Day Trip Guide: Chasing Waterfalls in Biliran

Recoletos Falls, Almeria, Biliran
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Biliran is a small province, but did you know that it’s home to 30 waterfalls? Several of them can be visited in a day, including Ulan-Ulan Falls and tinago Falls. Here’s our day trip guide to visiting the waterfalls in Biliran!

For a little background, Hali and I went here during our Biliran-Leyte backpacking trip. I’m not crazy about waterfalls because I avoid treks as much as possible, but Hali likes exploring in the jungles so I arranged a habal-habal tour for both of us.

Most locals only do a half-day trip to visit the waterfalls and that’s feasible too. We had a whole day to allocate for this activity because we were set for island hopping the day after. Spending a whole day is recommended if you don’t just want to snap-and-go, but rather stay for a swim in the waterfalls.

Ulan-Ulan Falls (Almeria)

Ulan-Ulan Falls in Biliran
Ulan-Ulan Falls. (Photo by Hali)

Ulan-Ulan Falls is the most beautiful waterfall I’d seen. It stands at about a 100 feet high and is located in the midst of a jungle.

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

What sets it apart from other waterfalls in the country is that it remains natural and wild. No part of the trail or basin has been changed. A lot of nice waterfalls in the country is developed by LGUs for easier access and better facilities. Some examples are Tumalog Falls and Kawasan Falls in Cebu. While this is better for tourism, it goes without saying that natural beauty is still incomparable.

From afar, it looks like a summer wonderland — a high cascade of water, surrounded by lush greenery in a place so quiet the only thing you can hear is the rush of the water.

Recoletos Falls (Almeria)

Recoletos Falls, Almeria, Biliran
Recoletos Falls. (Photo by Hali)
Recoletos Falls, Almeria, Biliran
Jumping from the tree branch. (Photo by Hali)

Just above Ulan-Ulan Falls, you’ll come across Recoletos Falls. It’s a 40 feet waterfall with a refreshing dark-green basin. You can swim here or cliff dive from the trees surrounding the waterfall.

I wonder why it’s considered a different waterfall because it seems to be that Recoletos Falls and Ulan-Ulan Falls are part of a single waterfall system.

Pondol Falls (Almeria)

Pondol Falls, Almeria, Biliran
Pondol Falls. (Photo by Hali)

Pondol Falls is a 25- to 30-feet waterfall with a wide basin ideal for swimming.

Pondol Falls is several minutes away from Ulan-Ulan and Recoletos Falls. You need to drive for 15-20 minutes, passing by the better part of Iyusan Rice Terraces. Then trek for 15 minutes to reach the main stream.

Iyusan rice terraces in Biliran
Iyusan rice terraces. (Photo by Hali)
Trail to Pondol Falls, Biliran
Trail to Pondol Falls. (Photo by Hali)

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

There were local families and kids having a picnic when we arrived. Pondol Falls looks small in photos, but it’s about medium height. Hali and I both liked it for swimming compared to the earlier falls. The pool at the bottom of Pondol Falls is wide, and the water is cool & fresh. We saw the locals submerging bottles of soft drinks to cool them in the water.

Tinago Falls (Caibiran)

Tinago Falls, Biliran
Tinago Falls. (Photo by Hali)

Tinago Falls is a 90 feet waterfall in Caibiran. Tinago means “hidden”, but currently this is a misnomer. Of the waterfalls we’d visited, it’s the most developed.

Its location is developed as Tinago Eco-Tourism Park, with an amphitheater for picnics near the bottom pools, shower room and rest rooms. Thankfully, the main waterfall is spared so you can still enjoy it in its natural beauty.

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.

Other waterfalls in Biliran

If you have more time, here are other accessible waterfalls you can visit.

  • Kasabangan Falls (Cabucgayan) — It’s said to be the smallest waterfall in Biliran. However, tourists still visit here for the adventure, as it’s located high up in Cabucgayan.
  • Casiawan Falls (Cabucgayan) — At about 130 feet high, this is the highest waterfall in Biliran.
  • Tomalistis Falls (Caibiran) — It is considered the sweetest-tasting water by Guinness.
  • Bagongbong Falls (Almeria) — Although it is located at the same areas as Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls, this waterfall is rarely on tourists’ itinerary. It stands about 30 feet high, with a cold, greenish basin surrounded by rocks. If you like visiting off-beaten places where you can be alone, you can include Bagongbong Falls in your itinerary.

You can also visit 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.

How to get to the waterfalls

There are no direct routes to the waterfalls in Biliran. You’ll need to hire a habal-habal guide to take you.

It’s easy to find a habal-habal driver once you get to Biliran. You can also get in touch with a reliable guide beforehand or ask your accommodation for recommendations.

We didn’t really have a good experience with our guide, who was referred to by a friend of Hali’s. He was extremely late and unfamiliar with the routes and he wanted to overcharge us on the spot.

I have included another recommended habal-habal driver below.

There is no standard rate for habal-habal tour. It ranges from 1000 for a whole-day tour, good for 2 people.

  • Habal-habal guide, Kuya Fernando: 09073283676

Reminders and Tips

  • A half-day or whole-day tour is enough to visit the main waterfalls in Biliran. The rest of the waterfalls in the province are too small or undeveloped.
  • There is a minimal entrance fee to some of the waterfalls (about P20 per person).
  • Make sure to wear durable shoes good for trekking.
  • Things to bring: water bottle, towel, change of clothes.

Has this Guide to Chasing Waterfalls in Biliran been helpful to you? If you have comments or questions, let us know in the comment section below!

What to read next:

This is part of our backpacking trip to Biliran and Leyte. Here are the posts we’ve written for this trip:

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6 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. That is Sampao River! We rappelled down those waterfalls during our canyoning experience. And yes, the water is quite chilly! hehehe!

  3. 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? 😀

  4. 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!

  5. 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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