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Philippines Travel Guide

Philippines Travel Guide seeks to share the vibe of an authentic experience through our idea of adventure travel for explorers and memory seekers in the Philippines.

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Leyte, Eastern Visayas Adventure Tours

We spent 51 days on a planned and organized Philippines Travel tour adventure in 2017. We created the Philippines Travel Guide website to give travelers authentic insights about this archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, comprising almost 7,600 islands divided into three major island groups — Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The day before our trip to Leyte (Day 39), we flew back to Metro Manila on the island of Luzon to shop for equipment and other travel essentials for our succeeding adventure trips. Later that day, we got enough sleep, except Zak. He stayed up all night just to make sure that all our content was stored in the new external hard drive we bought at the Mall of Asia, Manila.

Travel Diary for Day 40-41:

For this 2-day (Day 40-41) Philippine adventure to Eastern Visayas, we explored the best of Leyte and its fascinating islands. Leyte’s rolling grasslands and thriving bodies of water are what make it stand out among other provinces in the Visayas Region.

Day 40: How do we get from Manila to Tacloban by Plane?

1 April:

Early morning of Day 40, we rode an Uber from OYO 118 Hotel Merlo OYO 118 Hotel Merlo to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila to catch our flight to Tacloban, in Leyte Province (Eastern Visayas Region).

Also known as Grab , Uber is a downloadable mobile app that lets you book private cars or taxis straight from your phone. With Uber, you don’t have to wait for taxis by the road just to get a ride.

When we arrived at the airport, we were told that the boarding of passengers was over. We insisted to check-in because we arrived earlier than scheduled. Eventually, we found out that AirAsia had moved the flight to an earlier departure time without informing us.

We talked calmly with the AirAsia supervisor at the check-in counter, and he offered us free seats on the next flight to Tacloban. Fair deal, so there was no reason not to grab the offer. If you are coming to the Philippines, be familiar with Manila International Airport NAIA travel guide, the main international gateway for travelers to the Philippines.

NOTE : Always check for any changes made on your flight, a day before your schedule. Get ahead of your departure time, so you won’t miss the plane.

How do we get from Tacloban to Cuatro Islas in Leyte?

At last, we got on a plane for Tacloban. Speaking of which, do you know that the City of Tacloban (Leyte’s capital city) was almost completely destroyed by the typhoon Haiyan in 2013? Life in the city has started to go back to normal.

Just like any other major cities in the country, it is easy to travel around by car in the Philippines. We rented a car with a driver, and drove to Inopacan Pier in Baybay City, Leyte. It took us around 4 hours to reach our destination. First, we stopped by the famous MacArthur Memorial Park on our way heading south outside the city of Tacloban. It has an impressive view, with statues of all the American generals who set foot in Leyte to liberate the people from the Japanese colonizers.

From the Inopacan Pier, we hopped into a rented private banca and went straight to the Cuatro Islas (Four Islands) located in Western Leyte, Eastern Visayas.

It was relatively late when we arrived at the island of Digyo , where we spent the night in tents. It is located off the Inocapan coast, Leyte. Of all the four islands of Cuatro Islas, Digyo is the smallest. But, its clear postcard-perfect turquoise waters enclosed by swaying green palm trees is enough reason to tempt guests to visit this wonderful island.

How is the Accommodation in Cuatro Islas, Leyte?

As expected, many young Filipinos were on the island because it was Saturday. Bringing disco lights and sound systems, they had fun during the night. It was completely fine, though, because the noise was manageable. 

If you love barbecue and parties, Cuatro Islas is a perfect destination for you. But, here’s a heads-up. Making a fire is not as easy as it sounds. We got to use firewood, which was a rare thing for all of us. It is good to know that the island only offers tents as accommodation. But, there are a few small buildings you can rent privately for a day. 

It has quite limited infrastructures and has many services and facilities needing some improvements, such as the public restrooms and baths. Good thing, we always carry our hammock which really helps us in making our travel smooth and efficient. It pays to get to know the top essentials for travel in the Philippines.

NOTE : The island is perfect for young wild backpackers who love outdoor parties. But don’t forget to bring everything you need like food, drinks, tents, and firewood on your trip.

Google My Maps in Leyte Eastern Visayas Adventures: Day 40 – 41

If planning a trip to Leyte Eastern Samar, check out the Google My Maps below to experience the activities and adventures, and get to know different routes and directions, accommodations to stay, attractions to visit, and restaurants to dine in. Visit the Leyte Eastern Samar travel Google My Map to learn more about our Philippines Travel routes and adventures.

What are the Best Accommodations in Leyte?

Whether you are an experienced traveler or a first-time visitor to Leyte, finding the best lodging can help you make the most out of your trip. Take a pick at these accommodation options listed below.

What are the rates of backpacker hostels in Leyte?

At this point, you might be planning to get a backpacker hostel room for an overnight stay in Leyte. You’ll be happy to know that there are many backpacker hostels in Leyte that can give you a cozy stay without messing up your budget. Backpacker hostels have a modest kitchen where guests can prepare their meals during their stay.

