It is not pronounced as Ba-sey.
That’s the first thing you have to know when you travel to this town in Samar known for its caves, underground rivers and diverse ecosystem. There is no “ey” sound in the Waray dialect. I should know because I am waray myself. I was born in Northern Samar.
The correct pronunciation is Basai or Basay. The word Basey or its mispronunciation was propagated by American soldiers based in the town during the American colonial period.
Now that I’ve made that clear to you, let’s go to the reasons why you should visit this town in Samar. If you have limited time, no worries you can explore some amazing sites even for just a day. We did that the last time I was there as part of the fam tour by Tourism Promotions Board of DOT.
Basey Church or St. Michael Archangel Church
Our first stop. Just a few kilometers from San Juanico Bridge, we arrived at this centuries-old church that I must say very well-preserved and still beautiful.
Remember that Basey was one of the most devastated towns during typhoon Yolanda, but now, the church is at its finest again. Residents whom I had the chance to talk to, said that the church has become a refuge for some residents during the super typhoon. It is located on a hill, residents ran to the church during the time of storm surge.
Basey church has a rich history, but now it has more significance for residents, especially those who were saved during the devastating storm.
This was built during the 17th century. Imagine that! And with its form and look, this is considered as one of the most beautifully preserved churches in Samar.
I immediately noticed the murals when we got inside the church. The patron saint if our church in Laoang, Northern Samar is also St Michael Archangel, so this church has some kinda’ connection with me, the mural painting of the patron saint, the stained glass and the old feel of the church in way made me imagine and feel the stories of the past.
There was a young woman acting as tour guide, explaining the history of the church. I enjoyed listening to her stories but there was a time that I experienced some info overload with the dates, especially when I continuously hear 17th century, 1768, 1795 and a lot more. Haha!
So I turned to “Konsehala.” A cheerful woman in blue blouse who walked with me towards the other parts of the church. She told me her stories when she was just a young girl and how the church played a significant role in their faith and Catholicism.
Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge
A few more minutes of travel and a little trek, we hopped on a motorboat exploring the Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park.
Sohoton National Park is a protected area about 841 hectares. This is just a small portion of the Samar Island National Park covering the 3 provinces namely Northern Samar, Eastern Samar and Samar (formerly Western Samar). The entire area is 455,700 hectares, home of the various wildlife, rivers and cave connections.
One of the most exciting part was the Cave Adventure. There are cave connections in Sohoton but still a lot are yet to be explored.
That day, we explored the most popular cave, the Panhulugan Cave.
Richard, our guide said that once we get inside, just enjoy the view and let go of your imagination. And we did, aside from stalagmites and stalactites, there were formations that indeed needed some creative imagination.
How about Kayaking along the river?
More fun adventures when we traveled to the natural bridge through kayaking. This natural bridge is a famous spot that you should definitely visit once you’re in Basey.
Women Weavers of Saob Cave, Basiao
You might be spending too much time in Sohoton Caves because of there are lots of things to do and enjoy there. But another worthy visit in Samar is the Saob Cave in Brgy. Basiao where you can find the women weavers of the high quality and colorful “banig.”
According to the locals, Saob Cave’s cooler temperature is perfect to preserve the raw materials in making the banig, so most of the weavers can be found there.
Basey holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the world’s longest mat or banig! And the much awaited festival in Basey is Banigan Festival every September of the year.
Basey or Basay comes from the Waray word “mabaisai” which means beautiful.
This town in Samar is complete with adventure, culture and nature. It is only a matter of time for you to realize that Basey truly suits its name. It is time for Samar. It is time to travel to Eastern Visayas.
Basey Samar Sample itinerary
8:00AM Arrival in Tacloban Airport
8:30 – 9:00 Travel to Basey, Samar
9:00 – 10:30 Arrival in Basey Church and explore the town
10:30 – 11:00 Travel and Arrival in Sohoton Caves
11:30 AM Lunch
12:00 – 1:00 Explore the Caves in Sohoton
1:00 – 2:00 Kayaking and explore the Natural Bridge
2:00 – 2:30 Back to Sohoton Cave jump -off
2:30 – 3:30 Travel and Arrival in Soob Cave
3:00- 4:00 Watch weavers
4:00 – 4:30 More freetime. Buy banig
4:30 – 5:30 Go back to Tacloban
Basey Samar Hotels?
Most of the travelers in Basey, Samar usually stay in hotels and accommodation in Tacloban. There are still very limited hotels and resorts in Basey.
When we were there in Tacloban, we stayed in Hotel Alejandro and Tacloban Plaza Hotel. Both are recommended!
How to get to Basey?
Book a flight to Tacloban. If you plan to go straight to Basey, there are vans at the airport that you can rent for a day. Try to get the best rate for a day tour. It is much affordable if you travel with group.
Via Public Transport
From Tacloban New Bus Terminal there are jeepneys or vans going to Basey, Samar. Travel time is about 40 minutes.
The drop-off point is the Basey Tourism Office near the wharf and market. The staff there will assist you with regards to transportation and other services going to these tourist spots.
You can also get some assistance from the DOT Region 8 office if needed.Below is the contact information.
DOT Regional Office 8 at Barangay 25 Kanhuraw Hill, Magsaysay Boulevard, Tacloban City; or call (053) 832-0901 or +63998-8889715.