Stoy and photos by Lovel Aniag
Limasawa is an island in the province of Leyte, the smallest in both land area and population. Also known as Sarangani Island, it only measures 10km from north to south.
The island is known as the seat of Philippine Christianity where the religion was first introduced by the Spanish conquistadores. For a time, the province of Butuan has also laid claim to this assertion. According to lobbyists, the first Holy Mass was celebrated in Butuan in March 31, 1521. After a two-year study by the National Historical Commission, the controversy was finally resolved in 1996: Limasawa Island is the true site of this historical event, based on accounts by the Spanish historian Antonio Pigafetta, who chronicled the expeditions of Ferdinand Magellan.
Cradle of Christianity
From Padre Burgos, we took a boat that brought us to the island of Limasawa. The ride lasted for about an hour and half. With just our tents and overnight backpacks, we decided to go straight to the most popular landmark in the island: the site of the Holy Cross.
The way to the cross
From the port in Brgy. Tiana, we headed out to Brgy. Magallanes via habal-habal.
In remembrance of this historic event, the local government together with the local parish decided turn the historic location into a pilgrimage site. A replica of the cross stands atop the hill where the original was believed to be first planted on Philippine soil.
The hike going up the site was pretty tiring, considering there were only 450 steps to reach it. A couple of meters beyond it, the site opens up to a view of the nearby islands of Bohol and Surigao.
After a few minutes of admiring the view (a.k.a. catching our breaths), we decided to go down and check out the tiny museum by the foot of the hill. The museum houses an effigy of the meeting between the Rajas Si-agu and his brother Kulambu, and the Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan and Father Pedro de Valderrama.
History 101 with resident historian and guide, Sam.
After our history lessons with Sam, we checked out another Limasawa favorite: the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a local favorite. Located in San Agustin, about 20 minutes by habal-habal from the town center of Brgy. Triana. To reach the site, we passed through through muddy roads, rice fields, quiet villages and walked through a short trail.
For only 20pesos, visitors can swim in the cold blue water or climb up the beautiful rock formation to admire an obstructed view of the seascape. Adrenaline junkies can also cliff dive and swim towards the lone kubo to enjoy a moment of solitary silence in the middle of the vast sea.
The Coastal Village of Brgy. Triana
From Blue Lagoon, we rode back to Brgy. Triana. We decided to set up camp on a beach a few minutes walk from the port, where we were treated to the most amazing sunset I’ve seen in my life.
Real Life Art
Local kids were playing right in front of our camp, searching for sea urchins to snack on. We befriended a couple of girls who offered us some to taste.
Talking to the locals, we learned that there are so much more to see here. There were mountains and parolas to climb, sanctuaries and caves to discover and even a dive site. It was pretty endearing to hear them proudly describe each local site, every conversation punched with a question as to why no one comes here, and always ending with a request for us to get the word out about their beloved little island.
We left early the next day, with a promise to keep and a plan to return.
How to get there:
From Maasin, Leyte, take a multicab to Padre Burgos to catch the 1pm boat leaving for Limasawa Island.
Where to stay:
There are several beach hotels at Brgy. Triana offering rooms and campsites.
Thanks to my good friend and travel buddy, Angela Go (IG: @ladysuarderz) for showing me around Leyte!
Ingat and see you on the road!
Know a place I should discover? Or want to travel together? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org