This year, I was fortunate enough to visit some provinces in the Philippines that I have never been to. Following the trend in social media with the hashtag #VisitPhilippineProvincesChallenge, I am also counting my own travels especially to places I have just unlocked and among those I have gone to this year are Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Marinduque and Palawan. While some of those are planned, others were unexpected due to business calls.
And just last October 30, I was tasked to go to Tacloban, Leyte for a business trip to one of our branches there. Since I haven’t been to Leyte yet, I immediately accepted the assignment. Hence, I have unlocked my 30th out of the 81 Philippine provinces.
It was a fine Monday when I left Manila but when I arrived at Tacloban City, I was welcomed with continuous light rainshowers. I was supposed to go back to Manila on the same day since it was a business trip but I decided to stay for another day since the following two days are declared non-working holidays.
Like some frequent travelers, I also take the time to try what the place has to offer when it comes to food. So instead of dining in to fast food chains, I looked for local restaurant where I can try Leyte dishes. I found JCO Roasters. There’s nothing unique here actually because they offer same dishes like those in Manila but what surprised me was the cheaper price. Imagine, two pieces of fried chicken with rice cost only 75 pesos. That’s way lower than the other restos out there.
DIY Day Tour Around Leyte on a Rainy Day
I wake up the next day early morning but the rain had not stopped. It is still gloomy outside but my accommodating host was as energetic as me and said that “rain or shine”, she is still willing to tour me to some wonderful spots in Leyte. Of course, I’m always game and off we go. And what lies ahead was a long long road trip since we will be traversing different cities and municipalities.
And here are some of the highlights of our trip that made me say that Leyte is indeed worth my visit despite the “on and off” rainshower.
16,000 Blossoms at Lintaon Peak, Baybay City
- 2 and 1/2-hour drive and 132 km away from Tacloban City passing through the towns of Palo, Tolosa, Mayorga and Tacloban-Baybay Road.
- Entrance Fee – 20 pesos per head
- Attraction – 16,000 LED-powered artificial roses
Lake Danao Natural Park, Ormoc City
- 2-hour drive and 75.5 km away from Baybay City through Baybay-Inopacan Road, Real St. and Luna – Dolores – Milagro Road
- No entrance fee
- Attraction – a guitar-shaped lake surrounded by the Amandiwin mountain range and lush forest.
- Must-try activities – Floating Cottage (P150/hour) and Kayak (P150/hour)
San Juanico Bridge
- 2 and 1/2-hour drive and 110 km away from Lake Danao (30-minute drive and 11 km away only if from Tacloban City downtown).
- Attraction – no other words to describe but majestic and picturesque. And everybody knows it’s the longest bridge in the Philippines.
- Must-try activity – experience walking along the bridge from end-to-end (Be warned though because this is not for the faint-hearted. You can feel the bridge tremble when large trucks pass by).
- Bonus feat – after crossing the bridge, I unlocked my 31st province – Samar
MacArthur Landing Memorial Park, Palo, Leyte
- 30-minute drive and 17 km away from San Juanico Bridge
- Attraction – a historic spot where General Douglas MacArthur landed in the Philippines as a fulfillment to his famous promise “I shall return” during World War II.
From the looks of my day tour in Leyte, I can say it is indeed a tiring and long trip covering different towns. But the adventurous in me and the nice people of this beautiful province, I can say that “I shall return” to this place.