Sunday, August 01, 2010


I have long wanted to go and see the Agas-agas bridge in Sogod, S. Leyte which is now considered as the tallest bridge in the Philippines. Finished in 2009, the bridge cut across the road going to Sogod which is always prone to landslide as it lies within an earthquake fault. It is 350 meters in length and 75 meters height making it the tallest bridge in the country.
However, just seeing the bridge was not worth the trip, so I decided that we will explore a beach in San Francisco, S. Leyte which is now being considered as the scuba diving capital in the Visayas. This is in Napantao, San Francisco, S. Leyte. I called up the parish priest in San Francisco who happened to be a student of mine in the seminary of our intent and asked him to prepare for us our lunch. With four other priests who were my assistants and a former assistant in the parish and two other lay friends we went for our day off to San Francisco, S. Leyte passing by the Agas-agas bridge.
One thing that I noticed right away when we passed by the bridge was that there was no vibration unlike when one passes by an ordinary bridge. If one keeps his eyes closed he will never perceive that he passed by a bridge. In Agas-agas there is a road leading down to the foot of the bridge where one can better view the magnificence and enormity of the bridge. The description of the bridge says: “ It consists of 3 span cantilever type continuous pre-stressed concrete box girder rigidly connected to hollow box-type pier on 1.5M diameter piles foundation.”
After visiting the Agas-agas bridge we continued our journey crossing yet another island of Leyte, the Panaon island which is connected by a bridge. San Francisco is one of the four towns found in the Panaon Island: Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan and San Ricardo. After stopping by the convento on San Francisco, Fr. Joycats, the Parish priest, who already had our food prepared right away brought us to Napantao. We went to a secluded beach in Napantao owned by an unassuming couple, Dr. & Mrs. Cerio. It had a beachfront of its own with a thatch of white sand and shady manicured garden under coconut trees. There on this beautiful spot we had our picnic. We visited first the famous Marine Sanctuary of Napantao which was further down about a kilometer away. The Coral Cay Conservation, a UK-based foundation which is mapping the coral reef in the island had its house nearby the sanctuary. Since we forgot to bring along our snorkels and we could not borrow from the people in the foundation, we decided that we will just come back some other day to do scuba. Today we just enjoy the beauty of the beach of Dr. Cerio.
Indeed, we had a very relaxing day at the beach. The place so private and peaceful it was such a stress relieving day-off for all of us.

The Agas-agas bridge at 75 meters height is now the tallest bridge in the Philippines.

The private beach owned by the couple Dr. Cerio in Napantao.

The beach house looks like one from the fairy tales.

Dr. Cerio and his wife, owner of the beach.

Our drivers having fun of their own.

The beach had a white sand to boast of.

There was a yacht that was moored nearby with scuba divers exploring the Napantao reef.

Some of the corals that could be seen nearby.


Got again the chance to go to a beach, when the priests of the Vicariate of Palo decided to go for an overnight outing. The place chosen was the Kuting Reef in Macrohon, S. Leyte which just opened a year ago. The resort which is more than a hectare in size has a natural boundary as it sits on a cove. At the end of one cove is the mouth of a river flowing into the sea,  while at the other end are rocks and cliffs. The beach itself is not impressive as it’s made up of dark pebble stones but they have developed and landscaped the place and put up buildings which can be used for vacation and out of town seminars.   The main reception building aside from the lobby and restaurant has a seminar hall which can accommodate about a hundred people.  Perhaps a first in the country, there are three toilet rooms by the lobby as one is reserved for the Bading.  Just outside the main building facing the sea is a veranda which serves as an outdoor restaurant.  There are a number of cabanas and casitas  made of native materials with nipa for roofing. To maintain the native touch of the resort, they covered with a bamboo fence one concrete bungalow building  which houses their dormitory with double deck beds.  One central attraction in the resort is the infinity pool at the middle of the cabanas and casitas. 

Room rates:  Premier Casita – 4,200; Premier Cabana – 2,800, Deluxe Cabana – 2,600; Adventure type (camping tent) – 850 per person. 

They also have a Barkadahan package for groups for 1,500 per person which already includes three meals and overnight stay at the deluxe cabana or casa. A Fun by the Dozen Package is worth 1,350 which includes overnight stay with snacks, dinner and breakfast.  Contact cel: 09056685873.

For snorkeling, one has to go to swim to the right or the left portion of the resort as there are no vegetation at the front part of the resort, just plain sand.  I snorkeled to the left portion of the beach by the rocks.  There were some live corals and plenty of small fishes. Clownfish were aplenty. I also got to see a lionfish and a scorpion fish and about two feet sea snake with a flat body. I got  a bit frightened as I swam past the snake as it turned around with head poised as if to strike. However it just lay there still observing me.

For a vacation where one would like to forget about all cares about everyday concerns, Kuting Reef could be ideal as signal for the cellphones are hard to come by.  There are no signals in the rooms. You have to look for it around the resort.

The front lobby of the Kuting Reef

The outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea.

Since we brought a lechon with us, we had to pay a corkage fee. Food was abundantly served by the resort that the lechon was no longer that necessary.
The bungalow concrete house was fenced with bamboo perhaps to keep the native look of the resort.
Inside the bamboo fence was this building.
There was this private tent-roofed area just in front of our dormitory where we had our dinner.
The dormitory with double decked beds.
The cabanas and casitas of the resort
There was a good number of clownfish playing by their usual home of anemones.
A pair of lionfish gently swimming at the seabed.

The infinity pool
A barely visible scorpion fish in the middle of sea urchins.
They have a separate toilet for the Bading.
At an angle the pool really connected with the sea.
A group picture at the infinity pool
Dinner and drinks at our private casita
The bar by the restaurant.
Clownfishes frolicking among the soft anemones

The beach was mostly of pebble stones
Having breakfast at their indoor restaurant. 
There was a river at the left end of the resort.
The end of the river flows right into the sea.