The Rivers and Streams of Eastern Samar
By Bert Eljera
From the scattered hamlets along the banks of the Guiborongani (Sabang) and the Lo-om rivers, grew Borongan, the name taken from the thick “borong” or fog that covers the place, particularly in the early morning.
According to Wikipedia, the development of Borongan was greatly influenced by the religious missions of the Jesuits during the period 1604–1768, and the Franciscans from 1768 to 1868.
Borongan was established as a pueblo on September 8, 1619.
It may be religion that provided the structure, but it was water, in the form of rivers and streams, most of which were navigable, that allowed the community to move and sustain such growth.
And Borongan is not alone. At least in Eastern Samar, practically every town grew from the banks of a river – and drew sustenance from the water.
The major rivers of Eastern Samar are:
- Llorente River
- Suribao River
- Taft River
- Can Avid River
- Dolores River
- Oras River
In all of them, boats can be used to transport goods and people from the interior to the coastal areas.
Aside from the Lo-om and Sabang rivers, other rivers in Borongan are:
- Balacdas River
- Can-obing River
- Maypangdan River
- Naghahagong underground river located past Sitio Cati-an (its “snore” or “hagong” – hence the name – can be heard by the locals when there is heavy rains as the onrushing torrent of water gushes and rumbles underground), ideal for spelunkers although it has remained unexplored up to this day and thus relatively unknown to outsiders
- Palanas River
- Salog River in Brgy. Cancaligdas
- Suribao River (serves as common city/municipal boundary with the adjacent town of Maydolong)
In addition, there are countless streams and springs. In Borongan alone, there are numerous tributaries from both the Lo-om and Sabang rivers.
The springs of Borongan are Hamorawon, Capinian, Kalugtugan, Gaanap, Can-apong, Maybito, Sunog, Bito, and Masacpasac.
But while the rivers and streams provide such tremendous transportation and livelihood purposes, they can also be destructive.
During the rainy season, it’s not uncommon for flooding to occur when the rivers overflow their banks and spill into coastal areas, abetted by illegal logging that destroys forest cover upstream.
In 2011, a dredging project was undertaken in the province’s major rivers and some progress was made.
In addition to the floods, pollution has become a problems, especially among rivers close to population centers.
The Loom River, for example, has practically become a dump site for the businesses and residences along its banks.
On the banks of the Sulat River, a sign exhorts people to use the river more responsibly.