Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alluring Sights To Behold in Southern Leyte

Southern Leyte is a province bestowed by nature with the captivating sights awaiting to unfold before the discriminating eyes of tourist both from the domestic and international scene. The province is reachable by land, by air or by sea.If Palawan is regarded as the last frontier, then maybe Southern Leyte can be regarded as the undiscovered dive frontier.As a way of promoting my visions on ecological   tourism(ecotourism) on the provincial front for the upliftment of the lives of the people and the place, I am summarizing below the list of the different festivals, attractions and accommodations found in the province in the different municipalities that they belong.
Top Provincial Attractions:
Maasin Cathedral
Location: Maasin, Southern Leyte.
Facilities: Catholic Church situated inside a beautiful park, with recreational facilities such as swings, slides, tennis court.
Attractions: Image and “santos” whose art and architecture dates back to the Spanish era are still found in its altar and ceilings.
Location: Maasin, Southern Leyte. 
Just within the Capital City of Maasin, it is one of the most visited nature sites because of its twin experience: the cave with its subterranean river and the inviting pool of the water falls. They were prominently featured in the ABS-CBN’s trip na trip show
Monte Cueva 
Location:Rizal, Maasin  Southern Leyte
An interesting ingenuity of building on what nature has created. This is a chapel built inside a cave, located on top of a hill. The hill overlooks the city, and is also a great place to catch the sunset and enjoy the breeze.
Guinsohotan and Busay Falls - 
Maasin, Southern Leyte. 
Clear blue waters ideal for swimming and picnicking
Esfa Beach Resort - Located in Maasin City with facilities that include resthouse with native delicacies, beach tables, dressing rooms. Excellent for swimming, fishing, and shell hunts.
Guinsohotan and Busay Falls - Located in Maasin; features clear running waters for swimming, picnicking, and or just simply doing laundry.
Hanginan Trail / Mountain Hiking - The highest elevation in Maasin. It holds a historical value as a "watch point" during the Spanish era.
Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Cacao Mountain Resort
Combado, Maasin City
Tel. No. 053-381-3013
Gloria’s Beach Resort
Ibarra, Maasin City
Tel. No. 053-381-4269
Macrohon, Southern Leyte
Location: Barangay Asuncion, Macrohon, Southern Leyte.
Attractions: Wide stretches of sandy beach favorite for swimming and picnics
Banahaw Springs - Located in Barangay San Joaquin, Macrohon. Features cool spring water pool of which many from Maasin visit during weekends and after-beach swimming.
Cambaro Caves - Cambaro, Macrohon 
Jaw-dropping and unique speleothems, rocky formations, cave corals, and clear cold cave pool for swimming.
Kuting Reef
Brgy. Asuncion, Macrohon, Southern Leyte
TEL: (053) 5721023 / 02 - 7943263
Mobile: 0905 - 6685873
Email: info@kuting-reef.com
Website: www.kuting-reef.com
Southern Leyte Divers
6601, San Roque, Macrohon
Tel. : (0063) (0) 53 572 40 11 
Email: Infor@Leyte-Divers.com
Amapraiso Hotel and Resort
Amparo, Macrohon
Overnight accommodation. Airconditioned rooms and suites. 
With swimming pool and restaurants for guests
Manaya Beach Resort
Asuncion, Macrohon
Overnight accommodation. Airconditioned rooms and suites. 
With swimming pool and restaurants for guests
Location: Southern tip of Southern Leyte; a 45-minute pumpboat ride from Padre Burgos to the island.
Attraction: Site of the celebration of the First Christian Mass in the Orient when Ferdinand Magellan came in 1521; historical and cultural viewing of the Magellan Shrine / Marker.
