Latagaw Diaries: Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge

One of the most accessible weekend getaway destination from Tacloban City is the Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge located at Basey, Samar. Basey which in Waray means beautiful is is the old capital of Tacloban City. (Does that make sense? Tacloban used to be a sitio of Basey.) 

The town has lots of old Spanish era houses and the church itself which is located on top of a hill overlooking the waters is from the 1700s. I bet its walls are still held together by egg whites. Weaving mats and bags with tikog, a local grass is one of the town's main source of income.

It is best to spend one whole day in this town so start your trip early.

Things needed for this trip:
  • a couple of adventurous friends so you have someone to split the cost
  • a thousand pesos
Suggested itinerary:

7:00 am The starting point for this trip if you are coming from the island of Leyte or Biliran is the New Tacloban Bus Terminal. From here, take an air-conditioned van bound for Basey. The ride will set you back 30 pesos and will eat approximately an hour of your time. If you want a longer but authentic Filipino experience, take a bus for 25 pesos but the trip will be longer as there will be frequent stops along the way. The ride will take you across the scenic San Juanico Bridge which spans across the island of Samar and Leyte. 

8:00 am From the town proper you can either register at the tourism office or go directly to the Sohoton Cave Tourism Office at Brgy. Wespal, a 30 minute, 50 pesos per head habalhabal (motorcycle) ride from the dock. I suggest doing the latter is more convenient and prices are negotiable.  


If you value your personal space and hate coming in contact with a stranger's body like I do, I suggest getting a whole motorcycle to yourself but you will pay three times the regular price.


8:30 amGet dropped off at the Sohoton Cave Tourism Office at Brgy. Wespal.


Soon they will be offering B&B here. This place has been built with funds from ABS-CBN.

You will pay the following fees:

You can only look at me like that if you will give me a discount.


River Cruise                                       2500 pesos
or Motor Boat                                      500 pesos for 5 persons 
Cave guiding fee                                  300 pesos
Kayak guide                                         150 pesos
Community fee                                    150 pesos
Light                                                    300 pesos
Kayak rental                                          50 pesos
Cave entrance fee                                  50 pesos (locals)
                         200 pesos (foreigners)
Golden River environment fee              50 pesos
Guitarist fee                                         200 pesos
Fold Dancing fee                                 200 pesos
SSA Operational Expense at 15%



After splitting the cost and paying the fee, put on your flotation jacket. Then get ready for the 30 minute ride with a banca or motorized boat along the Golden River. 

Cool floating dock

Upside of the banca ride:
  • cool waters
  • verdant forest
  • limestone karst formation
  • local life ( women doing laundry, children taking a swim, men fixing their boats)
  • bird watching





10 am Upon arrival at the Sohoton Cave, you will be serenaded by some guitarists. This is not an optional activity as it is automatically charged already.

Singing Ismayling(Smiling)-a kind of Leyte-Samarnon Folk Song.

Put on your helmet and light on your torch before entering the caves for an hour of splunking. Let your imagination run wild as you view the stalacites and stalagmites. From elephants to eagles to musical organs and uhmm sex organs.


 If you want to get the best deal out of your money, challenge your guide for the hardest route. Which actually is not difficult at all. I would say from 1 to 10 for an average girl like me, it would just be a 2.  It just requires some crawling in small crevices that all of us in the picture was able to easily navigate in. 


11 am After exiting the cave, you can take a kayak upstream to see the Natural Bridge which for me is a weird description as it looks more like a tunnel for me with a skylight. I was here 15 years ago and this area was accessible only during high tides or by hiking through the forest.


Be nice to your guide and help him drag a kayak upstream. Believe you me, you are missing out on the fishes playing around your toes if you don't.

If you are feeling lazy, ask for your kayak to be tied to your guides or ask for a guide to row your kayak towards the natural bridge.

12 am Activities you can do at the Natural Bridge:
1. swim
2. have lunch here
3. jump off the boulders and dive
4. bouldering/rock climbing
5. yoga and meditate


1 pm Row back to Sohoton Cave and take a ride banca ride back to Wespal.

2 pm Are you craving for more adventure? The Balantac Fallls is just a few kilometres away. Take a habal-habal ride for 50php but I would rather walk since it is just about a 20 minute hike away.

Or you can go back to town and explore.  See the church and the mat weavers and even take a 15 minute motorized banca to Tacloban from San Antonio and see the beautiful sunset.

Here are more guides on Sohoton:

  1. http://faq.ph/sohoton-caves-natural-bridge-basey-samar/
  2. http://faq.ph/how-to-get-to-sohoton-natural-bridge-national-park/

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