Sibaliw Research Station
Ecotourism on Panay - Philippines
Ecotourism - the best way to experience your environment nature friendly
Explore Panay and the Northwest Panay Peninnsula Natural Park and fall in love with the rainforest, the mountains and the views. Island Trekkers and PhilinCon are cooperating to offer ecotourism activities, like hiking to Mount Mab-o -daytrip- in the Northwest Panay Peninsula Natural Park. For more information send us an email to booking[at]philincon.org, call +63-(0)9123236859 / +49 (0) 17693101396, or come by the PhilinCon Office in Pandan in the Dioso Library.
Visit our Station!
- Discover the Rainforest
In 1997, our ecological independent station was built with the aim to create a base where our organization, students, and scientists can organize and conduct their field work. During our work in the Philippines, we aim to leave behind the smallest ecological footprint as possible. It is our utmost concern to leave the forest as natural as possible.
| Come and visit us |
We are happy to see you and welcome you at our station. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, a scientist with a project, a birdwatcher, or a traveler who got curious and wants to experience the rainforest, get to know us, learn about our work, or even help us by working as a volunteer.
Six single rooms with single beds are available for our guests. For more capacity we recommend hammocks or tents. Beds can also be shared. In case of low capacity, we will contact you and discuss our options. Our station is very simple, so we recommend a sleeping bag and/or an air mattress, as well as a mosquito net. See our Package list below. Our accommodation fees are lower than those of other tropical stations. See table below for an overview of all costs together.
| Our Sustainable Station |
It is our utmost concern to leave the forest as natural as possible. Therefore, we built the station with natural and sustainable materials i.e. from trees destroyed after the storm Yolanda/Hayian, with permission from the local authorities. No chemicals were used, only pressboard and anti-termite paint from Pandan for the walls. This is what the station used to look like.
Solar panels with batteries provide sustainable electricity. We are energy-efficient and need only little electricity for energy-saving LED lamps which are used in the evening, during dinner time or to charge phones. Hence our CO2 emissions are low. Only in case of emergency (when we need electricity but there has been no sun for some days) we will use a diesel generator. For cooking, we use gas, which is a necessity. It is eco-friendlier and safer than fire. Our solar panels are not (yet) strong enough to power an electrical stove. In the long run, we would like to invest in photovoltaic batteries, water turbines, and more solar panels; partly, this will be covered by the eco fee.
Our station is built next to a natural spring. Its water is pure and drinkable. It is also used for cooking, showering (see picture), and dishwashing; long-term visitors also use it for laundry. For these purposes, non-toxic is soap available at the station. In the nutrition-low rainforest, water works as a fertilizer, as does our sewage which is stored in a cesspit. Our plant-based toilet paper is degradable. Please bring if you need non-toxic shampoo with you or buy it in Pandan at our head office. Our plant-based toilet paper is degradable. All these is nature-neutral due to the limited number of guests we can receive. Eco-tourism, ecological tourism and eco-travel is nature-friendly.
We don’t produce much garbage. We reuse and recycle as much as possible. The small amounts of organic waste we produce are given to the nutrition-low rainforest ecosystem. Whatever we can’t recycle at the station will be brought back to the village. In the long run, PhilinCon would like to invest in separating and recycling of garbage in the village with the help of the income of the eco fee.
Any CO2 emission we produce will be compensated by our tree planting program. Every visitor to our station can contribute by planting a tree before leaving our station. This way, you can leave something behind for future generations. You can leave your name with the tree and come back anytime you want. If you would like to see your tree growing over the time, follow us on our homepage or subscribe to our newsletter.
| Prices |
The prices for your stay include a full board and our eco fee
Full board includes food: breakfast, lunch & dinner and coffee, coffeemate & brown sugar, water, toilet paper. Tea is not included. Usually there is enough electricity for your phone, maybe even laptop. As we depend on solar energy, we cannot guarantee to have electricity for all your electrical devices, so please use it wisely.
With the eco fee we cover repairs and preservation of the station, its facilities and other nature conservation projects of PhilinCon.
On the one hand, our eco fee helps us pay maintenance, such as wood that has been damaged by humidity or termites. On the other hand, it funds PhilinCon’s nature conservation projects, like feeding and caretaking of wildlife in our three rescue & rehab centers. We are planning new photovoltaic panels and batteries for our station as well.
For students and scientists with a research project we offer a discount. They pay a reduced rate of our eco fee because they discover important scientific knowledge about the ecosystem or species and contribute in that way. You can only protect what is known.
full board (per night) +
eco fee (per night)
scientist with projects
For example, students pay per day only 8-9€ for food and accomodation, making 6 weeks only 400€. Additional costs are stated below. The course varies between 50-65 peso/€.
