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Calbiga, Samar
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Louie Guarin
Date: 2007-03-31
new place to explore this summer is Calbiga in Samar.

Accessible through a one hour plane trip from Manila to Tacloban City, and another hour land travel from Tacloban passing the renowned San Juanico Bridge. Purely by land, the trip takes approximately 19 hours from Manila to Calbiga when cruising through the provinces of Laguna, Quezon and Bicol.

Calbiga was derived from Biga-a, a specie of a tree that thrived in the area. Spanish missionaries then renamed the settlement Calviva after the five limestones that are abundant along the river.

Other versions claim that it was named Can Viga, a phrase which means belonging to the chieftain name Viga. Later on it was known as Calviga but because there was no letter "V" in the Visayan dialect, it became known as Calbiga.

The town boasts of natural come-ons such as the Kalidongan Lake in Barangay Literon; the Calbiga River; the Kanyawa Caves in Barangay Caamlongan; and the children’s play area and nature park.

Famous among these eco-tourism destinations are the Langun-Gobingob Caves in Barangay Panayuran, the Lulugayan Falls and Rapids in Barangay Literon and the Masqueda Bay and Mangrove Forests.

‘’Calbiga is really intended to be developed as a tourist destination. Because of the absence of hotels in our place, a homestay program is being implemented as a concept of the Department of Tourism, This affords tourists the chance to enjoy the warm hospital of the Calbiganons,’’ explains Mayor Luzviminda Latorre-Nacario.


A 30-minute boat ride took us to Maqueda Bay and Mangrove Forests where we marveled at the fish cages, thousands of sprawling bamboo poles for tahong culture, the strings of seaweeds culture with some small fisher folks with their traditional hook, line and sinker.

The Langun-Gobingob Caves are reputed to be the second largest in Asia and the third largest in the world at 7.5 kilometers long. The main gallery measures five-kilometers length, 50 meters in height, and about 40 meters in width. They were first explored by an Italian spelunker’s team in 1987 and again explored by a French team on April 2000.

It has 12 chambers with wide underground spaces, magnificent giant columns of stalactites and stalagmites, majestic rock formations, underground lakes and rivers. It is the habitats of rare species of blind crabs and the seven centimeter long hypogean blind fish.

Special attraction for local and foreign tourists are a thousand of bats hovering at the cave’s entrance every five in the afternoon.

Calbiga is a fourth class municipality. The population as of today is 23,000 and 90 percent are Catholic. The inhabitants speak Samarnon Binisaya or Waray. Other Visayan dialects spoken are Cebuano and Ilongo.

The municipality of Calbiga has a total land area of 28,378 hectares marked by broad upland areas and low rugged hills. Its climate has no distinct dry and rainy seasons.

A total of 151 tourists where 139 are domestic have gone to Calbiga, according to the records of the municipal government from 2005 to 2006. An estimate of 500 visitors coming from neighboring towns that visited the caves and rapids, enjoy their stay on weekends.

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