A beautiful waterfalls in Padre Burgos

 

Diving for whalesharks in Padre Burgos

 

Diving in Sogod Bay

 

Frolick in a waterfalls in Padre Burgos

 

Marine life of Sogod Bay

 

The fauna of Sogod Bay

 

The view from a hill on Limasawa Island

 

Whale sharks in Padre Burgos

 

About Southern Leyte

Southern Leyte is one of the six provinces of Eastern Visayas or Region VIII. Canigao Channel bound it on the north by Leyte province; on the east by the Pacific Ocean; on the south by Mindanao Sea; and on the west the Canigao Channel. It covers about one-fourth (1/4) of the island of Leyte. It has 19 municipalities.

Four islands and islets are within the territorial jurisdiction of Southern Leyte: Panaon, the only island linked to the mainland by a bridge, the historic island municipality of Limasawa which is the site of the first Christian Mass in the Far East, and the islets of San Pedro and San Pablo in Hinunangan.

Southern Leyte has a total land area of 173,480 hectares or 1,734.8 square kilometers equivalent to about 8.1% of the total land area of Eastern Visayas.

HISTORY

Even before the fall of the Spaniards to the Americans on August 13, 1898, a Western Leyte a Court of First Instance had been established. There was the office of "Promoter Fiscal" equivalent to the Provincial Fiscal and the office of "Administrador de Hacienda" equivalent to the Provincial Treasurer.

With the change of sovereign power the positions were abolished except the Fiscal's who remained hearing cases from Palompon to Hinunangan.

Because of the difficulty of transportation and managing the affairs of government in Tacloban, the division of Leyte into two provinces was thought to be the only solution. Prominent leaders of the West Coast rallied to the general movement of a Western Leyte.

In 1919, Rep. Ciriaco K. Kangleon representing the 2nd district from Inopacan to Cabalian from 1919-1922 presented the first bill for the division of Leyte but lost in the Senate by one vote.

In 1922, Tomas Oppus renewed the move by presenting House Bill No. 254, which became Act No. 3117. According to the said law, occidental province would embrace the towns of Villaba to Hinunangan, inclusive. The law never became effective since the governor-general did not proclaim it.

Then Act No. 3788 was passed redistricting Leyte province into five representative districts modifying the Division Law.

Then in 1957, Nicanor Espina Ynigues, Jr. defeated Rep. Pajao. Ynigues filed a bill in the house creating the Province of Southern Leyte no longer the original Western Leyte of Occidental Leyte but only the Third District of Leyte comprising the municipalities of Maasin to Hinunangan, as specified under Act 3788.

On Friday, May 22, 1959 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning, President Carlos P. Garcia signed the bill into law. Republic Act No. 2227, otherwise known as an "Act creating the province of Southern Leyte". Present and witnesses to the signing were Congressman Ynigues, Mayor Alfredo K. Bantug of Maasin, Atty. Manuel Enage, Sr., Erlinda Capili and Atty. Floro Kangleon, among others.

On July 1, 1960, Southern Leyte was inaugurated as a province with sixteen municipalities: Maasin, as the capital town and seat of the provincial government, Malitbog, Bontoc, Sogod, Libagon, Pintuyan, San Francisco, St. Bernard, Cabalian (now San Juan), Anahawan, Hinundayan, Hinunangan and Silago.

Three more municipalities were created subsequently, namely; San Ricardo from Pintuyan, Tomas Oppus from Malitbog and Limasawa from Padre Burgos.

AIRPORT

The province has only one existing airport that is located in Pananawan, Maasin. This airport is considered a feeder airport with a total runway length of 1200 meters and width of 30 meters.

The DPWH in Maasin reported that a total of 700 1 m of runway, 200 1 m extension and an access road of about 1.4 kms. From the national highway are concreted.

At present, however, the airport does not service any commercial flights. It has no terminal and can only accommodate aircraft for general aviation weighing 12,000 pounds and below at daytime.

To get to Southern Leyte by plane one has to fly to Tacloban Airport and take a bus/ or private van from there to any point in Southern Leyte

SEAPORTS

Southern Leyte has a total of 12 seaports, 2 of which are declared as national ports, the Maasin and Liloan ports and the 10 are municipal ports. Of these 10 ports, five are operational, namely, Maasin, Liloan, St. Bernard, San Juan and Sogod. By sea, travel to Cebu from Maasin port takes an average of 6 hours by ship and 2 hours by Supercat and Waterjet. A ferryboat from Liloan to Surigao takes 3 hours.The port of Hilongos is another sea route to Cebu. The port of Bato in Leyte, is a connecting point to Ubay in Bohol.

