Call of the surf

Travel by boat and van from Cebu to Calicoan in Eastern Samar is one long and rough ride but the wonders of the island are worth every minute of ache and discomfort. Calicoan is among the numerous islands and islets that ring Guiuan, a town at the southernmost tip of Samar, the third largest island in the Philippine archipelago. Our destination in Calicoan was The Surf Camp, a resort on the side of the island that faces the Pacific Ocean. It was night when we arrived at the resort and a rumbling sound--it was a few minutes before it dawned on us what it was--greeted us when we arrived. (click on photos to view larger images) Surf Camp Tired and hungry upon our arrival, we feasted on seafood--fish, prawns, and crabs--and put the sound at the back of our minds. It was when we realized what it was that it filled us city people with awe. It was unforgettable--that sound; it followed us around all the time we were at the resort. It was background noise to our conversations--it was loudest in the mornings--and it lulled us to sleep at night. It was sometimes loud and guttural and insistent and at other times soft and melodious like a siren's call. It was the sound of the surf, of the waves breaking on the island's shores. Sand, sea, skyWe were at a place battered by waves rolling in from the Pacific over the 10,000-meter Philippine Deep all year round and on certain months they become powerful swells. The best waves for surfing, people at the resort told us, usually appear from October to March. Calicoan is a surfer's paradise but surfing is just one of many things it has to offer. The island also has white sand beaches and one of these is a long stretch called ABCD, which is also the prime surfing area. Resort people said some adventurous visitors to the island stay in tents on the beach or make do with a surf hut. We stayed at well-furnished cottages and villas in The Surf Camp resort. In both architecture and furnishings, the cottages take inspiration from Thai, Balinese, Indonesian, and Filipino cultures.Surf Camp bedroom Our cottage came with two twin-size beds, air-conditioning, cable television, mini bar, hot water, safety deposit box, and intercom. The resort has a saltwater pool aptly named Infinity, as it offers a wide and unhampered view of the Pacific Ocean. It also has two viewing decks built on a rocky outcropping along the beach and connected by a long walkway. At certain times of the day, the waves would get stronger and as they break upon the rocks, sprays of seawater would fall on the decks. At the resort's restaurant, we dined on baby lobsters fresh from the island's seas. Outside of the resort is one of the island's tropical forests and residents say wild monkeys sometimes cross the dirt road that cuts through it. I've never seen one though in our four-day sojourn in the island. Time constraints prevented us from exploring the island's other wonders, such as its lagoons--the largest is reportedly 30 hectares in size, caves along its forests, and wetlands that teem with fish, shrimps, and crabs. More photos, click on images to enlarge: Walkway to Surf Camp deck Surf Camp view deck Viewing deck at Surf Camp Surfers Tip of island Surf Camp sunset Cottage accommodation Deck Cottage accommodation at Surf Camp Inside the cottage We were, however, able to devote time to visiting a pilgrimage church located a little farther into the village of Sulangan, where the resort is located. Village folk say the two saints in the church grant favors but only if you give to one the exact offering that you give to the other. As we went back to the resort from the church, the day was dying and we were stopped in our tracks by the kaleidoscope of light that filled the skies as the sun bids goodbye. While we watched transfixed, the colors exploded into a single shade of orange that darkened the clouds and lent the world an eerie glow. Dusk finally set in and we headed for home. Road to Calicoan The Surf Camp offers round trip travel from Cebu to Guiuan and back to Cebu at $150 per person. The Guiuan airport is only 25 minutes from the resort. In our case, we caught the two-hour Supercat boat trip from Cebu City to Ormoc City. In Ormoc, we hired a van to take us to The Surf Camp for 2,500 pesos. The amount does not include the cost of gasoline for the whole trip. We arrived in Ormoc City at around 1 p.m. and at past 8 p.m. in Calicoan. We made several stopovers along the way--one of which was in Tacloban City--to buy provisions needed for our trip. We passed by and had our pictures taken at the two-kilometer San Juanico Bridge that connects the islands of Samar and Leyte. Surf Camp sunsetA less expensive option would be to ride any one of the passenger vans in the Ormoc City pier to Tacloban City and transfer to another van bound for Guiuan. The fare is 120 pesos from Ormoc to Tacloban and 110 pesos from Tacloban to Guiuan. ABCD beach is located in the village of Sulangan and it is just 20 minutes away from the town center where the passenger vans make their stop. Tricycles are the modes of transport to Sulangan and they can be hired for a minimal fee. There are a few pension houses, a hotel, and convenience stores in the town center. Regular commercial flights fly daily from Manila to Tacloban. Calicoan is just a three-hour ride from Tacloban City.
  • Do you have a website for that Surf Resort, and how much do rooms cost? Looks great!

