Contributed by The 21st Red Kid
Haven’t heard of Ormoc? Well, it is a captivating city in the province of Leyte, Eastern Visayas which has a lot to offer. After the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that hit the coastline of Ormoc-Leyte in 2013, the city has now recovered.
Having a hard time spending the booze and the busy life of Metro Cebu, I managed to have a solo backpacking in Eastern Visayas. Yes! Solo backpacking. It was a bit scary but I pulled it off and engaged with amazing locals and its wonders.
Where to stay
I recommend the Niko’s Ark Voyager Inn for the budget traveller. It will only cost you around ₱300 to ₱600 per night. It is located at the heart of Ormoc and definitely worth the stay!
Top things to see and do
Here are the top activities to do in Ormoc City. The means of transportation here is the tricycle, but if you want to tour the whole city better, work your feet to meet the locals as well.
1. Visit the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
As a backpacker, a must in every city or region you travel is to see its massive and centuries-old churches. You can see the detailed architectural design which dates back to the Spanish colonial era. You can feel the solemnity and the divine ambience once you see the altar.
2. Have a walk at WWII Veterans & Centennial Park
Located at the Ormoc Bay, this is a local destination for people to read their favourite book, have fun with barkada, or spend quality time with families.
The Veteran’s Park, built in the early 1990’s, was a symbol to honour the Filipino soldiers who fought for the liberation of Leyte and the Philippines. Also, the Centennial Marker was erected in 1998 to celebrate the 100th year of Philippine independence.
3. Stroll around Puente de la Riena and the Ormoc City Superdome
I had a hard time looking for this bridge. I spent almost 2 hours travelling around the outskirts of town. Well, I was a bit frustrated but thank God, when I came back to the city to have a snack, I noticed that this was the bridge I’ve seen on the blogs. It is just located around the City Hall.
Puente de la Reina, the city’s oldest bridge, was constructed during the Spanish period, and was acknowledged as the “Bridge of the Queen.” It is included in the Puentes de España en las Filipinas or the Spanish Bridges in the Philippines.
The Ormoc City Superdome is a prestigious auditorium where events such as basketball games and social activities are held. With a total area of 3,782 square metres, accommodating up to 5,000 persons, it is Ormoc’s pride when it comes to event venues.
4. Have a peaceful mind at Ormoc Bay
Since Typhoon Yolanda, Ormoc managed to invite people to see its wonders. One beautiful spot you have to visit in the city is the Ormoc Bay. It gives you a peaceful vibe while seeing the picturesque sunset of the bay.
5. Breathe the fresh air of Lake Danao
Approximately 35 kilometres from the city proper, Lake Danao is another must see for travellers and backpackers. Wake up early morning, head straight to the public market and ask the locals where to ride a jeepney heading to the town of Milagro.
From the town, I personally asked a habal-habal (motorcycle) driver to take me to the Lake and fetch me afterwards. Mobile signal is quite okay; I managed to contact my driver upon heading home.
A solo kayaking at Lake Danao with a tour guide is ₱150 for 30 minutes and ₱300 for an hour. Try to paddle the kayak with your tour guide to have that adrenaline feeling. The Lake itself covers an area of 148say that the lake was formed by a volcano. Over the years, the waters developed, making it an enclosed lake surrounded by the mountains.
The best food of the city
You can have a sumptuous Pinoy merienda near the terminal. Sadly I forgot the name of the place, but you must try the various Filipino delicacies like puto, fresh lumpia, palabok, cassava cakes and fruit shakes. This is the ultimate merienda you shouldn’t miss when you travel to Ormoc.