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Samar province launches new tourism circuits for cultural immersion

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Samar and the Philippine Tourism Department introduce three tourism circuits, enhancing cultural, natural, and gastronomic exploration.

BASEY, SAMAR – Samar Province and the Philippines Department of Tourism introduced three new tourism circuits aimed at highlighting the province’s rich natural, cultural, and gastronomic treasures.

Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco attended the launch held at Barangay Binongtu-an, Basey, Samar which puts the spotlight on Samar’s rich cultural heritage and emphasized the crucial role of community engagement in sustainable tourism development.

Gracing the occasion as keynote speaker, the tourism chief applauded the tourism initiatives of the provincial government with the three new tourism circuits – Tandaya Trail I, Secret Kitchens of Samar Gastronomy Tour, and Mabaysay Cultural River Cruise – offering immersive experiences that showcase Samar’s natural beauty, cultural legacy, and culinary delights. These circuits have been meticulously designed to provide visitors with authentic encounters and meaningful interactions with local communities.

Under the National Tourism Development Plan approved by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., we anchor the transformation of Philippine tourism upon the strength of the Filipino identity that is alive and well in our culture, our heritage, our traditions, and yes, even our food. The direction of the Marcos administration is, that while we will continue to market and promote the Philippines as a place for fun and adventure, we seek to reintroduce the Philippines to the world by allowing them to get to know the heart and soul of the Filipino – and that you will find here in Samar,” Secretary Frasco emphasized during her speech.

The Tandaya Trail I

Tandaya Trail constitutes a 1-day tour through Samar’s towns of Sta. Rita, Basey, and Marabut. It provides participants with river boat rides, kayaking, spelunking, swimming, and local cuisine at La Cocina de Marabut. Added to the cultural experiences of the tour are traditional handicraft making of local folks and a view of landscapes and seascapes unique to Samar. The experience invites one to marvel at Sohoton Caves, Saob Cave, mat weaving tradition, and the San Juanico Bridge’s illuminated beauty. It promises a dive into the heart of Samar’s community-centered tourism campaign, where every visit sustains both the environment and local livelihoods.

The Secret Kitchens of Samar Gastronomy Tour

The Secret Kitchens of Samar Tour (SKoS) is a discovery of Samar’s culinary heritage. Named for treasured family recipes passed down through generations, this journey unveils the secrets behind Samar’s beloved dishes. The tour brings participants to actually meet local cooks, or “kitchen heroes,” who share their expertise through cooking demonstrations, from Basey and Marabut to Sta. Rita, each stop offers a taste of Samar’s soul. More than a gastronomic adventure, it’s a celebration of community and tradition. The occasion is an invitation to savor the flavors of Samar and experience the magic of its secret kitchens—a journey of discovery and friendship.

Mabaysay Cultural River Cruise

Meanwhile, the Mabaysay Cultural River Cruise is a transformative journey along Samar’s Golden River in Basey. This immersive river expedition invites one to glide through picturesque landscapes aboard boats reminiscent of Loboc River cruises in Bohol. From the jump-off point, the tour brings one to explore four riverside barangays, each offering unique cultural encounters. The river excursion in an invitation to engage with local communities, partake in traditional dances, and savor the local cuisines, including the renowned tuba, a local wine made from coconut sap. The immersive experience brings one near to the customs of the indigenous Mamanwa Tribe, gaining insight into their profound connection to the land. Moreover, a mesmerizing play depicting Basey’s history, a testament to resilience and triumph is also included in the cruise’s repertoire. Beyond a leisurely ride, this voyage promises to embark on a journey of discovery and wonder—an authentic exploration of Samar’s beauty and culture.

The tourism circuits were established with the collaboration of the Samar LGU and DOT-Region VIII led by Regional Director Karina Tiopes. At the tourism circuit launching, Governor Sharee Ann Tan emphasized the collaborative efforts of local communities and stakeholders in shaping Samar’s tourism landscape.

Tandaya Trail I, Secret Kitchens of Samar Gastronomy Tour, and Mabaysay Cultural River Cruise represent a significant milestone in Samar’s tourism development journey,” stated Governor Sharee Ann Tan. “By involving local communities in every stage of tourism development and service provision, we are not only preserving our heritage but also creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and economic growth.”

In recognition of Samar’s opulent gastronomic heritage, as witnessed by the occasion, Secretary Frasco invited the province to join the UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific to be held in June in Cebu City.

“I am very pleased to announce that as a manifestation of the commitment of our country as indicated in the National Tourism Development Plan to prioritize gastronomy tourism and the diversification of our national tourism portfolio, the Philippines is hosting, in June of this year, the very first United Nations Tourism Regional Gastronomy Conference. The eyes of the world will be on Filipino food and I extend this invitation to the province of Samar to share to the world the successes that you have had in gastronomy apart from all the other successes that you’ve had in eco-tourism,” said Secretary Frasco.

The “Secret Kitchens of Samar” a five-volume coffee table book authored by Ms. Clang Garcia, showcasing the stories and recipes of Samar’s gastronomy treasures was likewise launched during the event. The book features five segments depicting, “Ponsyon NGAN mga Sura”.(The Feast and the Dishes), Postre ngan mga Karan-on (Sweets and Delicacies), Sumsuman ngan Irimnun (Pulutan and Drinks), Mga Panakot (The Ingredients), and Mga Gamit han Panluto (Heirloom cooking implements).

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