The province with 13 falls is truly an ecotourism destination
By LOUIE GUARIN
It is perhaps the only province in Eastern Visayas which has a great potential to become an ecotourism destination.
With its waterfalls, natural springs, caves, white beaches, rivers and seas; with its mountain forests, trees and flowers; its volcanic features and small islands; with its century-old churches and museums; but most of all, with its warm and friendly people, Biliran indeed enjoys immense nature’s blessings.
Biliran is one of the six provinces in Eastern Visayas Region. Others are Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar (Western Samar), Eastern Samar and Northern Samar. It is bounded on the South by Carigara Bay, Samar Sea on the East, North by the Visayas Sea and the Strait of Biliran on the West.
We first visited Tinago Falls located in Sitio Pulang Yuta in Barangay Cabibihan in the Municipality of Caibiran. To get there, it takes 30 minutes by land from Naval to Sitio Pulang Yuta Junction. From the junction to Tinago Falls, it is 10 minutes on foot.
Tinago (which literally means “hidden’’) Falls has two water layers. The first layer is about 15 feet deep, circular in shape, while the second layer, where the swimming pool is located, is 12 feet deep and is oval– shaped.
Surrounding the falls are various trees like the narra, balete, coconut, and toog. There are also shrubs and vines. Flowers like caballero and morning glory also adorn the place.
About 90 feet tall, Tinago Falls cradles sylvan solid rocks at its basin. Its source of water is the Caibiran River. There are concrete cottages, two concrete guesthouses, bleachers type for swimmers (33×5 meters long) are available, too. There are also picnic grounds.
A pretty sight from the apex of the Tinago Falls is the Tres Marias Mountains located between the Kawayan and the Culaba municipalities of Biliran.
FALLS WITHIN A FALLS
We then proceeded to Kasabangan Falls, located in Sitio Tagaytay in Barangay Balaguid in Cabucgayan, Biliran.
Kasabangan Falls has 13 falls all in all. It is about 15 meters tall, 8 meters wide and 7 feet deep. Hiking is a must to reach the 13 different falls. Unbelievable but true, Kasabangan Falls is a falls within a falls!
Kasabangan Falls traverses lands that are classified A and D by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In 2004, private individuals constructed five cottages of wood and light materials along both sides of the river near the cascade. Park development authority said it costs P5 million a year to maintain the two waterfalls.
The island of Biliran was first called Isla de Panamao, referring to an ethnic fishing net. The name Biliran, on the other hand, was derived from a native grass called “borobiliran’’ which abound in the place. In 1959, Biliran was made a sub-province of Leyte, and in 1992, it was decreed as a regular province.
Some more must-sees are the Mangrove Forested Area and the famous Boardwalk, located in Sitio Naga, Barangay Looc in Cabucgayan. There is an ongoing park development mangrove gardening, mud crab production and aquasilvi culture.
The 300–meter Naravil Mangrove is a forest area for nature trippers and serves as a picnic grove where one can rent a cottage for P300 and from their engage in the wonderful experience of watching birds in the morning and wild ducks swimming in the waters.
Gov. Rogelio Espina did not leave any stone unturned in developing Biliran as an ecotourism and eco-adventure destinations.
“We are inviting everyone to interact with our warm-hearted and free–spirited Biliranons and bear witness to the beautiful gifts of nature, and landscapes where the artist is the Creator himself.’’
Pondering on the places we just visited with friendly Biliran tourism officers Minerva Salas and Jun Dacillo, we can’t help but smile at the wonderful people whose assistance have made my Biliran trip possible, truly a very memorable one. Their kind of hospitality is extremely gracious, proving to me that once you set foot on Biliran, you will always yearn to come back.
White sand beaches, mystical mountains, beautiful islets and amazing waterfalls — all these make Biliran province the unspoiled island paradise that it truly is.