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CUATRO ISLAS: DIY Budget Travel Guide + Itinerary To The Hidden Treasures Of Inopacan Leyte


If you’ve been smitten by Kalanggaman Island of Palompon then you might be surprised to know that the underrated province of Leyte has many more treasures up it sleeves. Down south in Inopacan lies not just one, not just two nor three but four beautiful islands known as the Cuatro Islas! Imagine paradise four times the charm! That’s exactly what these stunners are about. Allow me to introduce you to each one of them.


Digyo Island

This one is my favorite. It is the smallest among the four but is definitely not the least. Its shores are of white sugary sands. It also has a sandbar that stretch to about 50 meters. What sets this island apart from the other three is its pristine waters teeming with so much life. The water surrounding it is as clear as crystal that I can literraly see the colorful world several meters deep down the surface from where I sat on our boat.

Mahaba Island

Mahaba Island is for me the most beautiful among the four. It has a very long stretch of white sugary sands hence its name. What I love about this island is how clean and natural it was. There was only one small native cottage there and that’s it. No other signs of human intervention and best of all, there was not a single trash.

Apid Island

Apid Island is a fishing village and a beautiful one for that matter. This is where you will get to interact with the locals and learn about their culture and way of living. What I didn’t like about this island is how it is slowly degraded by irresponsible and unmanaged waste. I hope the local tourism of Inopacan would take the time to educate the locals of proper waste management in order to preserve this precious island for future generations to see.

Himokilan Island

I really couldn’t say anything about Himokilan Island since I didn’t have the chance to see it due to severe weather. I tried to do me some reading online about this island but the info are pretty limited. All I know is that if you wanna see this island then you must be willing to pay its hefty price tag.


HOW TO GO TO CUATRO ISLAS


From Manila – Fly to either Ormoc or Tacloban. From Ormoc, Inopacan is just an hour and 45 minutes of travel away riding the van (P95). Going to Inopacan from Tacloban on the hand may take 3 hours. Fare is P170. Alight in front of the Municipal Plaza. Walk for 10-15 minutes from the highway to the port which is situated at the back the of the Municipal Hall.

From Cebu – Ride a Supercat or OceanJet fastcraft to Ormoc. Travel is 3 hours and fare is P800 (Supercat) & P1000 (Oceanjet) for tourist class seat. From there, Inopacan is just over an hour away by van.

From Kalangaman Island –  From Palompon, simply ride a van to Ormoc (2Hrs : P120)  then another van to Inopacan.


TRAVEL TIPS & USEFUL INFORMATION


  • Touring all 4 islands can be done within a day given that you start early in the morning.
  • Island hopping tours normally start at 8AM but can be delayed during unfavorable weather.
  • There are days when touring to Cuatro Islas are prohibited due to severe weather condition so be flexible when planning your itinerary.
  • Budget inns and accommodation in Inopacan are hard to find. There are pretty limited options and some can be a bit pricey. Camping in Digyo or Mahaba Island is one of the best options if you plan to stay overnight. You may also rent native huts. If those aren’t your thing then you may seek shelter in the nearby town of Hilongos or Baybay for better choices.
  • There is a store in Digyo Island where you can buy food and water but expect the prices to be higher than usual.
  • Entrance fees are collected in the island. P20 for Digyo and Apid Islands while a donation of any amount is accepted in Mahaba Island. Himokilan Island requires an additional environmental and entrance fees.
  • Canigao Island is just 45 minutes away from Inopacan and a cheaper alternative to Cuatro Islas. From Inopacan, you can ride a van directly to the port where boats to Canigao are docked. Fare is P50.
  • It rains more than half the time in Leyte so make sure to waterproof your belongings.
  • Himokilan Island is just 15 minutes away from Digyo Island but it belongs to the Municipality Of Hindang. Including this island on your tour may involve additional boat, entrance and environmental fees.



WHERE TO STAY IN/NEAR INOPACAN


Camping overnight in one of the islands of Cuatro Islas is still the best form of accommodation there is to travelers. But in the event of unfavorable weather, these budget inns and hotels near Inopacan may provide you shelter for the night.

