Suluan - Gateway into the Pacific : An Island Like No Other
As promised, I will show you more hidden treasures from my Hometown Guiuan, if you haven't seen my last blog you can check this one out - https://peakd.com/travel/@yzamazing/a-cenote-of-wonders-linao-cave-eastern-samars-hidden-gem
This time, I want to take you on a trip to an Island that is close to my heart. If you ask me what my definition of Paradise is - it's definitely Suluan.
Suluan Island is an island Barangay located in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. This place played a vital role in the first circumnavigation of the world. The Magellan - Elcano expedition in 1521. Did you know that the locals of Suluan were the first to trade and interact with Ferdinand Magellan's Fleet?
The locals sighted these men on the nearby once inhabited Island of Homonhon. The group were mostly sick and tired from their 4 month journey on the sea as they navigate through the Pacific from South America. They offered food and assistance to Magellan's men and provide supplies before they head on to Limasawa. Google Map
I have been to Suluan Island so many times ever since I was young, my Grandmother was born and raised in this place. In order to reach the island, one must ride a motor boat and the trip may take up to 3 hours if you are coming from Guiuan Town Proper and about an hour to two if from Brgy. Sulangan, near Calicoan.
The waves that you will encounter when you visit Suluan Island is not very welcoming. I've seen waves the size of a regular house and I'm not even exaggerating. Especially if you travel during ber-months but on some rare occasion the ocean can be as peaceful and forgiving.
A view showing the high waves, This is one of the bigger boats that usually contain goods bought from mainland to Suluan
Sharing with you a video I took from my last travel to the island. We were on a small motor boat rocking back and forth with the waves, but this is actually still of small size. One must be prepared to travel to Suluan, you should expect to be wet from the splash of sea water and should keep valuables in a water proof container. We placed all our bags in a big clear plastic cellophane to protect our belongings.
All that fear from the roller coaster ride of a pump boat will definitely vanished once you safely arrive to Suluan. You would be welcomed by a 360 panoramic view of white powdered sand beach, lush green hills and mountains and that sea breeze aroma that can transport you to the happiest core memories that you have.
I've never been to Boracay nor Palawan and won't be able to compare the view first hand, but I will never trade Suluan. The place is calm and peaceful, you can meditate in the stillness of nature without having to worry about the crowded spaces that of a typical tourist destination have. I guess, I just got lucky that my Grand Ma was from here, I had the privilege of having a somewhat private island every time I want an escape from the overwhelming pressure of the world.
You can walk on the beach for miles and no one would bother you. Everyone in the place knows everyone so it's super safe.
One of the most famous spot in the Island is Panambuan Cove
I bet this view has pop up in your newsfeed one way or another. Nope - This is not from Avatar, this is one of Sulu-an's Pride PANAMBUAN
Photo's of Panambuan has been getting quite the publicity in social media - why not? The place makes it really hard not to be noticed.
A view of Panambuan from afar - Looks like a window where a giant can peep in and look through the vast Pacific Ocean.
All photos used in the blog were personally taken by me or from Talapang Photography whom we introduced in our previous blog, unless stated otherwise
Panambuan might have gotten it's name from the word "Tambuan" which means window. The place serves as a look out and played yet another important role in WWII where the American Forces overrun a Japanese Garrison situated atop the Panambuan Cliff to allow the Allied Forces to proceed to Leyte for the renowned Leyte Landing on October 20, 1944.
And did you know, straight on to the west with just a distance of over 60 kms. from Suluan is where one of the deepest part of the Ocean is located. It's the third deepest from The Mariana Trench which is the The Emden Deep, this is also also known as the Galathea Deep or Galathea Depth.
Imagine the highest mountain on Earth - Mt. Everest. It's height is less than 30,000 ft whereas the Emden Deep near Suluan reaches a depth of more than 35,400 ft. No wonder the amount of fresh big fishes caught in the island is bounty.
The trail going to Panambuan would take two to three hours and without any signage along the way, one must have a local guide to assist them.
My cousins and I had to walked through the shoreline, climbed a few steep rocks and head on to the forest to reach this beautiful cove.
Another popular spot is the Suluan Light House - Tore
Due to the strategic location of Suluan, both the Japanese and American had an eye for the island during WW2. A light house tower was built on the mountain with more or less 500 steps to reach the top.
Before the famous Leyte Landing, a prelude battle took place in Suluan where the Sixth Ranger Battalion went on a swift mission to kill a small group of Japanese defenders and destroyed their radio station cutting all enemy communications. Three days after, the light house was built however only the remains of the original one is visible today. The strategic attack paved way to the beginning of the famous Battle in Leyte Gulf.
We commemorate this event yearly as the Suluan Raid, held every October 17 which marks the event that took place 78 years ago. This is later on known as the Sentimental Journey although part of Guiuan, particularly Suluan's history is not nationally recognize, it's evident that the place bare eye witness and had a key role to the first step towards Liberation Day.
In it's place stood a light house established in 1909. This lighthouse marks the northern entrance to Leyte Gulf off the southeastern corner of Samar.
Situated on the highest point of the island, it gives a good vantage point and a 360 view of the Leyte Gulf on the West and the vast Pacific Ocean side.
Another fame location is the Karawisan Beach
If you're not a fond of long walks and jungle vibes, a trip to Karawisan is the one for you.
One can reach Karawisan either by walking to the left edge of the island from Brgy. proper or by a motor boat which will only take about 3-5 minutes.
Karawisan Beach has cottages where one relax and spend the night. Perfect for family outings.
Karawisan offers the best of both worlds, you have an access to the clear deep blue waters of the Pacific plus you can also have a short hike atop it's adjacent hills. And since, I'm a hiking junkie - up the Hill we go!
And of course, One's trip wont be complete without trying
The island's special delicacies - KULO and MAKAN
Kulo - this is a type of crab that lives in the mountains and feeds on coconut meat or copra. Locals farm them using a cage bait filled with coconut meat that they leave in the forest for a few weeks. Female mountain crabs also take a trip down to the beach every full moon to lay it's eggs and that's another time for the locals to catch them.
The most famous recipe for this crabs is called Linabog, it is a method of cooking where coconut is one of the main ingredients. I'm not sure what the procedure is, maybe I'll ask my aunt's next time and share it on another blog.
But this is how it looks like.
MAKAN, on the other hand is a type of root crop that falls under the family of cassava. But apart from the usual white flesh of the classic Cassava, Makan has a distinct yellow color.
My favorite version of Makan is when it's cooked with caramelized sugar or kalamay and coco milk which the locals called as tabudlo.
And to end today's travel blog I want to share a unfiltered and unedited photo of one of the many faces of Suluan's sunset.
There is still quite a few must visit places and stories in Suluan but I'll be sharing more of it on another blog. I hope you enjoy and learned a few things not only about how captivating this place is but also it's contribution to Philippine History.
What do you think about Suluan? Have you heard about it before? Let's talk more on the comment section, would love to read your thoughts.
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