BUS TERMINALS

There are five designated bus terminals in Southern Leyte: Maasin, Liloan, Sogod, Hinunangan and Silago. But these terminals are open spaces used by buses as parking areas and are therefore not equipped with buildings and other facilities.

There are at least four (4) bus companies taking the Manila-Maasin route: Philtranco, Cedec, Inland Trailways and Ciudad. Bachelor takes the Ormoc-Maasin-Davao route.

From the capital town of Maasin, by land, it takes approximately five (5) hours travel to Tacloban City, twenty three (23) hours to Pasay City or Quezon City and nineteen hours to Davao city via the Liloan ferryboat.

Source : Department of Agriculture Regional Office

What to do?

Limasawa Island
Limasawa is a small island at the tip of the Leyte mainland. A short 45-minute banca ride from the town of Padre Burgos connects this historic island from the rest of Leyte. Historically Limasawa is the sight of the First Catholic Mass in the Philippines in 1521. This is a claim that has been attacked and refuted by other historians. However, the National Historical Institute still stands and acknowledges Limasawa as the sight of this historical First Catholic Mass.

A hike to the topmost hill of the island offers a stunning view of the sea and of Surigao on the horizon. The historical marker for the 1521 Mass also sits on the hill. Limasawa is a secret diver's paradise. It has magnificent walls and sheer drop-offs carpeted by with a variety of lovely fan corals. Natural underwater cavelets awaits the more adventurous divers. There is only one guesthouse on the island. It’s a 2 bedroom cottage. Each room costs P250.00 which comes with two single beds and a bathroom.

Magsuhot Park
Magsuhot is a 500 hectare forested area in Sogod Southern Leyte. The park is a protected area which covers four waterfalls, each one of the falls is more than a 20 meter drop. These falls feed into a common basin. Lumasan and Mahayhay Falls within the coverage of the Magsuhot Park are grander with a 60 meter drop.

San Pedro and San Pablo Islands
Off the coast of Hinunangan, in Southern Leyte are the islands of San Pedro and San Pablo. A 30-minute pump boat ride from the town of Hinunangan brings you to the islands. It is a pebble beach of natural beauty. The beach is a throw back in time, no electricity which means no blaring music, no TV, no cars. The island is a natural paradise away from the hassles of urban life.

Panaon Island - Liloan Southern Leyte
Panaon Island at Liloan is part of the Mindanao Deep, the second deepest body of water in the world after Marianas Trench. Panaon Island is known for its amazing dive spots. The world famous whale sharks also pass by Liloan Island in their migration route and spend months feeding on its coastline. It is also normal to encounter pods of dolphins while diving or snorkelling.

Tankaan Point/Buenavista Fish Sanctuary - Tankaan , Padre Burgos , Southern Leyte
Tancaan point is favourite spot for snorkelling and of course diving. This site is described by divers as a good dive site for exhilarating underwater tour.

Sun-ok Fish Sanctuary - Pintuyan Southern Leyte
A must diving site, Sun-ok Fish Sanctuary in Pintuyan, Southern Leyte. This sanctuary is an imposing rock terrace hosting a variety of marine life; of distinct coral formations inhabited by large species of fish. An array of soft and hard corals along cracks and crevices makes for an exhilarating dive experience.

Tabugon Fish Sanctuary - Liloan, Southern Leyte
This fish sanctuary in the coastal town of Liloan is one of the biggest reef areas under the aegis of Silliman University Marine Laboratory. Located in the protected bay of Sogod, this area is frequented by whale sharks

Napantaw Fish Sanctuary - San Francisco, Southern Leyte
Napantaw is another essential dive site which includes diverse underwater terrain, and rich marine life. Divers should expect to be treated to an amazing encounter with fully grown surgeon fish, sea turtles, and sharks.

Sogod Bay
This beautiful 713 sq.km bay has established fishing sanctuaries that makes it an important diving destination in the country. It has 350 of the 500 species of coral found in the world. The Sogod Bay diving adventure includes the world class dive site of Napantao in San Francisco, Tabugon in Lilo-an and Sun-ok in Pintuyan. The whole of Sogod Bay, including the islands of San Pablo and San Pedro, is also a good site for snorkelling. Whale sharks, dolphins, and sea turtles are regular visitors. Healthy coral life and diverse marine creatures makes it a dive paradise.

