Biliran may be a small province, but did you know that it’s home to 30 waterfalls? The best Biliran waterfalls 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!
How to get to Biliran
Biliran is accessible from Manila and nearby provinces in Visayas. Naval is the capital of Biliran.
The fastest and easiest way to get to Biliran is by booking a flight to DZR Airport in Tacloban.
From the airport, head to Van Van or Dup Tours Terminal downtown or the Tacloban Grand Terminal and ride a bus or van to Naval. Travel time is about 2.5 hours, fare is around P130 per person.
You can also ride a ferry bound for Ormoc City (Tacloban). Travel time is 10 hours. There is also a fast craft available which is faster (3 hours). From there, take a shuttle bus to Naval (Biliran).
Lastly, there are buses in Pasay or Cubao bound for Naval. Travel time is more than 24 hours.
From Cebu, ride a ferry to Naval. Travel time is 10 hours. Another option is to take a fast craft to Ormoc City (Tacloban). Travel time is 3 hours. From there, take a shuttle bus to Naval. Travel time is 1.5 hour.
Biliran waterfalls you can visit in a day
My boyfriend Hali and I went here in 2017 during a 5-day backpacking trip in Visayas. To be honest, I’m not crazy about waterfalls because I prefer to avoid trekking as much as possible, but Hali likes exploring the wild, so I arranged a habal-habal tour for us.
The day trip itinerary includes Ulan-Ulan Falls (Almeria), Recoletos Falls (Almeria), Pondol Falls (Almeria), Bagongbong Falls (Almeria), and Tinago Falls (Caibiran).
It’s possible to do this on a half-day — in fact this is the usual itinerary of tourists in the island. For us, we had a whole day to allocate for this activity because we were staying overnight for an island hopping tour the day after. Spending a day is recommended if you want a more relaxed itinerary. You can stay and swim in the waterfalls, instead of just having to snap-and-go.
Here are the waterfalls we visited.
Ulan-Ulan Falls is our first stop. From the jump-off area in Almeria, we trekked for about 30 minutes to get here.
Ulan-Ulan Falls is the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines I’d seen. At about 100 feet high, its a grand spectacle to behold.
What sets it apart from other waterfalls in the country is that it remains untouched in the 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 can be off-putting to see commercial stores blocking the view of nature. It goes without saying that natural beauty is still incomparable.
The current was strong on our visit. The sound cuts through the quiet of the forest. I stayed on the boulders area, while Hali took a short dip in the catch basin.
Just above Ulan-Ulan Falls is Recoletos Falls.
It’s a 40-feet waterfall with a refreshing dark-green basin. This is where we took our time swimming. Hali also dived from one of the trees to the water below.
I’m not sure why it’s considered a different waterfall because it seems to me that Recoletos Falls and Ulan-Ulan Falls are part of a single waterfall system.
Our next destination is Pondol Falls. It’s only several minutes away from Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls. We drove for 15-20 minutes and we passed by the better part of Iyusan Rice Terraces. Then we walked for 15 minutes to reach the main stream.
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.
Pondol Falls is a 25- to 30-feet waterfall with a wide basin ideal for swimming. It looks small in photos, but it’s actually a medium-sized falls. Hali and I both liked it best for swimming compared to the first waterfalls we’d visited. The pool at the bottom of Pondol Falls is wide, and the water is cool & fresh.
There were local families and kids having a picnic when we arrived. We saw them submerging bottles of soft drinks to make them cold. We watched some of the kids jumping from the cliffside of the waterfall. Hali followed suit, while I swam near the side.
Bagongbong Falls is another waterfall in Almeria, near Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls.
It stands about 30 feet high, with a cold, greenish basin surrounded by rocks. This waterfall is usually not included in day trip itineraries. If you like visiting off-beaten places where you can be alone, then this is a good spot to visit.
We didn’t visit Bagongbong Falls because the guide we hired was not familiar with the routes.
Tinago Falls is a 90-feet waterfall in Caibiran. It’s different from the similarly named Tinago Falls in Iligan. Tinago means “hidden”, but this is a misnomer. Of the Biliran waterfalls we’d visited, it’s the most developed one.
It’s located in Tinago Eco-Tourism Park, which features an amphitheater where you can sit and enjoy picnics near the bottom pools, shower rooms, and rest rooms. The main waterfall itself is untouched, so you can still enjoy its natural beauty. All in all, it’s one of the better-managed waterfalls in the country.
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 would’ve been easy to be swept away.
We stayed here for a bit before changing to dry clothes and then heading back to our resort in Biliran.
Other waterfalls in Biliran
In summary, here are the waterfalls you can visit on a day trip.
- Ulan-Ulan Falls (Almeria)
- Recoletos Falls (Almeria)
- Pondol Falls (Almeria)
- Bagongbong Falls (Almeria)
- Tinago Falls (Caibiran)
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.
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 book a tour in Biliran
There is limited public transport in Biliran to take you to the waterfalls. You will need to hire a habal-habal to tour you around.
You can easily find a habal-habal guide once you arrive in Biliran. You can also pre-book in advance by getting in touch with your reserved accommodation or by scheduling with a specific guide.
Here’s a recommended guide: Kuya Fernando at 09073283676.
Disclaimer: Kuya Fernando was recommended by other people to us. We had a different guide on our visit, but we do not want to recommend our guide because he was unreliable. He was late, unfamiliar with the routes, and tried to overcharge us more than our agreed price. It almost ruined our experience, but thank goodness the waterfalls we’d visited was worth it.
Budget and expenses
Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2020)
- Habal-habal tour: No standard rate, depends on your haggling skill. The usual rate is P1000 for a whole-day tour, good for 2 people.
- Entrance fees: There are minimal fees to some of the waterfalls (about P20 per person).
Reminders and Tips
- Make sure to wear durable footwear good for trekking.
- Things to bring: water bottle, towel, change of clothes.
- A half day or whole day is sufficient to visit the best waterfalls in Biliran. The rest of the waterfalls in the province are too small or undeveloped.
Has this Guide to 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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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).