There are no direct flights to Southern Leyte, so your next best option is to fly from Manila to Tacloban. PAL, AirAsia, and Cebu Pacific have daily flights available. Travel time is about one hour and 20 minutes.
Once in Tacloban, head to the city center and take a van headed for Maasin City in Southern Leyte. Duptours and Van-vans are some of van companies you can search for. Land travel is about three to four hours.
If you’re coming from Cebu, Cokaliong Shipping has trips from Cebu City to Maasin every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Travel time lasts for about six hours.
How to Get Around
Jeeps are available to take you from one town to the other. Meanwhile, tricycles and habal-habal are also ideal when getting to specific places and for short distances.
What to See
Southern Leyte may be the second least populated province in the region but it is an integral part of the inter-island transportation not only of Eastern Visayas but of the entire country as well. The province is well-known for its abaca products, but it is also a thriving tourist destination.
The island of Limasawa forms part of the province of Southern Leyte, located about six kilometers away from the southern tip of the mainland and is known throughout Philippine history as the birthplace of Roman Catholicism in the Philippines. Ferdinand Magellan set foot in the Philippines in 1521 and the first Catholic mass held in the country was on this very island. The National Shrine of the First Mass in the Philippines was built in the area to commemorate the event.
Found in the town of Malitbog is the Church of Santo Niño, which has quite a colorful story: the capitanes of two barangays back in the Spanish era were fighting over which barangay deserved to be called a pueblo. This rivalry led to delays in constructing the town’s church, until the Spanish friars decided to just build it between the two barangays.
Maasin City, the provincial capital of Southern Leyte, is home to possibly the largest and the oldest church in the country—Maasin Cathedral. The Lady of Assumption, located in Jalleca Hills, and the Monte Cueva Shrine are also known landmarks of the city. They are also popular pilgrimage centers for Catholic and Marian devotees.
When it comes to sceneries and natural beauty, almost every town in Southern Leyte has something to offer its visitors that will surely take your breath away.
The town of Anahawan is known for its century-old Acacia Tree in Barangay Capacuhan and has been a source of pride for the Anahawanons. The town also has a hot spring in Barangay Mainit with sulfuric water that is said to have healing properties. The water is heated by Mount Cabali-an, a natural attraction for mountain climbers. Lake Danao, found at the peak of the mountain, is an ideal spot for swimming and fishing. The lake water is potable, too!
If you’re up for some snorkeling, head over to the town of San Francisco, touted as the next “Diving Capital of the Visayas.” Located in town is the Napantao Fish Sanctuary, a marine-protected area, where diverse and stunning marine life lies hidden in its blue waters.
The town of Silago has gathered accolades in the past for being the cleanest and greenest town in Region 8. It is also home to an ebony beach where the beautiful black sands take center stage.
On the other hand, the town of Padre Burgos is famous for its white sand beaches, while Tangkaan Beach is a well-known snorkeling site that visitors shouldn’t miss. Sogod Bay also has a charming underwater world where divers can swim with colorful schools of fish.
Tahusan Beach in Hinunangan, though not a white sand beach, is still bound to captivate beach bums. Its beach waters are clean, refreshing, and shallow enough for children to enjoy. Aside from Tahusan Beach, Hinunangan also has the twin islands of San Pedro and San Pablo, whose beauty is said to be comparable to Maldives.
For spelunkers, a huge challenge awaits them at Guinsohotan Cave in Maasin, while nature lovers can bask in the beauty of the cascading waters of Cagnituan.
The government-run Maasin Zoo is perfect for families visiting the city. The zoo is the first of its kind in the region. It has numerouw animals from around the world such as Australian camels, Burmese albino pythons, peacocks, a cassowary, and a lot more.
Events and Festivals
There are quite a number of festivals that happen throughout the year in Southern Leyte. There is the Sinugdan Festival every July in Maasin in honor of the Holy Child Jesus and the Pagkamugna Festival to commemorate the founding of Southern Leyte.
Every April, the town of Buenavista celebrates the Karomata Festival to honor the important role of farmers in the economy and food security. In Padre Burgos, the Tangka-Tangka Festival is celebrated every August, while the Manha-on Festival in Macrohon is held every September.
