Eastern Samar has a different climate than the rest of the
Philippines. Eastern Samar, being located on the Pacific Ocean experiences
greater rainfall throughout the year without the hot, dry season from
March to May like most of the Philippines. Most of the rainfall occurs
from November to February. There is no real dry season, the best sunny
weather found from April to July but almost daily includes some rain so
A trip to Eastern Samar usually will start
in Borongan, the provincial capital of the province.
From Borongan it is quite easy to reach
any town along the coast, there are either buses or jeepneys. Only a
trip to Arteche could be a bit difficult since the road from Oras northwards
is not finished yet. All buses and jeepneys leave from the market in
Borongan. Only the very early buses leave from the "highway"
in front of the church. It is recommended to leave quite early as the
numbers of jeepneys leaving Borongan are going down sharply later in
the day. If you intend to go back to Borongan at the same day make sure
you ask about the last trip back to Borongan.
Going inland is more difficult, some towns and villages can only be
reached by boat like Maslog and
Jipapad. It also requires an adventurous spirit and a willingness to
improvise, if needed.
Short distances are done by multicabs (tiny pick-up busses like the
indonesian bemos) and tricycles. Tricycles and multicabs have always
a flat fare per person, depending on the distance. Tricycles in Borongan
cost P 7 per trip and person, regardless of distance. If you are not
sure about the fare ask other passengers before agreeing to "special
trip" fare which is often overpriced.
Sulat, San Julian and Maydolong can be reached by multicab or
jeepney. You will be faster with the multicab.
The beaches of Cabong (P 8.5) und Lalawigan (P 10)
can easily be reached by tricycle. They leave from the crossing at the
North of Borongan
Arteche and San Policarpo: Take a bus
or jeepney to Oras (about 2 1/2 hrs, P 100). From here you probably
need to hire a motorbike, they take usually two passengers, sometimes
even three. There might be also a jeepney from Oras, but don't count
on it. There is one direct bus from Borongan to Arteche and one to San
Policarpo leaving in the morning. Departure times may differ, so ask
around a day before. From Arteche you could proceed to Northern Samars
town Lapinig by bangka or by motorbike (P 100, Rough road).
Can Avid, Taft: There are quite a lot of busses
to Oras (2 1/2 hours, P 100), Dolores (2 hours, P 75), Can Avid (1 1/2
hours) and Taft (1 hour, P 45). The last trip directly to Oras leaves
around 2 PM to 3 PM, the same applies for the trip back to Borongan.
Going inland north
of Taft: The following places you can only reach by boat. Jipapad
can be reached from Oras, boats to Maslog
go from Dolores and to Can Ilay you can
go from Can Avid. The boats always leave from the jetty next to the
South of Borongan
Jeepneys leave from the market in Borongan (2 1/2 to 3 1/2
hours). The last trip back to Borongan is about 2 PM! The fare for going
to Guiuan is about P 100.
The best way is to take a jeepney to Guiuan, get off at the
junction near Quinapundan and wait for a jeepney or bus from Guiuan
to Tacloban (or Basey). The trip can take some time, depending on the
waiting time at Quinapundan it can take up to 5 hours. If you intend
to go back to Borongan at the same day, make sure to arrive at the junction
(Quinapundan) not later than 2 PM. If you miss the last jeepney to Borongan,
you might have a hard time to get back to Borongan, passing minibusses
(coming from Tacloban) are mostly full.
Gen. Mac Arthur,
Hernani, Llorente: Take any Guiuan - bound jeepney, there are
also some jeepneys going only as far as Gen. Mac Arthur (2 1/2 hours),
Hernani (2 hours, P 60)) oder Llorente (1 1/2 hours, P 40). This jeepneys
might also still run later in the afternoon.
Accomodation, Food, Entertainment
Commercial accomodation is not plentiful
in Eastern Samar. The best places you'll find in the bigger towns. Simple
meals are available in Carenderias and Kitchenettes. Restaurants open
and close, so it is difficult to recommend some.
Domsowir Hotel & Restaurant, Real Street (Tel. 055 - 2612133), in
the center of town. They also serve quite good meals for reasonable
prices. Rooms go for 175,-- up to 750,-- Peso.
Borongan Pensionne, National Highway (Tel. 055 - 2612109). P 200 up
Dona Vicente Hotel (Tel. 055 - 2613585/261), next to the "Uptown
Mall" in Brgy. Songco. Rooms start at P 900 up to 3000.