CITI Hotel Hilongos
Address: National Highway, HIndang – Hilongos Rd, Hilongos, 6524 Leyte
Phone: (053) 567 8133
Check Rates & Availability

GV Hotel Baybay
Address: Andres Bonifacio St, Baybay City, 6521 Leyte
Phone: (053) 563 8030
Check Rates & Availability

Pascual House Bed And Breakfast
Address: Baybay-Inopacan Rd, Baybay City, Leyte
Phone: 0956 824 0342
Check Rates & Availability


SUMMARY OF EXPENSES, ITINERARY & OTHER ESSENTIALS


My visit to Cuatro Islas was part of my Leyte- Bliran Adventure. Check out full travel guide to know full story and see where else had I wandered within these two underrated provinces.

  
SUMMARY OF EXPENSESVan Tacloban-Inopacan - P170
Island Hopping Tour @ P3000/3 - P1000
Registration Fee - P60
Food - P150
Van To Ormoc - P120
Van To Palompon - P130
Sleep - P350

Total <<>> P1980

From Cuatro Islas, I headed to Kalanggaman Island.
Click here for the full itinerary
THINGS TO BRINGTent
Camping Gears
Lamp
Flashlight
Dry Bag
Food
Cookset
Toiletries
Clothes
Sunblock
ISLAND FEESBOAT

Small Boats (up to 10pax) - P3000
Big boats (up to 20pax) - P4000

COTTAGES

Closed Cottage - P500 (Day trip) + P50 for overnight use
Open Huts - P300 (Day Trip) + P50 for overnight use
Tent Rental - P200
Tent Space - P50/tent
CONTACT INFOLocal Tourism
Bong Abenoja - 09486231860
Lemin Polo - 09103649464

GREAT NEW BEGINNINGS


My trip to Cuatro Islas would have been in jeopardy if it weren’t for  these two gorgeous ladies, Lanie and Edz who I met in Inopacan. I was already having 2nd thoughts of exploring the islands due to unfriendly weather and expensive cost but these two are my life savers. I could never thank them enough for all the wonderful times we shared. 🙂


There you have it lovelies. Until next time. Stay tuned for more posts from my recent trip to Leyte and Biliran. For questions and suggestions, leave your comments below. Don’t forget to share this to your friends!

 

CALAGUAS ISLAND: Budget Travel Guide + Itinerary And Why It’s Better Than Boracay


Boracay Island is considered as one of the best islands in the world and in a country with over 7500 islands to boot, it seemed to have taken the spotlight and has set quite the standard. If you haven’t noticed yet, we, Filipinos have gotten used to comparing other beaches to this world famous island that Patar Beach in Pangasinan has since been dubbed as the “Boracay Of The North” and other beautiful beaches have similar nicknames as well. Indeed, Boracay has set the bar high that even the famous beaches of El Nido and Coron of the world’s number one island, Palawan have only come to a close second. Throughout the years, none has truly challenged Boracay until there was Calaguas Island.

Calaguas Island was once a hidden paradise known to only a few and the bravest of travelers. It is a backpackers’ haven and a mountaineers’ refuge. I was probably still naive and young when I first heard about it in 2009 coupled with rumors of how ethereal was its beauty. What caught my attention even more is that many people prefers this island over the more popular Boracay. I couldn’t help but ask why. It haunted me for several years until January of this year, I finally got my answer.

Note: If you would look up Calaguas Island on the map, it will show you a group of islands that is named Calaguas. The famed Mahabang Buhangin Beach is actually located in Tinaga Island, one of the main islands of Calaguas.


WHY I THINK CALAGUAS ISLAND IS BETTER THAN BORACAY


Boracay Island for the record still has the most beautiful beaches. Well, that’s according to me. But seriously! Where else in the Philippines will you see sands as fine as the ones in Boracay’s White Beach? Where else would you see water with the same shade of blue and as calm or as gorgeous as the ones on this island? If we are to say which is the “Most Beautiful” then I wouldn’t argue if someone would answer Boracay but I wouldn’t also rest my case about Calaguas Island having qualities that makes it absolutely the better choice.

