If you’re into checking out places that are quite remote, relatively quiet and quaint, and have a lot of historical value, then Capul Island in Northern Samar should be on your list.
A 5th class island municipality, Capul is a small village with only about 12,500 residents. This non-descript and idyllic place got its name from Acapulco Island, a homage to how instrumental the island was during the galleon trade many centuries ago.
An off-the-beaten-path, the rustic town is ideal for travelers who are averse to commercially-driven trips. In Capul, the highlight is always the beautiful landscape, and the rich culture of the people there.
During the Spanish times, a lighthouse was built on the island which served as a guidepost for the Acapulco-Manila galleon trade vessels passing through the treacherous waters of San Bernardino Strait. Today, that same lighthouse still stands—and still works, too—making it one of the more recognizable landmarks in the island. Kudos to those who built it because the lighthouse has literally stood the test of time and weathered many storms and earthquakes.
Adding to the island’s charm is the people’s language, the Inabaknon. Instead of Waray, the people of Capul speaks this distinct dialect unique to the rest of Northern Samar.
There are no high-end hotels in Capul Island, but there are families who offer homestays for travelers, which is another way to experience the culture of the place since there are lots of opportunities to interact and bond with locals. There are also lodging inns and beach resorts that offer accommodations on cheap rates, but do not expect anything fancy.
Some of the things that you can do in Capul include checking out the rock formation such as the Timon-Timon Rock formation or the Biri Rock formation; visiting the old war tunnels, diving and snorkeling, spelunking in Vito Cave.
Should you plan to visit Capul, the nearest airports with commercial flights are in Catarman and Calbayog, both in Northern Samar. From Catarman or Calbayog, you’ll need to get to one of two ports in the town of Allen that connects Capul to mainland Samar—Looc and Dapdap. Travel time through a boat ride from either port is about 30 to 45 minutes.
Capul Island has generally remained a low-key kind of tourist destination, and we kinda hope it stays that way. It makes discovering its hidden treasures all the more rewarding.