Saturday, January 5, 2008

Introspecting in Biliran

I have a stubborn, hard-headed side that refuses to listen to advice that visiting Biliran in December may be fool-hardy. It's still rainy out there says Anthony of biliranisland.com. But I have other plans for the Holy Week break and I really, really wanted to visit Biliran soon. So I heeded this stubborn-side. Oh, I did my research, booked my flights, made some plans. But I kept the itinerary loose as I was fighting some sort of fever and infection during the week leading to our Christmas-new year's day break. There was also the budget to contend with, as a lot of billables would settle well after new year's day. But still, off I went to Biliran on my own. 

Landing in Tacloban airport was thankfully uneventful. The 2 hour wait for the Duptours van going to Naval was a sleepy affair. Finding Marvin's Inn was a breeze and the staff was swell. It really is the best place to stay in out there. My first afternoon, I broke a personal cardinal rule of going out as soon as I've put down my bags in my room. Feeling crappy from the effects of the fever and infection, I dread getting any sicker. But all I know is that tomorrow, I'll feel better, what with the fresh air and the fresh stimuli. The pace is slow, the views of the mountains, the sea and the fields are invigorating. Ahhh, I know, I'd like this place. 

Info: The fastest way to get to Biliran is to book a flight to Bacloban. Buses ply the Tacloban to Naval route (Naval is the provincial capital) but vans are faster, taking just over 2 hours; Fare: 120-130php. Getting around: the habal-habal (motorcycle) is the most common mode of transportation as most of the roads outside the main highway are rough and rougher. Haggle with the driver to get the best possible rates or hire on a per-day basis. There are also several buses that make the cross-country trip from Naval to the eastern coastal town of Caibiran, taking over 1.5-2 hours, one way. ATM: There are Landbank and PNB ATMs in Naval but bring enough cash as a precaution.

image detail: agta beach, western biliran province
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