Top Eastern Samar & Borongan City Tourist Spots: Surfing, Diving, Beaches

Top Eastern Samar & Borongan City Tourist Spots: Surfing, Diving, Beaches

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Caliocan Island, Eastern SamarCalicoan Beach (left) and Minasangay Island Marine Ecological Park and Resort (right)

Eastern Samar, one of the underrated tourist destinations in the Philippines, is located in the eastern portion of the island of Samar in the Visayas region, which is more popular for top Philippine destinations like Boracay and Cebu.

The province's east coast overlooks the Philippine Sea, that’s why Eastern Samar has become an emerging Philippine destination for white-sand beaches, surfing, and skimboarding activities. Easter Samar also boasts of majestic waterfalls, unique rock formations, and more unique Philippine tourist spots and experiences

Tourism-related activities are concentrated mostly in Eastern Samar capital Borongan City and in Guiuan Town, which is home to Homonhon Island and Calicoan Island. Borongan City is also acclaimed as the birthplace of surfing in the Visayas region.

Aside from its geographical features, it is also home to some historical landmarks in the Philippines. According to stories, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew first noticed the Philippine landmass in the region of what is now Eastern Samar. 

How to go to Eastern Samar?

Philippine Airlines aircraftPhoto by Philippine Airlines

Eastern Samar is now accessible via flights to Borongan Airport. Flag-carrier Philippine Airlines launched its Cebu to Borongan flights on December 19, 2022. Those coming from Manila in the Luzon region can book a connecting flight to Borongan via Cebu.

Previously, travelers accessed Borongan, Eastern Samar, via flights to Tacloban from Manila and had to travel by land for 3-4 hours.

If you’re planning a trip to Easter Samar, read on to find out about the best tourist spots in Eastern Samar that you should add to your Philippine itinerary:

13. Pearl Island (Kantican Island and Marine Sanctuary) 

Corals around Katican IslandPhoto by the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar

First on the list of must-visit Eastern Samar tourist spots is Pearl Island, a pearl culture farm situated near Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Also known as Kantican Island and Marine Sanctuary, it is famous for its abundance of various marine life, including abalones, anemones, lobsters, anthias, groupers, corals, and other tropical species. 

Although it was heavily affected by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, its crystal-clear waters make it an ideal location for swimming, fishing, and scuba diving in the Philippines. Visitors can also stay and watch the sunset at Pearl Island before heading back to the city.

12. Ban-awan Falls

The 49-foot tall Ban-awan Falls in Lawaan is the highest waterfall in the province of Eastern Samar. According to locals, the water supply for Lawaan comes from Ban-awan Falls. Not only is it a source of water, but it is also a great destination for recreational activities such as hiking and swimming.

Like the other majestic waterfalls in the Philippines, the Ban-awan Falls has clear blue waters and stunning rock formations. Its water basin is surrounded by trees, which offer much-needed shade, making it ideal for anyone who just wants to relax and enjoy the tranquil waters coming from the waterfalls. Visitors must first get in touch with Lawaan's Tourism Hub and request a guide before beginning their hike.

11. Amandaraga Falls 

Amandaraga Falls might not be one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines, but this hidden natural wonder in Lawaan, Eastern Samar, deserves praise because of its crystal-clear waters and unique rock formations. Despite having developed routes, the area bound for the falls is still covered by trees, vines, and plants. 

However, the trek to the falls is worth it, especially when hikers finally get to swim and enjoy its clean waters. Before the hike, all visitors are required to contact Lawaan’s Tourism Hub first and ask for a guide. This will ensure that participants will be safe during the activity in the undisturbed tourist attraction.

10. Balangiga Church 

Balangiga ChurchOne of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines, Balangiga Church is located in Balangiga, Eastern Samar. It has become a notable historical landmark for the Philippine-American War due to its famous war artifacts, the Balangiga bells. The bells were taken by the American army as war trophies but were returned in 2018 after 117 years. 

Even though some parts of the church were destroyed during Typhoon Yolanda, it has been rebuilt, keeping the retablo-style of the decor. Balangiga Church is also known as St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish, in which its patron saint catered to the poor and needy. 

9. Minasangay Island Marine Ecological Park and Resort 

Minasangay Island Marine Ecological Park and ResortMinasangay Island Marine Ecological Park and Resort is an ecological mangrove park in Balangkayan, located 25km away from the city of Borongan in Eastern Samar. The extensive lengths of beaches that are bordered by mangroves make it one of the best tourist spots in Visayas. 

Travelers may stroll down the boardwalk and over the concrete bridge to visit each section of the ecological park. Aside from the cottage rentals for overnight visitors, cabanas are also available for daytime use. You may go snorkeling, swimming, diving, cliff diving, and having a picnic at the eco-park. There is also a fish sanctuary inside the park, and visitors can go ahead and try a fish-feeding activity.

8. Sulangan Church 

Sulungan ChurchPhoto by Guiuan Municipal Tourism Office

St. Anthony of Padua Church, locally known as Sulangan Church, is a Diocesan church in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. It is well-known among both residents and pilgrims due to its miraculous stories. The church can be found in the barangay of Sulangan, which is surrounded by white-sand beaches and clear blue waters. 

