Our plan to go to Tacloban started when we were able to buy our plane tickets from Cebu Pacific last October 2008. It cost us less than P3,200 for the the round trip flight for the three of us.
As we love going to beaches, we set aside a day to visit one in th Leyte-Samar area. We started surfing the web and finally decided on Digyo Island in Inopacan, Leyte. Without any idea on how to get there, we started researching via the internet. Luckily, there are a couple of sites in Multiply with pictures of Digyo Island, so we were able to ask for directions and cost of staying there. We brought our car and parked it in the overnight parking areaof the T3 - Manila International Airport. An overnight parking costs P50, so a 2 night stay at the parking lot cost us P100. Aside from the parking fee, we were also collected a terminal fee of P200 each. We left Manila for Tacloban last Saturday, 21 February 29 at around 4:30 in the morning from the Terminal 3 of the Manila International Airport. The flight to Tacloban was quite uneventful and we tried to catch some nap since we woke up very early that day.
We were a little bit disappointed as we approached Tacloban because from the plane's windows we can see that it was raining. We actually contemplated in cancelling our trip to Inopacan since going to Digyo Island would require us a 30 minute boat ride. Despite the weather, we decided to push through.
After getting our luggage, we got on a waiting jeep just outside the airport for our 30 minute trip to the city. We were charged P50 per person. The jeep dropped us at the Van-van's terminal where Toyota Hi-Ace vans wait for passengers on trip to various points in Leyte and Samar. We took the van bound for Maasin, which will pass through Inopacan. The trip took less than 3 hours and we stopped for a 10 minute stop-over at Baybay, Leyte, the town before getting to our destination.
We were dropped off by the van infront of the M Lhuillier where Pidot (our boatman), whom we had already contacted earlier (0916-889-8993) was waiting for us. We bought some provisions for our overnight stay on the island before taking the 40 minute boat-ride to the island.
The waters going to Digyo was choppy as we all got wet even before we started to go swimming. After a roller coaster ride, we finally reached the island. The sun started to shine. We brought our things to a hut and started setting up camp. We asked the boatman if he can buy us some freshly caught fish to grill while my daughter and I took a dip in the clear and cool waters off Digyo. It was only sad to see many dead corals around the island near the beach as well as the trash thrown by the some visitors such as bottles, cardboard boxes and other debris beneath the clear water.
As it was still not summer time, only a few people were in the island to have a picnic. They left later in the afternoon, and the three of us (my wife, daughter and me) were left on the beach leaving the island practically to ourselves (except for caretaker who stayed far from us). We watched as the sun set over the island not far from us.
Since it was getting dark, we decided to have dinner. But as we were still not hungry, we just had bread and canned sardines which we shared with the dogs who stayed on the island. It was almost new moon and the only light around us were the vast number of stars on a very clear sky. We were lulled to sleep by the cool breeze.
When we woke up at around 5:30 AM, the sky was overcast. We immediately packed our tent and other things as we expect the boat ride back to be rough again. The boatman and his companion were apparently there since 5AM just waiting for us. As water was scarce on the island (the caretaker sells a 5-gallon of water at P20), we asked the boatman if it would be possible to take our shower in his house. He was very friendly and said that it would be alright.
When we left the island, the waves started hitting our small boat again. We started to get drenched from the sea water and rain and another 45-minute roller-coaster ride followed. I tried entertaining my daughter by asking her to join me in singing songs such as row your boat, roll over the ocean and roll over the sea.
When we got back to town, we were immediately brought to Pidot's house where his wife and two kids were waiting for him. One by one, we took our shower as we were hurrying up to catch a van going back to Tacloban by 9AM.
After our shower, Pidot's wife offered us breakfast which we courteously declined. We paid Pidot the agreed amount of payment and a little more for the use of their bathroom. With that we went back to the highway to have our breakfast (3 rice, 2 viands, 1 siopao and 1 liter softdrink for less than 200 pesos). As we still have a little time before 9AM, we visited the San Isidro Church to pray.
We walked a few hundred meters to a waiting shed to wait for a passing van bound for Tacloban. At almost exactly 9AM a van passed by and we immediately boarded it. There were only 3 passengers on board which made the ride a comfortable one. Once again, we had a 10 minute stop over at Baybay to pick up passengers.
After about 2 more hours of travel, we finally arrived at the Van-van's terminal in Tacloban. As we have no prior bookings in Tacloban, we asked around on what would be a nice and inexpensive hotel to stay. We finally decided to check in at Hotel Alejandro. Our Digyo Island travel finally over.
For more pictures, check out our Digyo trip at multiply.com