One of our college barkada traditions is to have atleast one trip annually, and this year’s destination was our friend Yvette Alonzo’s hometown – Matalom, Leyte. This quaint little town is no different from any other rural burgs in the Philippines, where most residents retire to bed as early as 9PM. But mind you, this doesn’t mean that it’s less fun in Matalom. We actually had a blast on our short weekend vacay in this part of the Philippines.
Well, this particular vacation consisted of 2 whole days, which is fairly a good span of time to explore the nostalgically charming municipality. Two (2) of the beautiful nature attractions that this municipality offers are Canigao Island, and Hitoog Cave’s Underground Spring.
Canigao Island has a good stretch of fine white sand (that I consider to be grittily soothing between the toes) and turquoise water surrounds the stunning island. The north and west part is protected where one can enjoy snorkeling and diving to gape on the cool underwater life of its marine sanctuary. The island also has a lighthouse and a treehouse. And yes, the sunset here is majestic!
There are available accommodations in the island from PhP1,500 per room, per night. But pitching a tent by the sandy shores would be a great experience, and it’ll only cost you about PhP200 a tent. 😉 Roundtrip Boat ride is at PhP60.00, plus PhP40.00 entrance fee for adults and PhP20.00 for children.
Hitoog Cave and Underground Spring has recently been creating a buzz among locals of Matalom, where they consider to be a perfect place to cool down whenever temperature gets way too high. The management has given access to only the pool of Hitoog Cave where natural light can penetrate. The inner parts of the cave is off limits. A man-made pool with water from the underground spring is also available for use. Entrance fee is at PhP20 for adults and PhP10.00 for children. Cottages are available for PhP200.
Matalom‘s municipal center is where century-old St. Joseph Parish is, and just across is its municipal park. It is also your drop-off point to catch a pump boat to Canigao Island.
How to get to Matalom Leyte from Cebu:
Matalom is a municipality in Leyte situated between Maasin City in the south and municipality of Bato in the north. Both Maasin and Bato hold ports where passenger ships coming from Cebu dock almost everyday. We chose to take the last boat at 9PM on a Friday from Cebu, arriving in Bato Leyte at around 4AM, Saturday. The boat ride is approximately 6 hours. Most passengers stay on the boat until 6AM, when many public transportation is available.
From Bato, you can hop on a multicab (Fare: PhP10.00) bound for Poblacion Matalom. Just inform the driver you are alighting at Matalom Municipal Park/ Saint Joseph Parish Matalom.
Here’s a sample itinerary for a weekend in Matalom Leyte from Cebu City:
8:30PM — Cebu Pier to catch a boat to Bato Leyte (Via Medallion transport. Tourist Fare is about PhP350, Cabin PhP500)
4:00AM — Arrival in Bato Leyte
(Ask attendants/seamen if what time does the ship depart. Most of the time, they let passengers stay in the boat until they are accepting new passengers to their next destination.)
6:00AM— Hop on a multicab to Poblacion Matalom/ St. Joseph Parish Church Matalom/ Matalom Municpal Park (Fare:PhP10:00)
6:30AM— Arrive at Poblacion Matalom and have breakfast at nearby carenderia. There’s no fastfood joint in Matalom, so if you are not comfortable eating at a carenderia, then be sure you have prepared packed meals from Cebu City. There are bakeshops and sari-sari stores in Poblacion for you to buy snacks, junk foods and bottled water.
7:00AM – Tour Poblacion – St. Joseph Parish and Park
8:00AM -From Matalom Municipal Park, hop on Habal-habal to Hitoog Cave (Fare:60PhP one way) and be sure to commission the habal-habal driver to wait for you. Make a deal of 150PhP roundtrip + 20PhP entrance fee and lunch for the driver for a 2.5 hour stay at Hitoog Cave. But for groups of 5 and up, one can commission a multicab for PhP1,000 + food for the driver +Php20 entrance fee. You may ask for assistance in going to Hitoog cave by texting 09083284112.
9:00AM — Arrive at Hitoog Cave (Entrance Fee: PhP 20 , Optional: Table charge: PhP50 | Cottage: PhP200.00)
11:30AM — Leave Hitoog cave and go back to Poblacion Matalom
12:30PM — Arrive at Poblacion Matalom, Lunch
1:30PM — Hop on pump boat to Canigao
(Matalom Port is just a 5-minute walk from Matalom Municipal Park. Take the street on the left of the park and walk straight until you reach the port.)
2:00PM — Arrive at Canigao Island
2:05 PM — Go to the admin center to pay for entrance and rent a room/tent.
2:15PM — Settle in
2:30PM – ENJOY! Don’t forget to watch the sun setting on the east side of the island. 😉
There are fresh catch available on the island which you can grill at the grilling station. Sari-sari stores are situated in the inner part of the island, very near the light house.
4:00PM — Leave Canigao Island
4:30PM — Arrive at Matalom Port
5:00PM — Hop on a Multicab to Bato Port (Fare: PhP10:00)
5:30PM — Buy pasalubong at Bato Market (Love the Moron with Cheese, sold at P5.00 a piece)
6:30PM– Go to Bato Boulevard to eat dinner at any of the barbecue stations
8:15PM — Ride the boat bound for Cebu.
The trip to Hitoog Cave may be skipped for a more relaxed itinerary. 😉
Hope this travel guide from Cebu City to Matalom Leyte will be able to help you plan your vacation in this side of eastern Visayas. Any questions or suggestions? Please drop a comment below. ^_^