Some questions on Leyte and Palawan
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Feb 17, 2013 10:04 AM Last Post By: almondy23
Feb 12, 2013 12:01 PM
Some questions on Leyte and PalawanHello all
Been reading through many posts here and am glad to get some good info. I'll be in the Philippines early february for about 8 days, and like everyone else, it's difficult to decide where to go in what seems to be a beautiful country. Ideally I'd like some mountain time and some beach time, but Banaue area will have to wait as it's too much travelling. I have a few random questions:
1. Is there anywhere else that has some good opportunities for hiking? Preferably not so far from the coast. Guess I'm not talking "trekking" but some afternoon day hikes to see wildlife, big trees and scenery. Does Palawan have good hiking?
2. Is there anywhere else in the country that has the kind of limestone islands like Palawan, but is easier to get to and easier/quicker to get around?
3. Biliran in N. Leyte sounds good from what I've read in Rough Guides (sorry LP!), but haven't seen any posts about it here. Any thoughts?
4. Padre Burgos in S. Leyte sounds good for diving (have to do some killer diving while there) but what else is around that area? Again - how easy to get around that region? Would Biliran to Padre Burgos be doable in 8 days and what's to see on the way?
5. Motorcycle hire - keep reading about this. Does this mean you need a motorcycle licence or are we talking more like scooters with one gear?
6. Kind of like the sound of Siquijor and Sipalay - again is this area doable in 8 days?
Much appreciation to all who post on here.
Feb 12, 2013 1:18 PM
Feb 12, 2013 1:49 PM
Feb 12, 2013 6:13 PM
Feb 12, 2013 7:32 PM
4You don't need a motorcycle license for the short time you are there. You don't specify your country on your profile but I'm guessing a western one so no probs with the license. What you will generally get is a 3 or 4 speed automatic (meaning no hand held clutch) 3 to 500p/day is usually the price for a 125cc, often open to negotiation. An example - http://www.nice-bike.com/ In smaller places it's likely there will just be some person approach you with rentals.
Feb 12, 2013 8:40 PM
5You don't need a motorcycle license for the short time you are there
But if you want travel insurance to cover you then you do usually need to be licensed to drive a motorcycle in your home country. That's what every single travel insurance policy we have ever had has stated.
Agree with surfboy's suggestions, with 8 days you can only really do two places otherwise you are going to be on the road too much and risk only seeing the inside of different forms of transport!
Feb 12, 2013 11:22 PM
6Cebu and Bohol.
Beach, beach, beach, food trips, and party in Cebu and nature seeing in Bohol.
Feb 13, 2013 12:59 AM
7Biliran is a nice enough island and I liked my 10 days or so there, but there's not anything really compelling about it. Tourist infrastructure is not at all advanced and there's no decent beach really anywhere on it, which explains why there is no real high-class resort on the island with a pool like other islands with 'beach appeal' tend to have. I'd do Negros, Siquijor over Biliran any day, if you only have eight days and Palawan is must, just go there and don't bother going anywhere else.
Feb 13, 2013 3:15 AM
8Biliran in N. Leyte sounds good from what I've read in Rough Guides (sorry LP!), but haven't seen any posts about it here. Any thoughts
I have been to Biliran several times. This is a picture of Agta Beach taken from my favourite accommodation, the VRC resort
Biliran has hot springs, cold springs, waterfalls, yellow sand beaches, volcanos but I am not aware of any volcano trekking, a cemetery where you can see human skulls and bones, caves used by the Japanese during the second world war, mini rice terraces, diving and snorkelling from the small islands nearby.
You can fly into Leyte at Tacloban and catch a van to get to Biliran. You can drive to Biliran as it is joined to Leyte by a bridge. It will take about 2 hours to the capital Naval. There are ATM machines in Naval.
I believe I would be happy to live there. However, I wouldn't spend 10 days there, as a tourist, but it is worth a few days.
