Eastern Visayas or Region VIII is composed of the main Islands of Leyte, Biliran, and Samar joined by the famous 2.7 kilometers San Juanico Steel Bridge (Leyte – Samar) spanning across the San Juanico Strait. It is composed of six (6) provinces, namely: Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Samar (Western Samar), Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.
Biri group of Islands is a cluster of eight (8) islands and islets located at the northernmost part of Samar Island. It is one of the favorite destination of local and foreign tourist who marvel on its beautiful and impressive rock exposures, lagoons and overall sceneries. This is the reason why in 1996, the local Mines and Geosciences Bureau recommended that the island be declared as a GEOLOGICAL RESERVE/MONUMENT to preserve and protect the shoreline outcrops.
Sohoton Natural Bridge National park is located 25 kilometers northeast of Basey, Samar. It is known for the natural beauty of its caves, subterranean rivers, waterfalls and limestone formation. There is the magnificent stone bridge, from which the park got its name, connecting two mountain ridges where underneath flows the Sohoton River. Caves with unique and exquisite calcite formations are situated in towering and rugged limestone cliffs along the river. We have there the Panhulugan Cave I, the largest and most spectacular cave in the area, the Panhulugan II cave that cuts into Panhulugan Cliffs; Sohoton Cave, a very large cave with a cathedral-like cavern; Bugasan and Capigtan caves which are smaller caves with chambers where ancient remains had been found.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE REGIONAL OFFICE
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. 8 started as a Mineral District Office of the then Bureau of Mines and Geosciences Region 7 in Cebu City. Due to the developing mining industry in Eastern Visayas, particularly in the island of Samar, the Bureau and other concerned government agencies believed that there was a need for a BMG Office in Region 8.
On March 16, 1983, Bureau of Mines District Office in Tacloban City was created. The first two employees assigned to the Mineral District Office were an Officer-in-Charge and a geodetic computer. A pre-processing clerk soon followed. Its first office was accommodated by the National Economic and Development Authority at the second floor of their building in Candahug, Palo, Leyte. The Office was established to accept and pre-process mining rights applications within Region 8. Final processing, evaluation and approval was still in Region 7, Cebu City. Some employees from BMG Cebu City were assigned to train new employees here specifically those of the Mining Recording Section. It had two Officers-in-Charge on alternating schedule, Engrs. Alexander T. Ozoa and Constancio S. Nangkil, Jr.
In September of that same year, the District Office was transferred to T. Claudio corner M.H.Del Pilar St., Tacloban City.