Southern Leyte Diaries (Part 5): Sogod, Hinunangan, and Silago Escapade

The clear waters of Hinunangan
Southern Leyte is not just a diver's paradise. The province hosts a variety of attractions that are worth your precious time. On our third day in Southern Leyte, we explored the towns of Sogod, Hinunangan, and Silago, passing through the sleepy town of Saint Bernard (the infamous site of the 2006 mudslide that caused massive damage and loss of lives).

How to go to Southern Leyte (Pacific Side):
By Air
From Manila, take a one-hour flight to Tacloban. Domestic airlines such as Airasia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines fly daily to Tacloban City. From the airport, ride a jeepney or a tricycle to the downtown. If riding a tricycle, you may ask the driver to bring you directly to either to the terminal where shuttle vans bound for Hinunangan or Silago (via Abuyog) are. This route is shorter than the Tacloban-Maasin-Sogod-Hinunangan route,

By Sea (from Manila)
There are buses that ply the Manila-Maasin route like Philtranco.These will pass along the provinces of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Legazpi and Sorsogon where it will board a barge from Matnog to Allen in Northern Samar. The journey continues on to Samar and Leyte, and off to Southern Leyte. It's a long, butt-numbing ride!

The Town of Sogod
Enveloped by rugged mountains, Sogod  is located about 126 kilometers south of Tacloban City, the regional center of Eastern Visayas. 

What to see in Sogod:
Agas Agas Bridge
If San Juanico Bridge is famous for being the longest bridge in the Philippines, Agas Agas Bridge on the other hand is hailed as the tallest viaduct in the country. The bridge, a one-billion project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, stands 89 meters tall and 350 meters long and bordered by verdant mountains.

There used to be a zipline at Agas Agas Bridge, which was featured in my favorite local travel television show, Biyahe ni Drew, but it was under maintenance when we went there.  The twin zipline is one of the longest in the country at 880 meters. It would have been nice to experience Agas Agas Bridge on a different high.

Eateries and a parking lot at Agas Agas
When you are in Agas Agas Bridge, try their hopia and breadsticks. The former is not your typical hopia; rather, it is close to another famous Filipino delicacy, the piaya (usually found in the Visayas).

Hopia and breadsticks


A view from the bridge
A perfect spot for bungee!
Other spots to explore in Sogod are the Cainting cave and falls up in the northern mountainous area of the town, and the Magsuhot Park, a 500-hectare forested area located three kilometers from the Pan-Philippine Highway, which features a waterfalls.

Where to eat in Sogod:
When in Sogod, you may try the delectable Filipino fare at Koosina, a fast-food type restaurant at the town proper. While regular servings are good to share, there are also value meals perfect for solo travellers. Their specialties include sizzling sisig and sinuglaw. They also have their own version of kinilaw, which, aside from the usual fish soaked in vinegar, is infused with cream that adds richness and flavor to the popular dish. I love their version!




Sizzling Sisig
Kinilaw
The Town of Hinunangan
Facing the mighty Pacific Ocean, the quiet town of Hinunangan is fast getting into the tourism radar because of its pristine islands (San Pablo and San Pedro), beautiful reefs, and giant waves perfect for surfing fun. It is ideal to explore the islands during the summer months until the southwest monsoon season (except when there's a weather disturbance, of course), while the ber months to February mark the surfing season.

What to see in Hinunangan:
Calag-itan Fish Sanctuary
Aside from staying a night or two at the twin islands of San Pablo and San Pedro, you can enjoy fish feeding at snorkeling at the LGU-run Calag-itan Fish Sanctuary. It used to be a port and was converted into a picnic area and an eco-tourism hub. Entrance fee is Php 10 per head. You can also buy bread for fish feeding for Php 10/pack.
Team Snorkeling in action

A glimpse of San Pablo Island from Calag-itan Fish Sanctuary
San Pablo and San Pedro Islands
The crowning glory of Hinunangan are the twin islands of San Pablo and San Pedro, which are fringed by pristine sands and amazing underwater scenery. Both islands are unadulterated, with only a few residential homes (most of which serve as homestays) constructed on it. The islands are best explored during the summer months as well as the southwest monsoon season except when there's a typhoon. If you want some peace and quiet time, no wifi, but still with basic conveniences such as solar-powered electricity, clean freshwater source, and a homey place to stay at, then you might want to consider exploring these islands on your next visit to Eastern Visayas. Boat rentals are fairly priced, too. I, myself, is excited to go back!

Twin Islands
Tahusan Beach
If island hopping is not your thing, you can still enjoy the beautiful beaches of Hinunangan without leaving the mainland. The Tahusan Beach is among the popular beaches in town. It also hosts a number of reasonably-priced accommodations like the Morgana Beach Resort (rumored to be where Pilar Pilapil would usually stay if she needs a break from the bustling city life). It's not a fancy resort but basic, cosy, and affordable. There is also a marine sanctuary nearby. During the northeast monsoon season, the huge waves on this side of Hinunangan become a perfect spot for surfers.

Tahusan Beach

See those waves?

At Morgana Beach Resort in Tahusan Beach
The Town of Silago
A coastal municipality, Silago is also a famous surfing destination and a home to the remains of a 52-feet giant sperm whale. Silago is also adjacent to the town of Abuyog, Leyte, and with the construction of the Silago-Abuyog road, travel time from Leyte to Southern Leyte was decreased by almost 50%.

I just hope that the remains of the sperm whale will be well-preserved just like the one at Subangan Museum in Davao Oriental. Honestly, I am bothered by the way it was preserved now (the pictures below will speak for themselves), and I am hoping the authorities will do something about it.
Sperm Whale Remains

The third day marks the end of our trip to Southern Leyte, and while it was heartbreaking for us to leave, we vow to come back again to explore more of the Eastern Visayas. Another happy place, I see!


This tour was made possible through the assistance of the Region 8 Tourism Office as well as the Provincial Tourism Office of Southern Leyte. For questions, you may reach them at dotreg8@yahoo.com and tourismsouthernleyte@gmail.com.

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