  • Cebu Network

    The website is linked up there, it’s We’ll edit the story to include room rates. Thanks for visiting.

  • Pingback: Historic church of Balangiga in Eastern Samar at Cebu Living()

  • (“,) sana makapag-surf din ako!

  • Dear Sir/Madam,

    Do you have any information regarding economy accomodation in Sulangan/Calicoan? I do not wish to stay in a foreign owned resort, but wish to contribute my money to a local, family owned establishment. Thank you for your assistance in this matter,


    Jake Hennessey

  • ji ho Yoo

    Hello!! How was your day today?

    I’m Korean who want to learn surfing

    Name is JI – HO

    I wonder how long it will take to learn surfing in the abcd beach ?

    Where can i learn about surfing , and so on …?

    How much will that be ?

    Do you have any material about surfing ?

    Please tell me, What i have to do !!

    I’m not good at writing letter in english

    Thank you for reading my letter

    Anyway, have a nice day **^.^**

  • Noel Evans

    Any one know of any property for sale or lease or joint venture,near Guiuan, or other areas in Philippines suitable to establish a resort . I am Australian.

  • Julie Gabato

    Had read your article about this place, very beautiful ! I have to visit this place in my next trip to Cebu , my home province .

    Have been to Bohol, Dakak, Boracay & Camiguin , was wonderful !!!

    Thanks for this information !

  • paolo

    Awesome shots man. Check out my shots of ABCD Beach in Calicoan Island

  • ching

    Hello, it seems that Caliocan Island is the perfect place I’m looking for, minus the expensive accommodation. is there anywhere to stay on the island for budget travellers looking for a good surf spot? We are looking for around max US$20 per room/hut (for around 2 – 3 people) if possible…

  • vern

    u happen to know a less expensive alternative for boat travel fr.cebu to ormoc as well as cheaper spots quite expensive..we only wana surf..

  • vern

    surf camp i mean


    Hello, my name is liza apura from Giporlos, Eastern Samar.I heard that you have a very beautiful resort in Guiuan.This coming October 12,2008 is our town fiesta.The BALIKBAYANS are the sponsors, at the same time we are going to have our GRAND REUNION in which I am one of the organizers.Is there any possibility if you could tell us more about the resort.A lot of balikbayans are planning to visit Giporlos with their foreigner husbands and kids. We are looking for a place for them to stay and enjoy at the same time.My e mail address is [email protected]
    At present I am living in New Jersey and I would really appreciate if you could send me some brochure about the place.Some of them might became interested to live in Samar once they see the place. thank you

  • Rony Chua

    Hello, liza kumusta well it’s good if you will visit giporlos, actually i saw some beautiful resort near with balangiga, Lawa-an and Marabut Samar while i’m on my way to back Tacloban city. I visited in giporlos last year for four days since i move to tacloban and now my family in manila i think it was almost 18 years ago. I have remember my favorite teacher Mrs. Apura in elementary is that your mom? regards mo nalang pala sa ating mga gipolosanon at sa mga relative ko doon sa giporlos CHUA, RAMIREZ, LO, EVARDONE at sa mga classmate ko sila BOBOT / RUTH / HENRY / MADELINE / MYRNA SURIGAO / GLENDA OPONG. GOD BLESS TO ALL, Rony – Jeddah – K.S.A. [email protected]

  • king_raven

    guiuan is like the best surfing site in the philippines..
    how i want to go home.. hehe.. happy fiesta po..
    watever you say, guiuan number one!!!!!

  • Rebecca Somook

    Hello, I just want to say it is truly beautiful. I can’t wait ’til I come home for vacation. My brother and the rest of my families live in Guiuan Eastern Samar. They are the one who told me to check this place out so I Google it.

    Anyway, please email me for more new updates. Thank you and have a great day!

    Carmichael, California USA

  • weng of manila

    hi, thanks for this great write-up on calicoan island. i can’t wait to visit it myself. we’ve been to bohol and palawan but i guess calicoan has something different to offer. we’re from borongan and guiuan is just a few hours away. hope to visit both towns after 12 years.

  • philip

    been there in calicoan, though we wanted to surf but yet the waves were not that convincing. we arrived there in the afternoon kasi medyo malayo and we have to dive all the way from ormoc to tacloban and then to calicoan. HIndi naman kasi nabored because we really wanted a road trip and isa pa the views along the way are maganda. its nature at its best locations. we we arrived in calicoan, it was just simple rural island, pero ng makita namin ang beach, we were mesmerized. the breakers, the sand and the view is so cool. the island itself is beautiful. its very relaxing lalo na if you wanted to get rid of your busy life momentarily. indeed on my best….