Samar as the third largest island in the Philippines naturally has a huge abundance of natural wonders and tourist attractions. However, they aren’t so well-publicized; probably because the locations of their majestic waterfalls are so far apart, and the caves- the biggest in the country- too remote and expensive to explore. Twice in the past I have failed to penetrate into its forest interiors. Last 2013, I really wanted to do more in Samar, but had just given up because of logistics.
Last February 2017, with my client Joe, I was given the opportunity again to glimpse its natural beauty. We went to Sohoton National Park in the town of Basey, with its incredibly pristine rivers, magnificent caves, lush limestone forests and spectacular rock formations. It is right in the middle of the forest, accessible only by boat. This tourist operation is well-run. Having had a taste of Samar’s glories I have become a big fan and can’t wait to go back!
First, we rode a motorized boat for 30 minutes to reach Sohoton Cave. After exploring it and marveling at the rock formations, we paddled off to the “natural bridge” of Sohoton.
The lovely boat ride to the natural bridge.
Each of us had our own kayak and a tour guide assisting us.
Can you see the humans in the picture?! This is the famous “natural bridge” in Sohoton National Park in Basey, Samar, so-called because there is a lush forest on top of this limestone that connects both banks of the river. Looking at the picture, you might think the river is shallow but it’s deep and fast, with many dangerous rocks below.
I really loved hanging out here, it was so tranquil.
The natural bridge of Sohoton is a giant arc that stands over Sohoton river.
The trail over the “natural bridge” of Sohoton
Moss-covered limestone rocks at the lush and gorgeous trail of Sohoton
My client surrounded by greeneries at Sohoton National Park
What I loved about Sohoton National Park was the sound of insects and birds humming and chirping .
My client and I at the end of the trail. We hiked for less than an hour along the top, I didn’t realize a limestone forest could be so lush!
Thank you to the kind and efficient tourism staff of Sohoton National Park. Good job, gentlemen!
Finally we are paddling back to our start-off point, where Sohoton Cave was.
Incredible rock formations on each side as we paddled along Sohoton River.
How to Go to Sohoton National Park:
From Tacloban City, ride a Multicab to go to New Bus Terminal. The fare is only P7. Then, ride the van or jeepney to Basey. Travel time is less than an hour. There are vans leaving for Basey as early as 6am.
From Basey, just walk to the Municipal Tourism Office where the staff will arrange for your motorcycle or tricycle ride to the river dock. The EV Learners website has information on the prices for the boat tours.