Guiuan Getaway

Sulangan Church at Guiuan, Eastern Samar

One of the trips that the 8 magazine had and couldn’t forget was their Guiuan getaway. The team was invited by the mayor of Guiuan, Hon. Annaliza Gonzales-Kwan to see and explore Guiuan.

They arrived at Guiuan by Twilight. Courtesy of Mayor Kwan, they got to spend the night at a giant, comfy rest house in Tubabao Island. They had dinner in an open beach style dining area with long benches complete with a videoke machine. They had a wonderful evening enjoying the delicious local fish and bistek served to them. On the next day of their adventure, the team was able to see the beautiful islands of Guiuan like the Manicani, Kambasingan (owned by Cleo Gonzales, sister of Mayor Annaliza Gonzalez-Kwan), Victory located across the long island of Tubabao, on the horizon are the islands of Caninoan, Bagum-banua, Bukabok, and the Pearl Island where the team was headed. Pearl Island Experimental Farm is a marine sanctuary purchased by the government in 1975 to protect the marine ecosystem. Atty. Pornelio Sison, the mayor during that time, wanted to save the abundance of the island from the exploitation of no good fish poachers and coral ravagers. Aside from being a pearl plantation, the island is also a tourist spot and famous for giant clams. The team was able to see those giant clams with a size of an average pig. And after having lunch at Tanghay View Lodge, the team decided to pay a visit to BFAR which is just a few blocks away. The site is a breeding area for a number of marine animals such as the giant clams, abalone, oysters, swimming blue crabs, bangus, and tilapia.

Next stop was the famous historical church Immaculate Conception Cathedral which was built during the early years of the Spanish evangelization. Its main walls and foundations are made up of carved blocks of solid corals. The original church was reconstructed with a more durable structure in 1718 and survived years of neglect from Spanish times. The church is adorned with an elaborately carved wooden door, splendid paintings on the ceiling, and Baroque-style altar. Now the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) is processing the church’s rehabilitation – because of the intricate and elaborate shell ornamentation around and on its walls, which makes Guiuan Church unique.

After visiting the famous historical church, the team went to PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) station in Guiuan. One of the meteorologists, Mr. Edgar Gutierrez, showed the team the different gadgets and equipment that help predict the day-to- day weather. He also showed the team how the RADAR ( Radio detection and ranging) detects clouds and possibly incoming storms. He also explained that Guiuan is a key place to put up a weather monitoring station since it faces the typhoon-loving Pacific Ocean.

The team now headed to Sulangan and journeyed past Calicoan Island towards the mystical La Luna Beach Resort. Found at the far end of the road Banago, the resort is owned by an Italian gentleman, Giovanni Petro (Giampo to his friends) and his Filipina wife, Annabelle. But the team didn’t stay any longer because the next day, they were headed to the place that made Guiuan such a hit, the famous Calicoan Surf Camp. This surfing haven has been host to several surfing competitions participated in by celebrities and tourists. It is filled with well-furnished cottages and villas inspired by Filipino, Thai, Indonesian, and Balinese cultures and even a saltwater pool. The camp is not really just for surfers.

Last stop before the adventure in Guiuan ends, they visited the Shrine of San Antonio de Padua in Sulangan. The team offered lighted candles at the altar to express gratitude for a wonderful visit in Guiuan and a safe trip back home.

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