The House in Higatangan

March 07, 2012 Travel

In 1943, during World War II, Ferdinand Marcos took refuge in the island of Higatangan in Naval, Bilaran to escape the wrath of Japanese military forces occupying the country. He stayed in a house owned by Fidel and Benedicta Limpiado Sr.

A letter of former President Ferdinand Marcos to the Limpiados printed in tarpaulin hangs by the sala of the house where he claims the right to call Limpiado a province mate after marrying Imelda Romualdez of Leyte.

Biliran used to be a part of Leyte until it claimed its full province hood in 1992.

Marcos called the Limpiados good samaritans for opening their home for him and his party, who were then just strangers fleeing the dark days of the Japanese regime.

Years late, the Limpiados are still opening up their home.  This time, for strangers just like Marcos who flee probably a stressful life at the city or just looking for a sanctuary to rest their tired mind and bodies. 

Going to Biliran

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

I had lots of 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, 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 were only guided by information Mae downloaded from the internet. Our initial plan was 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 and it leaves at 12 NN. We decided to stay and wait for the boat to leave. We checked Mae's guide and we approved the option after reading white sand beach and "a moving sand bar" at the island's description.

True enough, when we arrived at Higatangan after a 45 minute boat ride, we were greeted by the huge sandbar, about 200 meters long, that snakes through the blue ocean waters. We scouted the nearby establishments and asked the locals there 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. It has faint pink paints and huge windows. It is the kind of old ancestral house that can inspire a lot of artists to paint masterpieces and songwriters to write the perfect love melody.

We were actually offered a small hut beside the house but after seeing the interiors of the house, the huge windows that gives splendid view of the sea and knowing its historical value, we decided to spend a little more and get a room.

We got a room good for three persons. It was a weekday and we were the only guests. The caretaker allowed us to pull the mattresses to the sala where we thought was the best place to sleep to take advanage of the cool breeze flowing from the windows and the huge door at the far end of the sala.

We settled in at around 2PM, which gave us lots of time to explore the island, but we decided to just stay in the resort to look at the letter of Marcos, admire the views and talk to the caretakers. 

 We also learned or tried to learn a new sport - slacklining. Bernard assembled a slackline in the resort.

At around 3PM, we decided to explore the sandbar and go for a swim. The waters were calm at one side of the sandbar and a bit rough on the other side. I didn't worry about the sun, I couldn't wait to swim.

After swimming, we arranged for our dinner. We only had a little excess from the lunch we bought from the port. We asked the caretaker where we could buy fish and rice. Food was not available at the resort, but willingly helped to buy and cook our meals.

A vacation for me is not complete without an afternoon snooze, so I turned in after knowing everything was already arranged with the sun already ready to set. I had to recharge for a night of socials 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 and passing shots of brandy. It was long night filled with good stories and laughter that ended with a symphony of snores and 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 8AM.

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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