Samar is truly a unique island. It really is different from the rest of the Philippines and some of the things you'll see there, you won't see anywhere else in the country. Each day is a new experience, a new discovery. Most places we'll leave you breathless and you won't spend a moment not being amazed. It's often overlooked by foreigner tourist and they're missing on something. There, I saw some of the most beautiful things I've seen in Asia.
Here are the best things to do in Samar:
1 - Discover Marabut Rock Formations
These strange rock formations off the coast of Marabut are definitively worth a look. Carved over the centuries by the strong wave of the Pacific, the rocks are quite impressive. There's also a couple of white sand beaches on some of the formations.
Most of the rock formations are near Caluwayan Palm Island Beach Resort, there's no need to go all the way to Marabut city. You can rent a boat there for 500 pesos an hour. If you don't want to go through the resort and to reduce the cost, you might want to try negotiating directly with a fisherman in one of the villages nearby.
2 - Explore Sohoton National Park
Sohoton National Park truly is a gem. Famous for its cave system and natural bridge, the park is a must-see in Samar. You'll start by taking a boat to get to the cave, the cave has 3 chambers and is really easy to visit. The guides are really knowledgeable and speak good English. After the visit, you'll take a kayak to get to the natural bridge. You'll pass some rapids on the way but the water is really shallow, you'll have to walk through it. The views are really amazing and the bridge is just impressive.
It is called Sohoton because, during the American invasion, locals used to drop rocks from the top of the cliff on soldiers trying to travel on the river.
You'll need to stop at the tourism office in Basey before heading to the park.
3 - Enjoy the beach on Divinubo Island
Divinubo Island, also known as Eastern Samar's hidden paradise, is a piece of heaven. This remote island is slow paced and perfect to unwind for a while. The beach there is amazing, bring your tent and some food to spent a great couple of days.
4 - Try Torpedo Boat
The Torpedo Boat Extreme Ride is a "community-based eco-tourism activity promoting environmental conservation and sustainable community livelihoods". A couple of years ago someone had the idea to turn the weird way the locals travel down the rapids into a profitable activity. All the community benefit from this activity. It's a bit similar to rafting and lots of fun.
You can check out their facebook page. The price is about 2000 pesos for up to 5 people.
5 - Explore Samar cave systems
The area is rich in caves, and not the one you can visit easily, the one for real caving adventurer. You'll have to crawl, to get wet and to use ropes most of the time, definitively not for the faint-hearted. Amongst the most popular is Langun Gobingob, in Calbiga, one of the biggest in South-East Asia. The cave has 12 chambers and is 7 km deep. It's also home to blind-crab, many fish species and thousands of fluttering bats. Nearby you can also check out Jiabong cave, easier to explore and Guinogo-an Cave.
Catbologan and Calbayog are the best places to set up a base. The tourism office can help you arrange for a guide and equipment. permits for some of the caves are required. There is currently only one agency that specializes in caving in this area: Trexplore.
6 - Get amazed in Biri
Biri is famous for its thousand years old rock formations, carved by the strong waves of the Pacific ocean. The rocks are spectacular and the scenery breathtaking. It is truly amazing, a one of the kind destination. You won't see anything like it in the Philippines, it's unique. I could have stayed there all day and just look at it. A must see if you have the opportunity.
There are two main areas where you can see the rock formations, only half a mile from the village. The first one you'll visit is the Bel-at rock formation, around it, are Puhunan, Macadlaw, and Caranas. The path leading to the rocks start with a 500 meters boardwalk through the mangrove then you'll be able to go around and up Bel-at. On the way back you can enjoy a dip in the crystal clear natural pool.
Next, you'll visit Magasang and Magsapad rock formations. You'll cross the sea at low tide, when all the black rocks appear and climb up Magasang, the view, the color, the rock, everything is amazing.