Patag Daku - Libagon, Southern Leyte
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 arduous six hour journey through a maze of trees, ferns, moss, grass and big trees.

Patag Daku is a 3 hour drive from Maasin City. While in Libagon, arrangements can be made with the municipal government for guides/porters, especially for first time climbers. 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.

Cagnituan Caves - Cagnituan, Maasin
A river runs through Cagnituan Caves. One has to swim to explore the cave. Enjoy the amazing stalactites and stalagmites formation of the cave.

Cambaro Caves - Cambaro, Macrohon
Jaw-dropping and unique speleothems, rocky formations, cave corals, and clear cold cave pool for swimming.

Guinsohotan and Busay Falls - Maasin, Southern Leyte.
Clear blue waters ideal for swimming and picnicking.

Sulphur Spring - Anahawan, Southern Leyte.
Soak yourself in sulphur spring water believed to have curative powers for rheumatism, arthritis, and skin allergies.

Sta Sofia Beach, Tangkaan Point - Tangkaan, Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte.
Sta. Sofia is a white sand beach on the tail end of the Southern Leyte. Ideal for swimming and snorkelling. A concrete stairway leads to a watchtower overlooking Sogod Bay and a view of Limasawa Island.

Monte Cueva - Rizal, Maasin
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.

Festivals

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.

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).

For Inquiries and Information :
Contact
Provincial Tourism Office of Southern Leyte
(053) 570 8300 / (053) 570 9018
www.tourism-southernleyte.com

How to get there:

By Plane:

Manila to Tacloban
Flights from Manila -Tacloban and Tacloban- Manila (Daily)

Philippine Airline Manila to Tacloban:
4:55 AM; 7:45 AM; 1:45PM; 3:55 PM

Cebu Pacific Manila to Tacloban:
4:55 AM; 10:35AM; 3:40PM

By Boat:

Coaling Shipping Lines
Cebu to Maasin:
Monday , Tuesday, Thursday, Friday ( 7:00)PM Sunday ( 12:00 Noon)

Maasin to Cebu:
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday( Evening Voyage) Tuesday ( Day Trip)

Kinswell Shipping Lines
Cebu to Bato, Leyte:
1:30 PM Daily

Bato,Leyte to Cebu:
8:00 AM Daily

Gabisan Shipping Lines and Medallion Shipping
Cebu to Hilongos:
9:00 PM Daily Except Saturday

Hilongos to Cebu:
9:00 PM Daily Except Saturday

Special Trip 9AM Saturday for Bato – Cebu
Special Trip 12 Noon Saturday Cebu – Bato

By Ferry Boat:

Surigao to Liloan:
5AM ,10AM, 12 Noon, 4PM, 5PM (Daily)

Liloan to Surigao:
6AM,9AM,5PM, 7PM,11PM (Daily)

Pumpboat
Bato to Ubay ,Bohol:
9AM Daily

Ubay, Bohol to Bato:
9AM Daily

Maasin to Ubay, Bohol:
9AM Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday

Ubay,Bohol to Maasin:
10 AM Monday/Wednesday/Saturday

As of January 2009. Schedules are subject to change without notice.

Accomodations:

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

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.
http://www.whaleofadive.com/resort/

Sogod Bay Scuba Resort
Sogod Bay Scuba Resort Inc.
Lungsodaan
Padre Burgos, Southern Leyte
Phone: +63535730131, +639274819885, +639205828542
http://www.sogodbayscubaresort.com/
E-mail Address: info@sogodbayscubaresort.com

Macrohon, Southern Leyte

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
http://www.leyte-divers.com/en/

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

Bontoc, Southern Leyte

Nino’s Beach Resort
Casao, Bontoc
Mobile No. 053-382-2786

Bontoc, Southern Leyte

Bal’s Beach Resort
Jubas, Libagon
Mobile No. 0919,302-3322

Liloan, Southern Leyte

Anilao Hidden Valley Resort
Anila, Liloan
Mobile No. 0919-636-9972

Bayfront Lodge and Beach Resort
Duwangan, Poblacion, Liloan
Mobile N. 0916-554-4861

San Francisco, Southern Leyte

Napantao Diving Resort
Napantao, San Francisco
Mobile No. 0915-555-2267

Hinunangan, Southern Leyte

Morgana Beach Resort and Lodging Inn
Tahusan , Hinunangan
Mobile No. 0921-811-4262

Dona Marta Boutique Hotel
Tahusan Beach Rd
Hinunangan, Southern Leyte, Philippines
6608

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