Where to Eat
Kinamot sa Agbao in Maasin City serves a good selection of Filipino dishes which you can enjoy while admiring a gorgeous view of the sea. Another restaurant to check out is Avenue Restaurant, along Tomas Oppus Street also in Maasin City. It offers a menu of delectable Fiipino and Chinese food along with some live music. And at night, many barbecue stands are also found up on the street that leads to the sea for more affordable options,
In Padre Burgos, diners in Padre Burgos Castle Restaurant are known to rave about their dishes like beef caldereta, kinilaw, steamed crabs, and king prawns.
Fare: PHP 2,400.00 to PHP 6,500.00
Roundtrip airfares from Manila to Tacloban can go for as low as PHP 2,400.00 to as much as PHP 6,500.00. The van ride from Tacloban to Maasin City will cost you PHP 220.00.
If you’re coming in from Cebu via boat, the trip from Cokaliong Shipping will cost you anywhere between PHP 350.00 to PHP 3,500.00
Food: PHP 150.00 to PHP 250.00
You can already enjoy a full meal for only PHP 150.00 to PHP 250.00. For some upscale dining, you can enjoy a four-course meal at Padre Burgos Castle Restaurant for PHP 1,200.00.
Shopping: PHP 20.00 to PHP 250.00
Souvenir key chains and ref magnets are priced at PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 apiece. You can also bring home souvenir shirts for PHP 150.00 to PHP 200.00, depending on the design and quality.
Accommodations: PHP 800.00 to PHP 4,000.00
Budget travelers can already enjoy comfortable lodgings for only PHP 800.00 a night in some establishments. An overnight stay at a hotel can go as much as PHP 4,000.00.
Activities: PHP 200.00 to PHP 2,000.00
The entrance fee to Maasin Zoo is only PHP 200.00 per head. If you want to go snorkeling or diving, the prices range from PHP 1,600.00 to PHP 2,000.00, inclusive of guides and motorboats.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
You can skip leaving tips when dining, especially if a 10% service charge is already included in the bill. You can still choose to leave a tip if you wish: a small amount of PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 would be just fine.
||ETA in Tacloban. Head to the city center to ride a van headed for Maasin City.
||ETA in Maasin City
||Have lunch at Avenue Restaurant.
||Check in at your accommodation and do some sightseeing around town. Drop by the Maasin Cathedral to light candles and say some prayers.
||Go on a tour of the Maasin Zoo.
||Have dinner at the Kinamot sa Agbao.
||Retire for the night.
||Have breakfast at the hotel.
||Depart the city to explore Guinsohoton Cave and Cagnituan Falls.
||Head back to the city and have lunch at Alberto’s Pizza.
||Depart Maasin for Tangkaan Beach in Padre Burgos.
||ETA in Tangkaan Beach. Spend the rest of the afternoon swimming, snorkeling, or beach bumming.
||Have dinner at Padre Burgos Castle Restaurant.
||Head back to your hotel.
||Have breakfast at the hotel.
||Depart Padre Burgos for Maasin.
||ETA in Maasin City. Ride a van headed for Tacloban City.
||ETA in Tacloban City. Have lunch at Ocho Seafood Grill.
||Check in at the Daniel Romualdez Airport.
||Depart Tacloban City for Manila.
||ETA in Manila
Rain is frequent in the eastern part of Southern Leyte especially from November to January, while the rest of the province has a pretty balanced weather.The average temperature is about 28 degrees Celsius. Bring light clothing for day tours and scarf or a light jacket when the night gets cold. Bring an umbrella too in case it rains.
Almost every town in the province has a hospital or health center so seeking medical attention shouldn’t be a problem. The Salvacion Oppus-Yñiguez Memoria Provincial Hospital is one of the leading hospitals in the province, which is located in Maasin City.
And while pharmacies and drug stores can be found in key locations throughout the province, it is highly recommended that you bring your own medicine, especially if you have certain medical conditions.
Southern Leyte is safe all year round. The locals are accommodating and friendly as well. Just be mindful of your valuables when traveling and always be aware of your surroundings. Before traveling, ask your hotel or tour guide first for tips and directions so you won’t get lost.