The first time I was in Leyte, Philippines was about 20 years ago where I had my first taste of tuba (coconut wine) and got tipsy. I was with my childhood friend and her family for fiesta at their relative’s house but didn’t get to explore the islands. So, I never realized how beautiful Leyte was until my recent trip with my friend Sheryl.
How to get there
If you’re coming from Manila or Cebu, you can fly directly to Tacloban or you can take the fast craft from Cebu for 3 hours to Maasin or Ormoc. The boat schedules change without prior notice though so you must buy your tickets a day before. Once you arrive in Ormoc or Maasin, there are vans that go to Inopacan (the starting point of Cuatro Islas) directly and from there you can hire a car, take the tricycle or potpot to go around town.
Where to stay
I was lucky enough to be staying with Sheryl at their family house in Matalom, which is about 45 minutes drive to Inopacan and a 15 minute boat ride to Canigao Island. There are no hotels in Inopacan or Matalom, the closest place you can get a hotel is in Maasin.
Where to explore
We had a tiny boat on our way to Canigao Island and it was really wavy especially on the way back but if you’re adventurous, it can be fun! There are a few families who stay in the island who’s in charge of the entrance fees but the island is also uninhabited. You can sleep overnight on a tent or rent a really basic room for the night. There are a few sari-sari stores that sell coconut wine, snacks, water, shellfish and sometimes fish but it’s better to bring your own snacks because they don’t have a lot to offer. You can easily go around the island too since it’s very small and when the tide is low you can just walk to the sand bar close by.
Other things to do
I wish I had more time to explore Leyte because there’s still a lot more nice beaches and waterfalls. When you’re in Matalom, you can go hiking to Karap-agan Falls and Hitoog cave. There is also the historical Limasawa Island where the first mass in the Philippines, just South of Leyte. You can also go to Cagnituan Falls in Maasin, Kalanggaman Island or have some of the sweetest pineapple in Ormoc Leyte, Philippines. Philippines is a really special place not because I am from here but because I’m always surprised in a good way, every time I travel to places like this.
Don’t forget to follow Cecille’s adventures by checking her blog here!