By Ralph Arvic T. Arcenal
Photos by Ralph Arvic T. Arcenal
First Posted 14:25:00 05/02/2014

It is a perfect prelude for the month of May – “a month known for flowers and typically the most beautiful month of the year”, to have an extreme and adventurous experience spent in few hours, getting the optimum satisfaction that an excursionist wanted.

Sambawan Island, Maripipi, Biliran, Philippines
Sambawan Island, Maripipi, Biliran, Philippines.

On the onset of May 1st, I and my colleagues unintentionally planned to have a summer getaway that can be maximized within just a few hours. Challenging though – how can we get through with this considering the time constraints and limited resources – still we pushed our plans and finally we’re off to explore the well-known Sambawan Dive Site and Beach Resort!

And it all started…

Though we’ve been quite exhausted with the trip going there due to the scorching heat of the sun and the motorized boat fetch us late that tends us to wait for an hour, still we were relieved while watching the inviting island view in a distance and the very calm and clear seawater that gave us the opportune time to take a look with those untouched marine lives.
I was impressed with what I saw and discerned. The barangay council has been firm on its stand with environment protection and conservation, hence, the whole vicinity became a marine sanctuary. How I wish, others would have this vision too.

Sambawan takes it all!

Exactly 1 o’clock in the afternoon when we finally arrived in the island and we were welcome warmly. As I plunged into the crystal-like water, I felt a very nostalgic moment. Yes, indeed this was my second time that I have visited Sambawan after almost a decade. And everything has really changed then and now.

An untouched island before turned into a well-developed resort now. I remembered, it was just a simple nipa hut then stood out in the midst of silence of this enchanting island. Now, you can see several cottages built in to provide comfort to its guests, mini-villas that surely you would love to have an overnight stay and of course other amenities a well-developed resort have. Unknown before to some, now took the center stage in the tourism industry and been recognized nationally and globally as tourism site.

Not minding my starving tummy, I didn’t waste every seconds not to explore what Sambawan offers us. I took a walk along the shoreline under the terrible heat just to have a wonderful sight-seeing. In every step I took, an ounce of memorable experience filled in.


The white sandy beach that lies in the mountainous coastline already captivating. You can’t resist to have a barefooted walk and feel the therapeutic experience it offers. Also, you can pick an array of beautiful sea shells along your way which you could kept as a remembrance of your stay in Sambawan.

While on the crystal-like and unpolluted sea, you can’t only swim but also have some adventures too. Sambawan offers you a site for snorkeling and diving. The coral reefs are still untouched and preserved that would give you a worthwhile underwater exploration. Fishes of different kinds and other marine lives capture as your best sight subject. But just a tip, don’t dare to have fishing you might not catch fish instead yourself! The whole Sambawan was declared marine sanctuary by the local council.

Also, the rock formations in the island was amusing if not enthralling. In fact, this is a good stop for adventure stuffs like trekking. I am very happy that the resort developed a man-made trek going to the top, having it easier for those who wanted this extreme adventure. Of course, I won’t leave the island without trying this.


Unfortunately, we missed to count the number of steps in going there (which is also one of our purposes) but when we reach the mountain top, I was breathtakingly surprised with what I saw again. It was the whole view of the island that welcomes you once you get there. Tiring yet fulfilling! Fresh air soothes your tired body and surely you’ll find a respite of meditation.

Can I come back again?

Well, as I have said our trip to Sambawan was limited. However, we made most of our time while in the island. As I left the place, I questioned myself: can I come back again? The answer is certainly yes. Sambawan has a lot to offer! And this answers the mythical line: Maripipi – the Island of No Return, which has been dubbed with several hearsays and gossips! Now, I found the answer why they always said it once they have heard Maripipi and the answer lies only in Sambawan. Come and choose Sambawan Dive Site and Beach Resort for you find that answer I also found!

– Ralph Arvic T. Arcenal,

Known to his folks as Ralph, he is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts, Magna Cum Laude at Naval State University. Former Editor in chief of NSU The Pillar Publication – a regional awardee of Campus Press of the Year 2012-2013 and have won several awards in the Regional Tertiary Schools Press Conference. He is also one of the the pioneering founders of the Panamao Media Film Festival and the convenor of the Provincial Student Leaders Congress. Contributed news articles to the Philippine Information Agency-Billiran Center.


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