San Pablo island, one of the twins in the Twin Islands (the other being San Pedro), should definitely be in your list when you travel to Leyte.
San Pablo has become one of the major tourist attractions in the municipality of Hinunangan. The local government says that every year, the number of bathers, swimmers, and visitors has been increasing. Most of them visit on the weekends, with the peak season being summer. The island covers a total are area of 82 hectares and its population as of the 2015 census is only at 460 people across some 96 households.
Despite being a small island, San Pablo definitely deserves to be bigtime with its white sand beaches, coral and white pebble beaches, crystal clear waters, and the rich marine life near its coasts.
The island is a remote getaway, kind of a hidden treasure of sorts, from the hustles and bustles of the daily life. The island offers all you need to recharge over the weekend and get back into the grind fully refreshed.
Here is a list of what you can do in San Pablo:
Go swimming. The waters of San Pablo have been lauded as crystal clear and a perfect hue of turquoise. If you’ve seen pictures of the attractive waters, they are guaranteed much more mesmerizing in person. Once you’re in the water, time
SCUBA dive. Another reason to enjoy the waters of the island is the rich life underwater. You can dive into the reef waters and meet all sorts of colorful fish and corals, crabs, starfish, and even small sharks!
Stargaze. Thanks to the absence of light pollution, the night sky pops into life above the town. When the weather is clear, you’re up for a sight that not many can see in their lifetime.
Camp overnight. Pitch a tent and sleep under the stars. Be lulled by the lapping of waves on the beach and fall asleep to the gentle sea breeze. Make a cozy little campfire, but make sure to light it over dirt or soil to keep the sand white and pure.
Sunbathe and enjoy the beach. Lie down on the sand or under the shade and simply admire the views offered by the pristine beaches. The island hasn’t been over developed and it’s very close to its natural roots. This gives it a different kind of tranquil, one you might not find in the best beach resorts in the city.
Bird watch. The island is home to some exotic wildlife and birds. Thanks to the cleanliness and lack of human intervention, some unique animals can be seen nesting or stopping by around the island. While bird watching may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s surely a unique experience to behold birds in the wild.
Feast on fresh seafood. Definitely one of my favorite reasons to go! You can buy fresh fish and catches of the day from the islanders of San Pablo. It would be best to bring your own seasoning and spices, but the sari-sari stores in the island also have all the essentials for a smoking hot seafood meal!
The people in Hinunangan and San Pablo are accommodating and hospitable. They welcome visitors from neighboring cities and far provinces alike. Just remember to be responsible and to keep the place cleaner than when you arrived.
RATES & OTHER INFORMATION
- Entrance fees: None
- Open hours: N/A
- Corkage fee: None
- Electricity is limited. Lights are on only from 6PM to 9PM
- Contact number: (053) 570-9431
- Email address: [email protected]
- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/San-Pablo-Island-Hinunangan-SoLeytepn-2087601921274413/
HOW TO GET THERE?
Exact location on Google maps: San Pablo Island, Hinunangan, Southern Leyte
FROM CANIPAAN: You can ride a pump boat to San Pablo Island from the Canipaan jump-off point. This takes around 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can rent a whole boat to service you round-trip. The price ranges from ₱1,000 to ₱1,500, depending on your haggling skills. You can also take a one-way trip at only ₱20 to ₱30, but know that this works like any other public transport. Meaning, you’ll have to wait until the boat gets full before you can leave.
GETTING TO CANIPAAN JUMP-OFF POINT:
BY VAN: From Tacloban City Bus Terminal, ride a southbound vans or buses traveling to St. Bernard, Southern Leyte. Ensure that you’ll be passing through the town of Silago because some St. Bernard-bound PUVs pass through Sogod town, which is a long way around. Ask to be dropped off at Brgy. Canipaan, Hinunganan at the jump-off point to San Pablo and San Pedro Islands. Travel time from Tacloban takes around 2 hours.
BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set your destination to “Canipaan, Hinunangan,” in Southern Leyte. From there, ask the locals how to get ot the Canipaan jump-off point to San Pablo.