For more boat dives, Limasawa Island, site of the first Christian mass in the Far East, is just thirty minutes away from Padre Burgos. This six-kilometer long island offers wall and drift dives in virginal coral gardens frequented by large pelagics,including barracuda, mackerel, tuna and jack.  It is also a diver's paradise. It boasts of magnificent walls and sheer drop-offs decorated with a variety of lovely fan corals which never fails to awe even the most traveled and experienced diver. The island also has sites for novice divers and beginners, as well as excellent reef communities on a gradual slope. It is ideal for open water diving and underwater photography. For the more daring and adventurous, there are numerous holes and cavelets where one may encounter a passing sea snake or a couple of squids. 
Travel Tip: Best time to visit the island: March to early June/October to December. 
Passenger pumpboats are available at Padre Burgos wharf. 
Magellan's Cross: 
Location: Limasawa Island
Leyte. 45 minutes pumpboat ride from Padre Burgos to the island.  Site of the celebration of the First Christian Mass in the Orient when Ferdinand Magellan came in 1521; historical and cultural viewing of the Magellan Shrine/Marker. Also a diver's paradise.
Sinugdan - ( March 31; Limasawa, Southern Leyte ). 
Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, in the service of Spain landed on Limasawa Island on March 31, 1521 where the first Christian mass in the Orient was celebrated on Easter Sunday. This historic and religious event is commemorated with a cultural presentation and anniversary program dubbed as Sinugdan (meaning beginning).
TANCAAN POINT (Sta. Sofia Beach) 
Location: Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte.
Facilities: Concrete stairway to a watchower overlooking the deep sea and historic Limasawa Island; natural shades and picnic tables.Tangkaan Point offers almost unlimited diving into a maze of rich marine life and prolific fish population.
Location: Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte ;
It is about forty five minutes from Maasin by land.
Description: A real stand-out when it comes to diving, snorkeling or just plain beachcombing or swimming; offers total exhilarating underwater tour - excelent corals, drop-offs, holes and cavelets, canyons, mini-trenches; rich variety of fishes like napoleon wrasses, groupers, sweetlips, snappers, parrotfishes, butterflyfishes eagle rays, sea trurtle, barracudas, sea turtle and pelagic fishes. 
Travel Tips: Best time to dive: October to May, private boat can be hired from Maasin  or Padre Burgos. Divers should bring their diving equipment and food. 
Padre Burgos Castle Resort Hotel
Location: Padre Burgos southern Leyte
Beautiful, small resort situated in the scuba diving and snorkelling paradise of Sogod Bay, Southern Leyte providing extremely spacious and well equipped accommodation for couples, families and groups of up to 10 people in 5 luxurious, double en-suite bedrooms. Facilities include swimming pool, private beach, bar, restaurant, lounge, internet access. Half board packages comprise full cooked breakfast, afternoon tea and sumptuous 4 course dinners. Bed and breakfast and room only options are also available.
Accomodations in Padre Burgos Southern Leyte
Pete’s Dive Resort
Barangay Lungsodaan
6602 Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte
Tel : (63)(53)573-0015 
Cellphone: (63)(915)824-1431 or (63)(920)798-4658.
Sogod Bay Scuba Resort
Sogod Bay Scuba Resort Inc.
Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte 
Phone: +63535730131, +639274819885, +639205828542
E-mail Address: info@sogodbayscubaresort.com
253 kilometers from Tacloban City by land transport.
Attraction: One of the oldest towns in the province of Leyte which was once the center of trade and commerce; old big Spanish houses and church; canopy of century-old acacia trees at the town plaza; the prominent Escaño family mausoleum built in 1928 with its dome towering over a catacomb; fine beaches and unexplored caves. 
Located in Brgy Candatag, Malitbog, Southern Leyte
Sinulog sa Malitbog - ( January 15; Malitbog, Southern Leyte ). 
An annual religious street pageant celebrated as homage to the Holy Child Jesus (Santo Niño), patron of Malitbog. It has grown steadily with devotees from other places flocking to the town. The town’s pride, Tribu Malitbog, has been a consistent winner and crowd drawer in the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City. Understandably so because the people of Malitbog are a cultured lot having been exposed to zarzuelas, operas, and other cultural endeavors.
