Why Leyte?


Nope, this post neither includes ways how to go to the Philippines' longest bridge named San Juanico nor to the historic McArthur Landing Memorial National Park. To be honest, I've never seen those two famous Leyte tourist spots.

So why Leyte? The province is an ideal place to visit because getting around is practically cheap. The local food is delicious and the budget lodgings in Leyte are plentiful. You can check out online sites and apps like Traveloka for great deals. It is less crowded compared to other provinces in Visayas, and most importantly, it is one of the best underrated places I've ever seen.

In our 4D3N stay in the province, we decided to explore the southern part of Leyte.

Instead of crossing the San Juanico Bridge, we crossed the country's tallest bridge - the Agas-Agas. From downtown Leyte, we rode a van bound to Sogod to reach the Agas-Agas Bridge. It's not that we fancy seeing the 89-meter high structure. We actually went there hoping to ride the zip line and cable car. Unfortunately, the rides traversing the bridge already stopped its operation due to an issue with its operational permit. Still, we managed to enjoy the mountainous scenery from the view deck.

Agas-agas, the tallest bridge in the Philippines

Old zip lines traversing Agas-Agas bridge

Heading north

From Agas-Agas, we rode a habal-habal going to our next destination. We were a group of four + the driver + his daughter in a single motorcycle. Can you imagine? We reached Gunhuban Falls safe and sound anyway.

Gunhuban Falls is nestled within the town of Bato. It was so peaceful, that only the sound of gushing water from the 30-ft tall waterfalls can break the silence. There were just a couple of locals swimming in the area when we visited. Tourists are allowed to pitch a tent to camp overnight in the area.

Serenity at Gunhuban Falls

Locals enjoying the cool water of Gunhuban

Maasin, our next stop, is just an hour drive away from the town of Bato. From Gunhuban Falls, we took a van bound to Maasin. We dropped off at the town’s terminal and asked a tricycle driver to bring us to Monte Cueva.

The cave of Monte Cueva was turned into a shrine and chapel. Since it is elevated at 172 meters above sea level, reaching the chapel was not as easy as I thought. To climb the 500+ steps to the shrine is to offer penance for all the wrongdoings I’ve done, at least for me.

Look how far we've got! But we're just half way to Monte Cueva

The amazing Monte Cueva

I was in awe the moment I set foot on the chapel. Monte Cueva is the most beautiful chapel I’ve ever seen! So solemn, so heartwarming, but I really do hope that my knees could climb that chapel again.

On the next day, we went to a paradise named Canigao Island. This islet under the municipality of Matalom must be included in your itinerary when in Southern Leyte. Canigao, a gorgeous island with fine white sand beach, is unbelievably uncrowded. We enjoyed the serenity of the island.

Dedicated boatman

Unspoiled beach of Canigao Island

Canigao Island

We spent half day savoring the beauty of Canigao. The other half was spent on another paradise – the Limasawa. The island is known to be the birthplace of Christianism in the Philippines. It was where the country’s first mass was held, led by Father Pedro de Valderrama in 1521. [Read more about Limasawa here]

Other than being historic, Limasawa Island boasts several astonishing sceneries. One of my favorites is the view from the hilltop of Magallanes, where the first cross in the Philippines was planted. Standing in the said location gave us a sight of Limasawa’s neighboring islands such as Camiguin, Surigao, and Bohol.

Seeing the other side of Limasawa

View near the lighthouse of the island

Getting around Limasawa Island is stress-free with a habal-habal. Our habal-habal driver served as our tour guide, too. He showed us the island’s lighthouse, the shrine of Philippine’s first mass, and the nice beaches. We also witnessed how the locals dry squids, which is their main product in town. [Also read: The Locals of Southern Leyte]

What I loved most about Leyte is the hospitality of its people. Friendly, accommodating, and helpful to tourists, these are the qualities they all possess. I bet this is what makes Leyte so enchanting and special. Now you have all the reasons to visit Leyte!

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