Maasin City: Southern Leyte Biodiverse Area

A little traveling down south of the island of Leyte (that I've just recently found out was once called Ceylon) will get you to the lush and verdant forests of Southern Leyte. There are six key biodiverse municipalities identified here. These are Silago, Hinunangan, Sogod, Tomas Oppus, Malitbog and Maasin City. 

The missionaries of the Society of Jesus established a parish in Maasin City in the 1970's. They called it Nipa after the palms growing abundantly in the area. This piece of history is encrypted in a stone tablet of an old convent which says, "Pa. De Tagnipa-Año 1776." 

From Nipa, the town was then called Maasin when some Spaniards who were looking for drinking water asked the locals if they can drink the water from Canturing River. " Que pueblo es este?", they said and the natives replied, "Maasin" or salty.

There are many draws for tourists in this small city and what is interesting is that, all of these are off the beaten path. These beautiful places that only locals know about. It is not yet touristy like other parts of the Philippines. Well, the entire Eastern Visayas region is an undiscovered gem! But let me take you around Maasin City this time.

1. Mangrove Forests

Bakhaw or bakawan is the local term for mangroves.  They grow in brackish water or where fresh and salt water meet. They are good wave and windbreakers with rich biodiversity. Do you know that there are a lot of mangrove species that can be found in our country? There is also a male and female mangrove!  

During the -ber months, certain species of mangroves are cut down and its branches are sold as Christmas trees. This is a common decor before cheap China made plastic Christmas trees flooded the market.

You can appreciate the mangroves as you cruise through the coastal barangays of Santo Rosario, Pasay, Manhilo among others.





2. Danao Forest Park

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has a nursery for indigenous tree species in the upland barangay of Danao, Maasin City. This is a protected area so no illegal logging allowed.

All you can see here are trees actually. So if you like walking and hugging trees, this may interest you.



3. The Quarry


On one of Maasin's peak is a place called the Quarry. The locals who took us there proudly exclaimed that you do not need to go to Bohol to see the Chocolate Hills. They have their own mini-Chocolate Hills there which you can view from the Quarry. The view from there is breathtaking. Imagine a green carpet spread out at your feet. The green looked foamy. I had a fleeting impulse to jump over and check if I'd spring right back.( Reality check: You know I won't and I'll end up earning my wings instead and going to heaven, if you are a Christian.)



4. Maasin Zoo

We went to Maasin Zoo, which was one of the goals I have on my bucket list for this year. They hosted the 2013 Boys Scout  National Jamboree there. (That sent a chill up my spine. I miss scouting.) 

Maasin Zoo is located at Brgy. Danao and is about an hour away from the capital. We haven't met a public transportation on our way there, so I assume that you have to hire a vehicle to take you here.

Entrance fee was P250 php for adults. A bit steep for a stingy group but hey the next zoo is in Manila and the plane fare is more expensive!


We planned on going over the bakod because we do not want to shell out the amount. But news of wild animals like crocodiles and lion tiger katol beyond the fence was enough to scare the living daylights out of me. We contented ourselves by just taking a peek of the animals from the fence.


Do you see what I see? If you don't, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!


Yep that is our consolation price for being a peeping tom. Thankfully we spied some miniature horses on the soccer ground! They just grow up to 38 inches only! I wasn't able to take their pictures because as you have probably noticed I only have a cheap point and shoot camera. Thankfully Google has a lot of close ups of them! 


Ohh....Aren't they so cute! I must bring them home!



Have you been to these places? 

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