Book here: email@example.com
All prices are in PHP (Philippine peso), the exchange rates in USD & Euro* are for orientation only. These may vary. The usual variation course is 50-65 peso/€. Please pick up cash in Kalibo or Caticlan at the ATM. There is no international ATM in Pandan. When there is conflicting bookings, students and scientists will be prioritised. *100PHP =~ 2 USD or 1,80€ & 500PHP =~ 10 USD or 9 €
Book and Contact us here: If you want to stay with us, please check first availability with us, as we only have limited capacity: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have country-specific question, you can use this email: email@example.com, +49 (0)17693101396 Sofia of the German PhilinCon-Team,
firstname.lastname@example.org, +63-(0)9123236859; Rhea Santillan, Philippine PhilinCon
| Food |
The food costs (= full board fee) are 500 Peso for at least 3 meals a day, so really cheap. Our station staff = caretakers of the birds in rehab will cook for you. If you want, you can cook as well. We have two cookers powered by gas. Porter will bring every 2-3 days new food.
The food is Filipino-style: rice, noodles, vegetables, canned fish and meat, some fresh chicken and little pork, not much beef. We must inform especially the Germans: Filipinos do not eat bread and only few potatoes.
Mealtime changes can be made accordingly to your needs and wishes. If you intend to miss the usual mealtime just inform our staff so they don’t have to wait for you, but don’t worry: food is always available.
Vegetarians and vegans: plant-based foods are possible for a small raise food costs (~50 Peso), due to the high price for veggies and higher transportation costs.
If you have questions or special requests, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to accommodate all your wishes.
| Your way to us |
The best time to enjoy the rainforest is during the dry season, i.e. between January and June.
To ascend our station, you have to be physically fit or trained. The ascend will take around 4 – 6 hours and can be physically difficult. You will walk through creeks and riverbeds, walk on difficult terrain, and climb occasionally. At the same time, you will see beautiful vegetation, waterfalls, landscapes, fungi, and animals on your way. After your arrival at the station you can rest and eat tasty traditional filipino foods with the others while enjoying the great rainforest view from the window.
Fly to the Philippines, fly to the Island Panay. Get to Pandan in Antique (there is 2 Pandans). From there Rhea, our organizer will take care of you. You will be brought to the ascending point, from where you will walk with your guide and maybe your friends or other guests to the station.
To get to our station you will have to fly to the capital of the Philippines, Manila and take a flight from there to Kalibo or Caticlan. Sometimes a direct flight is possible to Kalibo or Caticlan. Kalibo is the provincial capital of Aklan. Find your way from the Kalibo Airport to the Kalibo-Busstation. On the way you can stop at a bank to pick up cash from an ATM.
Get off the Bus at Pandan People’s Park or Bus Terminal. Once in Pandan, make your way to the Dioso Library, our head office in the Philippines. It is a large, bright blue building behind tall gates, clearly marked with our PhilinCon sign. The PhilinCon office is in an out-building to the right once you enter the gates. The office is 15-20 minutes’ walk from the bus terminal. We recommend taking a tricycle, which will cost less than 50 PHP. There you can pay, talk trough last details, buy organic shampoo if you need and leave bags you don`t need at the station.
The next or on a previously agreed day you will be picked up by tricycle at around 06:30 to drive to Bulanao (300-500 PHP ), where you will sign in and pay an environmental fee of 100 PHP. From there, you will start the ascent to the station (4-6 hours).
For ascending to and descending from the station, you may hire a porter to carry your luggage. This will be organized at our head office in Pandan. Please remember that your luggage must not be heavier than 18kg, and please bring a backpack, not a suitcase. Bags you don`t need, you can leave at our office. You will also need a guide to show you the way to the station. The price is 275 PHP per guide/porter. You or your group need one guide and as many porters as you have luggage.
Usually tips are given to porters and guides for hikes longer than three hours.
Please find below an estimated calculation of your costs to arrive at our station from Caticlan or Kalibo airport. The prices depend on the number of people you are traveling with. Please note, that the prices are just for orientation purpose and cannot be handled as fixed prices.