Motorcycle hire - keep reading about this. Does this mean you need a motorcycle licence or are we talking more like scooters with one gear
Yes. You need to have a licence to ride a motor bike or motor scooter. Your foreign licence is good for 90 days. The motor scooters I have ridden have 3 or 4 gears.
Feb 13, 2013 4:12 AM
9You can hike on defined trails from Sabang, Palawan to the underground river, I recommend starting out early in the morning, its cooler. Other than Sabang beach you will see 3 others along the way. The one across the small river in Sabang, there is one near the ranger cabin and the underground river beach. The monkey trail was closed last time I hiked there, its the better one with lots of concrete stairs. The jungle trail has some caves off to the side, but it can get muddy.
Feb 13, 2013 7:08 AM
- I went to Biliran during my trip in the 'phils, yes it has all the things sibbick mentions, but I dont think any of them are that great. The diving is much better elsewhere in the Phils, and there's only a few tourist-oriented resorts to stay. One of them was really nice though, a big sprawling place with 3 swimming pool on the edge of the sea. Cant remember the name but its north of Naval, near Almeria I think. Springs can also be found anywhere in the phils.
- Tacloban, capital of Leyte, is an interesting city to stay in, where you'll see very few tourists around. Here's a good recommendation for limestone features aka Palawan nearby. Take a jeepney from Tacloban to Basey around the bay (actually on Samar island), where you can organise a tour to the nearby national park, it costs around $50 per boat. Very beautiful trip, and usually only visited by Filipino tourists. I cant remember the name, but it will certainly be in your guidebook.
- Padre Burgos is also a great choice for diving and all the other things mentioned above, I went there after Tacloban. The reefs are very beautiful, and your boat will likely be the only one out there. There's a few nice resorts right on the water, Peter's dive resort is a good recommendation. You can also hike to some remote beaches there. Get a van from Tacloban to Maasin city, and then find the little pick-up truck things that will run down there, or hire a private tricycle.
- Palawan is not known for hiking, but you can find some trails around Sabang. Please be aware of the crazed, aggressive monkeys there, I'm not joking!
- I think your other questions were answered well enough by the other posters. Just want to mention too, all the great things like island-hopping, swimming with whale sharks, sailing and even diving are all dependant firstly on the season and weather, and secondly on numbers. The whole vessel to get there must be paid for, and in un-touristed places (like Padre Burgos), there isn't always enough people to go. El Nido in Palawan is somewhere where you can do an island-hopping trip every day, but then you must share it with dozens of other boats full of tourists and all the problems that brings to pristine environments.
Feb 13, 2013 12:08 PM
11Thanks for all the good information - I still can't decide where to go though! Those monkeys in Sabang must be related to the one that stole a packet of biscuits out of my hand in Borneo in 2001. When I first started reading about the Philippines I thought I had to go to at least one of Banaue area/Palawan/Apo Reef. Now it looks like I'm better off not going to any of those (due to time/travel constraints) and just booking a ticket from Manila to Dumaguete or Tagbilaran and figure it out from there in an area where travel is somewhat easier and there's lots to do.
Feb 13, 2013 1:41 PM
12if u can book tickets online -then there is promo now for march flights http://www.cebupacificair.com/Pages/SeatSalePromo.aspx
Feb 14, 2013 2:27 AM
13I have been to Biliran several times. This is a picture of Agta Beach taken from my favourite accommodation, the VRC resort.
that's where I stayed too 10 weeks ago for a week. Good resort and certainly good value, if a little bit gone to seed and not maintained all that well - like so many resorts in the Philippines. THey were great. Didn't mind us cooking in the room and let us use their fridge and freezer for free. Though I'd recommend it as a place to stay the VRC hasn't actually got a beach of its own although you can swim in the sea there using their concrete jetty. The beach is the resort next door, whose name I forget also not bad but not as good as VRC, which is the resort with the three swimming pools mentioned in reply 11.
Feb 14, 2013 5:21 AM
14The crazed monkeys?!? The rangers in the Puerto Princesa park told me to carry a stick both times I hiked to the river. Rarely did I see any monkeys and the ones that let themselves be seen were shy. Not agressive at all.
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