5 Spots in Samar That Made it a Summer to Remember

The Chosen Juan looks back at his “Summer in Samar.”

By Dave Agbayani
June 15, 2016


“You are now leaving the island of Luzon.”

I was far away from home, but I couldn’t get more excited when I saw that sign on an arch in Sorsogon before boarding a ferry to Samar. I had never been to Visayas, and I knew that spending a few days there means another new and exciting adventure for me in the warm season—or as I prefer to call it, “Summer in Samar,” which sounds pretty cool, don’t you think?

And by the time “Summer in Samar” was over, to say that I had fun would be an understatement. If you’ve been following my posts, you know how much I love natural wonders. Well, Samar happens to be my kind of wonderland. If you’re into sightseeing, hiking, and other thrilling outdoor activities, allow me to share with you these five spots that certainly made it a summer in Samar to remember.

1. Tarangban Falls (Calbayog City, Samar)
Before you can reach Tarangban Falls, you will need to hike for around 30 minutes. The terrain was okay, but 30 minutes of hiking felt like forever. By the time we got to the falls, we had to catch our breath, not because of the hike, but because of the majesty and grandeur of Tarangban Falls. And as if that wasn’t enough, our guide led me to the top of the falls. It was an additional five to 10 minutes of hiking, but it was worth it as I got to marvel at one of the place’s secrets: a hidden falls. It was wide but much shorter and flows into a natural pool. So this is how it feels like to have a private pool on top of the world.

2. Malajog Ridge (Calbayog City, Samar)
More adventures await you at Malajog Ridge. Trekking there means 588 steps through natural limestone formations and huge and twisted roots of Balete trees. As we approached the top, we cheered each other on, even if our water bottles were almost empty. And at the end of the trail, we were greeted with a glorious view of Daraga Islet, and the sun directly above it. Soon, a zip-line from this point of the ridge to Daraga Islet will be available to the public!

3. Ulot River (Paranas, Samar)
At first glance, Ulot River looks like a peaceful river, which is why torpedo boating didn’t appear appropriate. But we went anyway, thinking that there might be something in store for us soon. As the boat traveled downstream, we were able to feast our eyes on the surroundings, including the kingfishers and egrets that flew around us from time to time. Soon, we realized that we were approaching a waterfall. It was just a quick five-foot fall, but the excitement didn't stop there. Like the beloved novel and film The Hobbit, it’s “There and back again,” which means we need to go against the current for the second half of the tour! It was a bumpy roller coaster ride through rapids and raging water! It was all wet and wild.

4. Sohoton Cave via Golden River (Basey, Samar)
Our trip to Sohoton Cave was enchanting. We had to ride a boat along the Golden River, which supposedly got its name from the yellow blossoms of the Narra trees along its banks. Lucky for us, summer is the season when the blossoms fell from the trees and onto the surface of the water. When we got to the cave, we were greeted by the locals who serenaded us with Waray folk songs. After the warm welcome, we finally went inside, and I felt as if we were transported to another world. This mystical cave was filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites: there were rock formations called Banaue Rice Terraces, Bethlehem, and trinity where people offer rosaries, coins, and prayers. The cave was literally a museum that featured the creations and sculptures of nature itself. You’ll have your imagination running wild while exploring.

5. Natural Bridge (Basey, Samar)
After touring Sohoton Cave, it was time to kayak to the Natural Bridge. When we reached the shallower part of the river, we had to drag our kayaks along until we reached a deeper area. Soon, we arrived at the Natural Bridge—a towering rock arching from one mountain ridge to another. The locals believed that it was once used as an actual bridge but was considered unsafe later on. Nevertheless, the bridge is another stunning natural work of art.

My trip to Samar is certainly one for the books. I was so dazzled and amazed that I almost forgot that Samar was just the first stop of my adventures in the Visayas. I wonder what else is in store for me?

Flights of our Chosen Juan were provided by GetGo, the loyalty rewards program of Cebu Pacific. Earn points when you book your hotel with us! Click here to find out more.