In my third and final instalment of ‘off the beaten track’ destinations in the Philippines, I am going to be focusing on Leyte Island. Like Bohol and the Camotes, which I have written about previously, Leyte is one of the Visayas islands. Leyte isn’t an established tourist destination in any meaningful way, so it’s a great place to visit if you want a true insight into rural Philippine life.
First of all, let’s talk about getting around Leyte. Like many places in the Philippines, jeepneys are the most popular mode of transport. They are essentially ‘pimped’ buses that have unique, brightly coloured designs on them. In my experience of travelling on jeepney, they are typically crowded and travel very fast, so hold on tight! Depending on what you enjoy when travelling, it is either an experience that you will love or hate. For me, it is a mixture of both. It’s great fun but petrifying.
The main things that characterise Leyte Island are the lush mountains, sprawling rice paddies and pebbly tropical beaches. The pace of life is incredibly relaxed and the locals are warm and chatty. There are so many attributes that make Leyte Island a wonderful place to escape to.
During my time in Leyte, we spent many long and lazy days on the beach from sunrise to sunset. We would alternate between sunning ourselves on the hot pebbles to cooling down in the water and napping in the bamboo beach huts that line the beach.
There’s also lots of stunning marine life to observe. We spent hours snorkelling and discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures.
What really was the cherry on top were the stunning sunsets that we enjoyed during our time in Leyte. They were some of the most spectacular that I’ve ever seen. The hues of red, orange, lilac and pink were so incredibly vivid.
That concludes my little insight into life on Leyte Island. I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series of ‘off the beaten track’ destinations in the Philippines. I know that travelling is just a distant dream for us all right now but looking forward to better times (whenever that might be) is still within our power. At the very least, I hope it’s been of some momentary distraction. I know that writing this has been for me.
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