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!
Our trip to discover falls in Biliran
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.
Here are the falls we’ve visited.
Ulan-Ulan Falls (Almeria)
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)
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 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.
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 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.
Where to book a land tour in Biliran
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 your accommodation for help in finding one.
We didn’t really have a good experience with our guide, who was referred to us Hali’s friend. Our guide was super late and unknowledgeable about the routes — he also tried to overcharged us even though we’d already agreed on a rate. I have included another recommended habal-habal driver below.
- Habal-habal guide, Kuya Fernando: 09073283676
There is no standard rate for habal-habal tour. It’s around P1000 for a whole-day tour, good for 2 people.
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!
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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!).