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The Cuatro Islas Adventure in Photos

I passed port security without a ticket. I had no idea which ship my mountaineer friends board.  They were not at Pier 3. I boarded the ship without really knowing if it was the right one. I missed my phone at my nook.  The adventure began.


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Back in May, I endured a grueling hours-long bus ride from Calbayog City to Maasin City. It was too long for my body to endure that I suffered a slight fever that night and contemplated on ending the trip earlier. I decided to finish it and opted to not explore the city and its nearby towns.

Southern Leyte, the quiet compared to the Leyte that we all know, has escaped the radar of most travelers. Google it, and most of the popular travel bloggers have no entry on yet. It can be a good sign. Perhaps because what Southern Leyte has is not enough to attract travelers. Or perhaps, which is most likely the case, the locals are not actively promoting its gems unlike my home island and its neighboring sisters.

DSC_2446 DSC_2473 DSC_2467 For instances like this, I am thankful I have an outdoor family who keeps me posted of the destinations most of us label as off the beaten tracks. These places, however, are not necessarily remote, geographically saying. Digyo, pronounced as Digjo, is not as remote as Northern Samar’s Capul Island, not as far as Palompon’s Kalanggaman Island, not as travel-taxing as Biliran’s Sambawan Island. Cebu’s Bantayan Island and Malapascua—have the same distance from the city.

Digyo takes a five-hour ship ride to Hilongos, then a Php10 bus ride to Inopacan, and from there, a thirty-minute boat ride to the town’s four islands, of which two have communities.

DSC_2459 DSC_2482 DSC_2516 Devoid from any touristy comforts, Inopacan’s Digyo is satisfied with its islandness and does not strive to meet the whims of its visitors. It offers itself, the rest depends on us. It is our kind of island.

Climbers by choice, my outdoor family travels with tents, burners, cook sets, hammocks, sleeping bags, flashlights, and ukuleles. So, Cuatro Islas—Digyo, Mahaba, Apid, and Himokilan—fits the bill.

We docked at Mahaba Island first. Its shore was too beckoning for us not to take a dip before pitching our tents at Digyo. Marvelous was an understatement. We were the only souls on the whole island except for occasional fisher’s boat that passed us by.DSC_2478DSC_2526 DSC_2535 DSC_2537 DSC_2550 DSC_2562I must be too stoked or it must be the island breeze, I only crossed ten pages of Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees when sleep took over me. I slept the whole afternoon on a hammock at Digyo with my mouth embarrassingly agape.

That is what remote islands can do. It can strip you off of your active city self and transform you into an island girl: laidback, relaxed, and worry-free. Accidentally leaving the phone at my nook must have helped in uncluttering my mind from social media.

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Awesome coincidence it must be that the moon was a day shy from being full that night. The boys gathered logs and built a bonfire on a rusty GI sheet they found somewhere to avoid the sand absorbing the carbon from the burnt wood. It could cause coral bleaching. Lovely companions, an awesome weekend, and a remote destination summerized these rainy days.

 Text appeared on my travel column “Down South” at Interaksyon.com

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. Find me somewhere else!

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  1. Wow! Great place. Idadagdag ko to sa listahan ko when I visit Leyte next year. Thanks for sharing.

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