The House in Higatangan

March 07, 2012 Travel

In 1943, amidst World War II, Ferdinand Marcos sought refuge on the island of Higatangan in Naval, Biliran, to evade the Japanese military forces occupying the country. He lodged in a house owned by Fidel and Benedicta Limpiado Sr.

Former President Marcos expressed his gratitude to the Limipados, and a copy of the letter was printed on a tarpaulin displayed in their house. Marcos referred to the Limpiados as good Samaritans for opening their home to him and his party, who were then strangers fleeing the dark days of the Japanese regime.

In the letter, former President Marcos also asserted the right to call the Limpiados province mates after marrying Imelda Romualdez of Leyte.

Years later, the Limpiados continue to open their home, this time for strangers who are likely seeking refuge from a stressful life in the city or just looking for a sanctuary to rest their tired minds and bodies.

Going to Biliran:

It was one of those trips planned after the announcement of promo fares. Ailene Mae called me and told me about the promo. I didn't have computer access at that time, so I asked Mae to book for me.

I had many trips planned for February, including a trip to Masbate also availed during a promo and a Boracay wedding. Biliran was the last hurrah.

We were joined by Mae's boyfriend, Frankie, and friends Bernard and Noel. In Leyte, we met with Mae's friend Dr. Melvin Tamaca, who arranged for us a place to stay in Leyte and drove us to Biliran.

We initially planned to look for a place to stay in Naval, but Dr. Tamaca suggested that we go first to the port and see if there are resorts available on the nearby islands.

There were passenger and cargo boats docked at the port to Higatangan. It was 10:00 AM, and the boats only have one trip, leaving at 12 NN. We decided to stay and wait for the boat to leave.

We checked Mae's guide and saw an option with a white sand beach and a 'moving sandbar.' We chose that.

True enough, when we arrived at Higatangan after a 45-minute boat ride, we were greeted by the huge sandbar, about 200 meters long, snaking through the blue ocean waters.

We scouted the nearby establishments, asked the locals, and they pointed us to a resort that is a stone's throw away from the place where we docked.

The Higatangan House

The house is quaint, painted in a faint pink hue, with large windows that evoke the charm of old ancestral homes, inspiring artists to paint masterpieces and songwriters to compose perfect love melodies.

At first, we were offered a small hut beside the house. However, when we saw the inside and the big windows with a great view of the sea, we decided to spend a bit more and get a room.

We booked rooms for six people, and being a weekday, we were the only guests. The caretaker kindly allowed us to pull the mattresses to the sala. It seemed the best spot to sleep, taking advantage of the cool breeze flowing through the windows and the huge door at the far end of the sala.

Arriving around 2 PM, we had ample time to explore the island, but we opted to stay in the resort. We spent our time reading Marcos's letter, admiring the views, and conversing with the caretakers.

Additionally, we attempted to learn a new sport – slacklining. Bernard assembled a slackline in the resort

By 3 PM, we decided to explore the sandbar and take a swim. The waters were calm on one side of the sandbar and a bit rough on the other.

After our swim, we arranged for our dinner. We only had a little excess from the lunch we bought at the port. We asked the caretaker where we could buy fish and rice. Although food wasn't available at the resort, the caretaker willingly helped us buy and cook our meals.

For me, a vacation isn't complete without an afternoon snooze. So, I turned in after knowing everything was already arranged, with the sun ready to set. I needed to recharge for a night of socializing with my friends.

When I woke up, there were fried fish, fish tinola, and kinilaw waiting for me. The electricity was already turned on, and my friends were already feasting on these, passing shots of brandy. It was a long night filled with good stories and laughter that ended with a symphony of snores and a cool breeze.

The following morning, fried rice and fish paksiw were already prepared when we woke up. The caretakers knew we needed to leave early as the only passenger boat available leaves the island at 8 AM.

It was a good stay at Higatangan, and we thank the Limpiados, even if they were not there, for opening their homes to tourists like us.

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