  • Calaguas Island’s Mahabang Buhangin has fine white sands, the closest thing to those of Boracay.
  • The water in Mahabang Buhangin has a beautiful shade of blue and green and is so refreshing.
  • The beach stretches to over 3KM of white powdery sands and pristine waters.
  • The beach water stays clear and clean despite the season which means no lumot scare during the summer months.
  • Mahabang Buhangin offers more serene environment perfect for those looking for some peace and quiet.
  • Calaguas Island is hardly commercialize that only small, native open cottages stood near the beach instead of fancy hotels.
  • It is less frequented by tourists and beach is uncrowded.
  • It is affordable and easy to get to.
  • It offers a more stunning view atop one of its hills.
  • More islands to explore if you would go on island hopping.
  • Overall, Calaguas Island is the ideal tropical paradise. The way Boracay was before it was ruined by widespread commercialism.

HOW TO GO THERE


  • Via Paracale – From Manila, ride a DLTB, Philtranco or Superlines bus to Daet (8-10hrs ; P552). From Daet, ride another bus or jeep to Paracale (1hr ; P75). Once in Paracale, ride a tricycle going to the port (15 min ; P10). Charter a boat going to Calaguas Island.
  • Via Vinsonz – From Manila, ride a DLTB, Philtranco or Superlines bus to Daet (8-10hrs ; P552). From Daet, ride another bus or jeep to Vinzons (1hr ; P75). Once in Vinzons, ride a tricycle going to the port (15 min ; P10). Charter a boat going to Calaguas Island.

Note: Vinzons is more popular of the two routes since it is much nearer to Calaguas Island and travel time is less. However, boat cost are much cheaper in Paracale although travel time to the island is much longer.


IMPORTANT TRAVEL TIPS & INFO


  • Open or daytrip cottages in the island cost P300 while overnight cottages cost P500/night. It can fit up to 7-10 people. It comes with a table and space where you can prepare your meals. Bring your own padlock to secure your stuff while you are out exploring.
  • Pitching of tents is free in parts other than the beachfront which requires a fee of P100/tent.
  • Buy your essentials such as food and water prior to your travel. There are stores selling goods in the island but supply can be pretty limited.
  • There is no electricity in the island but some areas are lit by power generators.
  • There is clean spring water available which may be charged P10/bucket or P50 unlimited use.
  • There are toilet and bath rooms available and they are surprisingly clean and well-maintained.
  • Aside from frolicking at the beach, other activity on the island and a must-try is trekking. Guide is not required but as means of helping the local community, you may get one for a price of P50/person. You may also have to pay 3 enviromental fees of P20 while passing by the trail going to the top of one of the hills overlooking the island.
  • You can also go on an island hopping to see stunning rock formations and sandbar in the nearby islands for a price of P1000-P1500 a boat.
  • In severe weather, the local coast guard may prohibit trips to the island so having a point of contact or a local tour coordinator who can give you timely updates is advisable.
  • Please ensure to maintain cleanliness of the island. Dispose your trash properly. Avoid bringing in disposable plastics and paper containers.
  • Refrain from making too much noise especially in the wee hours.

SUMMARY OF EXPENSES, SAMPLE ITINERARY & OTHER INFO


  
SUMMARY OF EXPENSESWe got a tour package priced at P2600 for an overnight stay which covers everything from food, transportation and accommodation. If you wanna DIY, here is a sample expense breakdown.

2-Way Fare Manila-Daet - P1104
2-Way Fare Daet-Paracale - P150
2-Way Trike - P20
2-Way Boat - P300
Entrance Fee - P150
Water - P50
Food - P300
Tent fee - P100

Total <<>> P2174
SAMPLE ITINERARYDay 0

2000 Assembly
2100 ETD Paracale/Vinzons

Day 1

0600 ETA Paracale/Vinzons. Breakfast
0700 ETD Boat Calaguas Island/Mahabang Buhangin
0900 ETA Mahabang Buhangin. Set up Camp
1000 Freetime. Photo ops. Swim.
1200 Lunch
1300 Island Hopping
1700 End Tour
1800 Dinner
1900 Socials

Day 2

0430 Wake up
0500 Trek to Calaguas Viewpoint
0530 Calaguas Viewpoint. Sunrise viewing
0600 Start Descent
0700 Breakfast
0800 Swim. Explore. Some more photo ops
1000 Pack up
1030 ETD Boat Paracale/Vinzons
1230 ETA Paracale/Vinzons
1300 Lunch
1400 Trip back home
2200 Home.