Pebbles and Sand (Tel. 055 - 261-3533/ 560-9104), Brgy. Bato, cottages
are available for about P 950.
Villa Brozas (Tel. 055 - 261-3419), Brgy. Bato, rooms start at P 1250,--
Bato Surf Camp (Tel. 09159913464 or 09294638791), Brgy. Bato, rates
for cottages start at P 350.
Pirates Cove Surf and Beach Resort, located at Brgy. Rawis, rates start
at P 1000.
There are some more places to stay but they are pretty basic.
It is possible to stay overnight on Divinubo Island. There are two pleasant
Cottages for rent (each P 700,--) mieten. As there are no restaurants
or Carenderias on the island you need to organize your provision with
the locals what actually is no problem. Contact Mr. Eddie Ang from "Borongan
Glass": (055) 560 9433 or 09282834746. To get to Divinubo look
Opposite of the Domsowir Hotel is a small
nightmarket, the shops sell mostly BBQ, they are not allowed to serve
Along the "beachpromenade" (called
Baybay) you can find some bars, quite a lot of them have Karaoke. Some
are also "Girlie bars".
(Download map of Borongan as JPEG
Rates for accomodation in Llorente are a bit unrealistic, however, there
are so far two places to stay:
Blue Lagoon, (Tel. 09186275384)
9 km south of Llorente, in Brgy. Bacayawan lies the beautiful Bacayaw
The Bacayaw Beach
resort (Tel. 09287014351 & 09219967244) offers basic accomodation.
There is no restaurant, but if ordered in advance, food could be arranged.
Gen. Mac Arthur
A good place to stay in Mac Arthur is the friendly Dado Lodge, Tel.
Nearby you can find another place called 4M Lodge, Tel. 09156215428.
Guiuan Pensionne House, Lugay Street.
Khaishra Hotel, Lugay Street, Tel. 055 271 2376, Fax 055 271 2294.
The Tanghay View Lodge is a good place to stay, take a pedicab to get
there (P 5). There is also a good restaurant with a nice view (Tel.
09176270226, Fax 055 - 582 0251, email: email@example.com).
They also offer Internet.
(Download map of Guiuan as JPEG
There are already some expensive resorts at Calicoan Island.
Crossroads Hotel, Taboc, Taft. This hotel is located at the junction
going to Bagacay.
Beach Resort Dankalan, 800,-- to
In other places you might find simple lodging houses.
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What to do
(Note: For some trips we recommend
to look for a guide who knows the area. As there are no professional
guides we could help you finding somebody. Just send us an e-mail:
Borongan has no special sights like ruins or alike but the town itself
is a very pleasant place. The center lies around the church (even
called "cathedral"). The place in front of church is a popular
meeting point, in the early afternoon it is a nice place to sit under
one of the trees to read the newspaper or just to watch the life around
Borongan has a beautiful beach, almost 2 km long which makes it special
since few, if any, Philippine towns or cities have beaches within
walking distance. This area is called "Baybay", which means
beach. Along the beach stretches a kind of promenade, you can find
a couple of simple bars and pubs, partly with karaoke. The Loom river
is responsible for a strong current, so swimmers should be careful.
Actually, the beach of Cabong is the better choice for swimming. Tricycles
go there (see Getting around).
During the european winter there is some good surfing possible.
(Download map of Borongan surroundings as JPEG
Anyone interested in trekking needs to be a bit adventurous
minded and be able to organize trips on their own. There is very little
orgainized tourism infrastructure so be prepared that the locals might
find your idea quite funny to venture into the forests without real
need to do so. Nobody here would walk somewhere if it is not absolutely
A nice 3 hour trek brings you to the Pangi waterfall approximately
17 km west of Borongan. The first 10 km are done by tricycle to Barangay
San Gabriel. From here you follow the river. To get to the waterfalls
it will take you 2 – 3 hours, depending on your speed. You shouldn’t
do this trip in the rainy season as the waterlevel of the river might
be too high. It makes sense to look for a guide but there are no professional
ones so just ask the local people to find somebody who knows the area
quite well, this should not be a problem. Try it in the Barangays
San Jose or San Gabriel, 7 and 10 km inland from Borongan. Tricycles
to these Barangays leave from Tarusan street in the center of Borongan
(P10 - P15).
On the way to Pangi Falls you will pass the smaller but nice Kaputian
Waterfall with its natural pool. It is popular with the locals from
San Gabriel and San Jose.
