Coming from Baybay, Leyte, our route was all the way down to Southern Leyte. Looking at the map, both provinces combined looks like hips and dangling legs. We visited a few dive resorts for our travel agency companions to inspect. The day ended checking in at Kuting Reef and Resort Spa. The beautiful seaside resort with plenty of towering coconut trees at the garden and a pool became the venue for the fam tour welcome dinner. The next day, it was a jump-off to our adventure.
Quick Look at Padre Burgos Wharf
Coming from Macrohon, our route was counter-clockwise from the foot, then all the way up to the inner leg. We did a quick stop at Padre Burgos Wharf, the jump-off to another interesting island, Limasawa, further down south. We didn’t have time to go there so we just viewed the island from afar. Nothing much of interest in the area except for this colorful hostel near the wharf.
Sabang Shoreline and Fish Cages
Coming up to Malitbog, we passed through several of the dive sites we visited yesterday and stopped by a roadside where we could view the sea. Our guide, Butz, led us to a footbridge leading to a cottage on stilts above the sea. The area is called Sabang Beach with several fish cages in the area. The waters here remains calm, being sandwiched within the legs of Southern Leyte. If we had time on our hands it would be fun to jump into the clear waters here.
The town’s name has an interesting story from two warring villages. In early 18th century two baranggays, Abgao and Caaga. Both have their own baluartes (watchtowers) and governed by their own chieftains they call capitanes. Each seek to grow their kingdom and gain control of the entire pueblo. This resulted to the local’s confusion on which is the legitimate pueblo. Hence the Spaniard coined the pueblo as “makalibog” which in Bisaya term means “confused”.
The Roman Catholic intervened in uniting the two villages. They built a church at the border of both baranggays since the warring villages were arguing on where it should be built. It was also strategic as the church is equidistant to each village’s watch tower. In 1857, the Roman Catholic Church was built, baroque style by force of labor. A watchtower was also constructed at the end of the dividing line between the villages in front of the church. Soon, a baroque style building was erected in 1897, believed to be the seat of the local government, the office of the first governadorcillo.
We also swang by this grand old house with a large garden called Villa Marcarit. I don’t know much about the place aside that it is private and is owned by one of the prominent families in Malitbog. The architecture looks magnificent though.
Our last interesting road stop before leaving Malitbog was the Escaño Mausoleum. Jutting out of the soon-to-be demolished Spanish Catholic cemetery is this two-story structure built in 1928. This European-style inspired building is the resting place for the Escaño clan, another prominent family known for their shipping lines, abacca, real estate and other business the grew out from Malitbog.
We never got a chance to go inside since it is private and closed. The mausoleum is said to have two levels. The burial vault at the lower level and a marble Pieta from Italy at the chapel on the second floor.
It was the start of the day for our #SailEast adventure and it was an enriching drive up to our main destination. These side trips showed how rich the heritage here in Malitbog is.
Where to Stay
Kuting Reef Resort and Spa (Book Online)
Southern Leyte, Philippines
(0917) 5721003 / (0939) 9209105
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.