The 1st leg of the second season of Enduro Pilipinas race series was recently held in Biliran, Leyte, Philippines. No. I did not join the said event. And to be honest, I have zero idea on how to get to Biliran and what to do while I am there. I did not do any research on this trip and only relied from friends who have been to Biliran or somewhere close to it. It wasn’t exactly your spur-of-the-moment kind of trip. It was more of painting on a blank canvass and a work in progress, with the finish product being the end of the trip and reaching the destination. Point is. Some people plan to travel while others travel to plan.
This is the part where you do the planning because of the scheduled boat trips. We boarded Roble Shipping lines via Ormoc and took a van bound for Naval, Biliran. There’s also a direct trip from Cebu to Naval, Biliran but the schedule is erratic so your best bet would be the via Ormoc route. I have something to say about travelling with a bike. Can someone explain what the free 15kg baggage for every passenger is for? If I disassemble my bike and put it in a bag, it’s no longer a whole bicycle but it’s already part of my baggage. I never understood as to why I have to pay the exorbitant bike fees. If you disassemble your bike or if you have a bike bag, you have to pay the fee either way. That’s the only down side when travelling by boat with a bike. These shipping fees, Roble or not, they charge you anyway. No one from the crew can even explain what the 15kg of baggage is for and what the standard fee is. Oh well. From Ormoc, it’s an 80km ride to Naval. Man, they have long winding roads! Perfect for long rides!
Where to Stay
When we reached Naval, Biliran we got settled in a drive-in Apartelle. I highly recommend staying in TJ’s lodging house because this one’s right in the heart of the town centre, plus there’s a bakery right down below. If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay complete with room service and a chauffeur then you’ve come to the wrong place. We had the chance to stay in TJ’s lodge while waiting for the return trip to Cebu. Room rates are as low as 400 pesos with free wifi and cable tv – your basic essentials when away from the city. Lol. #sarcasm
Mountain Bikers Haven
Our first order of business when we got there was to track read and some beach trips on the side. At first I did not want to go with the guys because I wanted to dive or just sleep all day. I rode and went with them anyway and it is by far, the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve met some awesome friends from Cebu Trailblazers. You’re not really friends, not until you’re friends in Facebook. Like my boys from Team Big Ring, the CTB’s don’t care that I’m a girl. I mean they don’t see you as a girl but they see you as a cyclist. The trails were amazing, amazing, too! If there’s any word to describe it amazing would not suffice. Biliran is a mountain biker’s haven. It was sunny when we did the track reading so I know it’s a different story for the guys who joined the race. I was there for the fun and heck of it. We’ve only even covered ¼ of the race route and I dropped my jaw in amazement. I did not have to think or worry about getting lost cause I did not go there to compete. Their trails can even be brutal and it makes you ask for more. But trust me, its paradise.
Ulan means rain in Cebuano. We had a short side trip and we took a quick dip in Ulan-Ulan Falls while track reading. I don’t know how we squeezed this in the trip but I’m thankful the guys decided to give this a go. All the soreness from the ride, washed away just like that. It was like a breath of fresh air. Pun intended. The photo doesn’t even do justice. Swear. Biliran has a lot to offer, not just their trails. Ulan-Ulan is just one of their many waterfalls. We trekked into a seemingly virgin forest with no entrance fee. In Cebu, there’s an entrance fee for frequently visited waterfalls like Kawasan. In Biliran, there’s no fee of some sort and I hope the place will stay as it is. Always natural. I’ve noticed there’s not a lot of annoying K-Pops. They just seem to have ubiqitous presence in most “tourist” spots.
No Man is an Island
On our second day in Biliran, we went island hopping. This is something the guys didn’t really want to do because the weather wasn’t exactly cooperating. We fear getting stranded on the island and race day was just 24hrs away. We originally wanted to do kayaking in Agta Beach in Almeria. A couple of minutes later, the boys were already negotiating with the boatmen and haggled to pay 600 for a two-way trip. From Agta Beach Resort to Dalutan Island and vice versa. Sometimes when we say things we won’t do, we end up doing it anyway. Dalutan Island is a cold stoned beach. We were freezing while we were there and not just because it was raining but because of the strong winds. We went through an excruciating trek/climb before reaching pure shores. We had the island all to ourselves, too.
While the rest of the group headed home to Cebu, we decided to go to Maripipi Island. It’s only 24km in circumference so you better bring your bike with you. Getting to Maripipi is easy. You just have to go to the local port in Naval and there’s a daily trip going to the island, fare is only 60 pesos and another 60 for your bike. It’s just a one way trip so you have to stay overnight in the island or you can rent a boat to take you back to the mainland. Maripipi is a quiet town and everybody knows everybody. The people of Biliran are very accomodating and they’re not so indifferent with tourists. I have reasons to come back to Biliran. I could not even imagine traveling Biliran without my bike. It’s not enough to just read about the place or look at the photos. You really have to experience and see it for youself.