Caving in the Philippines – #4 Biliran Island

Catbalogan > Tacloban > Biliran Island 15 – 17 January 2017
After our caving adventure, the Jeepney took us back to Catbalogan where we packed up all our stuff and Joni organised a van to take all of us (plus his wife, 4yr old son and a friend) up to Biliran with the intention of doing a canyon and a tour around the island of Biliran.  Didn’t quite turn out as planned but then we weren’t sure what was planned!

As we were leaving Catbalogan, it started to pour, a whopper of a storm and the rain didn’t let up for a couple of hours.

We arrived in Tacloban around 7pm and pulled up outside Ocho Seafood restaurant.  Joni had told us that it had great seafood and he was right!  We walked up to the back counter and picked out what fish we wanted to eat, and then the food started coming … I’ve never seen so much on one table, we ate as much as we could and then the rest was packed up “to go”.

Fish soup, calamari, fried rice, white rice, two grilled fish, scallops on the shell, seaweed (my favourite, dipped in calimansi juice), marinated raw fish, really a feast!  The driver of the van was also invited to join us.

The ceiling decorations in the restaurant, they were really ornate.

Back in the van, it was now around 9pm and Jim and I wondered where we’d end up, there was muttering about a 3 hour drive and then someone said something about a boat ride, I wasn’t particularly keen on the thought of that at midnight!  By now it was way dark and we couldn’t see a thing out of the windows.

Eventually, the van went down a steep side road and Joni dropped Monique, Jim and I off at the “resort”.  I’m not sure what I envisaged but it wasn’t this vacation spot.  The room was basic with some bunks and a couple of beds, but for what we needed it was adequate, after all, we’d hardly be there!

The resort taken from the front of our room.

Next morning Joni picked us up at 7am and drove us to his wife’s parent’s home where we had breakfast (another feast).  It was still raining and so I decided that I would forego the proposed canyoning trip.  It would have entailed a 3 hour walk up hill (in the rain) and I was pretty sure we’d had so much rain that there would be too much in the river and it would be a fruitless walk.

The beach at the resort

So, I elected to stay in our room, do some washing and then take a walk later on.  As it turned out, Jim and Monique did go, but there was way, way too much water in the river so they only did some sightseeing.

No way anyone would be abseiling down this!

The force of the water was so strong that it caused it’s own wind, strong enough to knock you over!

Not as bad upstream, but still too much water.

On the way back to the van, Jim/Monique came across this sign.  A Yaya is a nanny, but what would you need a 5ft 6″ nanny for?

We went back to Joni’s in-law’s house for dinner and then breakfast the next morning before heading off on our island tour.  The van took us to places of interest, again, this isn’t a tourist zone so we virtually had the place to ourselves.

After an hour or so, we heard a bang and found that the van had had a “blow-out”, didn’t take long for the driver to change this tire to another bald one!

I was fascinated on the whole trip by the random nice houses that we can across, right next door to a shack, obviously some people here are very well off, but the majority are incredibly poor.

This is a sea cave we went to.  The land above it (that we walked through) is owned by Europeans (possibly French) but it’s undeveloped.

This waterfall is well known and the pool below it is used for swimming by the locals in the summer.

Nice picnic houses on the beach (this one really rocky) with what looked like volcanic rock

Another really nice house, Joni’s wife explained that a lot of the nice homes were owned/built by seamen who had highly paid work

Hot spring that we went to. Only a couple of metres wide, but the disturbance on the top of the water is caused by gas bubbles coming out of the ground, the water was boiling hot.

This small man-made pools were fed by water from another hot spring.

Lots of rice paddies, this one in a valley in the middle of the island.

Before long the tour was over and we were in the town of Navale where we were to pick up a van and head back to Tacloban.  We were excited about going back as we had unfinished business there, on the way through two nights ago we’d seen this amazing “Christmas tree” in the courtyard of a church, it was a Sunday evening and the tree was lit up from inside and each of the panels had coloured paper in them so the tree was a blaze of colour.

Unfortunately, the when we went back it was a Tuesday and so the tree wasn’t lit, you can use your imagination though, it was spectacular.

Back to the Rosvenil Hotel for the night (and the first hot shower in the last week) and out to Ocho Seafood restaurant again – the food the last time was so good we had to go back for “seconds”.

We woke up really early on the 18th and caught a Jeepney out to the airport to pick up our 7am flight to Manila where we were meeting up with Fedz (Jim’s wife) and the two children Chris and Bon plus another one of Fedz sisters, Christine and her daughter KC.  We would be travelling with them for the next part of our Philippine adventure.

Footnote:  The thumbnail at the top is a flower that I found on the beach at the resort.

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2 Responses to Caving in the Philippines – #4 Biliran Island

  1. Eli says:

    I hope everybody enjoys reading “Adventure with M” as much as I do!!
    You write really well Marilyn and the photos add to the story.
    What an adventure that caving trip must’ve been. Probably very tricky to negotiate the muddy sections. Can’t use any walking sticks in caves!!

    • marilyn says:

      Hi Eli, thanks for the feedback – good to know that it’s being read! Yes the muddy sections were tricky, sometimes you felt your boots were being sucked off your feet, and it was slippery-as, and the muddy sections were the only times that I saw evidence that others had been there before me, should I get to do any exploratory caving over there in the future, will be careful about that!

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