Samar Travel Guide
Though it doesn’t often ring a bell even with those well-acquainted with the Philippines, Samar province is well worth going off the beaten path to discover. With a national park which draws some comparisons with El Nido to numerous high-quality caves, you’ll find plenty to see and do during your visit here.
While many other locations in the Philippines are known for their beaches, Samar is known for its subterranean passages. Discover the best of these and other amazing natural attractions by making time in your schedule to explore Sohoton Cove National Park.
Located within an hour boat ride from the popular tourist island of Siargao, start your time here by sailing into the stunning Titikan Lagoon. Powder blue in colour and surrounded by lush vegetation, you won’t want to return to the main boat when the time comes to continue on with your tour.
Next, you’ll head to the Crystal Cave – while there are plenty of stalactites and stalagmites to scope out here, you may want to reconsider doing this part of the tour if you are claustrophobic, as there are many tight squeezes throughout.
However, Hagukan Cave is much more accessible, as this flooded cave is not only larger, but the bioluminescence within makes it a fun cavern to swim through.
Still haven’t had your fill of the underworld of Samar? Make the Calbiga Caves your next stop. This one is no lightweight – with 900 square kilometres of discovered passages, it is the largest cave system in the Philippines, second largest in Asia, and the third largest karst cave in the world.
Unlike the tight chambers in the caves previously mentioned, some of the rooms in this cavern have ceilings which make it feel like you are in a stadium. The size of the stalactites and stalagmites are epic as well, so start working on those night/dark photography skills.
Geology geeks and lovers of beautiful rock formations will not want to miss a trip to Biri Island during their time in Samar. Many of the natural works of art you’ll find here were carved by the powerful tides generated by waters from the vast Pacific Ocean into the San Bernardino Strait.
Once you lay eyes on them, how they were formed will suddenly make sense – from sandstone headlands jutting up diagonally at a 45-degree angle, to tougher, more jagged limestone formations, you will be amazed what Mother Nature is capable of creating.
There is more to do here than just look at rocks, though – with a number of picturesque lagoons, you’ll be able to swim and snorkel amidst the beauty that will surround you here.
Cool off on a hot day in Samar by taking a dip in the gorge of beautiful Tarangban Falls. Defined by the spider web of flowing water which flows over this cliff face, it is an Instagram-worthy sight, so don’t neglect to bring your camera or phone – just be sure they are adequately protected from the mist this chute throws off.
Learn more about the history of this region in the Eastern Visayas by spending time in the Samar Archeological Museum. Here, you’ll find ancient burial jars, log coffins, dishes & bowls, and old religious implements dating back to the arrival of Catholicism in the Philippines.
With an altar, old chalices, and other artifacts dating back to the 14th century, you’ll be glad you spent an hour experiencing the only museum in this sparsely populated Filipino province.
Still not done spelunking? Fit in Lobo Cave if you have time during your trip to Samar. Untrammelled by mass tourism, many of the spectacular formations within are in excellent shape.
While there are some tight spaces, many rooms have more than enough space to allow you to explore in comfort – in one, a pool has formed due to rainfall which has trickled through the roof above. Jump in to cool off, and you’ll have an awesome story to tell your friends back home.
Waterfall fans will want to make room in their Samar travel itinerary for Lulugayan Falls. A great place to cool off after a trek in the Calbiga Caves, this two-tiered beauty won’t set records for height, but its wide orientation and the aquamarine water in its gorge makes it a place you won’t want to miss, especially on a hot day.
While Samar is not known for its beaches, there are a couple places we can recommend if you feel like going for a dip in the ocean. Onay Beach is the first of these, as its brilliant golden sand, sultry palms, and cliffs suitable for adrenaline seekers make this spot a great place to relax after several days mucking about in the caves of Samar.
Malajog Beach is a popular one with the locals. Though not as striking due to its grey sand, there are numerous beach huts you can rent for a few dollars, and with a zip line, those with a taste for adventure will have their desires satiated.