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Monday, June 1, 2015

#Summer2015 Adventures: A Day in Palompon, Leyte

When my mom decided to have a vacation this summer, one of her chosen destinations is the beautiful island of Kalanggaman.  To be able to go to the island, you either have to pick Cebu (Malapascua or Maya Port) or Palompon, Leyte as your jump off point.  Since my mom also wanted to visit Ormoc, her hometown, we decided to pick Palompon .  We spent one day in the town and it was eventful as we were able to experience Palompon up close.  Here are some of the things that we did while in Palompon.



1. Lunch Day & Night Catering Services


It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

From Ormoc, our van trip took about 2 hours going to Palompon. Our driver chose the path via Villaba.  We left for Palompon at around 10 a.m. and we arrived around 12 noon. Our contact in Palompon is my wife's friend in medical school Camille Lequin.  Since we arrived during lunchtime, she suggested that we have lunch at her uncle's restaurant. Day & Night catering services is one of the popular catering businesses in the town and the owner has an eatery that features their delicious specialities.
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
After ordering several dishes, I took time to take a photo of our hosts with the owner of the business.  My mom who works for Coke asked me to take a photo of her posing at a Coca-Cola refrigerator. 
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
We had a filling lunch and I really love their bistek.  The owner told me that it is one of their best dishes and he was spot on.

2. Visiting Palompon Cockers and Amusement Center

My mom actually came home to the Philippines for her 50th high school reunion.  One of her favorite teachers happened to be now based in Palompon. Engineer Willy Ordesta was their geometry teacher and he also happened to be a good friend of my late Aunt Alice. The teacher/engineer operates the Palompon Cockpit. After having lunch, we decided to check out the cockpit and look for "Sir Ordesta".
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
My mom and 2 of her classmates were able to reunite with their teacher.  Mrs. Ordesta also came from the same high school but she was a batch older than my mom.  After minutes of catching up, Mr. Ordesta invited us to watch a cockfight.

It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
I was with a lot of first timers and they were amazed how animated the atmosphere is.  It feels like you are watching a UAAP game between Ateneo and La Salle. We were in the VIP ringside seats and we were able to see the action really really close. My mom even won 150 pesos when she bet on one cock.  It made her day.
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
We stayed there for about an hour more and while the grown ups were busy reminiscing the good old days, Nezte, Camille, and I explored the cockfighting arena.  We spent a lot of minutes watching a rooster being "operated" after winning a match.

3. Eating Palompon's Salvaro

We finished our visit to the cockpit late in the afternoon and Camille decided to make us try Palompon's version of Salvaro.  In Cebu, Salvaro is a thin oval-shaped crispy coconut cracker.  Palompon's salvaro is also oval shaped and coconut flavored but the similarity ends there. Their salvaro is more of a bread than a cracker.  It has the texture of bibingka but it has the scent and flavor of the salvaro I know.  
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

4. Strolling at San Juan Beach

After enjoying our salvaro, we headed to San Juan Beach.  According to Camille, San Juan Beach was the most popular beach in her town before Kalanggaman Island emerged as a viable tourist destination. The beach is open to the public.  It is an excellent place for afternoon strolls and having a quick dip to battle the summer heat.
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

5. Buying Tartlet's at Monette's

One of Camille's favorite pasalubongs when she goes back to Cebu  are the creations of Monette's.  While we were in Palompon, we were able to drop by the house where the mini-tarts were made and Camille bought several packs. 

It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

6. Visiting the Palompon Tourism Office

We also visited the tourism office to confirm our trip to Kalanggaman the next day. I am impressed that tourism in Palompon was organized and everyone os required to coordinate with their tourism office.  You can also buy some shirts and hat at the office.
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

7. Snacks and Dinner at our host's place

After going around the town of Palompon, we ended up at our host's place for dinner.  As appetizer, Mrs. Marivic Sequin offered as some freshly cooked budbud with ripe mangoes. After ticking our palates, we ate some delicious sweet and sour katambak made by her sister. 
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines

8. Preparing to leave for Kalanggaman

The next day we woke up early and took some photos at the Palompon port before our trip to Kalanggaman Island.
It's more fun in Palompon, Leyte, Philippines
One day is not enough to see all the beautiful places in Palompon but in the one day I spent there, I saw a glimpse how nice the town and its people.  My mom even quipped that it would be nice to retire in such peaceful town.  I am very sure that I will be back there someday and hopefully, I would be able explore more and find more hidden gems in the Palompon and the nearby towns.