Biliran is a mountainous island in the eastern Visayas region of the Philippines.
I was able to visit two of the island’s numerous waterfalls last month.
“Ulan” is the Pilipino word for rain so the name translates to “rain-rain.” To my mind, it was named after its most distinctive feature — the heavy spray that the falling water generates. There is no Pilipino word for “spray” so the word for rain took its place.
It’s perfect. It’s large enough to create a nonstop deafening roar. It’s isolated enough to make visiting it more difficult and fewer visitors means it stays in pristine condition longer.
Waterfalls create something good for us. The turbulence shakes water molecules so much that it creates ions of water.
Normal ion counts in fresh country air is 2,000-4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At a large water fall you might find over 100,000 negative ions. Polluted air such as in large cities might have less than 100 ions.
Negative Ions are Good for You
Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes (WebMD.com)There’s something in the air that just may boost your mood — get a whiff of negative ions.
May 6, 2002 — There’s something in the air and while it may not be love, some say it’s the next best thing — negative ions.
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.
And these are a few of the reasons we see negative-ion generators being sold in stores and all over the Internet, but do they really work as well as antidepressants? Can they also relieve allergies by filtering out dust mites and dander?
How To Get There
Take the bus that leaves at around 12:30 pm from the pier of the town of Naval. These buses follow the circumferential road around the island (clockwise).
I don’t have a photo of our bus’s exterior but know that the buses don’t leave on time. They leave when they’re full or when the driver feels like it. (The buses actually wait until all seats are taken and then, they depart.) They also play their music at earsplitting volume. Bus capacity is about 30. On this particular trip, there was only one foreigner, a retired Aussie who used to be an artist.
Fare is less than 15 pesos. The ride takes about 20 minutes.
We disembarked in the town of Almeria, a namesake of the Andalusian (Spain) town of the same name. We mistook a videostore to be a restaurant, :-), and ate our brunch at the videostore of Mr L Morillo. He had served as the town councillor responsible for the development of tourism in town so he was very knowledgable.
It turned out that Recolet0s Falls — the waterfall just upstream of Ulan-ulan — was a name suggested by Mr Morillo’s brother. His brother, a Catholic priest in Manila, belongs to the Order of the Agustinian Recollects, a Roman Catholic religious order of friars and nuns.
Ulan-ulan is located within Barangay Sampao. “Barangay” is the Pilipino term for “village.”
We ran into these kids along the way.
We also met Jhoc Nadal. He’s a native of Leyte and an outdoorsman.
He’s also looking for a “yaya.” A yaya is a domestic helper who cares specifically for infants and toddlers.
Filipinos are an untidy people. Being accustomed to western standards of tidiness, I found myself keeping a mental tally of litter — and whether the litter is paper or plastic. I’m pleased to report that I saw exactly a single piece of noticeable plastic litter — it was a crushed plastic cup.
According to Mr Morillo, Ulan-ulan is receiving about a thousand visitors a month. The foot traffic we saw seems to confirm this.
There you have it. Keep it tidy, Philippines. Ulan-ulan is one of the most beautiful falls in the country. Treat it that way.