Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tacloban - Kalanggaman Island - Ormoc - Baybay City: Are you ready?


Last March, Liliville and I planned to go to Kalanggaman Islands. Liliville was able to contact an agency to prepare for our trip. Sometime in April, I canceled the trip as I have an international flight to Vietnam. As soon as I arrived back here in Davao, I asked her if she managed to go to Kalanggaman. She said it was also canceled due to her service needed during the Palarong Pambansa. So, we thought of pushing the plan in May. We contacted the agency and deposited for the reservation. Two days before our trip, the agency told us that our trip would be canceled as it did not reach the minimum number of travelers for the second batch. They refunded our deposit and we decided to do it on our own. 
DIY and Backpacking Leyte!
Day 1: Davao to Tacloban

There are four scheduled trips from Davao to Tacloban: 10 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM and 8:30 PM. I arrived in Ecoland Terminal at 12:00 noon, hoping to catch the 1:00 PM bus schedule to Tacloban. Unfortunately, there was no bus for 1 PM. The staff from Bachelor Express told us to wait as the bus was being checked and conditioned for the trip. We waited until it was already almost five in the afternoon. No bus. We decided to take the bus to Ormoc instead. We queued but unable to have a seat at the bus and it was almost full when it arrived. Little did we know that there's a "RESERVATION" style. We waited for the Tacloban bus instead. Finally, the bus came! We were able to manage to have a seat but we went through pushing and pressing of the passengers behind us. I really thought that there should be "NO STANDING" policy on a bus but they let other passengers still ride the bus. Every terminal that we passed by, they still accommodate them. BUS OVERLOAD indeed!! Davao to Tacloban is a very long ride! Expect the unexpected. 
We left Davao at 6:00 PM and arrived at the Brgy. Lipata at 5:29 PM. The bus conductor handed us our tickets for the ferry. We boarded the ferry at 6:20 AM. Lipata port (Surigao) to Liloan port (Leyte) took us around 3-4 hours. And the bus journey resumed. 

Davao to Tacloban bus fare: Php 1,517.00
Lipata to Liloan ferry fare: Php 290.00 
Terminal fee: Php 30.00
Finally, we arrived in Tacloban around three in the afternoon. We hopped off the bus and headed to Robinsons Place (just in front of Tacloban New Terminal). We looked for hotels to stay in but the hotels nearby were fully booked. So, the tricycle driver took us to Villa Amor Hotel.
Accommodation: Php 1,600.00 (good for 3 pax)

Day 2: Tacloban City Tour: Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, San Juanico Bridge, MacArthur Landing National Park, Palo Cathedral, and Eva Ship
We checked-out from the hotel at 8:50 AM and started our own tour. We rode a "trisikad", a sidecar mounted to a regular bicycle, to reach the main road. From there, we hired a tricycle to drop us off and arrived at 9:15 AM in Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum.
At first, we thought that this place will be full of Sto. Niño; but, we were amazed as we tried to go inside. This place is also the Romualdez Museum. You will have your tour guide who will inform you of every detail in each room.

Entrance Fee: Php 200.00 for the first 3 persons plus Php 30.00 per gadget
We left the museum at 10:35 AM. We rode a jeepney to downtown and another one going to Tacloban New Terminal. We went to Robinsons Place to have some early lunch. Also, we asked first the van drivers about the schedule for the trip to Palompon. Since we still have four hours before the last trip, we began our tour. We hired a tricycle to bring us to San Juanico Bridge, MacArthur Landing, Palo Cathedral and Eva Ship.
San Juanico Bridge
This is part of Pan-Philippine Highway which connects Samar and Leyte. The structure is also amazing. When you are coming from Leyte, the structure of the bridge is like a small letter L; whereas, if you are coming from Samar, then the structure forms a letter S. Cute!

Entrance Fee: none
MacArthur Landing National Park
Who can't forget the line of General Douglas MacArthur, "I shall return"? This is part of our history. This commemorates the historic landing of General MacArthur. He really fulfilled his promise. I looked so small in the picture due to these seven double-life-sized statues.
Entrance Fee: none
Palo Cathedral
I cannot go inside as there was a wedding ceremony going on.

Entrance Fee: none
M/V Eva Jocelyn
Only half of the ship remained. This ship was swept ashore when the city was devastated by the Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Entrance Fee: Donation only
After visiting Eva Ship, we went back to the terminal and arrived at 3 PM. We hopped on a van going to Palompon. We left Tacloban at 3:35 PM and arrived in Palompon at 6:45 PM. There are barbecue stalls in their terminal. Time to eat for dinner. It has been more than a decade since the last time I ate "puso" - rice wrapped and boiled in a triangular casing made of woven coconut leaves.

Puso - 5 pcs for Php20.00
Barbecue - (porkchop) Php 40.00 / (pork barbecue) Php 10.00

After having dinner, we looked for a place to stay in. Pacci was already fully booked. But the Pacci staff recommended a pension house at the back of the church. Luckily, there's an available room for us! We stayed in Asayas Pension Plaza. It is just located at the back of the church and also near to Kalanggaman Eco-Tourism Office.


