There are no direct flights from Manila to Maasin. Travelers will have to fly to Tacloban first. PAL, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia have daily flights from Manila to Tacloban. Travel time lasts for one hour and 20 minutes. From downtown Tacloban City, you can ride vans (Duptours or Van Van’s) to Maasin City. Travel time is around three and a half hours.
Meanwhile, if you are coming from Cebu, Cokaliong Shipping Line has four trips Maasin City. Travel time roughly takes about six hours.
How to Get Around
Tricycles and Habal-Habal
Tricycles and habal-habal are the main modes of transportation when getting around Maasin City.
What to See
The City of Maasin is the capital city of Southern Leyte. The city is considered the commercial and religious center of the province as well as the neighboring towns in the southwestern part of Leyte Island.
The city exudes both a laid-back and old school charm. A walk along the streets of downtown Maasin is a trip down memory lane because the many centuries-old structures around the city.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption of Maasin, more commonly known as the Maasin Cathedral, was built in the 17th century by the Jesuits following a Baroque style of architecture. The cathedral has suffered damages over the years, and the present structure was reconstructed in 1968. In the same year, the cathedral was designated as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maasin. The National Historical Institute has also regarded the cathedral as a National Historic Landmark. Right next to the cathedral is the Saint Joseph College. Built in 1928, it is one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the Philippines.
Maasin City is home to many pilgrimage that attract Marian devotees yearly. The towering Lady of Assumption is the tallest privately-owned statue in the Philippines. The shrine, which is composed of the statue and a chapel, is perched on top of Jalleca Hills, which rises 104 meters above sea level. It is accessible via a stairway that has 300 steps.
Another pilgrimage site is The Monte Cueva Shrine, a chapel built within a cave located about 172 meters above sea level. To reach the shrine, you need to climb up 550 steps. But once you reach the top, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the surrounding areas.
Maasin is also blessed with natural attractions. The Guinsohotan Cave provides a challenge for spelunkers because of its slippery trail and watery interiors. Outside the cave is the Cagnituan Falls. It is not towering like most falls in the country but it has a wide and refreshing pool surrounded by lush greeneries.
A side trip to Sogod Bay in Southern Leyte is also recommended if you’re in Maasin. Located in the town of Padre Burgos, about an hour’s ride away, Sogod Bay offers world-class diving that both local and international divers crave for. This expansive body of water is filled with a variety of fascinating marine creature like soft and hard corals, schools of fish, and even sharks!
For families traveling to Maasin, the government-run Maasin Zoo (the only one of its kind in the region) will surely be a hit with kids and kids at heart. The zoo has a collection of animals from all over the world including Australian camels, Burmese albino pythons, peacocks, and a cassowary.
The privately-owned Abiera Museo d’Art is also worth visiting. Located in the heart of Maasin City, the museum is home to rare antiques, paintings, coins, gems, and historical relics.
Events and Festivals
The city celebrates the Sinugdan Festival every July to pay homage to the Holy Child Jesus and is highlighted by street pageants.
Where to Eat
Kinamot sa Abgao is one of the highly recommended restaurants in the city. It offers a good selection of Filipino and Asian dishes that will definitely suit your palate. It also features al fresco dining so you can enjoy their offerings along with a relaxing environment.
Azotea de Maasin also treats you to an al fresco dining experience and a relaxing view of the city especially at night. They serve a variety of Filipino dishes like the highland chicken barbecue, their best seller. Cap off your meal with a serving of their fried ice cream.
Aside from their delicious food, locals and visitors alike are drawn to Racz Café because of their live entertainment. In addition to the great music, they serve scrumptious offerings like pork humba, beef steak, and their pancit dishes.
Fare: PHP 3,700.00++
A roundtrip airfare from Manila to Tacloban costs PHP 3,700.00, while the van ride to Maasin City is PHP 220.00 per head. If you’re traveling by sea from Cebu, the boat ride is priced at PHP 350.00.
The tricycle ride around Maasin will set you back PHP 20.00 per head or more, depending on your destination.
Food: PHP 150.00 to PHP 250.00
Meals in Maasin are relatively affordable. Expect to spend around PHP 150.00 to PHP 250.00 per meal.
Shopping: PHP 20.00 to PHP 250.00
Key chains and ref magnets are ideal take home items, which you can buy for only PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 apiece. Souvenir shirts are also available, which range from PHP 200.00 to PHP 250.00.
Accommodation: PHP 800.00 to PHP 2,000.00
The most affordable accommodation in Maasin are basic rooms for around PHP 800.00 a night. The average price for an overnight stay in a hotel is PHP 2,000.00.
Activities: PHP 200.00++
The entrance fee to Maasin Zoo is 200.00 per head. If you want a wilderness tour, the fee for a tour guide is roughly PHP 400.00 to PHP 500.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
Most restaurants already include a service charge when you dine in, so tipping is no longer necessary. But if you insist, you can leave PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00.