 5PM, I think. We were staying in Talahid and it’s about 30 minutes from the town proper, but it’s close to Ulan-Ulan and Recoletos Falls.

  3. I’ve actually never been to a waterfall area before! I like trekking and stuff, but I’m not an outdoorsy person, and only get to visit by force, haha. I love beaches too! Lovely photos of the place, and it’s a nice, magical touch that it hasn’t been developed or tampered with by the government.

  4. Awesome photos! What did you use to capture them? are you on manual? what’s the settings? OMG! I really like how everything looks like a painting in the 2nd photo of Ulan Ulan falls…and I want to try it out for myself as well. I recently went to Cavinti Falls 9formerly pagsanjan falls) and we trekked going there.. The treks we do to get to these magical waterfalls are really worth it yeah? 😀

  5. Waterfalls is one of the most magical and enchanting nature gift for me. They’re too lovely and astonishing… i only visited two falls in my entire life. One in Ilocos and one here in Batangas. These falls around Biliran are so beautiful and i wanted to visit them someday. They are superb! Really!

  6. I love waterfalls too. But I can only swim if the water isn’t too cold. Thank you for the tips and showcasing those. We’ll definitely try chasing waterfalls too when we find ourselves in Biliran.

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