‘Rugged’ is generally the word you hear linked with these two eastern Visayan provinces, alienated from each other by the narrowest of canals near Leyte’s capital, Tacloban. The interior of both isles is frenzied by virtually unfathomable forest. This unsurprisingly creates opportunities for adventure and other wildlife activities. The shorelines of both islands serve up a few gems of their own, most remarkably tourist-free whale shark viewing in southern Leyte. For fervent surfers, the eastern shoreline of Samar offers seashore of unexplored breaks facing the blitz of Pacific currents – getting there is the only problem.