Explore

San Juan By The Bay Floating Restaurant and Boardwalk in Samar

Would it be nice to visit attractions aimed not solely on tourism but also to help alleviate the lives of the people?

In Samar, you can find many community-based tourism projects aimed to create jobs for the locals as well as to showcase the unique beauty of the province. It says a lot about the commitment and hard work of the DOT Region 8 Team as well as the local government unit.

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Photo Credit: Sir Gerry Ruiz / Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours

One of these is the San Juan by the Bay Floating Restaurant and Boardwalk, which started in 2016 as a collaborative project of the LGU, DOT and the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation. It was the late Gina Lopez, who spearheaded this project to generate livelihood in the community.

This is actually just a 15-minute land trip from Tacloban, passing through the San Juanico Bridge, going to Brgy. San Juan in Sta. Rita, Samar. After registration, visitors can walk through the 400-meter boardwalk to witness the rich ecosystem of mangroves. Guests can also board one floating cottage going to the main floating restaurant.

[ Read: Manila to Tacloban by flight and bus ]

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar
explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar
explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Photo Credit: Sir Gerry Ruiz / Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours

As for us, we went to San Juan By the Bay, from a boat after experiencing the San Juanico Cruises. The floating restaurant offers delicious dishes from Samar. Aside from the warm welcome from the community, it was the food that really made us feel the warmth and genuine waray hospitality.

They served us fresh seafood dishes, vegetables, beef and a lot more. Just like everyone else, I also had a big breakfast, but what I truly enjoyed was sipping my morning coffee while enjoying the views of San Juanico Bridge and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar
explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Photo Credit: Sir Gerry Ruiz / Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Photo Credit: Sir Gerry Ruiz / Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar
explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

I was actually with the PHITEX delegates who are business owners and tour operators from countries like France, Spain, Australia, Poland, the USA, India, and China. And I can say it was a nice way for us to let our visitors experience Filipino culture and food.

While we were having our breakfast, three kids presented us with a dance number. Kids will always put a smile on everyone, whether any kind of performance.

Eastern Visayas always feels like home. Since I was born in Northern Samar and also speaks the language, that makes me also a waray. Being with locals and the DOT Region 8 team felt like I was visiting relatives. Hearing people speak waray the entire trip felt like I was transported to a family gathering.

After breakfast, we had enough time to chill and talk to everyone. I took some time to explore the other smaller cottages and found the three kids who performed a while ago sitting on one of these cottages. I sat there and asked if they’ve already had their breakfast.

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Two girls and a boy looked at one another, checking if they’re going, to be honest, or what. Then one girl said, “Ah nagtinapay kanina, mamaya na ulit kakain.”  (We ate bread a while ago, we’ll eat again later).The rest nodded with wide eyes approving of the answer.

Then I acted as If I was murmuring, telling them a big secret, “Okay lang yan, paalis na ang mga bisita, maiinom na natin yung coke tsaka  biskwit. Haha ”  (It’s okay. The visitors will leave in a few minutes. We can now drink Coke and eat the biscuits. LOL! )

They all gave me a wide smile, followed by an expression of bewilderment, as if saying, How did the dude know that? LOL!

I gave each of them a hi-five, which is simply apir in the Philippines. I don’t know if you’re also like me, but I always enjoy talking to kids and locals whenever I visit a place.

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Before we head to our next destination, Arsh, a lady delegate of PHITEX from India, told me to relay her appreciation to the women in the community who prepared our meals. So I made sure that before we leave the place, I shared with them the kind words of our visitors.

“Salamat, nagustuhan nila. Balik po kayo.”   ( We’re thankful that they like the food. Please visit us again).

Now you know, what to expect when you visit San Juan by the bay.

How to get to San Juan By the Bay?

Private Car

If you’re traveling by your car from Tacloban, pass through San Juanico bridge and just straight ahead when you reach Samar. Once you reached the first intersection, turn left going to Sta. Rita. Drive slowly until you see the signage “San Juan by the Bay.” Enter the narrow road of Brgy. San Juan and then turn left. You can just always ask around once you’re in Barangay San Juan, locals are very much willing to help.

Public Transport

Take a jeepney going to Sta. Rita from Tacloban City Terminal. Once you’re in Sta. Rita, look for the signage of “San Juan By the Bay” at the left part of the highway, that’s the drop-off point. Straight ahead in a narrow road then turn left.

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

Photo Credit: Sir Gerry Ruiz / Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours

San Juan By the Bay Rates

Entrance Fee – PHP 20 for Adult / PHP 10 for Children
Cottages (all including the PHP 500 worth travel of floating cottage from the registration area)

Big Cottage with 5 Kayaks for 1 hour – PHP 3500
Medium Cottage 1 with 1 Kayak for 1 hour – PHP 1500
Medium Cottage 2 with 2 Kayak for 1 hour – PHP 1500
Small Cottage with 1 Kayak for 1 hour – PHP 1500

San Juan By the Bay Contact Details

It is much better to contact them directly before your trip to coordinate the schedule of your visit to ensure that there are enough cottages available. Here are the contact numbers:
09292198955
09352455825
09362410371

explore, travel, san juan by the bay floating restaurant and boardwalk in samar

  1. There is also a swimming pen for those who would like to swim. Swimming inside the swimming pen is a lot safer, that it would take away your worries of anything unfortunate could happen like being swept away by the current of the San Juanico Strait.
  2. You can also bring your own food.
  3. In case you need some extra food, there is a store in the floating restaurant. You can buy there snacks and drinks.

Avail the San Juan By the Bay Experience

Aside from contacting them directly with the numbers provided here, you can always get in touch with the DOT Region 8 Tourism Team for further assistance with the contact details below.

If you need a packaged tour including the San Juanico By the Bay, get in touch with Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours. They arranged our tour within Eastern Visayas. Highly recommended!

Department of Tourism Region 8 Office
Brgy. 25 Kanhuraw Hill, Magsaysay Blvd. 6500 Tacloban City
Fax: (6353) 832-0901
E-Mail: dot8@tourism.gov.ph
Facebook Page: Eastern Visayas https://www.facebook.com/easternvisayas/

Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours
Calle Zaragosa, Independencia St, Tacloban City, Leyte 6500
(053) 832 0259
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LeyteGulfTravelAndTours/
Website: http://leytegulf.callezaragosa.com/

Note: This travel to Samar was made possible through the Tourism Promotions Board and DOT Region 8. Thank you for the opportunity. Also, huge thanks to Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours for the wonderful service.