Monday, June 15, 2009


The last time we had an overnight camping in Higatangan, an island in Naval, Biliran was still ten years ago. We camped on that shifting sandbar that Higatangan is famous for. However, in the middle of the night we had to vacate our tents and head back to the mainland as the tide was rising so fast. We were at the farthest end of the sandbar and we had to wade through waist deep water in order to get back to the shore. We didn’t know that the tide would be that high that night and the whole sandbar was immersed in water that night just as we were able to go on higher ground. Hence this time we made sure that the tide would not be that high during the night by looking first at the calendar. The highest tide was that noon when we arrived and half of the sandbar was under water.

There were 13 of us who made the trip to Higatangan, five of whom were religious sisters and three priests. We were able to hire a private boat which would bring us to Higatangan from Naval which is the usual jump off point for the island. Although nearer to mainland Leyte yet Higatangan belongs to the town of Naval. Including the ride around the island the fare was 1400 one way. The fare is only 35 pesos if one takes the public boat. We brought along a lechon with us which we ordered from Naval. This was just fortunate as there was only cooked rice awaiting us at the convento in Higatangan. It was only later in the evening when we were able to buy fish and some shells there.

After lunch we went by boat around the island and went ashore on the beach at the other side of the island for swimming. This was the place where there are rock formations. I went for snorkeling but there were few corals. After some time we returned to the other side. We stopped in the fish sanctuary area for snorkeling but there was nothing to see. I had myself pulled by the boat while holding on to the outrigger as we made our way to the sandbar. Only after about hundred meters from being dragged on the waters did a I get to see some corals. It was not far from the sandbar.
We had our dinner at the convento that night and we transferred to the beach only after where we pitched camp. We suggested to the sisters that they sleep in the convent but they were very eager also to sleep in a tent on the sandbar. Even just the thought of it already excited them. They did not regret it. It was a glorious night. The moon was shining brightly. After sometime of guitar playing, singing and dancing I had our portable generator turned off so that we could savor more the beauty and serenity of a moonlit night.

The famous shifting sandbar of Higatangan

The boat ride from Naval with Bro. Fernan and Fr. Erby at the foreground and the sisters at the back.

Higatangan Island from afar

The sandbar in Higatangan. It was high tide when we arrived. The middle portion was under water
Four DST and one FHL sisters were with us. Ate Susan from Tacloban was a special guest invited by Fr. Erby.

The main chapel in Higatangan, Brgy. Mabini.

The convent

The chapel is undergoing renovation. It has been enlarged and a new roof was placed over the old one.

The main street just in front of the chapel of Mabini, the main barrio of Higatangan.
You won't recognize the sisters now in their swimming attire

The beach on the western part of the island. Some rock formation could be seen here.
Bro. Fernan enjoying the sight of the beach

There were a few coral growth in this part of the island.

Fr. Edward with the Sisters

The moon was shining brightly during that night that we had to put out our generator in order to have a closer commune with nature.

We pitched our tents at the farthest end of the shifting sandbar.

Having an early morning coffee by the beach

Nemo fishes can be found among the soft corals
Not far from the sand bar just to the left as one faces the village, there is a fish sanctuary. There were a good number of corals that could be found.

Higatangan Island Resort as seen from the sea.

Higatangan has now a resort where tourists can stay. It is just near the sandbar and the main barangay of Higatangan, Mabini.
Higatangan Island Beach Resort, cel 0927-697-9804 look for Shalom Ngoho. The rooms range from 800 to 1,400 pesos. Since they don't have a maintained restaurant they ask that you call first so that they can prepare the food for the guests.
The Independence Day parade in Higatangan participated by the barangay officials and the barangay tanod
Getting ready to leave the convento in Higatangan. Usually the priest assigned to Higatangan comes every second Sunday of the month and stays overnight there as the mass is at 6 in the evening. The priest from Lucsoon, Naval is the one who takes care of Higatangan. The cathechists of the island were the ones who prepared the place and the food for us.
A last look at the sandbar in Higatangan


Anonymous said...

I have been here twice already...the water on the other side is so clear.Looking forward to see your future trips...

Anonymous said...

Wow, great pictures and ad for Higatangan Island and for the resort. Thank you!!! great job!!
I love to see those tents on the sandbar, i havent seen that much campers before.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My mother was born and raised on that island, along with many of my other family. I got the pleasure of visiting there when I was 11 yrs old. I am now 34, born and raised in the US. I remember the church, which absolutely shocked me to see it still looks the same as I remember. Along with the sandbar and beach. I had such a great time there as a kid visiting with my family. Would love to go back with my 4 sons, so they can see where we came from. The island is absolutely beautiful and a perfect spot for this resort.