When our habal-habal (motorcycle) hit the dirt road, we knew we were in for a treat. All major roads in Laoang, the island, in Laoang, the municipality in the northeastern tip of Samar, have been paved with concrete but it is still the dirt roads that serve as the only gateways, albeit difficult, to the outlying nooks of the island countryside. And these outlying nooks cradle some of the country’s most underrated yet wigsnatching beaches. Laoang Island is home to three of these isolated coves — Onay Beach, Magsaysay Beach, and Calomotan Beach.
Coconut trees rise from a thick blanket of ferns that cover the land that harbors Calomotan Beach. Named after the barangay where it is located, Calomotan Beach tassels the greenery with beige sand that form an almost perfect crescent shape. The primary access trail to this beach cuts through the dense fern garden into the rocky end of the sheltered bay. As soon as we reached the sandy shore and parked our motorcycle, I knew exactly what Calomotan could offer — a reclusive kind of calm.
Rough medium sized rocks speck the dark gray sand that are dispersed throughout this end of the cove. These rocks, however, are the only disturbance to the smooth and serene environment. The gray sand seem to become paler gradually as you walk farther from the rocky end. The rich vegetation along the shore, providing a more colorful backdrop, seem to run endlessly with vines — sometimes decorated with yellow and purple flowers — extending towards the quiet water. While the wind blows with a little more push sometimes, the water remain undeterred, making very little friendly waves.
A shallow saltwater swamp that resemble a waxed floor scrubbed so heavily mirrors the trees and the cloudy skies above. A recess that leads inland, this estuary is almost out of sight, flowing inconspicuously behind thick bush and trunks of coconut trees. Where it leads, I don’t know. While I was extremely curious about what other sights that await if I follow the water inland, I guess I was just afraid to explore the unknown.
Calomotan Beach is long and stretched out but there is no permanent structure at the site, save for a small wooden swing that dangles in between two short trees and a bamboo table flanked with a couple of benches right at the mouth of the trail to the cove. We were the only people at the beach that time. Locals said that the beach does not really get as many visitors as the others.
While Calomotan Beach is not as impressive as Onay and Magsaysay, it holds a charm of its own, a huge chunk of which is its remoteness and seclusion. A real hideaway, it is the place to be alone, to relax, to bond with nature. It is a paradise that takes its strength from its slowness and naked beauty. The water here is an enormous mirror, an ideal retreat to reflect and rediscover oneself. The gentle waves here are hypnotic, a far cry from the adrenaline-squeezing body-slapping giant waves of the other beaches in the island. It is this quietness that makes Calomotan an unforgettable personal, emotional refuge you wouldn’t want to share. It is one of those places you want to keep your secret and keep it like it is yours and yours alone. Trust me, when tourism in Laoang booms, this is the beach that will emerge the least changed or affected. And for that, I’m happy.
How to get there: From Manila, fly to Catarman Airport in Northern Samar. Take a tricycle to the “bus station” and ride a jeepney to Barangay Rawis (P60). Hail a trike to the pier then board a small boat to Laoang Island (P7). From Laoang Pier, ride another trike or habal-habal to Calomotan Beach.