Matuguinao: From terrorist lair to tourist haven

Published May 7, 2021, 6:12 PM

by Marie Tonette Marticio

MATUGUINAO, SAMAR – Insurgency is the first word that enters people’s minds whenever this town is being mentioned in conversations.

ALLURING PLACE. The Maslog Cold Spring is one of the budding tourism attractions in Matuguinao town in Samar. (Marie Tonette Marticio/MANILA BULLETIN)

But what used to be a lair of the communist-terrorist rebels is now turning into a budding tourist destination now that all of its conflict-stricken villages are cleared from the influence and terror of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Mabuligon village resident Joel and his wife Mary Ann Diaz have never imagined that their once NPA-infested municipality will eventually be visited by tourists.

“We are very fortunate that my wife and I were given this opportunity. We have lots of cold springs and waterfalls that have not been developed only until now because of the NPAs,” he shared.

Joel and Mary Ann were hired by the local government unit to maintain the newly-opened Maslog Cold Spring to the public. 

A former “habal-habal” driver, Joel also takes pride in being able to finally welcome guests in their place with the assurance of safety, far from what it used to be – a poverty-stricken town.

Maslog nests in a virgin forest which serves as its canopy. Its pristine water flows from an underground river in Mabuligon where tourists can swim and have a picnic under the towering decades-old trees. The cold water is also potable.

The spring can accommodate up to 100 people but us currently adhering to the 50 percent carrying capacity of tourist destinations set by the Department of Tourism.

Mayor Aran Boller said it is the second tourist attraction they have developed next to Matugnaw Spring in Brgy. Bato.

“After our campaign against insurgency, we will make sure that the former rebels will have a stable livelihood so the NPAs will no longer dare to come back to Matuguinao. We, in the government, are working hard to win them back to finally have a lasting peace here,” said Boller.

Matuguinao is a landlocked town located in the tri-boundary of Northern, Western, and Eastern Samar.  It is a four-hour drive from Tacloban City and an hour-and-a-half from Calbayog City.