Rough overview of other costs
Price in PHP
Tricycle from airport to the bus terminal in Caticlan / Kalibo
Bus ticket from Caticlan / Kalibo to Pandan
60 – 70
Tricycle from bus terminal in Pandan to head office of PhilinCon
30 – 50
Night in Pandan, Antique e.g. at Pandan Beach Resort or at Rovell’s
Tricycle from Pandan to Bulanao
300 – 500
1 porter and 1 guide to the station
275 + 275 = 550 + maybe tips
Fees for Station, Full Board (+our Ecofee)
Look in table above
Environmental fee at Bulanao to enter the Park
Daytrips with extra Guide
Please remember that all the costs listed above must be paid in cash and the last cash machine before arriving at our station is in Kalibo or Caticlan. Other options are, to convert cash at your home country before you leave or at Manila airport. You could also use MoneyGram or Western Union but be aware of banking fees.
| Your unique experience |
If you are happy with the information provided by your guide, you are welcome to leave a tip.
All these experiences are free of charge.
Relaxing at the Waterfall
Together with our staff you have the opportunity to walk to a waterfall. Either you can take some food from the station or your guide find some fresh supplies on the way to the waterfall. The waterfall is only a few meters high but feels very nice. Let the falling water massage you, chill down in the lagoon and enjoy a refreshing bath. You won`t regret.
Before lunch, one way 30 minutes
Put hiking shoes and put mosquito spray on. Take your swimming suit with you as well as a towel and a bottle of water.
Meet & Greet our birds
Twice a day at 09:00 and 14:30 our staff feed banana, papaya and collected wild fruits to our birds in the sanctuary. Additionally, every 3 days they feed them crickets for protein balance.
You can help our staff collecting and preparing the food. Our staff will take this opportunity to tell you more about the birds and their behaviour.
Until the chicks are fledged the male Hornbill collects the fruits and give it immediately to his partner sitting on the nest, although there is no breeding in the sanctuary, this behaviour can still be observed.
1 hour, in the afternoon
Please be aware that these birds are no pets, they are wild animals. So, we recommend wearing long sleeves in order to avoid picking.
A night walk in the rainforest
During your stay at our station you can experience the rainforest by night. Our staff will guide you and explain on the way. Go on a look out for amazing night-active animals, i.e. butterflies, fireflies. Listen to the sound of the dark rainforest: to the tu-whit tu-whoo of an owl and the croak of the frogs. This walk is only for the brave ones amongst you, as you see in the reflection of your lamp the MANY eyes of the inhabitants of the rainforest surrounding you.
1 to 2 hours, after sunset at around 18.30
We recommend wearing good shoes and a headlamp, maybe take your raincoat.
Birding in the rainforest
A guided walk with our staff though the rainforest. Learn more about the birds you will encounter. It´s about seeing the birds, but also hearing and recognising them.
Our guides know the best places to see a variety of birds. Remember to stop often and listen to your surroundings, you might hear and see birds of prey, hornbills, owls, whipbirds and many more.
If you are lucky you might get the chance to spot the shyest bird in the world, the negros bleeding-heart pigeon (Gallicolumba keayi). Keep your eyes open and your senses sharp!
1,5 to 2 hours, in the morning or late afternoon
Binoculars and your bird book if you have, bottle of water, raincoat, Water-resistant shoes. We recommend long pants and a shirt. When walking in the afternoon, we recommend a head lamp.
Bird books are available at our station for studying after the walk.
- Smoking only outside the station
- Dispose your garbage at the station, not into nature
- Don’t take anything from nature, but pictures. Don’t leave anything behind, but memories.
- Respect wildlife
- Keep a distance to wildlife, do not disturb it in his natural behaviour, but be carefully curious and fascinated
- Do not feed wildlife or leave food or scraps lying around
- Use electricity wisely
- Don’t leave without a guide/station staff and proper equipment, or at least please inform our station staff before leaving the station for a walk. Never leave the station alone if you are out for several hours. Inform the staff if you intend to come back later than the usual/agreed mealtimes.
- Do not disturb or pollute lakes, streams, rivers or other water bodies
- Do not take souvenirs, whether man-made, biological or geological items, including feathers, bones, eggs, vegetation, soil, rocks, meteorites or fossils. Please don’t buy any illegal souvenirs in Boracay like monkey skulls.
- Water permeable sports shoes are good for hiking to the Station (you will cross a few creeks/rivers, so your feet might get wet)
- Thongs are a nice-to-have for and around the station and the shower.
- Hiking Shoes are good for the rainforest, but not a necessity.
- Synthetic, fast drying clothing is recommended (but it may get stained from plants saps etc.)
- We recommend using old clothing, as they can get dirty during your stay. Please don’t buy new clothes.
- Short pants and one pair of long pants
- Jumper, after sunset at 18 pm and during rainfalls, it can get chilly ~15°C
- Raincoat or Poncho as nice-to-have, for walking in rain (to the toilet)
- Non-toxic shampoo, which you can buy in the internet, in the shops or at our office.