THINGS TO BRINGDrinking water
Extra Clothes
Toiletries
First Aid Kit With Personal Meds
Towel
Sunblock
Sunglasses
Tent
FEES TO PAYWater

P10/bucket
P50 Unlimited

Entrance Fee - P150

Boat Fee

Small Boat up to 10pax - P3000
Big Boat up to 20pax - P5000

Island Hopping - P1500-P2000/boat
CONTACT PERSONWe had our tour arranged with DREAMS AND DESTINATIONS - 09065784917 | 09272297777 | 09153355116 | 09258999962 | 0465374089




PRECIOUS MOMENTS IN PARADISE


Once there was an island so beautiful people call it otherworldly, paradise and anything dreamy that sings sweet lullabies to the ear. And once there was a girl who dreamed of seeing this paradise that thoughts of running along the beach of crystal clear waters and sinking her feet along its white powdery sands haunted her for years. Then the time has finally come for the girl to fulfill her dreams that she created moments she will cherish for the rest of her days.


There you have it lovelies. Let me know your thoughts on the comments box below. Don’t forget to follow my blog or like my page on Facebook and Instagram. Until next time. Ciao!

BUROT BEACH: The Amazing Journey Chasing the Most Beautiful Sunset

My journey towards one of my dream destinations, Burot Beach was indeed one of the most unforgettable. It was a little bit of everything. It was aggravating. Exhausting. Very exciting. And absolutely inspiring. All rolled into one heck of experience. I gotta admit, I never had expected it would turn out the way it did but I appreciate every single part of it.

My Top 10 List Of Unspoiled Beaches in the Philippines

I have always been fond of beaches, especially those with white powdery sands, pristine crystal clear waters and the ones with scenic views of the sunset. Beaches for me are like my comfy bed. It offers me solace and serenity after long stressful hours at work. A day or two in the company of the vast blue sea and chilling breeze is like a lifetime worth of spiritual therapy, an opportunity to look at ones self and contemplate about certain things in life. This is the reason why before my years in this world exceeds the days of a calendar month, I want to sink my feet in these heavenly places within our motherland.

Capones Island and the Century Old Lighthouse

I am a self-proclaim history buff. I consider places with rich, marvelous traces of our history WEALTH. I am fascinated to know how things unfolded for our beloved country to become what it is now. Our culture and traditions are driven by the events that happened through time. It determines who we are and where we are from. Knowing our history gives us a better understanding of ourselves and of the people around us. And one way to do that is to be up-close with the places which beheld the secrets of the past. This is the very reason why Capones Island immediately grabbed my attention.

Nagsasa Cove: Mystery Unraveled

I had always been stunned whenever I see photos of Nagsasa Cove. Even found myself dumbfounded on several occasions while reading notes of people who have been to this place. To me it was a mystery why several people love this place more than Anawangin. In the photos, Anawangin and Nagsasa are equally stunning. They are both crescent shaped coves with crystal clear and pristine waters but for some reason I felt more engrossed with the latter. Just like my desire to conquer Anawangin, it took me three years before I could unravel the mystery of this well hidden jewel behind the mountains of Zambales.

Anawangin Cove: Paradise No More?

I have heard of people talk about this place as a hidden jewel behind the mountains of Zambales. Was Often described as the sweet escape for mountaineers and adventure seekers. I have envied people who have been to this magnificent place. Seeing their photos and reading their blogs make me want to pack my things, leave everything I know behind and hop the first bus I see on my way to San Antonio, a small town in Zambales and the access point to this well coveted PARADISE.

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