The church’s patron saint, St. Anthony of Padua, is known as the Patron Saint of lost things. According to locals, the saint grants even the most unlikely requests, which is why many people come and visit the Sulangan Church. 

7. Ando Island 

Ando Island Photo by Borongan City Tourism Office

Ando Island is one of the two main islands in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. Locally known as “puro halaba”, which means long island, it has many white-sand beaches with aquamarine waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling, shallow caves perfect for novices in spelunking, and coconut trees surrounding the island. It is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines.

Visitors wanting to spend a few hours at Ando Island can eat lunch at one of the food stalls in the area. There are also small shops selling souvenir items like snacks, t-shirts, and magnets. For those who want to stay longer at Ando Island, they can check in at one of the island’s accommodations.

6. Divinubo Island 

Divinubo IslandPhoto by Borongan City Tourism Office

Divinubo Island, another island hopping destination in the Philippines, is located in Borongan City, Eastern Samar. Aside from its white-sand beaches, it has a rustic lighthouse where you can get a panoramic view of Eastern Samar and caves perfect for spelunking. 

There is an eco-tour park on the island established by the community to generate a small income while maintaining the area's wildlife and natural charm. Aside from strolling around the beach or sunset-watching, visitors can try a multitude of water activities, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, or boating. You can also go camping and set up a tent, or stay at one of the lodging facilities on the island.

5. Baybay Boulevard (Borongan Bay)

Baybay BoulevardPhoto by Borongan City Tourism Office

There are a lot of surfing spots in the Philippines, with Siargao Island in Mindanao being one of the most popular surfing destinations. Surfing is also a popular activity in Eastern Samar, and one of the most famous surfing spots here is Baybay Boulevard. Situated in Borongan, a city full of undisturbed forests and spectacular waterfalls, the coastline in Baybay Boulevard runs 1.5km long. 

Surfers can catch or watch the waves at Baybay Boulevard in Borongan City, which is considered the birthplace of surfing in the Visayas region. Aside from strolling around the area and surfing, sunset-watching is also a great activity to do here. There are also several shops and playgrounds along the path where kids and kids-at-heart can go for other recreational activities.

4. Linao Cave

Linao Cave Photo by the Guiuan Municipal Tourism Office

Samar Island, known as the “Caving Capital of the Philippines,” is home to Linao Cave, one of the most underrated caves in the Philippines. Nestled in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, it got its name from the Waray-waray term “linaw,” which means clear. This majestic cave is a natural pool with cold and clear waters.

The cave can be entered in two different ways. Either by rappelling down from the cave's opening or by moving down a narrow, water-filled tunnel. Once inside the cave, visitors will see various stone formations perfect for photos. Visitors can also take a dip and enjoy its crystal-clear waters.

3. Canhugas Nature Park 

Canhugas Nature Park Photo by Canhugas Nature Park

In the small town of Hernani, Eastern Samar, lies a nature park known for its big waves colliding with large rock formations. Canhugas Nature Park got its name from the local term “hugas”, which means wash. Back in the old days, fishermen used to wash their catch in its waters.

Currently, it has been transformed into a nature park facing the Pacific Ocean. Aside from climbing onto its rock formations to get stunning views of Eastern Samar, visitors can go swimming or snorkeling in the man-made pools. For a more relaxing trip, cottages are available for rent.

2. Calicoan Beach 

Sunset on Calicoan islandNestled in the idyllic town of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Calicoan Beach is one of the best surfing beaches in the Philippines. Although it’s not that commercialized compared to other surfing destinations, it has established itself as one of the best Eastern Samar beaches with unspoiled, white sands and crystal-clear waters.

You can rent a surfboard at the on-site camp on the beach. If you’re not fond of surfing, you can relax or stroll around the beach. There is not much of a crowd, even on weekends, so you can enjoy some peace and quiet. 

1. Homonhon Island

Magellan’s Landing Site on Homonhon IslandPhoto by the Guiuan Municipal Tourism Office

Probably the most famous island in Eastern Samar due to its historical significance, Homonhon Island, a lovely 12-mile-long island, was one of the first places where a connection between Europeans and East Asians was established. Ferdinand Magellan, a renowned Portuguese explorer, first set foot in the Philippines on Homonhon Island.

Homonhon Island's white sand beachPhoto by the Guiuan Municipal Tourism Office

Magellan's arrival site is commemorated on Homonhon Island. However, there is more to the island than its historical importance. You can try fun water activities such as kayak paddling and surfing or lounge on the white sands of Handig Beach. For a more relaxing experience, you can stay on the island to watch the sunset and unobstructed views of Eastern Samar. 


Start Planning your Eastern Samar Itinerary

Calicoan BeachIf you want to tour the Philippines, Eastern Samar is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines, as it is home to natural and historical wonders. This idyllic province offers a variety of Visayas tourist spots and activities perfect for all ages. 

Book Philippine budget travel packages offered by an online travel agency like Guide to the Philippines to experience what the island province has to offer without having to spend much. For a more hassle-free trip, you can book Philippine vacation packages that include airport and city transfers as well as stays at top-notch Philippine hotels with the best amenities.

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