Want to know the rates for backpacker hostels in Leyte? At around PHP 800 or USD 16 per room per night, enjoy a queen-sized bed, a private bathroom, and a nice view overlooking the bamboo groves and sunbirds.

What is the price range of budget hotels in Leyte?

Wondering what other affordable accommodation options you can take advantage of? Here’s a kicker! Don’t you know that a homey stay in Leyte’s budget hotels does cost that much? Yes, you heard it right. Prices begin at around PHP 1200 (USD 24) per night, depending on the type of hotel room you plan to avail.

Budget hotel rooms usually come with complete basic amenities like a private bath and Wi-Fi. Its perfect location makes it worth choosing.

What are the luxurious hotels in Leyte?

Still not convinced? Why not level up your stay in the province by booking a room at one of Leyte's luxury hotels? Pamper yourself with first-class amenities, like an outdoor pool, a bar, a restaurant, and a spa.

A room for two in Leyte’s luxurious hotels costs around PHP 6,000 or USD 120 per night – inclusive of breakfast.

What is the best Airbnb in Leyte?

If you plan to stay a little longer in the province, choose Airbnb. Discounts may be offered for an extended stay. Another good thing about Airbnb is the chance to live with the locals and get a peak of their way of life.

At approximately PHP 700 or USD 14 per day, Airbnbs in Leyte can provide you with a home-like private space for you and your travel buddies.

What are the Top Things to do in Leyte?

Do you know why many tourists visit Leyte? It’s the luxury of things to do in the province. Adventures in Leyte are worth-trying. You can explore its natural and man-made attractions, and get a taste of its native cuisines and delicacies. Here are the top things to do in Leyte:

At this point, you might have an idea how unique and colorful Philippines’ history is. The province of Leyte has a vibrant past to unfold. General Douglas MacArthur, an American military leader, helped shape the island's history as he landed in Leyte some years ago. He attempted to liberate the people from the Japanese Imperial Army who were taking control of the province at that time.

To honor MacArthur and his men, 7 double-life-sized bronze monuments were built at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park (also known as Leyte Landing Memorial Park and MacArthur Park) in Palo, Leyte.

Another worth-visiting historical monument in Palo (Leyte) is Palo Metropolitan Cathedral. It served as an evacuation facility for Allied forces and survivors during the Japanese-American conflict in 1944. Locals call it Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration or simply Palo Cathedral. Get wowed by its gold-plated 17th-century altar and modern Gothic design.

Learn more about the kind of government that the Japanese established in the Philippines during their occupation in the country.

Mingle with the locals while island hopping in Inopacan and Hindang, the border locations of the province of Leyte Eastern Visayas. Cuatro Islas takes pride in its unspoiled beaches and coral reefs that are growing in size. It comprises Apid, Digyo, Mahaba, and Himokilan islands.

Although the four islands differ in appearance, they all have the same vibe where you can loosen up, enjoy the astonishing sight of the palm trees, and listen to the crashing sound of the waves. To protect the island’s unspoiled marine life, safety precautions are in place.

Dip in the hot water coming from the Tongonan Springs in Ormoc, Leyte and find relief to your aching muscles. As the first geothermal plant in the Philippines, it supplies hydro electric power to the entire Leyte Region.
Leyte is named as a dessert lover's paradise because of the variety of native delights that no sweet tooth can ever resist. First on the list is binagol, a mixture of sticky rice, taro pudding, and almonds. It features coconut and kalamay (a sticky sweet glutinous rice delicacy) filling.

Your trip to Leyte can never be complete without getting a taste of Leyte’s Chocolate Moron. It is a chocolate-milk sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaf sheets. Moron paired with a cup of hot choco is a party in your mouth.

In the Philippines, Catholic pilgrims visit sacred sites during Holy Week. One of the famous places to memorialize Christ's Passion is Tacloban's Calvary Hill. This is where you can see life-sized statues of Christ and other significant figures from his life, reenacting Christ’s suffering.

To reach the other stations, get ready to climb up to the top. Festivals and events in the Philippines are celebrated, as part of the country’s unique culture and tradition.

Day 41: How do we Explore the Cuatro Islas Island Hopping Adventures?

2 April:

On the second day (Day 41) of our adventure in the Eastern Visayas, we got up early to go island hopping to the rest of the islands comprising Cuatro Islas, Leyte. We had everything set for our trip, but the weather was pretty rough at that time. So, we needed to wait before leaving the Island of Digyo. Few minutes later, we started rowing towards Apid Island. There wasn’t much to see here because it is just a typical barangay (a small community within a city) where friendly and welcoming local people live.  

A barangay is the smallest administrative unit in the Philippines that has its own leader, known as the barangay captain. You should know that the Philippines is composed of different government administrative divisions. Next, we went to see Mahaba Island. It is a small but wondrous beach lined with palm trees by the seaside. Due to its size, finding a private spot to relax on the island can be pretty challenging.

Himokilan Island was the fourth island of Cuatro Islas, Leyte we explored. This amazing white-sand beach is covered with luscious green trees. You’ll find the mesmerizing azure waters worth a dive. Relax on a cove of white sand and get a sight of its idyllic background.

