Eastern Visayas will bring out the adventurer in you. The region is comprised of 6 provinces and 7 cities, but has no luxury hotels or highly urbanized cities. If you’re planning a trip to these areas, prepare to get your feet wet, and then wetter: there is no true dry season in this region.
The Philippine Sea borders Eastern Visayas, making this area prone to rain and typhoons. One of the strongest typhoons in history, Typhoon Haiyan, made headlines as it plowed through the city of Tacloban in Leyte.
The location and climate in this region, however, makes for luscious forests (over 50% of the land is made up of forests) and killer waves for surfing.
Visit the picturesque sandbar of Kalanggaman Island, whose root word “langgam” means “bird” in Visayan. Located off the coast of Palompon, Leyte, this island has clear waters and fine white sand. The sandbar is pretty bare, save for a couple of cottages and coconut palm trees. It’s a great place to go off the grid for a couple of hours and reconnect with the unspoiled beauty of nature.
Surfers flock to the Calicoan Island in Eastern Samar. It’s a diverse island with a rocky landscape, dense forests, white sand beaches, and crashing waves. Surfing season on the island’s ABCD Beach starts in April and ends in November. Beginner surfers can train during the summer months (April-May), when waves are about 2 to 3 feet high. Later in the year (September-November), more experienced surfers can tackle bigger and stronger waves.
In Biliran province lies the hidden gem of Sambawan Island. Visitors to this island can sleep under the stars by pitching tents on the beach for ₱100 (about $2), or rent open nipa huts ranging from ₱500 to 1000 ($10-20). There are no restaurants or stores on the tiny island, so bring your own food if you plan to stay long. The island may not have much facilities, but it makes up for it with countless diving spots, white sands, and stunning views.
Connecting Leyte and Samar is the longest bridge in the Philippines over a body of water: the San Juanico Bridge. It’s built over the San Juanico strait, which is the narrowest strait in the country. Don’t skip crossing this bridge, for it offers a magnificent view of Eastern Visayas.
Go spelunking in Samar’s Langun-Gobingob Cave, located in Calbiga, Samar. It is the largest cave system in the Philippines, and will take you about 4 hours to go through all its chambers. For an up-close encounter with Mother Nature’s sculptures, visit Biri Island’s awe-inspiring rock formations.
Beautiful falls in Eastern Visayas include the majestic Ban-awan Falls and the cascading Tarangban Falls. Due to the damage brought about by Typhoon Haiyan, what used to be a 1 and a half hour hike to Ban-awan Falls is now a 4 hour trek. The priceless view is worth the lengthy journey, though.