Liloan, Southern Leyte | More Than Just a Gateway
Liloan, Southern Leyte is no stranger to frequent travelers driving from Luzon to Mindanao. Since the 1980s, Liloan Ferry Terminal has been one of the vital links that connect our archipelagic geography. And in between Eastern Visayas & Northern Mindanao, its port stands as the oldest known gateway to Surigao Strait.
But more often than not, roadtrippers take it only as the last land link & missing out on the beauty it keeps. I am guilty of this on many counts. I’ve been taking this route since the 90s but I never took the effort to explore the town. Last year, I did a solo cross-country roadtrip & missed it again.
Liloan, Southern Leyte: It’s Worth Stopping By
After a few attempts, I finally got the chance to experience Liloan, Southern Leyte. This time, it is not a jump-off to somewhere but a real life excursion of the proverbial must-sees for first-timers.
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I have to admit that I judged this town too quickly from my car’s window. I thought it was too laidback & not the hit-the-brakes-pretty kind of town. But lo & behold, Liloan’s charms aren’t what meet the eyes on the road but are tucked somewhere else.
Tagbak Marine Park
Just a short sail from the mainland, Tagbak Marine Park is a natural attraction that must be up on your things to do in Liloan, Southern Leyte. It’s a protected aquatic reserve fringed by mangroves that also serve as a sanctuary for wild ducks.
Puy-aw Islet punctuates the vast turquoise swathed seascape. It is decked with a watchtower for coastal patrols but it is also used as picnic gazebo for visitors. As it is a sanctuary, only low-impact activities are allowed here like snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding & kayaking.
Wawa Bridge is nowhere close to the grandeur of San Juanico. But for its importance it deserves a consolation as a must-pull-over spot. This short overpass connects mainland Leyte with Panaon Island, the southernmost tail of Eastern Visayas.
There’s nothing really spectacular about Wawa Bridge because it’s just utilitarian in form & function. However, it’s more than just a scaffold landmark of connectivity & progress. It’s also a photogenic place for portraits & offers the best view of this side of Sogod Bay.
There’s no shortage of beaches in Liloan, Southern Leyte. And by beach I mean blinding white sand ones hemming Cabalian Bay. There’s Bitoon, Lucbon & Molopolo.
Molopolo is the most popular spot for soaking in all the beachy goodness. It’s public but clean & can be reached either by land or sea. Across the shore is a dare-devil-perfect spot for cliff jumping.
Oh yeah, I feel you — you’re itching to know where you could take your Instagram moment. Well here, there’s a charming patch of white sand beach foregrounded by twin rocks just before you reach the big Molopolo. This spot is awesome for those castaway feel bikini shots or those surfer OOTD look on the stand-up paddleboard.
Arts, Crafts & Food
Interestingly, the town also boasts of beautiful handicrafts made from recycled materials. Handmade by the women in the community, these stuffs make good travel souvenirs. And oh, don’t miss to sample their yummy local snacks like biko & saging-saging.
Liloan, Southern Leyte remains an off-the-grid holiday destination despite it being a popular gateway to Mindanao. If you like quiet escapes, there’s no wasting time wading through crowded queues here. Its panoramic splendor & hotstuff activities truly validate a stopover that is worth the while.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more