Summer or not, there are plenty of islands in the Philippines to choose from. One of them is Cuatros Islas in Leyte. It may be far away, but indeed, it’s islands that you’ll instantly fall in love with. Lucky, my friend Mejas and I got to explore and enjoy these stunning unspoiled pieces of heaven.
Isolated and relatively unknown, Cuatros Islas is a group of islands located in Western Leyte. While the Philippines, being an archipelago, has thousands of islands, some remain pure and undeveloped, retaining their natural beauty. And despite the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, Cuatros Islas remains unfazed.
Welcome to Cuatros Islas, Leyte
As the name suggests, Cuatros Islas has four islands, namely Digyo, Mahaba, Apid, and Himokilan. Cuatro is the Spanish word for four. Each island is mesmerizing! Unfortunately, we could only visit two islands because we had to pay PHP500 before we could explore the last island, and villagers inhabit the other island.
Therefore, we just wanted to bask in the sun on the dazzling sandbar, which tourists frequent in summer, and we just reflected on how lucky we were to experience the amazing beauty of the Philippines.
Digyo Island was our first stop.
We were very lucky to have the island all to ourselves—me, my friend and the boatman.
This specific island is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, so bring your gear and don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your skin. Being sun-kissed, which I really like, is good, but getting exposed to the sun longer than necessary is absolutely bad for the skin.
The water is crystal clear, like that of the Bahamas (minus the swimming pigs, of course). You can stay here as long as you want, as it is one of the best places to relax your mind. Just the melodic sound of the waves is soothing enough.
Our next destination was Mahaba Island. There’s only one small nipa hut that serves as home to an old couple who work as caretakers of the island. There’s no toilet in the vicinity. The old couple owns the dogs.
Although these photos and islets pretty much look the same, they are different. Their only common denominator is that they’re truly untainted, which would add up to your thirst for sun basking.
Where to stay in Cuatros Islas Leyte
We didn’t try to stay overnight on any islands, but the boatmen said that there are cottages that you can rent on Digyo Island. You can stay in an open cottage for PHP350 and in a closed cottage for PHP500. You can also bring your hammock (duyan) or your own tent to sleep in.
Why you should go and visit
Visiting and staying on an undeveloped island is relaxing. You get the chance to commune with nature in its unadulterated state. And that’s exactly how we’re supposed to enjoy our islands and forests, just like Cuatros islas in Leyte rewarded us.
Suppose you’re lucky enough ( like us), you can have the whole place to yourself for a day. Just pray for fine weather, so you can fully enjoy the turquoise water.
Activities and foods to eat Water-proof your phones, or better yet, pack a GoPro, so you can take photos of different kinds of fish underwater. You can snorkel, swim, camp and sleep in a tent, and watch the golden sunset.
Of course, if you’re planning to stay overnight, waking up blanketed by nature is one of the best experiences. There’s no food available around the area, so pack some ready-to-eat canned goods, bread, and other easy-to-prepare meals. Don’t forget to bring at least 2 liters of water and some tropical fruits that will make your stay more enjoyable.
How to get there and some side tips
Getting to Cuatros Islas Leyte isn’t that difficult to reach. If you’re coming from Cebu city, take the ferry to Hilongos Baybay commonly known as Ormoc City. Normally, travel time takes around 5 hours. Fare is about PHP200-300, depending on the accommodation.
We traveled at night. Now, if you will do the same, except that you will arrive early in the morning, but that’s okay, as you will have enough time to fill your stomach before the adventure begins.
For less than PHP50, you can have your stomach filled with a heavy sticky-rice and mongo breakfast that can fuel you up before the adventure begins. Walk around for a little while and stroll in a small market where eateries are serving breakfast. You should never miss one of their delicacies.
It’s sticky rice with sweet beans, or mongo, and hot cocoa as syrup. As far as I can remember, it costs less than PHP50 and comes with a hot cup of coffee to jumpstart your day.
From there, take a jeepney to Inopacan town. The first trip is at 7 am.
The Municipal Hall serves as one of your guides towards your destination. Alight at the municipal hall. Right behind it is a wharf where you can ride on boats going to Cuatros islas.
Kindly check the prices for your references. Inopacan Sea Liner schedule and rates. These are the available boats to take to you, Cuatros Islas, Leyte.
Best time to visit
Between July – August is the best season. The weather is just excellent, plus sometimes, you’d get the islands all by yourself.
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Tips, Reminders and Guidelines
Please don’t leave your trash on the islands, and make sure that you’re going to leave the place the way it is when you arrive. Weekdays are the best times to visit Cuatros Islas, as well as you can go around nearby towns in Leyte should you have the remaining time to spare.
I was lucky my friend is Cebuano, so he knew exactly how to haggle and negotiate with the people in charge. As we went there on weekdays, at least zero tourists were visiting, only the two of us.
We informed the boatman that we could wait until some people arrive so we could share the fee. Since there were none, they offered us a small boat which we were able to get for P1000.00 for a whole day trip. Also, donate some food to the couple. Before we left, the old woman requested for a small amount of money.
Your leftover foods that are, of course, edible will also be much appreciated. If you can also give them water, please do, as there’s no potable water in the area.
On a personal note, Cuatros Islas is such a splendid island that I myself instantly fell in love with, indeed, one of the gems of Leyte.
I bet Cuatros Islas is one of the best groups on the island, not only in Leyte but also in the Philippines. I hope that it will remain how we experienced it. Like what happened to other islands in the Philippines, the commercialization of these islands will destroy their pure and natural beauty.
Overall, I only don’t love our experience on Cuatros Islas and the Leyte province itself. I appreciated the time we spent there, and for me was one for the books. My friend and I consider it as one of our best trips. The beautiful view, the picturesque place, and the simple way of living didn’t disappoint. You should experience it as well! Just be a responsible traveler.
Traveling with my friend Mejas was a lot of fun; he was cool and easy to be with. He’s also generous and adventurous! Special thanks to him for taking me here, looking forward to having more fun adventures with him! Xx
Have you been here? What are your thoughts about this untouched island? How was your experience? Let me know in the comment box below! I would love to hear from you! Xx