Calbayog City is located in the western part of the island of Samar—a growing tourist destination in the Visayas Region. Dubbed as the “Waterfalls City”, Calbayog is perfect for nature lovers, adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers craving the rush.
The town’s charm lies in its spectacular sceneries, tropical rainforest, and majestic waterfalls, caves, and rock formations. It has many natural wonders you can explore and others are yet to be discovered. But while it’s known for several natural attractions, Calbayog also has a rich history and culture. Some people believe that the city got its name from the combined words cal (Spanish for lime) and bayog (the tree from which lime is extracted).
The city of Calbayog is the gateway to Samar. From Manila, book via PAL Express with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
If you have time to spare, you can take the Manila-Calbayog route with a travel time of 18 hours.
The most convenient way to move around the city is through pedal-driven cabs, motorized tricycle, as well as buses and jeepneys. You can also rent a bike if you want to explore on your own.
Those who want to have a glimpse of old Spanish architecture can visit Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. It was built in 1800s and now known as the central church of the Diocese of Calbayog. For history buffs who are interested to know more about the city’s history, you can go to Handumanan Museum which used be a building of some Spanish government offices, barracks of the Japanese, the Calbayog City High School, and the City Jail—yes, it had some drastic renovations but that’s part of its charm!
There are also a lot of scenic falls in Calbayog like the Tabokno Falls (also a picnic site), Bangon Falls (considered as the crown jewel of Calbayog’s wonder), Pan-as Falls (a source of water for local residents), and Ton-ok Falls (a bit hard to go to as its hidden in lush tropical vegetation, but totally worth visiting). For a quiet and relaxing stay away from the city, visit the refreshingly warm pools in Mapaso Hot Spring.
The city of Calbayog is home to amazing caves and waterfalls hidden in the region’s lush jungles. Tourists can explore caves, go canyoneering, live the island life at the beach, or visit some interesting historical landmarks in the city.
It is less city and more countryside, being in a very agricultural region. Its administration is making good progress in developing the city into a more urban destination, though. Famous for its natural attractions, those who want to experience more nature will thoroughly enjoy visiting this city. Those who want a good swim will enjoy the blue waters of the Malajog Beach, the most popular beach in Calbayog City. With gray sand and palm trees, this lovely beach will enchant visitors. The recently opened Malajog Ridge Nature Park and Zipline is also in this area.
Visitors can also opt to experience an extraordinary glide down the Mawacat Slide, a 50-meter long natural slide in Calbayog. A refreshing pool awaits at the bottom, where one can swim before going back up the slide. Adventurous folks can also explore the Guinogo-an Cave. It has a large entrance leading to a natural tunnel with an uneven ceiling. A trip through the dark, cool interior ensures an eerie but memorable experience.
You can also head over to the Mapaso Hot Spring to get cozy. ‘Mapaso’ means hot in Filipino, and this hot spring’s temperature is close to boiling in some places. It will definitely warm your weary muscles and bones. Should you visit during the first week of September, you can also join the Sarakiki-Hadang Festival. This colorful festival allows participants to showcase rhythmic dances that resemble the wild movements of a rooster as it tries to court a hen. The dances are performed as an offering to the gods to cure sickness and to request for a good harvest.
Sample the local treats like smoked fish or tinapa. It’s always fresh as it comes from the daily catch from Samar sea. Visit Kamayan sa Carayman for fresh seafood and dine al fresco. This restaurant is famous for chili crabs and shrimp dishes, too.
There’s not much nightlife in the city but there are places like Demetrius' Bread, Coffee and Wine, and Manuwel's Resto Bar where you can chill out while listening to an acoustic performance.
The city has a number of accommodations perfect for backpackers and those who don’t mind splurging while on vacation; either way, each guest will experience the utmost service characterized by the warmth and hospitality that the Calbayognon is known for.
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Go between September 1-8 as they’re celebrating the colorful Sarakiki-Hadang Festival, where participants perform rhythmic dances and join other activities.
You can go to Biri Island from Calbayog by hiring a tricycle to take you to the terminal or to main road where jeepneys going to Lavezares pass. From here, you can ask the driver to drop you off at the port where boats to Biri are docked.