Leyte, I Shall Return

“I shall return.” – Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur (Leyte Landing).

I was in Leyte for a validation activity this Tuesday and Wednesday, and if there’s one thing I would remember about the place, it is how clean it is, and how friendly everyone seems to be.  It’s unfortunate that I was not able to explore the province more as I was there for just two days (and with lots to do!). However, with the very limited time I had, I’d say Leyte is really worth a “return trip”.

Our group had to go to Baybay City, and it’s about two hours away from the airport. We took the 4am flight so we were really, really hungry when we got there so our host made a quick stop at the Oriental Hotel in Tacloban for breakfast, and then afterwards, another stop-over at the Mac Arthur Park for a photo session at Leyte’s most famous landmark.

Sweet rambutan fruit harvested fresh for us; Leyte Landing monument at the Mac Arthur Park; Hotel Oriental; I fed this giant buffalo (yay!)

We then proceeded to the Visayas State University (VSU), where we spent the rest of our day interviewing and validating programs on the environment. The university has a lot to be proud of, its natural resources very well-preserved, its waters so clean that my colleague and I even took a quick dip on the beach fronting our cottage straight from our beds the next day! Incidentally, VSU has a 4.5 star rating on the popular site, Trip Advisor, so it really is a great place for all people to come.

Ostrich trying to impress us; the Infinity Pool at the Hotel Oriental; more green; more buffalos

I was operating on a one hour-thirty minutes sleep, but even then, I would say the trip was all worth it.  It was a first for me to see a gigantic buffalo and be able to feed it (I love cheap thrills), I enjoyed the food tasting session we had (gellos, biscuits from local produce, juices), and I loved mingling and dancing with the professors and the very cool University President who acted as our tour guide.

Too sad the trip was so short but I would definitely return and experience the more fun side of the place — the zip-line, San Juanico, and then some more. And so, with that, I’m gonna copy Gen. Mac Arthur’s line and say…

“I shall return too.”

… And hopefully soon.

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