On March 16, 1521, the day when Ferdinand Magellan first set foot on Philippine soil, it was in the island called Homonhon. This was the time when he was on his way to rediscover the Philippines for the western world. It is probably because of this the majority of the town’s population are Catholics. The town’s church which is the Church of the Immaculate Conception is one of the oldest in the country.
Before Magellan and his three surviving vessels discovered the Philippines, they were out of food while crossing the Pacific Ocean. Fortunately when his team landed Homonhon Island, they were blessed to find food since the island is uninhabited; the island is abundant with foods that can supply their whole voyage.
However while Magellan’s team were busy hauling foods from the island they were detected by the boats of Rajah Culambo of Limasawa. Thru Rajah Culambo, Magellan and the Datu of Cebu met. Rajah Culambo was an ally of the Datu of Cebu.
Eastern Samar occupies a total land area of 4,470.75 sq. km. This province is bounded on the north by Northern Samar, on the east by the Philippine Sea, on the west by Western Samar, and on the south by the Leyte Gulf. The 20 kilometers (12 mi) long island is part of the municipality of Guiuan.
Homonhon Island Coral Reef
When you already set your foot on this enchanting island you must ready yourself for a fun and breathtaking adventure experience. Try this kayak paddling on the blue ocean on a tropical island paradise. You truly should not miss this.
If the water is so tempting and you feel like wanted to be part of the underwater activity. You can cut your kayaking and ready your dive suit for an underwater jaunt.
The wave riders can perform their passion on this island. So try having fun on the waves and discover the excitement and thrill about the blue water island of Homonhon.
Sunset island hoppers in Homonhon will be definitely amazed to witness this ocean sunset with Filipino fishing boats, fishermen outrigger a “pump boat” and Filipino fishermen with fish traps. This kind of scenario will absolutely persuade you to capture a picture perfect momentum. There are some instances where this island show cast some of nature’s wondrous creation like rainbow above a tropical island.
This two kilometer- stretch island is composed of beautiful white beaches on the western front and breathtaking cliffs and rock formations on the eastern side which faces the Pacific.
There is a lighthouse on the southern part of the island which is reached by hiking through thick vegetation and a 490 step staircase from the foot of the mountain. After the arduous climb, one however is gifted with a picturesque view of the forest and the ocean.
Just nearby is a cave called Panamboan that looks out into the blue ocean. One could see the waves wildly striking at the rocks below.
Suluan is a barangay (village) under the town of Guiuan. It is east of the island of Homonhon where Magellan first landed when he discovered the Philippines in 1521. It is a two hour ride by boat (motorized banca) from Guiuan.
Since it is already facing the Pacific, the waves are so huge and treacherous that there are seasons in the year that it becomes isolated from the mainland. It is during the month of May and two weeks of June that the sea becomes calm.
Composed of about five thousand inhabitants, the people occupy only the southwestern portion of the island, hence it is a safe haven with still waters as it is guarded from the huge Pacific waves by the mountains and cliffs on the eastern front of the island.
There are seven small islands that dot around the mainland of Suluan.
3. TUBABAO ISLAND
Just off the coast of Guiuan, Tubabao was used by the International Refugee Organization (IRO) in 1949 and 1950 to provide a temporary refuge for 5,000 Russian refugees escaping from China.
The Russians were survivors of the Bolshevik Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War of 1919-1920, when the Tsarist autocracy was overthrown by the socialists. Some Russians managed to escape and took refuge in foreign lands.
Many of them moved to China, especially Harbin and Shanghai. Most of these refugees survived the Second World War but the communists took power in China and thus the IRO requested all countries around the world to provide accommodation to the Russians.
The Philippines volunteered, and offered the Tubabao Island. The Russian refugees later were granted to stay in the United States and Australia. Many who went to the U.S. took U.S. citizenship following a required five-year waiting period.
Wikipedia article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tubabao
4. NAVY 3149 BASE
Located in Ngolos, 23 kms. from the town proper of Guiuan, it was a base of the American soldiers in World War II. It commands a view of the Pacific Ocean. It was the base of the “Elona Gay” (B-52 Bomber) which droped the first atomic bomb on August 7, 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan.
5. GUIUAN WORLD WAR II OPERATING BASE
6. SULANGAN BEACH
Located about 24 kilometers from the town proper of Guiuan. It is the Habitat of the world famous “Golden Cowrie”; ideal site for deep sea fishing, scuba diving; multi-colored school of fishes is a common sight.
Sulangan is a pilgrimage village and is famous for its shrine and now-modern church that attract Catholic pilgrims from across the island of Samar and the rest of the Philippines.
7. KANTICAN ISLAND (PEARL ISLAND)
Thirty minutes by boat from the mainland of this town is Kantican Island, a site developed as a government’s pearl experimental farm but for visitors, it has been more considered as a tourist destination.
Known as Pearl Island, the tiny place is becoming famous for snorkeling and scuba diving with its rich marine life along the 52 hectares fish sanctuary. It was developed in 1972 as pearl farm of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The crystal-clear seawater surrounding the island is the home of an assortment of marine life such as giant clamps, different species of corals, lobster, multi-colored small fishes usually seen in aquariums, shells, seaweed.
“The site is ideal for snorkeling. Good that we’re able to protect the area now since there were traces of illegal fishing activities in the past. We are looking at expanding the fish sanctuary,” said BFAR National Director Asis Perez.
What makes the 30-minute boat ride from the mainland to the tiny island more enjoyable is seeing the mangrove plantation is still intact, seagulls searching for prey in pure waters, and flying fishes. (Leyte Samar Daily Express).
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