Samar Trip Part 3: Catbalogan City (Western Samar, Philippines)

Catbalogan City, located in Western Samar in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines, is a hidden gem with a rich history and culture. Established in 1596 by Jesuit missionaries, this former fishing village has evolved into a bustling city that serves as the capital of the province of Samar. The citizens of Catbalogan are called Catbaloganon. The city is known for its warm and friendly locals, who are always ready to welcome visitors with open arms. As you explore the busy streets of Catbalogan, you will notice the abundance of pedicabs, a popular mode of transportation among the locals.

Though our explorations in Catabalogan Samar were limited, we were fortunate enough to have visited three remarkable restaurants on different occasions and days in the city. Apart from the dining experiences, our wandering around the city also led us to Ubanon, a bustling street known for its dried-fish vendors. Then, we made a brief detour to a hotel resort in Guinsorongan. Join me as we delve into a delightful journey as we recount a series of culinary experiences and jaunting


When it comes to dining, Catbalogan City boasts a variety of restaurants that cater to different preferences. First on our list is Toril Gtill and Restobar, situated in Barangay Socorro on the diversion road, The best part about this place is undoubtedly its stunning view of Maqueda Bay. You can sit under the covered area or enjoy the open-air atmosphere, where you'll welcome a picturesque scene that enhances your dining experience.

As we settled into our seats, we couldn't help but notice that the restaurant was relatively empty. There were only two groups of diners at that time, including ours. We were looking forward to a peaceful lunch, free from any disturbances.

Now, let's talk about the food. Toril offers a wide range of delicious dishes that will satisfy any palate. We decided to try some of their elevated Filipino signature dishes, and we were not disappointed. The flavors were rich, and the presentation was decent.

However, I must admit that dining during lunchtime was a bit challenging due to the scorching heat. If you plan to visit Toril, I recommend going in the late afternoon or evening when the weather is cooler. This way, you can enjoy your dining experience without worrying about the heat.

One thing that caught my attention was the addition of several hanging strings of tiny lights throughout the surroundings. I couldn't help but imagine how enchanting it would be to visit this place at night. With the darkness setting in, the lights would transform the atmosphere into a magical setting. The night sky, the gentle flickering of the lights, and the serene surroundings would create a whimsical and peaceful environment, perfect for a relaxing evening or a romantic date. Ahh, my imagination! :)

Unfortunately, our dining experience was somewhat marred by the behavior of the "part-time" staff in the cashier area. Their disruptive laughter and casual conversations were audible throughout the restaurant. They seemed engaged in conversations amongst themselves, paying little attention to the customers. This lack of professionalism and disregard for their duties was disheartening. They were a constant source of annoyance and disturbance to us. It was evident they lacked the necessary training in customer service and professionalism. Politeness and respect should be instilled as core values, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a peaceful environment for diners to enjoy their meals.

Our culinary adventures led us to another hidden restaurant in Catbalogan. Big Boss Coffee, a charming cafe that offers an American menu and hosts acoustic nights every Friday and Saturday.


Nestled on the second floor of a nondescript building lies a hidden gem for coffee lovers and food enthusiasts - Big Boss Coffee. As we ventured out early one morning en route to our destination, my elder sister led us to this unassuming cafe. Little did we know that we were about to embark on a delightful breakfast.

We were greeted by a cozy and inviting atmosphere when we entered the coffee shop. The warm hues of the furniture and the soft lighting created a comforting ambiance and a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy freshly brewed coffee.

Big Boss Coffee boasts an extensive menu that caters to all tastes and cravings. I perused the menu, my eyes widening with anticipation. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air as I made my selections. But instead, I opted for a steaming cup of their signature hot chocolate and decided to indulge in a hearty breakfast. My first order was the classic Corned Beef with Rice and Egg. The corned beef was tender and flavorful and perfectly complemented the rice and sunny-side-up eggs.


Next, some couldn't resist trying the Pancakes served with a drizzle of maple syrup. These fluffy delights were a sweet indulgence that melted in their mouths.  

For a savory option, the rest opted for the Pressed Sandwich. As I savored my meal, I couldn't help but notice the staff was attentive and ensured that our dining experience was nothing short of exceptional.
 
In addition to their enticing food menu, Big Boss Coffee also offers an array of meals and beverages. From enticing coffee based and non-coffee to smoked ribs, burgers, pasta, there is something for everyone.

 

Last but not least, we visited Cafe Kahel, located in the city proper. This restaurant mainly specializes in Japanese cuisine but also offers American dishes. It is a two-story establishment conveniently situated beside Landbank and across City Hall. The restaurant boasts a diverse menu, satisfying the cravings of both Japanese and American food enthusiasts.

The ground floor of this café restaurant has a limited number of tables available. Although this may result in a bit of a wait during peak hours, it allows for a more intimate dining experience. Unfortunately, I only have a few video footage of this restaurant to share as some of the files got accidentally deleted. But it is worth noting that the food served here is of high quality and worth a try.

 

 

Catbalogan, a coastal city in the province of Samar, Philippines, is renowned for its thriving fishing industry. The city's strategic location along the Samar Sea and Maqueda Bay provides abundant fresh seafood, making it a haven for fishing enthusiasts and seafood lovers. As we embarked on a memorable trip to a nearby resort, we couldn't resist to immerse ourselves in the local culture and sample the delectable dried fish that Catbalogan is famous for. Our first stop before reaching the resort was at Ubanon, a well-known street for dried fish vendors.

This bustling spot showcased a wide array of dried fish, including the well-known bulad, danggit, boneless sapsap, and other local specialties. The aromatic and distinct scent and vibrant display of these dried fish varieties tempted us, and we couldn't resist purchasing some to take home.

You can watch the video below:
 
 
 
We had the opportunity to visit the M Grand Royale Resort, located on a picturesque hilltop in Executive Heights, Brgy. Guinsorongan. While it was a bit far from the heart of Catbalogan, the journey was well worth it. Although our time was limited, we spent around 20 minutes at the hotel. During this brief visit, we didn't fully indulge in the amenities offered by the hotel, such as the inviting swimming pool, a wave pool, and a sky bike. I think the stunning views from the hotel's upper floors would give guests a glimpse of the natural beauty surrounding Catbalogan. But since we were only visitors, we made the most of our time taking photos and capturing some videos to commemorate our visit.

Exploring the restaurants of Catbalogan City allowed us to delve into the culinary tapestry of the region. From traditional Filipino favorites to Japanese and American dishes, each restaurant offered a distinct gastronomic adventure. Whether you consider yourself a food enthusiast or simply craving to satisfy your taste buds, this city has something to offer for everyone.
 

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