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Why Samar Island Belongs On Your Philippine Travel Bucket List

Pearl Farm Island, Samar

More and more people are into making Bucket Lists, a list of things they want to do before they "kick the bucket," a slang term for passing on to the afterlife. And on the top of these lists really is travel.

If you were born and live in the Philippines, among the better things to add to one's Bucket List would be:
"To be able to see all 7,107 islands of the country."
The Philippines has been hailed as a breathtaking country. Only, it's very underrated and under-appreciated. Thus, if you want to challenge yourself to being able to fully embrace one's identity as a Filipino, to get to see and know about the country's different islands is one way to be one with the Filipino heritage.

However, with 7,107 islands to pick off, where do you start? How about starting with the major tourist attractions, the major islands, then pick off all the islands one by one and move down your list?

If you want a more logical process, here's a step-by-step plan on how to position yourself to travel the 7,107 islands of the country in your lifetime.
  1. Make a list identifying all the islands of the country. Put that in a spreadsheet, on one column.
  2. On the next column, indicate the island's land area.
  3. Identify the number of years you have left before you turn 75.
  4. Divide 7,107 by the number of years you got on #3.
  5. The quotient you got from #4 will be the number of islands you should visit every year until you turn 75.
Is the number very improbable, given that you have a life and a means of living (a.k.a. a job) to attend to? Then pick off your chosen islands and visit around 1 to 3 a year.

Don't forget to visit Samar Islands. For one, Samar Island itself is the third largest island in the country, in terms of land area. Another reason is that it is an island like no other. While most tourists would be visiting other islands for the beaches, with Samar, tourists should visit for the beaches, the island life, and the caves.

The caves are one major attraction in Samar. There are over 1,000 elaborate cave systems located in the province of Samar. These caves are unlike any other, as some of these are home to the biggest karst formations in the Philippines, and one of these karst formations, located in Langun Gobingob Cave, is thought to be the second largest karst formation in Southeast Asia. A karst formation is a geological formation wherein bedrock is weathered by water and forms interesting shapes, not unlike a canyon. It is also weathering that forms caves in the first place. Samar is home to both, and as veteran cave explorer Joni Bonifacio says,
"You can find serenity in caves; it’s a peacefulness that envelops in the inner self. It’s a magical place… The age of it, the shapes and the form[s] of it… It’s a peace that you can’t find on the surface, where there is life and activity all around. It’s an appreciation that [one may] hold for a remarkable place, like a cathedral.”

Indeed, Samar Island belongs on your Bucket List, if only to find out whether Joni Bonifacio was right in saying that there is a certain kind of peace that a trip to a Samar Islands cave would evoke.

Speaking of Bucket Lists and inner peace, apparently Samar Islands does entice the peace-seekers and those who have "Live the rest of my life on a tropical island paradise," on top of their Bucket Lists. Social entrepreneur Chris Bech saw the need for a venue to fulfill that, and his real estate retirement property, Paradise Village, is the epitome of fulfilling one such Bucket List entry.

Chris Bech saw the beauty of the islands of Samar and provided a venue for others to enjoy it in their sunset years. Truly a visionary.

Indeed, more than the caves, more than Chris Bech's retirement paradise in Samar, Samar belongs on your Bucket List alongside Boracay, Bohol, Palawan, Pearl Farm, and Siargao. This is one place you never should forget to visit way before you kick the bucket.
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