Biliran summer festival draws 5,000 visitors

By Marie Tonette Marticio

NAVAL, Biliran - More than 5,000 tourists this capital town’s Higatangan Island Summer Festival.


The two-day event showcased local talents, culture, food, tourist spots and local products from towns not only in the province but all throughout Eastern Visayas.

Mayor Gerard Espina said Naval wants to establish a brand different from Boracay in Aklan by making it more sustainable and environment-friendly.

"We want to show everyone that there is an alternative tourist destination in the region, but everyone needs to help conserve nature by collecting their trash before they leave the island," Espina said.

The local government also wants to make the island an artisans’ hub where local artists can promote their music, arts and crafts.

"We are also showcasing mat weaving, one of Higatangan's source of livelihood, and we have also invited other municipalities in Biliran province to display their products. I believe that this is the best time for the province to be known," Espina said.

Aside from the beach party on Naval’s famous sandbar, the festival also included a day tour which offered a watchtower visit, cliff jumping, snorkelling, spelunking, manta towing, stand up paddle boarding and other water sports.

Tourists also tried snorkelling in Capilla del Mar, an underwater chapel which has a cross and eight benches representing the eight towns of the province.

"With the help of the community, we can unlock many possibilities and potential tourist spots on the island," Espina added.