Doing a motorcycle road trip through Samar and Leyte is amazing. Nature there is stunning. We took a lot of roads away from the highway, for the Pan-Philippine Highway is very very busy, since it connects the Manila area with Mindanao shipping routes.
But once you leave the highway you discover amazing landscapes. The scenery varies from wild dark volcanic rocks and forest lakes to endless rice fields and long stretches with views on mountains in the distance.
There are plenty of nature reserves and those suggest abundant wildlife, due to the rain and the cold weather I dod not stop as much as I liked, also because the distance between cities is long, and hotels are scares int hat area outside the cities. Plenty of ‘beach resorts’ but I learned very early on in this road trip that those are party venues and mostly not even close to a beach at all.
Nevertheless, I do recommend a visit there and I hope you consider visiting these provinces, although they are the poorest areas in the Philippines, especially Samar, they are worth a visit, fur sure!
Here are my best shots in Leyte and Samar:
Taking roadside showers at the village pump is pretty common all over the Philipines, many houses do not have a CR or bathroom. So pictures like this are common, whole families gather int he morning around the pump to wash and to do laundry. It is the social event of the day, the news is shared, they gossip and joke.
For me, this photo explained how the average Filipino lives and raises his kids. Three is the modern satellite dish in sight and yet no running water in the house, which for us Western folks is the first necessity. This is the Philippines to the max!
Mount Mayon is very prominent in the landscape and I was lucky to watch it burp a lot of smoke and ashes. Not so lucky for those living on the slopes. I visited a relieve camp for refugees and found people that had been living in the local school classrooms for a few weeks already. That must be hard. Sharing 1 classroom with over 30 people during the night.
But still, in all its terror, Mount Mayon is one of my best shots in the Legazpi Area.
Now I know there are people that do resent cockfights. But in the Philippines, it is part of the culture and you simply cannot work around it. I have never seen so many hopeful men cherishing their roosters as I saw in Leyte and Samar. probably because these provinces are very poor, especially Samar. being the owner of a winning cockerel does not only come with a lot of money it also gives you social status.
Those that follow me onFacebook know I am a sucker for cultural heritage and old buildings, preferably abandoned. But occupied and still in use I love them too. There seems to be a building that catches my eye everywhere. I took this one in Catbalogan, I just love the windows and all the details.
Samar and Leyte’s landscape is filled with little rivers and brooks. The freshwater looks very appealing on a hot day and they make great places for a swim or to cool down your feet.
Some churches are just glorious and freshly painted. Add a blue sky to it and it becomes picturesque. In Palo, Leyte where I stopped for a lunch break, I found this beautiful facade.
Samar and Leyte are connected with an impressive structure called the ” San Juanico Bridge” Build during the presidency of General Marcos. It is an amazing feeling to ride that bridge knowing you are crossing the longest bridge in the Philippines. The structure takes you high above the water giving an amazing look over the San Juanico straight.
Living above water is also pretty common in the Philippines, living in the air means no land so fewer taxes to pay. Lots of neighborhoods are built on poles above rivers and lakes. In the bigger cities, these neighborhoods often are the favelas of the Philippines, in Samar and Leyte they are proper neighborhoods and look very nice actually compared with the drifters’ houses in for example Bacolod or Iloilo.
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