With the Philippines being an archipelago nation, it is gifted with beautiful beaches from all edges of its islands. Some are for relaxing, some are for picturesque nature trips, and others are for the thrill of surfing (Check this tag for the ever growing surf spots visited).
Such is the case the town of Guiuan located in Calocoan Island in East Samar. The island is blessed to be in the direct path of the Pacific Ocean, creating waves for surfers of various skill levels all year round, and The Surf Camp has been the premiere destination for those who want surfing, and a little bit more.
Booking and Reservations:
They can probably accept walk-ins for either their restaurant and hotel accommodations, but it is best to reserve through their website or call to book in advance. Once you have your booking done, complete your travel arrangements to get to Tacloban City in Leyte.
Pickup from the airport is an optional extra fare that you can arrange with The Surf Camp. If you will bring your surfboard, the land transfer may not charge for its baggage, but the plane transfer definitely will. It is best to inquire with your preferred airline on sport equipment transfers.
For the more affluent travelers: if you can charter a plane all the way to the Guiuan airstrip managed by the Philippine government, you can cut your travel time significantly. More on this airstrip and the town of Guiuan in this post.
Prepare your tummy and bladder as this is a 3-4 hour trip. It is a road travel from Tacloban City to the edge of East Samar. Either have a good meal and bathroom break before or suck it in until you reach the resort. There are not much places to stop over since the island of Samar is scarcely populated and tourists rarely head here. But enjoy the countryside and be sure to marvel at the San Juanico bridge that connects both the islands of Samar and Leyte.
Upon arriving, the place just feels special from the rest of the places in the area. It is quite luxurious even if it does need a bit of upkeep in some isolated areas. The structures are inspired by Thai, Filipino and Balinese accents. The lobby doubles as the restaurant, with dark wood and intricate weaving surrounding you. Traditional to Filipino hospitality, welcome drinks and tokens are given upon your arrival, regardless if you find yourself here in the peak or lean season.
The hotel accomodations are all villas, again inspired by the Southeast Asian in design. It very spacious inside. If with a little bit of snuggling, six people can fit and live comfortably in the rooms. After all, if you are in The Surf Camp, surfing is one thing that you need to try.
Surf’s Up in the Pacific:
Calicoan Island has great waves crashing into the ABCD beach from April to November. April to September are great for beginners, with 3 to 5 feet waves, while October until the end of the year offer some challenge to the more experienced surfers. Board rentals with instructors are at PHP 500.00 for three hours. That will be more than enough for most people. On this particular visit, the beginner soft boards were already worn out so the foam is already exposed. It’s still usable, though. The hotel is ordering their new boards soon.
One note: bring aqua shoes. The waves break into rocks and seaweed, so your feet can either be tickled or cut.
Found a video in Youtube of some of the best surfers in the Philippines rip the waves in Samar!
Not only for Surfers:
For the non-surfing crowd, the Surf Camp has a few relaxing amenities such as an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean and beach lounge chairs to soak in the sun. Other activities would be to drive up to the town proper of Guiuan to immerse yourself in the quiet town that seems full of potential.
The Surf Camp will offer some conventional surf and turf, but look more into the surfs. Being in a fishing village, The Surf Camp offers some of the freshest seafood anywhere. Everything is freshly caught, even tuna and marlin. Just simple olive oil, salt and pepper is enough to enhance the fish. Freshness like this is best experienced with the barest of flavoring.
One interesting treat was their chocolate cake. It is just a regular cake that seems to just use regular ingredients, but the chocolate syrup that coats it tastes so similar to Brown Cow. For kids who grew up in the 1980’s, this taste will be nostalgic.
Calicoan is an island that requires more then the normal travel arrangements given its proximity from the cosmopolitan parts of the Philippines, but that is what gives it its charm and its pristine beach conditions.
One can imagine how great this place can get with the proper infrastructure and balanced local governance. The town of Guiuan feels like a jewel just waiting to be buffed, and with a surfing spot complemented by the great amenities of The Surf Camp, more and more will begin to discover its brilliance.