Polilio Island

About 985 square kilometers in area, Polilio Island is marked by rugged terrain. Running through its center are mountain ridges with peaks that rise some 100 to 200 meters above sea level. The island’s highest peak is Mt. Malulod at 350 meters. It’s quite popular with hikers and mountaineers.

Polilio Island has been identified as a priority area for biodiversity conservation. Most of the island is untouched. The Polilio Group of Islands as a whole is home to a number of tree species, and at least seven endemic animal species. Among them, the endangered Gray’s monitor lizard known locally as the butaan.

But the Polilio archipelago is really for the (endangered) birds. Seven species of birds internationally recognized as “threatened” have been recorded on the islands, together with seven endemic subspecies. Avid bird watchers and the casually curious can try to spot some of these colorful feathered friends at the Minasawa Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary, a four-hectare island off the municipality of Burdeos, or at Bird Island.

Beach bum? The sand and waters of Patnanungan, Jomalig, and Balesin Islands make for a perfect for a day in the sun. Coral reefs (there are some 25,000 hectares in the waters of Polilio town alone) and marine life abound, making the area perfect for snorkeling and diving.