Eastern Samar Travel Guide

Overview of Eastern Samar

Eastern Samar is fast becoming the surfing capital of the entire Visayas Region. Its eastern seaboard from the northeastern municipalities to the southernmost tip the province, particularly Calicoan Island in Guiuan, are dotted with surf camps of various sizes—a popular surfing destination for beginners and hardcore buffs. Other known surf destinations are Borongan City, Taft, and Hernani.

The Homonhon Island off the coast of Guiuan, the province's southernmost municipality, bordering both the Pacific Ocean and the Leyte Gulf, is famed in Philippine history as the location of Magellan's first landing. By itself, Guiuan is a small town made up of a number of Island-Barangays, each of which has a unique history.

St. Anthony of Padua's pilgrimage destination is in Sulangan; Russian refugees were housed on Tubabao Island in the 1930s and Eastern Visayas' surfing epicenter is Calico-an Island.Going north will take you to Borongan City, the provincial capital with a long literary and culinary history. The largest preserved rainforest in the nation, the Borongan-Llorente Closed-canopy Forest, presents a difficult climb.

The Philippine Eagle may be found in Taft, where a sanctuary that serves as a wildlife facility for bird studies serves as its natural habitat. One can visit Balangiga, the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the Filipino-American War, in the villages that face the Leyte Gulf. The spectacular Amandaraga Falls, the tallest waterfall in the nation, and its four sister falls are located in the nearby town of Lawaan.

Where to Go


Guiuan is a coastal town that offers beautiful beaches and is known for its historical significance. It is where the first Mass in the Philippines was held by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

Sulangan Church

Located in Guiuan, the Church of San Antonio de Padua in Sulangan is one of the oldest and most historic churches in the country.

Calicoan Island

A popular destination for surfers, Calicoan Island has pristine beaches and is known for its surfing spots. Guiuan is the gateway to Calicoan.

Homonhon Island

This island is where Ferdinand Magellan first landed in the Philippines. It has a historical marker commemorating the event.

Divinubo Island

A small island near Borongan, the capital of Eastern Samar, Divinubo offers a serene escape with white sand beaches.

Lulugayan Falls

Located in the town of Calbiga, Lulugayan Falls is a scenic waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. It's a great spot for nature lovers.

Balangiga Church and Belfry

Visit the town of Balangiga to see the historic Balangiga Church and Belfry. The church is known for its historical significance during the Philippine-American War.

Borongan City

Explore the capital city of Eastern Samar, Borongan. Visit the St. Joseph Cathedral and the town plaza. You can also try local delicacies and experience the local culture.

Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge Park

Although primarily located in Samar, Sohoton Caves can be accessed from Eastern Samar. The park features stunning caves, rock formations, and a natural bridge.

Divinubo Island

A small island near Borongan, Divinubo offers white sand beaches, clear waters, and a peaceful atmosphere.

What to Do

Beach Hopping and Water Activities

Explore the beautiful beaches of Calicoan Island and Divinubo Island, and engage in water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving in the crystal-clear waters.


Calicoan Island is known for its surfing spots. If you're a surfing enthusiast or a beginner, consider catching some waves.

Historical and Cultural Tours

Visit Guiuan to learn about its historical significance as the site of the first Mass in the Philippines, and explore the Balangiga Church and Belfry, which hold historical importance dating back to the Philippine-American War.

Hiking and Nature Exploration

Hike to Lulugayan Falls in Calbiga to enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding nature, and explore the caves and rock formations at Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge Park.

Island Hopping

Consider arranging an island-hopping tour to explore nearby islands, each with its own unique charm and attractions.

Local Cuisine Exploration

Try local delicacies in Borongan City and other towns. Sample regional dishes to get a taste of Eastern Samar's culinary offerings.

Religious and Historical Sites

Visit the St. Joseph Cathedral in Borongan and attend a mass to experience the local religious and cultural practices.

Community Immersion

Interact with the locals and immerse yourself in the community. Learn about their traditions, customs, and way of life.

Bird Watching

Eastern Samar is known for its diverse bird species. If you're interested in bird watching, bring your binoculars and explore the natural habitats.

Fishing and Seafood Tasting

Engage in fishing activities with the locals, or simply enjoy the freshest seafood available in the area.

When is the Best Time to Visit Eastern Samar

The best time to visit Eastern Samar is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. This period is characterised by generally clear skies, less rainfall, and more predictable weather conditions. The months of December to February are considered the peak of the dry season, offering travellers ideal conditions for beach activities, exploration, and outdoor adventures.

The wet season in Eastern Samar typically occurs from May to October, bringing increased rainfall. Occasionally, there may be typhoons affecting the area. While this means travellers might encounter some rain, it also contributes to the lush green landscapes, creating a visually appealing and vibrant environment during this time.

How to Get to Eastern Samar

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Eastern Samar is by air. The nearest airport is the Borongan Airport (IATA: BPR), located in Borongan City. Airlines operate domestic flights to and from Borongan Airport, connecting it to major airports in the Philippines.

By Sea

Eastern Samar is accessible by sea, and you can take a ferry or boat from various ports in the Philippines. Tacloban City in Leyte, which is nearby, serves as a major gateway. From Tacloban, you can take a ferry to Guiuan or other coastal towns in Eastern Samar.

By Car / Bus

If you prefer overland travel, travellers can reach Eastern Samar by bus or private car. Buses operate from major cities like Manila and Cebu to Borongan City, the provincial capital.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Getting around Eastern Samar by taxi or ride-sharing services may be more common in urban areas like Borongan City.

Taxis may be available at transportation hubs, popular tourist spots, or travellers can book them through ride-sharing apps if available.

By Car / Motorcycle

For greater flexibility in exploring Eastern Samar, renting a car or motorcycle is a convenient option. Car rental services are available in major cities and may offer a range of vehicles, including self-drive options. Motorcycle rentals are also a popular choice for shorter distances and more adventurous travellers.

What to Eat

Local Food

Indulge in the rich local food of Eastern Samar, and here are some notable restaurants like Pasqualino's Ristorante, Mango Lounge & Estates, Cafe Bon, and Rawis Resort and Restaurant.

Fresh Seafood

Along the coastal towns and beachside areas, travelers can find numerous seafood restaurants and eateries offering a wide array of ocean-fresh delights. Establishments like Misty Blue Boathouse, Kusina Ni Paring, Francine's Grill, and Quatogz Restobar.

Western Food

In Eastern Samar, several restaurants offer a delectable array of Western cuisine, providing a delightful contrast to the local flavours. Establishments like Pasqualino's Ristorante, Rawis Resort & Restaurant, and Rutchel's Eatery.

What to Buy

When in Eastern Samar, consider purchasing local crafts like woven items and traditional fabrics. Travellers are recommeded to try these unique treats such as 'binagol' and chocolate rice cakes. By bringing home these souvenirs, you're not just getting cool stuff but also contributing to preserving the local culture.

Where to Stay

Eastern Samar offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. In Borongan City, the provincial capital, you can find hotels, inns, and guesthouses that provide comfortable stays with easy access to local amenities.

Coastal areas, such as Guiuan and Calicoan Island, offer beach resorts where travellers can enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. Whether you prefer a beachfront resort, a cosy inn, or a hotel in the city centre, Eastern Samar has options to make your stay enjoyable.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Eastern Samar, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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