Southern Letye Travel Guide

Overview of Southern Leyte

Leyte in the south is exactly like a woman. Although she appears to be attractive on the outside, she is even more stunning inside because of a secret. Discover the splendor of Sogod Bay's depths by diving into its clear, cyan waters. Sogod Bay's unspoilt diving spots offer stunningly steep drop-offs and spectacular reefs that are alive with life. This reef is one of the most biologically diverse in the Philippines.

Play with the whalesharks, affectionately referred to as "Tiki-Tiki" by the locals, by diving into the deep blues. Enjoy the tranquility all around you while taking in the ocean's vibrant colors on historic Limasawa Island. Visit the pre-colonial museum "Balanghai Masua" to learn about the "Pintados" culture and practice Pintado tattooing and "Baybayin" writing. One of the world's most Pintado tattooist 106-year-old Apo Whang-Od became the oldest living ritual tattooist in the Philippines.

Where to Go

Sogod Bay

Famous for its pristine waters and diverse marine life, Sogod Bay is a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Explore colorful coral reefs, swim alongside sea turtles, and discover a vibrant underwater world.

Limasawa Island

Known as the site of the first Catholic Mass in the Philippines, Limasawa Island is steeped in history and culture. Visit the historic Magellan's Cross, explore ancient ruins, and soak in the island's tranquil beaches.

Maasin City

As the capital of Southern Leyte, Maasin City offers a blend of urban amenities and natural beauty. Visit the Maasin Cathedral, stroll along the city's promenade, and sample local delicacies at the bustling market.

Agas-Agas Bridge

Experience breathtaking views from the highest bridge in the Philippines, the Agas-Agas Bridge. Admire the lush landscapes of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and enjoy adrenaline-pumping activities such as ziplining and rappelling.


Explore the picturesque town of Hinunangan, known for its scenic beaches and serene atmosphere. Relax on the white sands of Hinunangan Beach, go island hopping to nearby islets, and witness stunning sunsets over the horizon.

Hinunangan River

Embark on a kayaking adventure along the Hinunangan River, surrounded by lush mangrove forests and tranquil waters. Discover hidden lagoons, spot exotic bird species, and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Tomas Oppus

Visit the town of Tomas Oppus to discover its cultural heritage and natural wonders. Explore historic landmarks such as the Tomas Oppus Centennial Marker, hike through scenic trails in the nearby mountains, and experience the warm hospitality of the locals.

What to Do

Snorkeling and Diving

Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Sogod Bay or explore the vibrant coral reefs surrounding Limasawa Island. Southern Leyte is renowned for its rich marine biodiversity, making it an ideal destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts of all levels.

Island Hopping

Hop on a boat and explore the idyllic islands scattered across Southern Leyte's coastline. Discover hidden coves, pristine beaches, and secluded lagoons as you island-hop your way through the region's picturesque landscapes.

Waterfall Chasing

Embark on a thrilling adventure to discover Southern Leyte's stunning waterfalls. Trek through lush jungles to reach cascading falls like Hinunangan's Tinago Falls or Binalayan's majestic falls. Don't forget to bring your swimsuit for a refreshing dip in the natural pools!

Adventure Sports

For adrenaline junkies, Southern Leyte offers a range of adventure sports activities. Experience the thrill of ziplining across the Agas-Agas Bridge, rappelling down steep cliffs, or embarking on an off-road ATV adventure through rugged terrain.

Cultural Immersion

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and traditions of Southern Leyte by participating in local festivals, visiting historical landmarks, and interacting with the friendly locals. Explore Maasin City's heritage sites, attend fiestas in quaint towns, and sample traditional delicacies to experience authentic Filipino culture.

Nature Trekking

Lace up your hiking boots and explore Southern Leyte's scenic hiking trails. Traverse through lush forests, climb towering peaks, and discover hidden caves and rock formations along the way. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced trekker, there are trails suitable for all levels of adventurers.

Bird Watching and Wildlife Viewing

Southern Leyte is home to diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers and bird watchers. Head to mangrove forests, wetlands, and nature reserves to spot rare bird species, including colorful kingfishers, herons, and egrets.

Photography and Relaxation

With its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant marine life, and rich cultural heritage, Southern Leyte offers endless opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture breathtaking shots. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, enjoy a sunset cruise, or simply relax and unwind amidst the region's tranquil surroundings.

