Calicoan Island, a name that might not immediately ring a bell in the world of travel, is a well-kept secret in the heart of the Philippines
When it comes to surfing, most people immediately think of famous spots like La Union or Siargao. But for those in the know, there’s a hidden gem that’s been making waves in the surfing community – Calicoan Island. Nestled within the Municipality of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, this pristine island offers a plethora of experiences waiting to be discovered. Calicoan Island offers not only world-class surfing but also a wealth of other experiences for adventure seekers, church patrons, and heritage enthusiasts.
A coastal haven at The Grey Inn
The Grey Inn, a boutique hotel perched on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, offers minimalist, modern-designed rooms that blend intimacy with luxury, perfect for accommodating small groups. The pièce de résistance is the quaint freshwater pool, providing an infinite view of the Pacific Ocean and its majestic skyscape. The hotel also features a restaurant, cafe, and outdoor bar, making it a convenient hub for guests and the public alike.
Surf’s up at ABCD Beach, where waves tell tales
For surf enthusiasts, Calicoan Island is a dream come true. The island is home to ABCD Beach, which is known for having the best surfing break in Eastern Samar. The name ABCD comes from the four reef breaks along this coast, and it also pays homage to the ‘Advance Base Construction Depot’, a nod to World War II history buffs. The beach offers thrilling left- and right-handed reef breaks between June and October, catering to surfers of all skill levels. Every year, Calicoan Island hosts the Calicoan Odyssey surf competition, drawing the best local and national surfers, and showcasing the island’s world-class waves.
A miraculous stop at The San Antonio de Padua Church of Sulangan
A short distance away from the surf paradise lies The San Antonio de Padua Church of Sulangan. This church is renowned in Eastern Visayas for its miracles and the granting of pilgrims’ prayers. Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint for lost items and various other wishes, is believed to answer even the most impossible requests here. Remarkably, the church withstood the fury of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the most powerful typhoon in history, with only minor damage, adding to its mystique.
A natural wonder found at Linao Cave & Lagoon
Nature lovers and adventure seekers will also find solace in Calicoan’s Linao Cave. A short 20-minute trek reveals a natural pool with clear, cold, and inviting blue waters. The cave derives its name from the Waray-waray term Linao or Linaw, signifying clarity, which aptly describes the cave’s crystal-clear waters. Inside, intricate stone formations showcase Mother Nature’s exquisite artistry, leaving visitors in awe.
Handig Beach on Homonhon Island, where history meets nature
While not within Calicoan Island, this beach strives to take your breath away only Philippine islands know how, and it’s not to be missed. To complete the adventure, consider taking a boat trip from Calicoan Island to Homonhon Island, a historically significant outlying island. It was the first landing place of Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who organized a Spanish expedition to the East Indies in the early 16th century. Handig Beach on Homonhon Island boasts pristine white sands, sparkling waters, and unique rock formations. The juxtaposition of dark rocks against the white sand creates a striking visual contrast. As you explore the beach and its surroundings, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a page of history while immersed in nature’s beauty.
Calicoan Island, with its hidden surf spot and diverse array of experiences, is evidence of the Philippines’ rich and multifaceted beauty. Whether you’re a surfer, a history enthusiast, or simply a traveler seeking new horizons, Calicoan Island offers an adventure like no other.
Photos: THE GREY INN, JEFF CALISO, and ANN ABUEME GESS