Ulot in waray means monkey. It is also the longest river in Samar, which is home to one of its most thrilling offerings to adventure seekers.
Tinago translates to hidden in English. It is also the name of a popular tourist attraction in the province of Biliran, the Tinago Waterfalls.
Danao means lake. It is also the name of a guitar-shaped lake on the island of Leyte.
In three days, we were able to visit the three main islands of the Eastern Visayas Region, swim in three different bodies of water, and enjoy the other offerings of the region. Thanks to Philippines AirAsia and the Department of Tourism Eastern Visayas.
Our journey began in Tacloban City, one of the gateways to the region. There we met with representatives of the Department of Tourism -- Cris, Brett, and Fidel, who became our guides in this three-day adventure. I accompanied a group of media representatives who were there mainly to cover the third anniversary of the deadliest recorded typhoon that made landfall in the country. But, prior to joining the commemoration, our hosts decided to take us around to see how the region, still reeling from the effects of the typhoon, are coping.
From Tacloban City, we headed to Paranas, Samar. We briefly stopped at San Juanico Bridge for some picture taking. Interestingly, the region is the only one in the country whose main islands are interconnected by bridges.
Our first destination was Ulot River for some extreme downstream and upstream river boating adventure courtesy of The Ulot River Torpedo Extreme Boat Adventure.
This is a community-based tourism project under the Samar Island Biodiversity Program designed to give alternative livelihood for former illegal loggers who used the river as a distribution channel. Torpedo, the boat used in the adventure, is an acronym for the Tenani Boat Operators for River Protection and Environmental Development Organization (TORPEDO), which was set-up after realizing the ecotourism and adventure destination potential of the river.
A torpedo boat can take up to a maximum of seven people, including two guides. The rent for each boat is P 1,825. The whole ride, not including the stop, takes around two and a half hours, and it covers 10.5 kilometers.
We were briefed and geared for adventure at the Samar Island Natural Park headquarters, where we also got into our torpedo boats. From there, we went downstream into the green tinged river, framed by thickets. We passed by curtains of falls and of course a series of rapids, which got some of us squealing with thrill.