When is the Best Time to Visit Southern Leyte

The dry season typically spans from November to April, Southern Leyte enjoys sunny weather with minimal rainfall. This period is ideal for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, and island hopping, as the calm seas and clear skies provide optimal conditions for exploring the region's pristine marine environments.

The wet season which occurs from May to October, brings heavier rainfall to Southern Leyte. While the wet season may deter some travellers due to the increased likelihood of storms and rough seas, it also offers unique opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Waterfalls are at their most spectacular during this time, and lush landscapes come alive with vibrant greenery. Bird watching and wildlife viewing can also be particularly rewarding during the wet season, as many species thrive in the region's tropical rainforests

How to Get to Southern Leyte

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Southern Leyte by air is to fly into Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport (TAC) in Tacloban City, Leyte. From Tacloban, you can then travel to Southern Leyte via land transportation, which typically takes around 4-5 hours depending on your destination within Southern Leyte.

Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia operate flights to Tacloban from Manila and other major cities in the Philippines.

By Sea

Another option for reaching Southern Leyte is by sea. Several shipping companies operate ferry services from various ports in the Philippines to the ports of Bato and Hilongos in Southern Leyte. These ferries typically depart from cities such as Cebu, Bohol, and Manila. The journey duration varies depending on the point of departure, but it generally takes around 4-12 hours to reach Southern Leyte by ferry.

By Car / Bus

If you prefer traveling overland, you can reach Southern Leyte by car or bus from neighbouring provinces such as Leyte and Samar. The most common route is via the San Juanico Bridge, which connects Samar and Leyte. From there, you can proceed southward to Southern Leyte via the Maharlika Highway.

Buses and vans also ply this route, offering affordable transportation options for travellers. The journey by land from Tacloban City to Southern Leyte typically takes around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

In Southern Leyte, taxi services are not as widely available as in larger cities, and ride-sharing services like Grab may not be operational in this area. However, you can still find taxis in urban centres such as Maasin City.

By Car / Motorcycle

Renting a car or motorcycle is a popular choice for exploring Southern Leyte at your own pace. Several rental companies offer vehicles for hire, including cars, motorcycles, and scooters, which you can use to navigate the region's scenic roads and coastal highways.

What to Eat

Local Food

Delight in the diverse culinary offerings of Southern Leyte with a visit to acclaimed dining establishments such as Pajag Restaurant, Spy's Diner, and Maison de Clarke Grill and Resto Bar.

Fresh Seafood

In the coastal towns and beachside locales of Southern Leyte, travellers can discover an abundance of seafood restaurants and dining spots serving an extensive selection of freshly caught ocean delights.

Notable establishments include Karl Seafoods Garden Restaurant, Sa Natad Seafoods and Grill Restaurant, Payag Restaurant, and Akasha Louise Seafoods Restaurant.

From succulent grilled fish to prawns and crabs prepared in various styles, these establishments capture the essence of Southern Leyte's bountiful marine resources.

Western Food

In Southern Leyte, several restaurants offer a delectable array of Western cuisine, providing a delightful contrast to the local flavours. Establishments like Audrey's Cafe, Spy's Diner and Southern Leyte Restaurant.

What to Buy

When exploring Southern Leyte, consider purchasing handwoven baskets crafted by skilled artisans using indigenous materials like bamboo and rattan, along with traditional Tingkop mats woven from pandan leaves, ideal for both practical use and as unique souvenirs. Additionally, indulge in Leyte coffee, emerging as a specialty of the region, offering rich and flavourful beans grown and roasted locally.

Where to Stay

Southern Leyte offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. For those seeking a beachfront retreat, resorts like Sogod Bay Scuba Resort and Kuting Reef Resort in Padre Burgos offer comfortable rooms, stunning ocean views, and easy access to diving and snorkeling spots. In Maasin City, travellers can find hotels such as GV Hotel or GV Hotel Baybay, providing convenient amenities and central locations for exploring the city's attractions.

For a more immersive experience, consider staying in a beachside cottage or guesthouse in smaller coastal communities like Hinunangan or Liloan, where travellers can enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and authentic local hospitality.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Southern Leyte, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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