Eastern Samar has been noted by historians as the Philippines’ ‘eastern gateway.’ The coast of this small province specifically that on its eastern side, faces the vast Pacific Ocean. Much of the total land area is rugged with wide forested areas. The province’s interior is rough and at the same time hilly, covered by dense tropical vegetation and drained by numerous creeks and rivers. Mountain ranges and tall peaks also abound. There are narrow plains in coastal areas and river banks serve as main tributaries.
Local tourism is more active in this province. This is because Eastern Samar had been an important backdrop to the rich colonial history of the country. The island of Homonhon is noted in history as the first island in the Philippines where explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his Spanish crew first set foot in the archipelago in 1521.
About Eastern Samar
Eastern Samar has an overall land area of 4,400 square kilometers. It is bordering Northern Samar on the north, the Philippine Sea on the east, Leyte Gulf on the south, and Western Samar on the west. The population is at 405,000 as of latest count. There are 23 towns that comprise the province. Borlongan is the provincial capital. The main product is still copra (dried coconut) and local harvests like corn, rice, vegetables, and sugarcane.
Tourism attractions abound Eastern Samar. Pearl Island or Kantican Island is the frontliner. The pearl culture farm is a natural haven for rich marine life like shells, lobsters, abalones, corals, and fishes. The island is endowed with naturally clear waters and an immaculate white coral beach. Hamorawon Spring is a natural spring that is believed to be miraculous. This is the reason why many local travelers come to the town of Borongan.
Calbiga Whitewater River is perfect for kayaking and rafting from Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban. The river runs through mostly the land area of the province. Sohotan Cave is a huge cave adorned by natural rock formations. Of course, Homonhon Island is known for being a national historical island.
Three festivals are celebrated at Eastern Samar during various occasions.
Homonhon Landing – held annually every March 16 at Homonhon Island is a reenactment of the Philippines’ discovery by Magellan in 1521.
Padul-ong – held every September 7 at Borongan reenacts how the Lady of Nativity emerged as the town Patroness.
- Balangiga Incident – held on September 28 at the town of Balangiga commemorates the 1901 Philippine-American encounter through pageants.
How to get there
There are several ways to get to Eastern Samar. One is through riding a bus from Manila to Borongan within a 24-hour trip. By plane, there are regular Cebu Pacific flights from Metro Manila to Tacloban City (in nearby Leyte province). From there, there are public road transports going to Borongan (about four hours of ride). This road trip would cross the famous San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in Southeast Asia.