Northern Samar sees tourism boost with Australian cruise ship visit
TACLOBAN CITY—The islands of Biri and Capul in Northern Samar marked a tourism milestone on Wednesday after an Australian cruise ship made its port call in the province, the first such visit since the Eastern Visayas region’s inclusion in cruise tourism in 2013.
The arrival of Coral Adventurer in the province and its guests’ visit to Biri and Capul have stirred excitement and potential for future tourism activities, opening doors for foreign and local travelers to explore Northern Samar, according to the provincial tourism office.
The ship’s 73 guests immersed themselves in the local culture, including sampling local dishes and witnessing the traditional method of producing dried “danggit” (rabbitfish).
The guests first visited Biri town which is known for its ancient rock formations. The island boasts of seven rock formations, with six of these easily accessible to tourists.
They later proceeded to Capul, once part of the Spanish galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico.
Capul is rich in history with remnants of the past visible in landmarks such as the “bañadero,” a spring which locals still use for washing clothes and bathing, the Capul lighthouse, and the Capul church and fortress that served as protection against Moro raiders during the Spanish era.
“The best part of cruise tourism is that the ships carry a small number of guests who seek to interact with the local community and learn about their way of life, culture and heritage,” said Karina Rosa Tiopes, director of the Department of Tourism in Eastern Visayas.
“We must be doing something good that cruise tour operators and ship cruise directors trust us to develop and deliver the right kind of shore excursion experience,” Tiopes said.
Aside from the Northern Samar coastal towns, tourists aboard the Coral Adventurer also visited Sambawan Island in Maripipi town, Biliran province; and Canigao Island in Matalom town as well as Babatngon and Tacloban City in Leyte province.