Are you ready to go on another adventure?
Ever wondered what it feels like to go to a place barely flocked by tourists? I haven’t really thought about this question before until I got to experience working in Eastern Samar.
Eastern Samar is just one of the provinces in the Visayas Region of the Philippines that is a little bit behind when it comes to infrastructures and economic development. Well, some municipalities are way behind than others. But I think this is a very common scenario, especially in a developing country. Right?
Map of Eastern Samar
The province is about three hours away from Tacloban City, Leyte by van. It is composed of ten municipalities and one city (Borongan). Most of them are coastal municipalities so you really get a good view of the Pacific Ocean.
Although the province isn’t as developed as its neighbors, it is very abundant when it comes to natural beauty. I mean, guys, you should check out their beaches. Just. Breathtaking.
A road trip or camping trip to these places would be nice especially when you have your own transportation since you can just beach hop all the way from Borongan (they have a surfing camp there) to Guiuan (THE surfing heaven of the province). Getting to know the locals, their culture and local food wouldn’t hurt, too.
Panay beaches in Hernani, Eastern Samar
One of my favorite places to visit just because of the many rock pool formations. I didn’t mind spending the rest of my day here and still don’t, especially on our days off because I just can’t simply get enough of this place. I would always pass by this small piece of paradise on my way to interview the locals or when I have meetings to attend with the community leaders.
Getting to Panay is very easy since this coastal barangay is just along the highway so you can see it pretty quickly when you travel to Borongan.
Jagnaya beaches in Salcedo, Eastern Samar
This is one of those hidden paradises in the province. The place is in a secluded part of Salcedo but going there is easy especially if you have your own transportation. It is a little more than 30 minutes away from the town center but definitely worth the visit. Just like Panay beach, Jagnaya also has many rock pool formations. This is very common especially in coastal areas in Eastern Samar. Although this is a very common sight in the province, one can’t help but fall for it over and over again. You can also reach Jagnaya beach by taking a small boat from General MacArthur if it’s more convenient for you.
Linaw Cave in Sulangan, Guiuan, Eastern Samar
Visiting the famous Linaw cave in Sulangan was one of the best experiences that I had in the province. The place is just so hauntingly beautiful and really mysterious. Going there can be tricky though because there are three different entrance to the cave. So always ask for a guide (anyone from the local really would be willing to take you there). We had a bunch of kids who excitedly agreed to be our guide and they took us to this tricky entrance but the safest as we’d been told.
The rocks are sometimes slippery and some of them have really sharp edges SO being very extra careful in getting in and out of the cave is HIGHLY recommended. It is best to wear water shoes to avoid losing your slippers in the cave and also to protect your feet from getting hurt because of the sharp edges of the rocks. The big rock pool isn’t very far and when you reach it you’ll notice there are stalagmites under the water that you can stand on. It looks scary and beautiful at the same time.
Tips when traveling to Eastern Samar
There are actually a lot more beaches to visit in the province but these are just a few of the places we’ve visited in Eastern Samar. And we didn’t really mind that these places aren’t that famous among tourists (although it would really help the tourism industry of E.S.) but the experience of enjoying these places all to ourselves was simply awesome.
Be a responsible tourist. The sad part I think during one of our visits in one of these places is that some visitors who came before us left their garbage everywhere around the rock pools so we took it upon ourselves to clean the place up as best as we could before we left the place. Yes, yes. Sad. Truly. So do your part, don’t throw your garbage anywhere. Your garbage should leave with you or dispose of it properly. Seriously.
Get a local guide. Aside from beaches, there are rivers and falls that tourists could also enjoy, just make sure to get in contact with the local tourism office and get yourself a local guide. Getting a local guide is the best advice I could give to anyone especially for those who want to visit Linaw cave, in particular.
Bring enough supplies with you. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the province isn’t as developed unlike its neighboring provinces in the region. So you can’t really expect to see banks, hotels or huge department stores in the area (except if you go to Borongan or Guiuan). Keep in mind to bring enough supplies with you when you travel to Eastern Samar. Although you can replenish your supplies if and when you go to Borongan or Guiuan.
Prepare for a bumpy ride. Another case I’d like to point out is that most highways are under construction especially from Borongan to Guiuan so expect a bumpy trip. Other than that, just enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer and make sure to raise awareness in whatever way you can so that people will start appreciating nature’s beauty and pay more attention to taking care of it.