SEVEN OF TWELVE:
This trip is still actually “six of twelve” because this happened last June. But I already had my 6th trip to Siargao, hence “seven of twelve”.
Almost everything was impromptu – no concrete plans in place.
I wasn’t even sure if the trip will push through. One, we had jobs. Two, we haven’t decided when to go. Three, we weren’t able to arrange anything yet. Luckily the universe was on our side.
I say, if there is a will, there is always a way. Some people would often say ‘lucky you, you have plenty of time to travel’. FYI, we also have jobs here in Cebu. It just so happens that we can do arrangements for us to bring work in Leyte. Poof! Business as usual.
I keep on saying this to myself – “book it or else it won’t happen”. If you keep on saying you’re going on a trip yet you’re not doing any progress to make it happen, there is a bigger chance of cancelling the trip.
Step one in planning the trip – Book the ticket! Everything else will follow.
We took the first trip to Ormoc, Leyte at around five in the morning.We rode a fast craft ship, Supercat, for 675php (As of June 2016). You can actually choose which Ferry to take you to the island, just go to the seaport or search online. We arrived at around seven in the morning.
The preparations for this trip were mostly last minute but we were able to find great deals for our accommodation and transportation.
We booked a family room in IAL Lodge for 1,800php/night. It’s a walking distance from the seaport. Their rooms are very affordable and best for people doing business in the area. It’s a very simple building, no fancy amenities available, just three decent beds (1 queen, 2 single) and two bathrooms.
Tacloban – Ormoc
During our first day, we went straight to Tacloban. It is a two to three-hour drive from Ormoc City. Our agenda was to survey the place for improvements after Typhoon Yolanda. After doing that, we’re free to roam around the city.
We had lunch at Chew Love, one of the new food places in TacTown. The restaurant is modern and so artsy. Teens will definitely love the place with its theme fitting today’s trend. From the decors, to the furnitures, even their menu embody its name.
We also went to K Patissiere to have coffee and dessert. It is a tiny cafe in the middle of Tacloban.
Right after “dessert” we went to see the rest of Tacloban. It’s a small city. Unlike Cebu, you can actually see all of it in a day or two.
San Juanico Bridge
Since we were already there, we did not skip going to the border of Samar and Leyte.
The San Juanico Bridge connecting the provinces of Samar and Leyte is one of the monumental projects in Region VIII. Your trip will truly never be complete if you won’t get to be on this bridge which looks like a dragon from afar. It is known to be the longest bridge in the Philippines. It attracts tourists with its picturesque view.
MacArthur’s Landing Site
Before heading back to Ormoc, we dropped by MacArthur’s Landing Site in Palo, Leyte. The park commemorates the historic landing of General Douglas MacArthur in Leyte during the Japanese occupation in our country.
After arriving in Ormoc, we went back to our hotel and searched for a place to eat. We found this restaurant “near” our place – Sal’s Bar and Restaurant. Since we wanted to be familiar with the place, we tried walking our way to Sal’s. Sal’s dishes are delicious and VERY affordable. Trust me they serve generously – a plate of viand enough for 3-4 people kind of generous. Tip: If ever your hotel is near Ormoc’s seaport like in our case, don’t walk to Sal’s. Take a tricycle!
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our Kalanggaman trip the following day.
Palompon – Kalanggaman Island
We rented a private vehicle (with driver) to take us to Palompon from Ormoc City. We left Ormoc around 4AM and arrived at Palompon around 6:30AM. We went straight to Palompon’s Ecotourism Office to register our group and make the necessary payments. We also bought food from their mini market.
The original plan was to rent our own boat going to the island. But boats going to Kalanggaman Island will just drop you off and fetch you back. With that, we decided to join a group who was about to disembark Palompon’s port to Kalanggaman. Timely! We were able to save lots since we were more than 10 in the boat to share for the boat rental fee.
Kalanggaman Island is an hour ride from Palompon port by boat. When we docked at the island, the place was still peaceful. There’s not much to do on the island. You can choose from swimming to kayaking to snorkeling to SUP-ing to beach bumming.
Take note that the island has no electricity so prepare your power banks, portable speakers, hammocks or mats. Although there is a mini-store on the island, don’t expect them to be selling cold drinks or ice.
Our arrival was very timely since we were one of the first groups to arrive. The island was not that crowded and we were still able to appreciate the island’s beauty.
We ended up bumming under the palm trees since it was too hot to swim. After we ate and chitchatted, we eventually decided to take a dip because what’s the use of going there if you’re not even going to swim?
At around 3pm, we went back to Palompon, then headed back to Ormoc City.
After Kalanggaman, we went back to our lodge to freshen up before having dinner at Sutuwaki. Sutuwaki is just a walking distance from IAL Lodge and from Ormoc Port. It’s a Filipino restaurant, somewhat similar to Cebu’s “SUTUKIL”. Both means SUGBA-TUWA-KILAW.
The price is fair and the food is good, although the service was quite slow. We capped the night eating “BALOT” on the sidewalk.
The next day, we ate at Lorenzo’s Grill which unfortunately disappointed us. Knowing that the restaurant was considered one of the best restaurants in town, we expected the food to be really good but it wasn’t.
All in all, the trip ended well. We surely had fun doing our mini escapade and before we went back to Cebu to resume our daily tasks, we had already planned for another trip. Keep posted!
Ferry (Two-Way) 1345 php
Accommodation 900 php
Transportation 1000 php
Meals & Snacks 1900 php
Pasalubong (Cassava) 420 php
Kalanggaman 850 php
TOTAL 6,415.00 php