Bontoc, Southern Leyte
Nino’s Beach Resort
Casao, Bontoc
Mobile No. 053-382-2786
Bontoc, Southern Leyte
Location: Sogod, Southern Leyte
124 kilometers from Tacloban City via the Maharlika Highway. 
Description: Have already established big fish sanctuaries which will someday become excellent dive sties. The whole of Sogod Bay and parts of the Pacific area, including the islands of San Pablo and San Pedro can very well accommodate a variety of activities related to diving and other water sports and recreation. 
Location: Sogod, Southern Leyte; only 3-kilometer from Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway. 
Attractions: Has a forested area of 500 hectares. It has 4 waterfalls falling into a common basin and is 20 meters high. Other sights 12 kilometers away are Lum-an and Mahayhay Falls with a 60-meter fall. 
Location: Libagon, Southern Leyte; 
To reach Patag Daku, one has to ride a bus or private vehicle from Maasin to Libagon. The trip may take about 2-3 hours. While in Libagon, arrangements can be made with the municipal government for guides/porters, especially for first time climbers.
Description: Patag Daku, in English, means big plain. It is certainly big but is never quite plain. It is actually a valley so dense in vegetations that novice campers and mountaineers will never come in or out without an experienced guide leading the way. But the trek to the valley comes big in every way. In mountaineering parlance, it is a major climb. Not the leisurely stroll that one might expect, the climb is an arduopus six hour journey through a maze of trees, ferns, moss, grass and big trees. 
Travel Tips: Start the tour at about 7:00 to 8:00 in the morning; bring potable water; climbing / camping equipment is a must especially if the group wishes to stay overnight. 
Located in Libagon, Southern Leyte 
A god place to unwind and relax with its brownish sandy beach
Location: Libagon, Southern Leyte
It  is a  black sandy beach
Located in Libagon, Southern Leyte
Mayuga, Beach
Located in Bgy. Mayuga, Libagon Southern Leyte
Mix of Brown sand and  gravel beach 
Accomodations :
Bal’s Beach Resort
Jubas, Libagon
Mobile No. 0919,302-3322
Location: Anahawan, Southern Leyte.
Attractions: Sulphur spring water with curative power.
Located in Hinunangan Southern Leyte
Enjoy the spectacular views of the two islands, St. Paul and St. Peter Islands where you can also swim, hike, and fish or just cover your body with the clean, white sand on the beach.  There are many things you can do while you are there... mountain hiking, where you can see and feel the warm water which comes from the falls in the Pagatpat mountain between Tahusan and Biasong.  Come aboard, travel by boat ideally suited to explore the intimate beautiful coral reef at the south end of the beach suitable for SNORKLING AND SCUBA DIVING.  It is one of the richest, undisturbed and undiscovered marine habitat with the highest fish diversity.
Location: Hinunangan, Southern Leyte.
Riding a Ferryboat to the Islands
Set off on a short Ferry ride 20 minutes off the coast of Tahusan Beach to these two islands which offer a relaxing time out.  Day trippers fill the hours  exploring the corals, sandy beach,  and the beautiful park resort in the islands.
Attractions: White coral beaches ideal for swimming, surfing and skiing; can very well accommodate a variety of activities related to diving and other water sports/recreation. 
Accomodations :
Morgana Beach Resort and Lodging Inn
Tahusan , Hinunangan
Mobile No. 0921-811-4262
Dona Marta Boutique Hotel
Tahusan Beach Rd
Hinunangan, Southern Leyte, Philippines 
Mady’s Loding House and Beach Resort
Tahusan, Hinunangan
Mobile No. 0921-811-4262
The Running Man Restaurant, Lodging Inn and Beach Resort
Tahusan, Hinunangan
Mobile No. 0921-248-0965
Tia Pacita Lodging House, Bar, Restaurant and Catering Services
Poblacion, Hinunangan
Mobile No. 0918-461-7788