Binalarawan Falls & Habag Falls
To enjoy the beautiful Habag and Binalarawan falls, at least a two-day
visit is recommended. Since there is no commercial accommodation available,
you have to stay overnight in the forest, which certainly gives this
trip a touch of adventure (just ask the friendly locals to arrange
a simple shelter for you). Starting in Siha, a village about five
km west of Borongan (take a tricycle from Tarusan Street), you will
reach Binalarawan Falls after six to seven hours hike (including lunchbreak).
Binalarawan is a small but beautiful waterfall with a natural pool
surrounded by lush forest. The best place to spend the night can be
found about one hour downstream, so leave no later than 4pm to be
sure to reach the place in time before the sun sets. Proceed to Habag
Falls the next morning. At first you have to go downstream for about
an hour. When you meet another river you follow that one upstream
for another hour to reach Habag Falls. Habag is bigger than Binalarawan
and has a beautiful natural pool which is great fun for swimming.
You could spend the night at the waterfall or walk back to Siha, which
takes about four hours, and continue from there by tricycle to Borongan.
Minaligwan Falls is a series of smaller waterfall. The first level
can be reached in an hour from San Gabriel.
Not far from the small town Lawaan on the soutern coast you can visit
the beautiful Amandaraga Waterfall.
It's an easy 45 minutes walk from Gen. Mac Arthur to reach the pleasant
Tingson Waterfall. To find it it's the best to ask in the Dado Lodge
Eastern Samar has some rivers, big enough to do a boat
trip upstream. Some villages and small towns' only access is by taking
a boat upstream. You could simply jump on one of the regular boats
and go back and forth but it is recommended to hire a boat. The people
are not used that somebody tries to rent their boats, so expect that
they will not really have an idea how much to charge. A day trip on
a boat for 5 - 6 passengers could be something about 1000,-- Peso.
The Suribao River is very beautiful and divides the
Municipalities of Borongan and Maydolong. The boats going upstream
leave from Brgy. Camada, close to the highway. Brgy. Camada belongs
still to Borongan. Expect to get wet, as sometimes you will have to
leave the boat if the waterlevel at some of the rapids is low. The
ride to the furthest Barangay of Pinanag – an takes about 2
– 3 hours. Not far from Brgy. Pinanag – an is the beautiful
Islands off Borongan
Just a 45 minutes ride from Borongan are Ando Island,
Monbon Island and Divinubo Island. You can rent a boat in Brgy. Sabang,
expect to pay about 600,-- Peso for the day. You can also hire a boat
on Divinubo Island, contact Tanya Labong. You can visit all three
islands in one day. Regular boats to Ando leave from Brgy. Sabang
and to Divinubo from either Brgy. Cabong or Lalawigan, depending on
the tide. On Ando and Divinubo you can find some Sari Sari stores,
however, it makes sense to bring food and drinks.
Ando Island has a small and friendly village, the white
sand beach on the eastern side of the island is very beautiful and
has a great view of the Pacific ocean.
Divinubo Island has crystal-clear waters, a white sand
beach, a cave and swaying palm trees. There is a somehow damaged coral
reef in front of the beach. A short walk brings you to an old lighthouse,
another pleasant walk brings you to the beatiful pacific side of the
Monbon Island is a tiny island and lies in a marine
sanctuary. On the island are some cottages, it is a good place to
Islands off Taft
From Taft you can organize a trip to a beautiful island
called "Makate island". The island is surrounded by sandy
beaches and mangroves. There are some shelters and a house where you
can also spend the night. You need to bring food and water.
As there is plentiful of coastline you can find a lot
of exiting beaches. The coast is very beautiful between the municipalities
of Maydolong and Llorente. You can find a lot of great and rarely
visited beaches. Especially worth visiting is Bacayaw Beach. Some
more great beaches are located around Guiuan.
Surfing is becoming slowly popular in Eastern Samar.
There are different spots along the Pacific coast. There is already
a local "surf scene". Some local surfers maintain a website
about surfing in Eastern Samar and offer surfing
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Eastern Samar is quite safe, no difference
to other areas in the Visayas. Tourists don't need to worry to get
into any tourist trap like in Manila, Baguio or Cebu. Because of
the small number of tourists visiting Eastern Samar there are few
of the usual petty criminals and scam artists who trick and cheat
tourists everywhere in the world. There is no special threat nor
danger for foreign tourists travelling in Eastern Samar.
Here are some more reminders about trekking:
Don’t bring cellphones or GPS gadgets, do not use or wear
military gear or dress, avoid camouflage dress.
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