Wednesday, July 6, 2016

LEYTE: Town-hopping from Northeast to Southwest

The premier province of Eastern Visayas has Tacloban City as its main gateway. From this bustling city, you can take a bus or van ride to different points of Leyte, Samar and Biliran islands. On my 4-day journey, I made sure to reserve a seat on first trip so I can take most of my time sauntering at my chosen towns. Here are some of the towns I’ve visited:

Tacloban City is the main transport hub, historical, commercial and administrative center of Leyte province. The neoclassical capitol building is located here as well as the revered Santo Niño every last day of June.

Santo Niño Shrine used to be a Marcos residence now turned to a museum, that houses antiques, art collections and an image of Holy Child Jesus kept by the Romualdez clan. I was not able to see what’s inside as it was closed that day.

Santo Niño Parish, the flagship Catholic Church of Tacloban City was recently renovated. It houses the image of Holy Child Jesus.

Price Mansion, the former residence of President Osmeña and MacArthur was damaged by recent typhoon but still fenced for renovation.

Kanhuraw Hill, the green patch overlooking the Cancabato Bay is where Tacloban City Hall is located. Students and young folks sit on the stairway and kill some time feeling the sea. The breakwater seen at a distance is currently fixed as the rough waters slap the construction are nearby.

The adjacent town of Palo houses most of the regional offices of Eastern Visayas. Most are located at the road leading to MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. This historical park is where General MacArthur and party landed at Red Beach to end the Japanese invasion in the Philippines.

Being the seat of Archdiocese of Palo, it hosts the metropolitan cathedral as well as the numerous convents and monastic houses within the region. Notable on cathedral grounds is the mass grave for Yolanda victims last 2013. The municipal hall in stone house fashion stands facing the parish grounds.

Baybay City in Leyte’s western coast is a main transport hub for commuters plying the Cebu route and nearby islands. Roaming around the city center lets you see the old houses brought back to their glory especially the ones near the city parish. Good places to chill are the Veteran’s Park and Baybay City Plaza between city hall and parish church.

 Hilongos is one of the 5 adjacent and equidistant towns at the southwestern part of Leyte. I hailed a van from Baybay City Terminal to get on poblacion (town center). Noticeable is the painitan (breakfast place) where locals can have their dose of sikwate (chocolate drink) and puto (fluffy rice cake).            Located near the town’s square, it’s very accessible to market buyers and workers. A stone’s throw away is the local parish with stone wall and ruins in its compound. A corner of the church compound looks like a fortified fort, proving that Hilongos was a flourishing and protected community then.

Moving southward is the Matalom town where the municipal is currently renovated. The spacious plaza is opposite of the old convent and heritage church visible from highway. Their pride is the Canigao island paradise where one can fetch a boat behind the municipal complex at a minimal fee. 

After Matalom, I went back to Maasin City to call it a day. Visita Iglesia and Foodtrip will be put on separate posts. Maupay nga biyahe!

For details of my foodtrip in Leyte Island, click on title below:

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