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Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge Park in Basey, Samar

It was 2015 when I first traveled to Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge Park in Basey, Samar. It covers the 841 hectares of the 455,700-hectare protected landscape of Samar Island Natural Park.

The entire experience is still fresh in my memory – the rich forest, caves, limestone formations and the vast natural bridge where we had our boodle fight-style lunch. Now, that I am back for the PHITEX post-tour, the beauty of nature is still the same, but there are some notable improvements when it comes to tourism management.

First is the Sohoton Visitor Center and Eco-lodge, where tourists are welcomed and received. This is non-existent during my first visit. I remember, we just walked and passed through the community before we boarded the boats during that time.

Now, there is a much better structure to welcome guests with a restaurant serving delicious waray dishes. Handicrafts and souvenir items are also sold here. Most of the items are handcrafted by local weavers and the indigenous Mamanwa tribe. The more organized Sohoton Cave Adventure also provides a livelihood for the community. This project was proven to be helpful as it was recognized as the Best Practices on Community-Based Responsible Tourism.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar
explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

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

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

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

The service is also commendable. They served us some tea while waiting for the orientation. Larry, our guide, reminded us of the dos and don’ts before boarding the boat with our life vests.

The River and Cave

While on a boat, all you have to do is enjoy and witness the beauty of nature unfolds. There has been not much of a change when it comes to the thickness of the forest. It seems that the place is well-protected. After a few minutes, we arrived at our first stop.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar
explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

This is where we explored the Panhulugan Cave. But before that, we were in for a treat as Gino, a small boy singer serenaded us with his rendition of waray songs.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

Then followed by the dance performance of Curacha – a popular dance among warays. It’s nice that we were able to showcase our culture to the rest of the participants of the PHITEX post-tour who are tour operators from all over the world.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

Exploring the Panhulugan Cave is something that can be done by everyone. It is generally safe, as long as you always be with your group and follow the guide’s instructions.

Travelers will surely enjoy playing up with their imagination while witnessing the formations of stalagmites and stalactites. The cave adventure lasted about 45 minutes.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar
explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

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

Kayaking to the Natural Bridge

I initially planned to skip this part of the tour because I’ve already tried this. I don’t know, I just feel that there will be some sort of shortage of kayaks and I would want all the other participants to experience it. I was willing to give up my slot, to give way to our foreign guests.

But when they all had their kayaks and off to the river, there was still one guide without any guest to serve. Knowing that guides are paid by the trips or guest they assisted, I felt bad if the guide would not earn that day, so I decided to go.

It was a good decision for me because I felt that the river gave me a different kind of experience even though it was already my second time. The chirping of birds was way louder, and I spotted some migratory birds along the way.

Of course, I was excited to see the enormous natural bridge again. We stayed there for a few more minutes adoring the rugged beauty that surrounded us.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

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

I was happy and satisfied with all the adventure and nature that I experienced for the entire day.

During my early years of traveling, I was usually not excited to visit the same destination twice and focused more on experiencing new.

But as I got older, I realized that it is not always entirely about the specific destination, it is the people and the new experience or story that make moments count. My second time at Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge park gave me a new perspective and fresh experience.

If you plan to travel to Samar or Tacloban, make sure you travel to Basey to experience the rugged, rich and well-preserved nature of Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge Park.

How to get to Sohoton Cave Natural Bridge Park

Book a flight to Tacloban. At the Tacloban New Transport Terminal, there are vans to take you to Basey. Drop off point is at the Municipal Tourism Operations Office for proper registration, assistance, and coordination. This is located at ABC Hall Building near the municipal gymnasium.

From there, take a habal-habal (motorbike) going to Sohoton Visitor’s Center and Eco-lodge, the jump-off point of your Sohoton Cave adventure.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

VIA TOUR

There are also tour companies in Tacloban that can assist you with your travels to Sohonton Cave in Basey. You can check their packages which include Sohoton. I highly recommend Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours. They handled our tour in Samar and Leyte. Get in touch with them with below details.

Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours
Calle Zaragosa, Independencia St
Tacloban City 6500
(053) 832 0259
Facebook: Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours 

Contact Details for Rates and Reservation:

Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge Park
Brgy. Mabini, Inuntan, Basey, Samar
For reservations, please contact:
09067719455
09186434632
Services: Boating, Caving, kayaking, River Cruising, Mamanua Dance, Eco-lodge rooms and Food.

explore, travel, sohoton cave and natural bridge park in basey, samar

Where to Stay in Basey, Samar?

I talked to some friends in Tacloban and they confirmed that there is still not much enough accommodation in Basey. Since the town is near Tacloban, most tourists are staying in Tacloban and just take a tour in Basey.

I hope that there will come a time that more hotels and accommodations will be built in Basey in the coming years, but for now, Tacloban can accommodate many travelers. I researched and here are some hotels that are near Basey. According to Tripadvisor, these hotels are about less than 10 kilometers from Basey, located in the city of Tacloban.

Read my first travel to Sohoton Cave in 2015 in this blog post – Travel to Sohoton Cave in 2015

Note: This travel to Samar was made in partnership with the Philippines Tourism Promotions Board. Huge thanks to DOT Region 8 team for the warmth and assistance.