06 March 2013

Windows to the Province

Southern Leyte is a province in Eastern Visayas, the Region VIII, which occupies the southern quarter of the island of Leyte. Its total land area is 173480 hectares. It is divided into four islands, Panaon, Limasawa, San Pedro and San Pablo. Maasin City is its capital. A Spanish-era cathedral can be found at the heart of Maasin, the Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. It is embellished with an ornate altar and images of saints believed to be the testament of continuing religiosity.

Most people in the province are Roman Catholics. Limasawa, an island municipality located at the southern part of the province is said to be the site of the first mass in the country. It is believed that Limasawa is the birthplace of Christendom. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator and explorer landed on the island of Limasawa on March 28, 1521. The first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was held 3 days after led by Friar Pedro de Valderrama, the chaplain of Magellan during his expedition, the start of Christian propagation. However, there are other religions in the province, Aglipayan, Evangelicals, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to name a few. 

"Southern Leyte contributes to the economy of the country. It forms an important part of the inter-island transportation system of the country, with ferries transporting people and goods between Liloan and Surigao del Norte in Mindanao. The province is well known for its quality abaca products and is the country's major producer of abaca fiber."

"Some 200,000 tourists visit Southern Leyte each year.
Domestic tourism is mostly those wishing to enjoy the sandy beaches, hotels and resorts along the coastline. 
Most international travelers visit Southern Leyte for the pristine collection of coral  reef diving and snorkeling, from just outside Maasin City, all the way around Sogod Bay via Padre Burgos. There are also an increasing number of non-divers who come to see the whale sharks between October and April.
In recent years there has been a drive to promote tourism in the region. There is a new Zoo and Wildlife Park in Brgy. Danao, Maasin City. Not far from Sogod is a zip line over the tallest bridge in The Philippines.
With this increase in numbers, there are a selection of new Hotels along the coast.


By land
  • Southern Leyte is pretty much very accessible by land. 

By boat
  • Cebu to Maasin Citthrough Cokaliong Shipping Lines. Check schedule & rates at http://www.cokaliongshipping.com/schedules&rates.html
  • Cebu to Hilongos through Roble or Gabisan (if Cokaliong isn't available). If you want a hassle-free travel, you can always pay extra P50.00 (more or less) and their shuttle will pick you up after the boat docks and will bring you to the heart of Maasin. It might take 30-45 minutes of land travel, depending on how fast the driver is.
  • Cebu to Bato through Medallion or Fiji then again, sign up for their shuttle service. 
By air
  • Panan-awan Airport (which is a 20-minute ride from Maasin City) only caters to chartered planes and choppers. The nearest airport is of course, the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban which is roughly a four-hour ride from Maasin City.

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