I have been so used to travelling without itineraries; For one, travelling has been an every weekend affair since february, and since the first time I've done it, I think it's not so different compared to spending so much time reading and taking notes; The surprises even adds life to the experience. You learn not from the usual, but from new situations and environments you get yourself into.
My flight is on saturday, and while my supposed travel bud Loreen lead the reading and iti building, the friday after shift, I took some time to read about leyte.
Some travel buds have been to kalanggaman, and sambawan just recently, and before this day, we thought it was all there is (with the exception of the historical destinations and san juanico bridge); Loreen has been reporting about the expected expenses, especially the 3K boat. Also, they are too far off from tacloban.
I zoomed on google to find some alternatives, and found these sparkling islands in Inopacan. As I always do, While i rot waiting for the boarding time in the airport, i took the time to research.
So i followed the instructions and got my ass to the boulevard in Inopacan (just behind the municipal hall). I asked around where I can catch a boat to the island, and right in time I was pointed to this tourist boat that seemed waiting for guests. I spoke to the people standing close and was referred to the boatman. The boatman said I can tag along and pay P500. I was positive that i can hire a small fishing boat for the same trip (and private) but, I was just not in the mood to haggle. So, i bought some packed food in the nearby eatery for my dinner, and 3 canned goods, for my meals the ff day. 15 minutes later, I was in the boat.
|Inopacan, Leyte town proper|
|Baywalk in Inopacan Leyte, just behind the municipal hall; jump off for cuatro islas|
The boat began to sail, and just a few minutes later, and probably about 500m from shore, we've spotted dolphins... A short 2 minute show. Later, after about half hour, we spotted another set. A little while later, we reached the island. 300 meters to the shore, you can clearly see the corals down the water.
I docked in a small nipa and tied my hammock on a tree next to it, changed clothes, and in less than 3 minutes, am ready to swim; pulled my goggles and walked to the shore.
From the island, looking afar, you can still see some dolphins peeping out of the water once in a while. The tide was low; so low such that i can be standing close by to thick live corals and the water level only to my waist. I had to swim it even to a 2feet depth so as not to step at the corals (was trying to avoid urchins too of course).
I moved to the other side of the sandbar and snorkled there. I saw a number of lobsters sneaking out of the corals, and could only hope I had something to catch them with. By the time I got tired snorkelling, it was almost dark, and rain began to fall lightly.
I would have easily attached myself to the group I went with, and made instant friends, but this weekend, I wanted to have a me time. Instead, I plugged the earphone and laid in my hammock til I fell asleep.
It was a good night sleep... my calculations say 10 long hours; Opened up 1 of my canned goods, and right after, ran to the water again to snorkle. There was just too much there, I think I can spend one whole weekend swimming and snorkelling around.
How to get to Cuatro Islas?
If youre flying to tacloban, from the airport, take the downtown bound jeep. There are jeepneys that charge a premium P50 in the airport, but you can also catch some regular jeeps, that come from the city, for just P12. Just ask around. They shall be a little past the airport gate. Ask to be dropped in "Van Van" Terminal.
From Van Van, take the "Maasin via Baybay" vans. Fare to Inopacan is P170 (inopacan will be next town to Baybay. The first stopver). From the town proper, walk towards the municipal hall. Behind the hall is the where boats are docked.
Going back to Tacloban, while you can wait for vans going direct to Tacloban, i was told that most of the time, they're full. It was already 3pm when i got back to the town proper from the island, and I did not want to risk missing my trip. There are no jeeps going to baybay, and buses are just so rare. So, i took the P40 van ride to baybay, and from there, i took the van to tacloban (fare is P150).
Make sure to bring snorkelling gears. When negotiating with the boatman, Make him agree to stopping the boat once in a while so you can jump off the water and check out what's below. The area is a marine sanctuary and the reef is a delight. In case you can't swim/float in the water, make sure the boatman has life jackets.
Island fees are P25/person and P300 for the open cottage which will be collected by the caretaker (haggle for P20 and 200/cottage; As per the group I went with, this is what they were told from the mainland). As per me, i did not pay anything actually. Nobody approached me for anything ;-) lolz. Bring your tents in case you'd spend overnight. No electricity in the island, cellular network is abundant though for globe and smart.
Theres no water for rinsing too. What i did was rinse in a deepwell pump in the mainland.
you may contact kuya ricky for boat service: 0939 254 9232. Then again, if you're in smaller groups, 3 or less, might want to just walk in and hop on the small boats (just if you are equally comfortable in these small fishing boats). He has lifevests, and you might want to organize a snorkelling tour (kind of what they do in apo reef).
Summary of expenses:
Jeep (airport to Van Van Terminal): P50
Meal around Van Van Terminal: P40
Van from Tacloban to Inopacan: P170
Misc food: P90
Boat (back and forth): P400
Van (Inopacan to Baybay): P50
Van (Baybay to Tacloban): P150
Other expenses in the trip:
Trike service Tacloban to San Juanico Bridge and back: P130
Overnight stay in Village Townhouse, Real St cor Veteranos: P275
Meal in People's Park: P90
Yoghurt in Twirl Berry (nr people's park): P90
Jeep from Village Townhouse to Airport: P12
Terminal Fee (Tacloban Airport): P75