A comprehensive DIY travel guide to visiting the gorgeous Sambawan Island in Biliran, Philippines.

I have always wanted to visit Sambawan Island but I always have second thoughts because the cost of transportation going to the island is quite expensive especially when you are traveling alone. Two years ago, I was already in Naval, Biliran but I didn’t have much time and going to Sambawan would have cost me a lot so I bailed out.

DIY Budget Travel Guide: Sambawan Island, Biliran
Sambawan Island

This year, I made sure I have enough time so I can travel on a budget. Here’s our travel guide in visiting Sambawan Island on a budget. 

How to Get to Sambawan Island on a budget?

As mentioned above, you can go to Sambawan on a budget as long as you have time to go there using the local’s mode of transportation via Maripipi Island.  

From Naval: The most economical way of going to Sambawan Island from Naval is to take a ferry from Naval Port to Maripipi Island. 

  • The fare is only Php80 and travel time is 2 hours. 
  • The ferry schedule is at 10am via MV Lourdes and 10:30 am via Viga Express. 
  • Make sure you have a night to spend in Maripipi because the ferry will leave the island the following day at 4am. 
  • Take note that there are no trips to/from Maripipi on Sundays. 
  • From Maripipi, take a habal-habal (motorcycle) to Brgy. Ol-og, the jump-off point to Sambawan Island. Fare is between Php30-50. Travel time is around 15-20 mins.
  • Take a motorized banca (outrigger) to Sambawan Island for P500 up to 6 pax, roundtrip. Travel time is around 20 minutes.
  • If you miss the ferry to Maripipi, your alternative is to charter a boat directly to Sambawan Island from Kawayan Port. Fare is around Php2,000 for day tour and Php3,000 for an overnight trip depending on your negotiation skills. From Naval, you can take a jeepney to Kawayan Port or hire a habal-habal.
Sambawan Island, Biliran, Philippines
Sambawan Island, Biliran, Philippines

From Tacloban: Take a van to Naval. Fare is P120 and travel time is 3 hours. Follow the guide above from Naval to Sambawan.  

From Ormoc: Take a van to Naval. Fare is Php130 and travel time is around 3 hours. Follow the guide above from Naval to Sambawan.  

From Kalanggaman Island: Take a van from Palompon to Tacloban and alight in Lemon Junction. Travel time is around 1.5 hours and fthe are is Php90. From Lemon Junction, take another van to Naval. The fare is Php50 and the travel time is around 45 minutes. Follow the guide above from Naval to Sambawan.  

From Manila: Book a flight to Tacloban City or Ormoc City. You can also take a long bus ride from Manila and get off in Tacloban or Ormoc. Follow the guide above from Naval to Sambawan.  

From Davao: Take a flight to Tacloban or ride a bus from Davao to Tacloban or Ormoc. Travel time by bus is around 24 hours and fare is around Php1,000. Follow the guide above when you reach Ormoc or Tacloban.

From Cebu: Take a flight to Tacloban or a fastcraft to Ormoc then follow the guide above. You can also take a Robles Shipping boat from Cebu direct to Naval. Boat schedule is every Saturday and Monday at 8:30PM. Fare is Php980 in the cabin section and Php485 in the economy section. 

HOTELS IN NAVAL: Where to Stay in Naval?

If you are on a budget, I recommend you stay in either GV Hotel or Marvin’s Seaside Inn.  

HOTELS IN MARIPIPI: Where to Stay in Maripipi Island?

If you are on a budget, you can stay in a lodge near the Maripipi Port. It’s located at the back of Palawan Pawnshop and is very close to the port. The rate is only Php300 per night 9fan room). If you are looking for an airconditioned room, you can walk slightly farther and you should see a bakery shop. They are also accepting transients and they have airconditioned room for Php1,500 per night or Php1,000 if you are alone. These accommodations are ideal if you are only staying for a night. If you are planning to stay longer on the island, you can check out Napo Beach Resort.

Ferry going to Maripipi Island
Ferry going to Maripipi Island
P300 accommodation in Maripipi Island
P300 accommodation in Maripipi Island
Maripipi Port
Maripipi Port

RESORTS IN SAMBAWAN ISLAND: Where to stay in Sambawan Island?

If you are planning to stay overnight in Sambawan Island, you can stay at Sambawan Dive Camp and Beach Resort. You can stay in one of their lodging cottages for Php1,500 for 2-6 pax or Php2,500 for up to 15pax. You can also pitch your tent for Php100.

Sambawan Island Resort
Sambawan Island Resort


Day 1

  • Depart from Tacloban to Naval at 4PM – Van fare, Php120
  • Arrived in Naval at 7PM
  • Dinner (forgot the name of the restaurant but I had pork bbq and ice cream Php210
  • Double room at GV Hotel Php650

Day 2 in Sambawan Island

  • Trike to Naval Port from GV Hotel Php10
  • Ferry to Maripipi Island via MV Lourdes at past 10am, fare is Php80
  • Terminal Fee Php10
  • Arrived in Maripipi Island at 12:30pm
  • Checked in (guest house at the back of Palawan Pawnshop) Php300
  • Bread for lunch Php50
  • Took a habal-habal to Brgy Ol-og Php40 at around 2pm
  • Charted a boat to Sambawan Island at around 2:30PM, Php500 roundtrip
  • Arrived in Sambawan at around 3pm, Entrance fee Php80 + Environmental fee Php20
  • Depart Sambawan around 5pm
  • Arrived in Maripipi around 5:30pm
  • Habal-habal to Maripipi Town Proper, Php50
  • Dinner Php60 (bbq) 

Day 3

  • Depart Maripipi Island back to Naval at 4am, fare is Php80.

Travel Notes and Tips

  • Electricity in Maripipi is now 24 hours
  • Electricity in Sambawan Island is up to 2am
  • There is no eatery in Maripipi Island town proper, there’s only one store that selss bbq, another store that sells lechon manok and a bakeshop. You can however inform your host to cook you food for an additional fee.
  • Globe signal in both Maripipi Island and Sambawan is good. LTE service is available in Maripipi.
  • Maripipi is a sleepy town so it gets really boring but this can be a good place for introspection.
  • Make sure you go to the Maripipi Port before 4am.
  • Travel responsibly.

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