Blast from the Past: Visiting Leyte

PauTravels to Leyte Island

Like what I’ve posted last week about my trip to Bicol, here I’m going to share about my very first trip on board an airplane.  This was a trip back in June of 1999 to my father’s home province in the Visayas region on the island of Leyte.

My father along with his siblings were all born in the small town of Tabontabon in the province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas before they moved to Manila when they were older.  And since back in the 90’s, my father together with one of her sisters have been flying back to Tabontabon once every year during the town’s fiesta to check out the parcels of land left by my grandmother.   And in June 1999, my father tagged me to join them along with my cousin to fly over Leyte with them.

This was my first time to fly on an airplane.  We took a Cebu Pacific Air flight to Tacloban City, the only major airport on the island of Leyte.   Back then, Cebu Pacific was fairly new in the market where it only started it airline operations in 1996.  There was even a joke then that when you fly on Cebu Pacific, you fly out from Cebu and arrive in the Pacific.  The joke came out after some airplane crashes Cebu Pacific had in its early years along with the then Asian Spirit (renamed to Zest Air but now operated as AirAsia Zest under AirAsia) which got the joke of flying as an Asian and arriving as a Spirit.

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Viva Cebu!

PauTravels at the Magellan's Cross in Cebu

In continuation of our trip last September 2006 in the island of Bohol, our group of 17 people ferry ourselves to one of the key and most historical cities in the Philippines.  Cebu City is part of now the great metropolitan region of Metro Cebu which lies in the middle section of elongated island province of Cebu.

Cebu (pronounced as ‘Se-boo’) is the center of commerce and trade in the Visayan region of the Philippines and is connected to most domestic airports and some international airports through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.  This makes Cebu as the second major gateway and second most important trade center of the country after Manila.  The Port of Cebu also connects the island to other islands in the country.

Aside from it’s importance in the Philippine economy, Cebu is also very rich in history as it is considered the oldest city in the country.  It marks its existence in history for more than 439 years ago, before the first Spanish expedition came in the islands in 1521 which led to the Philippines’ official discovery, putting it in the map.  The expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan that year has seen a thriving settlement with an organized social structure led by a datu.  And the settlement was already a center of trade by trading Chinese, Japanese, Malays, Indians, Burmese, and Arabs.

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Boracay, a Natural Beauty

PauTravels at rocky cliffs at the crystal caves in Boracay

Among the 7,107 islands of the Philippines, one island destination definitely stands out as the most famous and most visited by tourists local and foreign alike.  It is none other than the beautiful island of Boracay, known for its sugary soft white sand, a wide coastline and a perfect beach destination.  But little did know that this island has more to offer.

Boracay island is a small island off the northern tip of Panay island in the island group of Western Visayas in the Philippines.  This island has an about 4 kilometer-long white sand beach on its southwest side where different hotels, resorts and commercial establishments line up the coastline.  Each resort offer different water sport activities like para-sailing, jet skiing, and even scuba diving.  On the north eastern part of the island is a bit rougher as it is lined with coral reefs, caves and strong waves.  Within the island, there are golf courses and also waterfalls.

On March 20, 2006, my wife, myself and 4 other colleagues purchased a travel package to Boracay.  We took advantage of the PALakbayan promo released by Philippine Airlines during that time.  The package we got was for 3days/2nights stay at Sun Village Beachfront Resort.

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