travel

Waterfalls in Biliran: Ulan-Ulan Falls & Recoletos Falls

Last year, my friends and I booked a flight to Tacloban in Leyte with one objective in mind – Kalanggaman Island. Upon arriving at the airport, one year after that ticket purchase, we still had Kalanggaman Island as our main destination. However, it was hard to resist the beauty of Sambawan Island and its surrounding wonders. With a spontaneous change in plans, what was supposed to be a relaxing day on the sandbar in Palompon became an adrenaline-filled adventure in Biliran. NO regrets.

June 20, 2017 — It was hard to leave Sambawan Island while we were still feeling hyped from its picturesque beauty. We dragged our feet to wash up and pack our bags for our next adventures. It was an early commute to Kawayan Port via an outrigger motorboat. We were seated in our same spots as yesterday; the girls properly positioned on the makeshift seats at the middle of the boat, while the boys secured their own resting quarters by the edge. The one-hour travel back to mainland Leyte gave us time to catch more sleep while our boatmen navigate the humble machine.

We paid the tour fee and bid our tour operators goodbye upon setting foot on Kawayan Port. Kuya Roldan, the tricycle service we hired yesterday to take us to Kawayan Port, greeted us with a wide smile and helped us carry our bags as we approached his tricycle. We were under the supervision of Kuya Roldan once more. If yesterday we spent the day hopping from one island to another, today we were scheduled to take a tour around the beautiful waterfalls of Biliran.

 

 

Ulan-Ulan Falls

We traveled 20 minutes from Kawayan Port to Brgy. Sampao in Almeria where our next destination was located. We stopped first to eat our breakfast at the district center before we get back on the road. From the district center, Kuya Roldan drove another 15 minutes until we reached a very steep slope. Our combined weight caused the tricycle to slow down. Kuya Roldan had to drop off the two boys first, so we can reduce load and resume to our trip. We traveled for 10 more minutes and were left with the officers guarding the registration site with our bulky backpacks. I could not understand what the locals were talking about, but they seemed to be having a very nice day. When the gang got complete, we registered in the logbook and off we trekked.

Rain would fall from time to time, and while we were still walking on the concrete path, I could already sense the possibility of a muddy trek. I was right. Nonetheless, we continued walking with no trace of discouragement in us. I do not know if it was just me, but I find the trek to be breathtaking, literally. We weren’t halfway to the falls yet but I was already gasping for breath. I guess I really needed this trek. Hello, exercise!

We walked through highs and lows until we could hear the sound of rushing water. The air changed from temperate to a cold crisp breeze. Alas! The 90-feet tall Ulan-Ulan Falls was right before our very eyes. There was another group who shared the scenery with us. While they were already happily floating in the basin pool, we carefully walked on huge boulders to get closer to the waterfalls. We were warned by Kuya Roldan that the rocks are slippery. I guess the mists created by the waterfall caused the rocks even from afar to grow moss on its surface. I walked barefoot to lessen the struggle.

Ulan-Ulan Falls looked nothing but beautiful! I wasn’t able to ask Kuya Roldan about the history of this beauty, but one thing for sure is it’s no wonder where Ulan-Ulan Falls got its name from. Let me teach you a bit of Tagalog language here. In English translation, the Filipino term “Ulan” means rain. And true enough, the strong force of the waterfalls brings what seemed like a drizzle of fresh water not only in its base but also in the area surrounding it. So refreshing!

 

Ulan-ulan Falls, Leyte

Ulan-ulan Falls, Leyte

Ulan-ulan Falls, Leyte

Ulan-ulan Falls, Leyte

Ulan-ulan Falls, Leyte

Ulan-ulan Falls

 

Among the three waterfalls that we visited today, Ulan-Ulan Falls was my favorite. The catch basin was shallow, so I was able to move around freely without the fear of drowning. I’m not a good swimmer, you can probably tell that by now.

 

 

Recoletos Falls

It seemed as if time didn’t move when we were in Ulan-Ulan Falls. We lost track of time and was surprised that we have stayed for more than hour already. I guess that was a good indication that we were having so much fun. Fortunately, our second destination was just a few steps away from Ulan-Ulan Falls. It only took us about 10-minutes of walking to get to Recoletos Falls.

The Recoletos Falls was named after San Jose Recoletos, to whom the statue by the cove beside the waterfalls was inspired after. It wasn’t as majestic as  Ulan-Ulan Falls, but the beauty of this place is in its serenity. This waterfall is perfect for adrenaline junkies, as the wide pool with deep waters will entice people to go cliff jumping and swimming.

 

 

I had a great time just sitting on the stones here. Surrounding the area are flat stones, which are also perfect for picnics and an afternoon siesta. We could’ve done that, but time was running out. We didn’t stay too long because we still had to go to Tinago Falls, our third waterfall in Biliran.

 

Guide to Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls

    • Prepare your waterproof cameras! The mist in Ulan-Ulan Falls will hinder you from capturing that killer shot.
    • Bring packed food. I highly suggest a picnic at Recoletos Falls.
    • Wear trekking sandals, especially during rainy season.
    • You may also go to Ulan-Ulan Falls and Recoletos Falls via habal-habal from Naval.
    • There is an environment fee of ₱20 to pay at the registration site.