Location: San Juan, Southern Leyte

San Juan Southern Leyte


Pu' Daku - Rock Island

The rock island was also the nesting place for seagulls. Some eggs can be seen lying around at the top of the rocks. It was no wonder then that some of the birds were trying to nosedive near tourist  making threatening sounds at once. Another interesting feature of the island was the presence of sea snakes. In the crevices of the rocks  some snakes are curling inside trying to hide away from the heat.

Silago Catholic Church
Silago beach
It is made up of fine brown sand , great to take a quick dip
Whale skeleton
The skeleton of a whale that was beached a few years back in Silago is kept near the Municipal Hall.
Location: Liloan, Southern Leyte.
Attractions: A part of Mindanao Deep, the second deepest body of water in the world; one of the most mystifying dive destinations in Southern Leyte. It is where one may encounter a school whales or dolphins.
Wawa Strait 
Location: Liloan, Southern Leyte.
Attractions: The often invisible strait is a sight to behold from this town; one could simply while away his time and get a relaxing feeling by going to this point to get a glimpse of its beauty. 
Bitu-on Beach 
Location: Barangay San Roque, Liloan, Southern Leyte; can be reached only by banca with outriggers; a 30-minute boat ride from the townproper. 
Attraction: White sandy beach; shells of various kinds and colors; good for picnicking, swimming; fishing and shell hunting.
Molopolo Beach Resort
Location: Liloan Southern Leyte
It is about half a kilometer long, the white sandy beach meets clear waters and wide mossy rocks where schools of fishes can be seen. Numerous coconut trees line the beach. While a short distance from the shore, two small islands jut out, heavily forested and ideal for nature tripping. It usually takes
3 hours by bus from Maasin to Himay-angan, Liloan followed by a 10 min motorcycle ride to the beach
Maamo Beach 
Location: Barangay San Roque, Liloan, Southern Leyte; can be reached only by banca with outriggers. 
Attractions: White sandy beach; good for swimming and fishing. 
Duwangan Beach Resort
Location: Liloan Southern Leyte
A mix of sand and little gravel facing the Surigao Strait.
Best time to enjoy the beach is from January to June...September to November
Liloan Catholic Church
Location: Liloan Southern Leyte
The Catholic church is located strategically overlooking the Liloan boulevard and pier.
Liloan Boulevard
The vessel to Cebu used to dock here, now it becomes boulevard
for strolling, jogging and dating while the children enjoy swimming during the high tide at Caducan Bay.
Liloan Light house
Location: Poblacion, Liloan, Southern Leyte
Locals call it ''Parola", this used to guide ships coming in and going out of Liloan pier and the Ferry terminal. The area is a good sheltering ground for ships during bad weather.
Liloan Ferry Terminal
Location: Liloan, Southern, Leyte
The gateway to Mindanao.
Tabugon Fish Sanctuary 
Location: Liloan, Southern Leyte.
Description: The coastal town of Liloan, with its protective bay, has also one of the biggest reef areas recommended by the Silliman University Marine Laboratory as proposed marine reserves; regularly visited by the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark.
Tagbak Beach and Marine Park
Location: Liloan Southern Leyte
It has white sandy beaches filled with various kinds of colorful shells, good for picnicking, swimming; fishing and shell hunting including sea urchins and diving, whale shark hunting. Some coconut trees are also found in the beach line giving shades and a refreshing taste of fresh young coconut.
White Rock in Ilag
Asug Cave in White Rock
Located in Barangay Ilag, Liloan Southern Leyte along Mahalarlika Highway
Bosai Water Falls
Located in Barangay Ilag, Liloan, Southern Leyte
Experience the coldness of the cascading waters from the mountain top .
Kandaw Beach
Located between Brgys. Ilag and Himay-angan in Liloan Southern Leyte, with white sandy beach where families can enjoy the sun, sand and the taste of freshly catch seafoods, fruits and vegetables that are all gastronomic delights. Along the coast line of the beach are coconut trees that gives shades and fresh coconut juices, with very sweet and refreshing taste.
Twin Rock
Located in Catig, Liloan So. Leyte 
The beach is a mix of sand and gravel but the water is crystal clear and the corals beneath are so fascinating..
Paradise beach
Located in brgy, Catig, Liloan So. Leyte
The beach  has pristine waters, with white sand and few rocks in the other end of the beach line with coconut tress giving shelter in the coast.
Anilao Hidden Valley Resort
A family get away resort located in Bgy. Anilao, Liloan So. Leyte
Anilao Hidden Valley Resort
Anilao, Liloan
Mobile No. 0919-636-9972
Bayfront Lodge and Beach Resort
Duwangan, Poblacion, Liloan
Mobile N. 0916-554-4861

Located in Maugoc, Liloan So. Leyte, a place perfect for rock climbing, where a perfect view of the pacific ocean can be seen while on top.

