Check out these travel destinations on Samar Island. They are just a few of the lesser known natural and scenic spots on the Island. Samar is a big island, and to see it all, you might want to plan to stay for awhile. To borrow a saying from a friend, “Samar… Once you visit, You’ll want Samore!”
Recently, the Samar Department of Tourism has pushed for greater access to some of the islands most natural and scenic wonders. Most of these places were relatively unknown just a few short years ago but because of improvements to access and continued promotion by the department, they are becoming more popular Samar tourist destinations. All together, these destinations are more accessible to the public than ever before and upon visiting, they will certainly make you fall in love with some of Samar’s unspoiled natural beauty.
How To Visit These Awesome Places:
Finding the locations of any of these destinations is easy with Google Maps.
Ginduyanan Cove & Canhugas Nature Park, Hernani, Eastern Samar
From Tacloban City’s New Transport Terminal. Find the bus with the sign board with markings going towards your destination of Hernani. You can also take the Borongan or Llorente bus. When you arrive in Hernani, you will want to get off at the ‘Our Lady of Seven Dolors Catholic Church’ or the ‘Palawan Pawnshop’. From there, you can arrange for local public transportation to the Tourist Information Center at the Canhugas Nature Park. There you will receive further directions on how to visit Ginduyanan Cove. And while you are already there, you might as well check out the Canhugas Nature Park.
Lulugayan Falls, Calbiga, Samar
From Tacloban City’s New Transport Terminal, go to the van terminal and see to it that it has Catbalogan or Calbiga posted on the winshield placard. Inform the driver that you would like to get off just after the Calbiga Bridge. If coming via van from Calbayog City, you would debark just before the bridge). From there you will need to arrange and pay for a habal-habal ride at the Tourism office. It is about a 1 hour habal-habal ride to the falls, longer if road conditions are muddy. The habal driver will drop you off at the trail head and then it is roughly a 740-meter hike to the falls. The trail is well marked and will guide you to the falls. Plan on an easy 20-30 minute hike. Some areas of the trail can be slippery if wet.
Nasarang Falls, Paranas, Samar
From either Tacloban or Calbayog City, you can take a van transport by either Grand Tours, DupTours, D’Turbanada or Van’s Van to Catbalogan. You can jump off here and take a transport to Taft (Eastern Samar) or stay on the van and just inform your driver that your destination is Brgy Buray (Wright), just 15 minutes south of Catbalogan. From there, you can hire a habal-habal transport or motorcabs plying to Brgy. Lokilokon (one motorcab is good for 7 to 8 persons and fare is 20-30, pesos per head). The drop off will be just after Villa Escober where your landmarks are a church and a covered basketball court. At this point, it is easy to ask any local resident for assistance. You might even consider hiring a tour guide, a few children perhaps. From the basketball court, it is an easy 10-15 minute hike through the village and outlying grasslands. The falls are located on the lower Ulog River. This tourist spot is not developed, and there are no cottages. Bring your own water and snacks. And don’t forget to leave WITH your trash!
Ulot River Adventure, Paranas (Wright), Samar
Same directions as Nasarang Falls, and from Buray you will take a tricycle ride to the SIBP (Samar Island Biodiversity Project) Office/Tourist Information Center. Once arrived, your way to Ulot River Adventure is a breeze and just minutes away. The main attraction is the Ulot Torpedo Boat Extreme Ride where you will cruise down the Ulot River – the longest river on Samar Island – in a dug-out motorized boat that has no outriggers and resembles a torpedo. Manned by expert boatmen, you will enjoy a thrilling roller coaster of a ride down this mighty river while enjoying the sights and sounds of one of the Philppines most beautiful rainforests. A worthwhile boating experience.
Sohoton Cave, Basey, Samar
From Tacloban City’s New Transport Terminal, take any transportation going to Basey. Your point of debarkation will be the center of Basey, at the Tourism Office. Because this is a National Park and tour, there is an entrance fee of approximately P1,800 per person, but that includes the Sohoton Cave tour (45 minutes to 1 hour) and a kayak paddling to the Natural Bridge (almost 2 hours). This is a boating, kayaking, sightseeing, trekking and swimming adventure so plan on it taking up a good part of a day to accomplish. Make sure to bring food and plenty of water because there are no vendors in the park near the caves. Also, you might want to bring some dry clothes and slippers because you will get wet on your way to the Natural Bridge tour.
Biri Rock Formation, Northern Samar
From Calbayog City or Catarman, ride a bus or a van going to Allen. From Allen, take a Public Utility Vehicle (Jeepney or Multicab) to Brgy Lavezares. Look for the port of Lavezares and there you find boats that ply the Lavezares to Biri route. There are limited of boats heading to Biri in the morning so you should make it a point to get there early. There are private boats for hire also and will cost you a fully loaded fare (negotiable). Ask the locals where the Tourist Information Center is, and you will have all the information you need. You may want to spend the night on Biri and there are several lodging facilities available that you can find online. It would be safe to make reservations. It is a short hike through shallow waters to get to the rock formations. No vendors are availble so bring plenty of water and snacks.
Tarangban Falls, Calbayog City, Samar
From Calbayog or Allen, your destination will be Brgy. Tinaplacan which is located midway between Calbayog and Allen in Samar Province. From either starting point, you can take a PUJ (Public Utility Jeepney or multicab) to reach Tinaplacan. Once there, look for an arch on the east side of the road labled ‘Welcome to Bangon Falls’ (this site is also known as Bangon-Bugtong Falls). The Tourist Information Center adjoins the newly paved road that heads to the river. Once at the roads end you must hike the trail for about 20-30 minutes to reach the lower falls. Trail is rated medium difficulty (for older folks) and can be slippery when wet. Bring plenty of water and lunch. And remember to pack-out what you pack-in!
For more information about other tourism spots in Samar, please visit the Samar page on the Philippines Department of Tourism site.
Video by: Rocky Fabilane – Published on Jun 6, 2018