 

Contact Persons

Biliran Waterfall Hopping Tour Guide

Person to look for: Kuya Roldan
Mobile Number: 0926-727-6011

 

TJ Pensionne (Naval, Biliran)

Person to look for: n/a
Mobile Number: 09060753213 / 09994226274

 

Biliran Island Inn (Naval, Biliran)

Person to look for: n/a
Mobile Number: 0917 321 9953

 

Itinerary and Budget

Note: This itinerary was based on an actual trip of 4 persons in 2017.

Day 1 (June 18) 1:42 PM Arrival at D.Z. Romualdez Airport ₱ 300 / head (roundtrip airfare during AirAsia 2016 seatsale)
2:00 PM Lunch ₱ 55 per head (lunch in a nearby eatery)
2:35 PM City Tour ₱ 1000 / group
5:00 PM End of tour / ETD to downtown terminal to Naval
5:50 PM ETD Van ride to Naval Biliran ₱ 100 per head (van ride)
8:24 PM ETA Naval / Check in Biliran island inn ₱ 1400 for 4 (accommodation)
9:00 PM Dinner at Jelo’s ₱ 612 for 4 pax (dinner)
Day 2 (June 19) 5:30 AM Wake up/prep
6:30 AM Check out/eat breakfast ₱ 65 / head (breakfast); ₱ 76 / head (packed lunch)
7:00 AM ETD to Kawayan Port ₱ 600 / 4pax (two-way transport service)
7:40 AM ETA Kawayan/register/buy food ₱ 62 / head (snacks)
8:15 AM Start of Island hopping / ETD to Dalutan Island ₱ 1000 / head (tour)
8:55 AM ETA Dalutan Island ₱ 20/ head (entrance fee)
9:50 AM ETD to Kapinyahan Island
10:00 AM ETA Kapinyahan Island
10:05 AM ETD to Higatangan Island
10:55 AM ETA Higatangan Island / lunch
11:20 AM Higatangan Sandbar
12:10 NN Mabini Lighthouse trek ₱ 150/head (lighthouse tour)
12:35 PM Reach the lighthouse / picture taking
1:00 PM Trek back to beach
1:20 PM Back to boat
1:30 PM ETD to Tingkasan Island
2:25 PM ETA to Tingkasan Island
2:45 PM ETD to Sambawan Island
3:40 PM ETA to Sambawan Island / Set up tent in Sambawan Resort ₱ 100 / head (entrance fee); ₱ 450 / one big tent (good for 4 pax); ₱ 30 / cooking service (cook rice)
4:25 AM Trek to hilltop
4:30 PM Reach hilltop / take photos
6:00 PM Back to camp / swim / prepare dinner
7:00 PM Eat dinner/ socials / wash up
5:00 AM wake up / breakfast / sunrise view
6:30 AM Wash up ₱ 25 / pail of water
7:15 AM ETD to Kawayan Port
8:15 AM ETA Kawayan Port/buy snacks
8:20 AM ETD to Almeria
8:40 AM ETA Almeria / eat breakfast ₱ 50 / head (breakfast)
9:10 AM ETD to Ulan-ulan Falls ₱ 2,000 / Biliran group tour (for 4)
9:35 AM ETA registration site ₱ 20 / head (environmental fee)
9:45 AM Trek to Ulan-ulan Falls
10:20 AM ETA Ulan-ulan Falls / swim
12:10 NN Trek to Recoletos Falls
12:25 NN ETA to Recoletos Falls
12:55 PM Trek back to registration site
1:30 PM ETD to Tinago Falls / Stop to see the rice terraces / stayed at Kuya Roldan’s house because of heavy rain
3:05 PM ETA Tinago Falls ₱ 20 / head (entrance fee)
4:00 PM ETD to Mainit Hot Springs
4:20 PM ETA Mainit Hot Springs ₱ 10 / head (entrance fee)
4:45 PM ETD back to Naval
6:00 PM Check in at TJ Pensionne ₱ 1150 / 4 pax (accommodation)
6:15 PM Dinner at Naval Port / socials ₱ 100 / head (dinner)
Day 4 (June 21) 6:00 AM Wake up/ prep/ checkout of inn
7:00 AM Breakfast at Goldilocks ₱ 65 / head (meal)
7:30 AM Secure van slot back to Tacloban ₱ 120 / head (van fare)
7:45 AM ETD from Naval to Tacloban
10:45 AM ETA Robinson’s Tacloban
11:00 AM Lunch
12:45 PM Tricycle to airport ₱ 50 /head (fare)
1:00 PM Airport Check-in ₱ 150 / head (terminal fee)
ETIMATED EXPENSES ₱ 4,182 / head (including food, exclusive of airfare)

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Love the landscape of Ula-Ulan Falls, very relaxing because it is surrounded by greens. Sa ngayon, online views muna habang naka quarantine.

    1. Feel free to explore, hanggang online nga lang. 🙂

  2. Hi Louise
    Looks like a great place to visit Perhaps once this Crona Virus is over will get a chance to visit?
    if you like you can email me at roy777@gmx.com I am from US Have a nice day. My name is roy

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