  • Trisikad: Php 10.00
  • Tricycle: Php 20.00
  • Jeep (Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum to New Terminal): Php 16.00
  • Tricycle (city tour): Php 400.00
  • Van (Tacloban to Palompon): Php 153.00
Accommodation: Php 1,500/night (good for 3 pax)

Day 3: Kalanggaman Island, St. Francis Xavier Church, and Palompon Town Hall
This is the most awaited part of our trip. We woke up at 3 AM and prepare ourselves for the trip to Kalanggaman Island. We left Asayas at 4 AM and bought our food for our trip. There are a lot of food stalls nearby and they are also open as early as 4 AM.
One of the vendors told us to go to the Kalanggaman Eco-Tourism Office to book our Kalanggaman trip since we do not have any prior reservation. We went there and the office was still closed. At 4:40 AM, they began distributing forms for those who had booked in advance. As for us walk-ins, we waited a little bit to join a group. Finally, a family of five, from Laguna, had their reservation through someone who worked in the Municipality of Palompon. Kind enough, they let us join them. Another family of three, from CDO, also joined making us eleven in the group. 
We paid the entrance fee and boarded the boat at 6:04 AM. We were instructed about the Do's and Dont's on the island and the time we will be picked up in the afternoon. Then we started our trip to Kalanggaman Island. Weeeeeeeeee! I was really excited about this trip.
Look at the Kalanggaman Islands from afar!
As soon as I arrived at Kalanggaman Island, I did not take photos yet. I actually ate since I haven't had my breakfast. After having breakfast, I applied reef-friendly sunscreen from Human Nature.
Entrance Fee: Php150.00
Boat Fare (11 pax): Php205.50
Bed, Chairs, and Tables rental fee: Php37.00

After our Kalanggaman Island trip, we went back to Palompon town and pass St. Francis Xavier Church and their town hall.
St. Francis Xavier Church and Palompon Town Hall

Day 4: 16,000 Blossoms Park at Lintaon Peak (Baybay City), and Puente de la Reina and People's Museum (Ormoc City)
We had our complimentary breakfast in the hotel and checked out at 8:30 AM. We passed through a church going to the main road and headed straight to the terminal to ride a van going to Ormoc City. Palompon to Ormoc is just an hour drive. We left Palompon at 9:14 AM and arrived in Ormoc City at 10:22 AM. We had an early lunch at Robinsons (in front of the terminal). We took a tricycle going to the other terminal for us to have another van ride to Baybay City. We left Ormoc City at 12:30 pm and arrived at 1:35 pm in Baybay City. From their terminal, we took a pedicab going to Brgy. Pomponan. 
The driver dropped us to a point where we can ride a motorcycle going to Lintaon Peak. Finally, we arrived at Lintaon Peak at 2:00 PM. It was very hot to take some photos so we took a rest for thirty minutes first. 

16,000 Blossoms
These artificial white and red roses glow at night through its LED lights. It would be nicer if you take photos at night time. But expect that the place will be crowded. When we went here, only a few visited the place. I think there was just us and a group of six people. But they left early.
  • Van (Palompon to Ormoc): Php 75.00
  • Van (Ormoc to Baybay): Php 70.00
  • Tricycle (Baybay Terminal to Brgy. Pomponan): Php 15.00
  • Motorcycle (Brgy. Pomponan to Lintaon Peak): Php 30.00
  • Motorcycle (Lintaon Peak to Baybay Terminal): Php 50.00
  • Van (Baybay to Ormoc): Php 70.00
Entrance Fee: Php 20.00

We arrived at 5:30 PM in Ormoc City. We really do not have any plans to stay in Ormoc. We just did a quick tour of the city.
People's Museum
This is located in the old city hall. This museum gives people to learn the history, culture, and art that have shaped Ormoc city.

Entrance Fee: none

Puente de la Reina
Just beside the old city hall lies the oldest bridge in the city. This cobblestone bridge was built during the Spanish Colonial Era. It was used before as a docking area for ships and sailboats, Chinese, Javans, and Indonesians who sell their products to the locals. This is the last existing structure that provides as a proof to the Spanish colonization in the city.

Entrance Fee: none

We only visited these two sites in Ormoc City as we were about to catch the bus at 9 PM going to Davao. We were told to be ready as early as 7 PM. Little did we know that it would be a non-airconditioned bus. It was definitely a not so good move. The bus was OVERLOADED as usual. Animals like puppies and chickens were transported thru the public bus too. (I do not know if owners have certification/written permit for that.) We should have stayed for a night in the city and catch another bus in the morning. Oh well. Charge to experience indeed! The only negative side that I experienced was the bus ride from Davao to Ormoc and vice versa. (Just a tip: Go to the Bachelor Express Garage and start your journey from there. You can reserve a seat there. Most of the locals have done it.)

Damo nga salamat, Leyte!