Location: San Francisco, Southern Leyte; can be reached by motorized banca in about two hours from Maasin upon prior arrangement with private boat operators.
Description: Healthy corals, clear water, rich marine life; the highly diversed underwater terrain in the area promises to be a challenging and exciting dive that a resident school fully grown surgeon fishes welcomes the "intruder" to a celebration of marine bliss and tranquility; hideout full of huge sea fans and soft corals; the place is virtually intact.
Travel Tips: Visitors should bring their own equipment and provisions (water, foods, etc.); bathing/ swimming/ snorkeling is allowed in nearby beaches and adjacent reef areas; best time to dive: October to May. 
Accomodations in San Francisco So. Leyte:
Napantao Diving Resort
Napantao, San Francisco
Mobile No. 0915-555-2267
Location: Pintuyan, Southern Leyte; situated below an imposing rock edifice, this sanctuary can be reached by motorized banca in about two hours from Maasin upon prior arrangement with private operators.
Description: Hosts a variety of marine life; the underwater contour is actually a terrace full of distinct coral formations inhabited by large species of fish. Fully rehabilitated soft and hard corals along cracks and crevices provide an appropriate backdrop that sums up a totally interesting dive experience; the rock edifice is ideal for rock climbing. 
Travel Tips: Best time to dive: October to May; fishing and collection of shells and others is strictly prohibited.
Location: Pintuyan Southern Leyte
These historical attractions and  leisure sights in the province  consists of virgin forests, enchanting water falls, caves, religious pilgrimage and beautiful beaches and pristine waters so rich with marine species that is an eye candy  to anyone who has a keen eye for beauty.
A place endowed with  rich natural resources with great potentials to compete with neighboring popular tourist destinations in Asia, but lacks development and adequate promotions as a travel destination.
Such alluring sights is a great equalizer to the clear and present danger of the world's concern on climate change. We are so blessed to have those resources, yet  the locals remained impoverished, still sticking it out to the  traditional way of living and lifestyle. 
With the development of Eco Tourism on the Provincial front, and the possible influx of tourist to the province of Southern Leyte, we ardently believe that it should be handled with stringent preparations through  the  collaborative efforts of the Provincial Tourism board, The DPWH, the LGUS, PNP, DOH, DENR and all citizens concerned, so as to be adaptable to the lifestyle changes that the situation demands. It is one of the richest, undisturbed and undiscovered marine habitat with the highest fish diversity and a very enticing haven for surfers, divers, nature lovers or anyone seeking refuge away from the urban jungle.
For a promising  tourist destination like Southern Leyte , may TOURISM be the unifying factor among the locals of the Province, setting aside political differences for the greater good, in order to move forward in measurable terms of economic growth , improved financial status of the locals, and continuous preservation of the different landmarks and natural resources found in the capital city and in the different municipalities.
By then my Walk for a Cause for the Province will take its leap allowing me to  move on to the next destination of my Journey, with heads up high and a light heart filled with joy having made a difference in the lives of my province mates and town mates.
Please Come and Visit the Province of Southern Leyte and experience the warmth of the culture of Southern Leytenos, embrace the beautiful adventure of a lifetime with nature, the sea, the sun, the food and the hospitality of the people.
Tara Lets...Lakwatsa Na sa Southern Leyte!!!!  (Let's Go and Have a Leisure Trip in Southern Leyte!!!)
Make the MOST out of today, because it is God's gift to us, that is why it is called the present!
a.) Ecotourism involves visiting natural areas with the objectives of learning, studying, or participating in activities that do not bring negative effects to the environment, whilst protecting and empowering the local community socially and economically.
b.)*Sutokil...is an acronym for Sinugba.(grilled), tinola (boiled),
kinilaw (raw seafood in vinegar)

      Tara Let's..means let's go : Lakwatsa Na....means Leasure trip
c.) My gratitude to my facebook friends:Cane Pretencio via Minen Edulan Cubi, Moises Barba, Emma Marqueda Keron, Sally Duterte, Emma Bernales, Odilord Rodriguez, Terry Hong, Joy Beto, Lea Saliente, Julius Ocb
a, Rebecca Albino, Fr. Pluth Rodriguez and Joel Lumen, for some of the pictures used in this article .
d.) Whale shark photos from: