Sambawan Island : Itinerary + Budget Guides for First-Timers

Sambawan Island

Sambawan Island : Itinerary + Budget Guides for First-Timers


Biliran is composed of two major islands – Biliran and Maripipi, and smaller islands and islets that dot its water including the famous Sambawan Island.

Sambawan Island or Sambauan Island is an uninhabited island and is located five kilometers away from the west coast of the municipality of Maripipi in Leyte. It is a popular dive site and a marine sanctuary. Turtles, sea snakes and reef sharks are also found there often. Current is mild and suitable for all range of divers.

Traveling to Sambawan Island for the first time? This detailed and curated travel guide will make it easy for you to plan a trip, save money and maximize your time. This guide will also make sure that you get the best out of your money while travelling to Sambawan Island.

Scroll down to read must-know travel tips before you go, followed by a sample itinerary + budget breakdown , recommended hotels/places to stay , things to do/places to visit and lots of extra travel tips.

Get Started

How to get to Biliran β€” By plane + Van, Biliran can be reached on an hour flight + an hour van ride from Cebu. Biliran has no airport so you need to travel by boat or airplane.

Always book your hotel early β€” Avail low rates and avoid fully-booked rooms by booking online as soon 2-3 months before your travel departure. Click below to compare discounts and read reviews by other travelers.

Check discounts and prices online  β€” Save money by checking discounts on tours & airport/hotel transfers. Booking before you leave also saves you time & avoids the hassles of bringing large amounts of cash during your actual trip.

Philippines 3G/4G internet data sim card & pocket WiFi rental

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Spend 2 days or more β€” While it’s possible to explore the highlights of the island in a day, consider planning at least 2 days to tour the island.

Save More while Traveling β€” I’ve included a lot of money saving tips on this guide. You can actually save more when you do not include attractions that has entrance fees. You can achieve cheaper expenses by knowing where to find and book the attractions.

Getting around Biliran β€” There are a lot of transport and tour options available whether you want to go with a private tour or a do-it-yourself trip. You can even go full local and try the motorcycle/tricycle commute to get around or stick with packaged tours that can offer a hassle-free experience.
Grab is not offered in this area.

See more blogs & travel guides

Pre-Travel Guide

βœ“How to get to Sambawan Isalnd
βœ“ How to get around Sambawan Island?
βœ“ Should I book my Sambawan Island hotel online?
βœ“ What to prepare for a trip to Sambawan Island?
βœ“ How to find cheap flights to Sambawa Island?
βœ“ When is the best time to visit?
βœ“ Travel Must Haves
βœ“ Money-saving tips

How to get to Sambawan Island

Direct Flights from Manila,Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and more are being served to Tacloban. Flights are operated by Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and AirAsia.


β—ΎBy Airplane (Cebu pacific, Airasia and Philippine Airlines)

Manila to Tacloban.

From Tacloban ride Van-vans, Duptors, Grandtours to Naval, Biliran. The trip will take approximately two hours and a half. Fare is PHP 120.00 per person.

At Naval, take the passenger boat to Maripipi Island. This is a two-hour trip. Note that this boat is the only one that goes to Maripipi and it leaves at 10:00 AM daily except Sundays. This same boat, then, leaves Maripipi to head back to Naval the following day.Fare is PHP 70.00.

When you arrived at Maripipi Island, ride a motorbike or habal-habal to Barangay Ol-og, which will cost you PHP 50.00 per person.

Rent a boat to Sambawan Island. A round trip boat should cost PHP 600.00 for five (5) people. You’ll know you’ve arrived at the island when you see a very festive welcome signage made from bamboo and several bilao.

β—ΎThe locals way

At Naval Port,ride a ferry boats going to the Maripipi Island. Fare per head is Php 60. Travel time is 1.5 hours.

Once you reached the town of Maripipi, hire a habal-habal, fare is Php 30 per head to Brgy. Ol-og. From there hire a boat for Php 600. Travel time to Sambawan is 15 minutes. [Maripipi Regular Boat Schedules] The ferry departs at 10:30 Am from Mon- Sat and leaves the following day for Naval at 4:30 Am


β—ΎBy Boat (Roble Shipping Lines)

From Cebu, ride the Roble Shipping lines boat at Pier 3 to Naval, Biliran. Roble Shipping Lines serves the route 6x a week and at 7:30pm. Travel Time is around 6 hours

At Naval, Biliran, Ride a habal-habal to Kawayan Municipality Php 60 per head.

At Kawayan Municipality, Rent a boat at Php 3,000 for day use Php (3,500 Overnight) and travel to Sambawan. Travel time is 60 minutes. Boat Capacity maximum of 10 persons.


β—ΎBy Fast Craft or Fast Boat (2GO, Oceanjet or Weesam)

From Cebu, ride any of the three boat at Pier 1 to Ormoc City, Leyte. The three fastcrafts serves the route daily. Travel Time is around 3 hours. Fare is PHP 600.00

At Ormoc City, ride a tricycle to Robinsons near Simangan. Note: make sure to point out that you will be riding a van because there are 2 Robinsons in Ormoc. Fare for the tricycle is PHP 8.00.

At Robinsons Ormoc Van Terminal, ride a Van to Naval,Biliran. Travel Time is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Fare is PHP 130.00.

At Naval, Biliran, Ride a habal-habal to Kawayan Municipality Php 60 per head.

At Kawayan Municipality, Rent a boat at Php 3,000 for day use Php (3,500 Overnight) and travel to Sambawan. Travel time is 60 minutes. Boat Capacity maximum of 10 persons.


Should I book my Sambawan Island Hotel Online?

My answer will always be YES but there are no hotels in the island. I recommend you bring tents.

What to prepare for a trip to Sambawan Island?

Sunblockβ€” If you don’t have a plan in getting yourself tan, then bring some sunblock to protect your skin from the suns UV rays.

Hats and Eye wear β€” Protect your eyes from the heat of the sun.

Cellphone Waterproof Case β€” You don’t want to drench your phone w/ saltwater.

Rent a GoPro – If you are in Cebu, my friend can rent you one here.

Food – Although there is a convenience store in the island, it is much better to bring your own foods and drinks.

Powerbank & Batteries – Electricity on the island only runs from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM

Tent – Even if you are not staying overnight, just bring. It can lessen your expenses.

Snorkel and Scuba diving gears – Bring your own.

How to find cheap flights to Tacloban?

Start your search on Wego, Momondo, and Skyscanner.

Also, check Tacloban promo alerts several weeks or months ahead of your trip if you are planning your trip early. The cheapest promos are sold up to a year in advance of the travel/flight departure date & are often only available if you book directly with the airline.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

In my experience, March – June are the best months to visit Sambawan Island.

Travel Must-Haves

βœ“ Google Map App – A life-saver for me because without it, I might get lost.

βœ“ Google Translate – Super powerful app. Translate anything.

βœ“Gps-Guided App – Tour the city like a local with this app.

βœ“ Sunscreen – Protect yourself from sunburn or much worse – Cancer.

βœ“ Pocket Wifi or Sim Card – The convenient of searching anything is a go-to. Please don’t forget this baby. It is a life-saver for me though.

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Money Saving Tips

Get a good map and explore the city on your own tour β€” You can tour the city at your own pace plus you can choose from a variety of options. There are a lot of awesome things to do in Biliran that doesn’t cost a dime.

Drive a motorcycle β€” This is the cheapest way to get around.

Stay at hostels or airbnb β€” If you are travelling alone or by group of 3, hostels are best for you. But, if you are travelling in group of 4 or more, then airbnb is best for you. I have calculated the difference and airbnb ones are best for group of travellers.

Where to Stay in Sambawan Island?

Since there are no hotels in the island, you can rent a tent, open air cottage or an enclosed one.

Sambawan Itinerary

Guess what? I am such a joiner for this trip. Did not look it up online again.

Day 1: Sambawan Island En Route (Prepare to get wet!!)

0400 am Wake up Time and Breakfast
0700 am Buy foods at market
0830 amArrived at kawayan Municpalty
0945 amArrived at Sambawan Island
1015 amPrepare food
1100 amTrek to the watchtower
1230 nnLunch
12:45 nnPicture Taking, Chika and Swimming
0300 pmEn route to Kawayan Municipality to wash up
0445 pmEn route to Naval, Biliran
05:00 pmFree time

A lot of things can be done in Biliran. Will update you with my Biliran Travel and Budget Guides.

1-Day Sambawan Island Budget Expenses  (for 6 people)

Your travel expenses will largely depend on your traveling style and how much you plan to spend on activities, accommodations & food. To help you set your own budget, here are budget estimates if you follow the 1-Day itinerary posted above. Make sure to review all discounts & online booking prices.

Prices below are β€˜per person’, calculated based on a group of 6 people sharing the travel expenses.

Transport expenses breakdown
PHP 660Roble Shipping Fare
PHP 500Sambawan Boat Fare β€” PHP 3000/ 6
Activities/Attraction costs breakdown
PHP 80 Entrance fee per person.
PHP 20 Environmental fee per person.
PHP 50 Small Cottage β€” PHP 300/6 per person.
Budget Trip Expenses Summary
PHP 1160 Transport β€” Shared expenses per group of 6.
FREE Accommodations β€” Since we stayed at a house of my bestfriend, then its free.
PHP 500 Food β€” Full meals x 3 days
PHP 150 Activities β€” Admission tickets/entrance fees on selected activities above.
PHP 1810 Total β€” Including all expenses above for a day in Sambawan Island.
Other fees to take note of
PHP 300Bench and Table
PHP 1500Lodging Cottage for 2-6 person/ day
PHP 2500Lodging Cottage for 12-15 person /day
PHP 100Tent Pitching per day
PHP 200Paddle boat for 2 hours
PHP 2,500Scuba rental
PHP 300Kayak rental per hour
PHP 150Sail boat for 2 hours
PHP 10,000For movie, tv production or commercial per day
PHP 23For anchorage or mooring of sea craft less than 3gt perdsay
PHP 300For anchorage or mooring of sea craft less than 3gt-10gt per day
PHP 1,000For anchorage or mooring of sea craft more than 10gt per day

Thank you sale residence for accommodating us during our stay.

* Prices subject to change without prior notice

What to do in Sambawan Island

Check out these Must-Do activities in Sambawan Island.

1. Go trekking at the hill for the 360-degree view of Sambawan 

2. Stargaze while camping at night 

3. Try scuba diving and snorkeling 

4. Go kayaking 

1. Go trekking at the hill for the 360-degree view of Sambawan 

Sambawan Island

Be amazed at the formation of the island. The watchtower is located here too.

2. Stargaze while camping at night 

Low lights are the best way to gaze at the star. Just brace yourself from the chilly vibes.

3. Try scuba diving and snorkeling 

Sambawan Island

Be at awe with the marine sanctuary this island has to offer. Just inquire at the diving camp.

4. Go kayaking 

Sambawan Island

Practice your kayaking skills with our friends , special one or family. Have fun!

Nearby Activities

βœ“ Bethany Hills

Bethany Hills Biliran

βœ“ Ulan-Ulan Falls

ulan ulan falls biliran

βœ“ Recoletos Falls

recoletos falls biliran

βœ“ Rice Terraces

rice terraces in biliran naval

βœ“ Canaan Hill Farms

βœ“ Mainit Hot Springs

βœ“ Agta Beach

βœ“ Relax in VRC Resort

VRC Resort biliran

βœ“ Island Hopping

Map to Help You Locate Biliran Attractions

Have you visited this island? How was it? Share your thoughts below.



Civil Engineer by Profession. Blogger by Passion. This young girl channeled her energy in blogging when her favorite girl group disbanded. Join and Catch her next wanders.
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