Higunom is a naked island located in the municipality of Arteche Eastern Samar. Honestly, this is the first time that I've heard about this town. I was like 'really, there's a place called Arteche? Okay let's go there'. I wasn't really expecting much but when we went there I was quite impressed. Not only because they have this stunning island but because the town itself is smoke-free! We really didn't see anyone smoking and you will not find a store selling cigarettes within the town proper. The locals seemed happy as they would usually talk about it in an apparently proud way.
I was lucky enough to have a short talk with their young 'pogi' mayor and it seemed like he has this strong desire to make this town a better place to live in. Implementing a smoke-free initiative is never easy but they were successful. I'm like 'good job mayor!'
Anyway going back to Higunom Island, this little paradise is definitely worth a visit. The fact that it's so bare and simple makes it more serene and relaxing. The other side of the island is facing the pacific so if you're into surfing, you might want to try it here. You can also do snorkelling (and probably diving) on the shipwreck spot a few meters away from the shore.
How to get there (from Tacloban):1. Contact the Arteche Tourism office first (the island is limited to only 40-50 visitors per day) Contact Person - Jessel 09552500024 / 09192189014
2. Go to New Bus Terminal and ride a van going to Arteche (Php280, 4-5hrs travel time). Van trips are scheduled everyday at 8am, 10am, 12nn, 2pm and 4pm (according to the driver I talked to).
3. Charter a boat going to the island (Php1500 for the whole boat which is good for 40-50 passengers - yes it's a big boat). Travel time is 1 hour (boat fare might be subject to change without prior notice).
4. Keep in touch with the tourism officer as they will tell you where to go upon arriving in Arteche.
5. To go back to Tacloban, the earliest trip is at 2am until 7:30am. The tourism officer can give you the contact number of the van operator for reservations.
Reminders:1. There are no cottages or other facilities yet. It's a naked island so you already know. It's bare. Bring your sunblock.
2. Other Activities you can do there -- relaxing, picture-taking and swimming (snorkelling will be available soon)
3. You can also visit the Lagoon to swim with the beautiful fishes before you go back to the main island.
4. Smart 3G and Globe 2G signal available.
5. Smoking and alcoholic beverages are not allowed
6. Be a responsible traveller and bring your trash with you.
7. Hostels and lodging houses are available in Arteche. You can ask the tourism officer about that as well.
This island is just one of the many beautiful places to visit in Samar. I'm happy I get to know this place and I hope other towns will follow the smoke-free initiative as well. To see more of the island, check out this 2-minute video below.
Do you like my blog?
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/littlepinayexplorer/
Instagram - @littlepinayexplorer
Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh7nKSjedmDhlZYeHrHDIlg