NOTE : When traveling to different destinations in the Philippines, do not go during weekends or Filipino holidays to avoid the huge influx of tourists visiting the area. Have it on weekdays instead.

How do we get Back from Tacloban in Leyte to Manila?

We returned to the harbor of Inopacan and took the next public minivan transfer back to Tacloban, Leyte (Eastern Visayas). It was an exhausting ride because the van had stops everywhere, letting people on and off. During peak seasons, a minivan traveling from Inopacan to Tacloban caters around 17 people – making it less comfortable especially for foreign tourists.

If you are traveling with a group of friends, hiring a van in the Philippines is ideal because you can split the cost of the van rental equally with your travel buddies. But, if you want a bigger space and legroom for a more comfortable long distance travels, opt for bigger buses instead.

When we arrived in Manila, Zak brought us to Oxford Suites Makati in Padre Burgos, Manila. It was a fantastic Airbnb in Makati. Airbnb is popular among tourists and locals because it brings comfort and affordability on one page. Unlike hotels, this type of accommodation lets you gain more friends since you will be renting rooms or spaced from locals.

Pacific Salt Farms is the Philippines' largest salt producer located in Bolinao, Pangasinan (Ilocos Region). By touring around this approximately 500-hectare salt farm, you’ll learn how salt is harvested and produced. Are you ready to ride a historic train across the property?
Here’s another kicker! Don't miss a visit to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag situated at the town's hill top. Also known as Shrine of Manaoag, it is renowned for its miracles which are depicted on its murals.

In February 2015, it was designated as a minor basilica, the highest honor awarded to a church outside the Vatican. This means that those who visit the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag gain the same spiritual advantage as those who go to the Vatican church buildings.

Being the only Christian nation in Asia, the majority of Filipinos in the Philippines practice Catholicism. Find out more about the religion in the Philippines and its interesting history and background.

At this point, you might be looking for a place to relax and unwind. Seek no more. Take a soothing dip at Bolinao Falls and enjoy the stunning off-white sand and crystal blue water of Patar White Beach in Barangay Patar in the town of Bolinao. Gracefully seated at the northernmost tip of western Pangasinan, (Ilocos Region) Bolinao is a hidden treasure.

Get to know more about the most beautiful waterfalls and the top beaches in the Philippines.

Lingayen, the capital of Pangasinan, is a World War II historical site. It is where the Americans landed as they helped liberate Luzon from the Japanese colonizers in 1942. The atmosphere of Lingayen’s downtown area shows a unique American influence, with wide roads and iconic buildings.

Visiting the flatlands in Pangasinan from Manila is approximately a 4-hour ride by private or public transportation, depending on the traffic and weather conditions.

And the best part? It’s food! The Philippines is home to many delicious and tasty desserts that you can eat at any time of the day. The town of Calasiao, Pangasinan boasts its toothsome Puto (a steamed rice cake, made from slightly fermented rice dough). The Filipino rice cake Calasiao puto has become so popular that even people who have never heard of the town know what it is, and believe that they’ve got the best-tasting puto in the country.

Don’t miss to try the most popular local desserts in the Philippines.

Google My Maps Philippines Travel Diary: Day 1 to Day 51

Check out the Google Maps below, to have an overview of the entire 51 days of Philippines travel adventure including exciting attractions and activities we did, destinations we explored, and travel directions in the Philippines.

Why do we Create the Philippines Travel Guide?

Zak and Dani created the Philippines Travel Guide while on 51 days Philippines travel adventure in 2017. Focused on the idea to explore travel routes and documenting location information by using the Google Maps application in the Philippines.

We created a detailed Philippines travel diary each day about our Philippines eco-adventure traveling experiences, including the production of pictures and videos of our trip through the Philippine archipelago.

Philippines Travel Guide is passionate about helping other self-minded adventure travel lovers, to make the best out of the trip to the Philippines by providing real information that passionate travelers and enthusiasts need to know about the archipelago.

Philippines Travel Guide is an ongoing process to work out public shared and detailed Google MyMaps of the entire Philippines to provide easy navigation for travelers.

This website also contains a collection of interesting authentic insights and travel tips and tricks and destinations in the Philippines.

SUMMARY: Best Adventure Tours in Leyte Eastern Visayas

Leyte is more than just the landing spot for General Douglas MacArthur, though it turned out to be one of the reasons behind its fame. Our 2-day (Day 40-41) visit to Leyte in the Eastern Visayas was spent roaming around MacArthur Memorial Park and Cuatro Islas (Four Islands).

It is a destination where you can spend your vacation – seeing gorgeous sites, doing educational and religious tours, and tasting the province’s signature dish and tempting desserts. Go to Leyte and see for yourself.

We ended our Eastern Visayas adventure, and flew back to Manila in the island of Luzon, to find a place to stay for a month. As planned, we will sort out all our travel contents before we move on to our next travel destination – Pangasinan because we got invited to the Bamboo Paraiso Beach Resort by a good friend named Gerry.


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