- Sleeping bag, sleeping or air mattress, mosquito net
- Travelling medicine
- You don’t need sunscreen
For a longer stay
- Headlamp with red light for fewer bugs and if possible, but not necessarily a second lamp. It is dark after around 7 pm.
- Towel, you could buy it in Pandan
- Hammock, if you want to relax and experience the peace and joy of the rainforest
- Anti-mosquito spray or cream, you can also buy it in Pandan. Station provides mosquito coils, but usually that is not a big issue. Good insect repellent also helps against leeches which are usually not a problem.
- Rubber boots are a nice to have if you want to stay longer. Usually there is one large pair at the station.
- Waterproof bags for phone, and other electricals, so the humidity impact is reduced. Silica gel and an airtight box is recommended for keeping technical gear dry during longer stays.
- You are welcome to donate your equipment if you don’t need it anymore. The staff or rangers are always happy.
In the below link, you find a list with all countrymen, which can stay up to 30 days without a visa in the Philippines. If you want to stay longer, please contact your embassy.
Germans can stay without a visa up to 30 days. If you want to stay up to 59 days, you need to request a visa in the Philippines, e.g. on Boracay or Kalibo. Therefore, you need:
- Your original passport
- The filled-out form and a photo
- Copy of both your flight tickets
- ~27€ cash in cash (price April 2020)
- A prepaid reply envelope for 3,95€ (price April 2020)
For more information please see the link: http://philippine-embassy.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Touristenvisum-PHL.pdf
Please make sure you have a travel insurance and a legal liability insurance before you arrive. We cannot be held liable for accidents, illness, damaging of equipment or theft during your stay.
Here are some recommendations for activities to do in the area. We cannot be held accounted.
Things to do at our Station:
- Explore the rainforest, its cool animals, plants and funghi presenting themselves or camouflaging
- Relax in the hammock apart of civilasation and stress. Enjoy the sounds of nature while reading a book, drawing or napping – pure stress release
- Be amazed by the giant trees that grow over 60 metres high
- Explore the view of our platform once its fixed
- Relax at the waterfall
- Meet our birds and prepare food for them
- Do a night walk through the jungle – see things in another light
- Do some birdwatching and see amazing funny-sounding birds
Things around Pandan:
- Our Mag-aba Rehab Station
- Malumpati Cold Spring Pool
- Phaidon Beach Resort
- Dioso Farm
- Beaches, Ocean and great views
- Fiesta Pandan Party in April
Things on Panay:
- Boracay – but please don’t buy illegal souvenirs (animal products or tropical wood)
- Gigantes Island
- Sicogon Island
- Tibiao canooing & Hot tub
“March is usually a busy migration month for twitchers waiting for rarities to twitch […] My first view was just the red slit of ” blood” of the bird and […] and the bird responded!! Imagine that! I’m not joking when I say my heart went crazy beating fast cuz the bird is just meters from us!! Well after searching for three days, this moment is the moment to see what we hiked long hours for! We got really lucky to…”
“With target number one seen, next leg of the trip is to see Walden’s Hornbill. This Hornbill is critically endangered status such…”
Report 2016 by Charles Davies
“Sibaliw Research Station is bang in the middle of the Northwest Panay Peninsula National Park, probably the largest lowland forest patch on Negros and Panay (http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sitefactsheet.php?id=97600). It’s the place for Negros Bleeding-heart and some other difficult Western Visayan endemics. I’d visited…”
Report 2013 by Tim Mitzen
“This was my first trip to the Philippines. I spent nearly two months (not all of which was birding) collecting the endemics of these islands and visiting many of the traditional birding sites on Luzon, Mindanao, Palawan and the Visayas. […] Shortly after my arrival to the station I went on a late afternoon hike with the guide and after about an hour had a glimpse of a Bleeding-Heart running off through the forest followed by great views of one…”
Report 2011 by Christian Perez
“The forest around the Bulanao River near the Station is one of the best lowland primary forest I have seen in the country, with large Almaciga, Red Lawaan, White Lawaan and many other large trees […] The birding highlights were the many Visayan Tarictic, a common bird in the area; a brief glimpse of a White-throated Jungle-Flycatcher; good views of a White-vented Whistler; and a pair of Pink-bellied Imperial-Pigeon in the scope […] The Walden’s Hornbill can be seen in the mountains of Sebaste, Antique, just south of Pandan. The local contacts in Pandan can arrange trips there. They can also arrange hikes to Mount Madja-as to see the Panay Striped-Babbler. The forest is also rich in mammals, reptiles, spiders and insects…”
We are looking forward to welcome you at our Station!