Canigao Island: A Local Paradise

I happen to be very lucky to keep going back to the Philippines. I also happen to be very lucky to know where to go. With 7,107 islands (I can’t keep track) my options (and yours!) are really endless. I’ve been to some of the most exotic looking islands with the most basic facilities and to be honest? I really want to keep most of those a secret. But, you happen to be very lucky right now because I’m about to give up one of my best kept secret, well at least I think it is a secret in the international scene.

I’m talking about those tiny islands, tucked away, in the middle of absolutely none of your radar!

Drone pic of Canigao Island

I half grew up in the south of Leyte and spent my past years in high school in this charming part of the world; beautiful, remote and care-free.

Those tiny people in the water are my family 😍

Most of our weekend as a family were spent at the beach or up in the mountains and this fostered my love for nature. I also always saw the same group of people every day as the village I lived in had a population of 800 at the time. It was a Disney-esque childhood in the mountains!

Our Beach Hut for the day

Pretty small huh? But that is how this place remained a paradise in my memories. From it’s mountains, to the sleepy towns, to it’s beaches and surrounding tiny islands.

You can see how close the main land is, I don’t know if anyone has attempted to swim back though! Aslo swimsuits are overrated on this island haha!

How do you get there?

If you’re coming from Manila or Cebu, you can take a plane to Tacloban City Airport (Daniel Romualdez Airport). The fares normally run between $30-$50 roundtrip. You can also take a boat from Cebu into Bato and Hilongos (two neighboring towns with Bato being the closest to Matalom where the island is located) via Medallion, Roble, or Gabisan Shipping Lines and fares usually start from $5-$10. Below is a complete list of the ferries that travel between islands:

Ferry Schedules Cebu to Leyte

Canigao Island is located in a neighboring town so from there you can ride a tuktuk/tricycle/jeepney/bus to Matalom Pier.

Our ride for the day

Once at the Matalom Pier, you have to register for a boat ride and entrance fee to the island at the Canigao Island Kiosk (at least that’s what I call it) and it’s about $3-$4 per person.

Just some of the boat that traverse back and forth between the island and mainland all throughout the day.

The boat will take you to the island, a short 10-15 minute ride away and will schedule your pick up if you’re leaving on the same day (some island-hoppers camp for the night).

Docking soon in Canigao Island

The best time to go there is well, early. You beat the local crowd and the waters are always calmer.

We always have the place to ourselves when we come early.

There are huts that you can rent out for the day starting at $5 with the beach front ones setting you back at $10. This has to be arranged at the mainland Canigao Island Kiosk same day or even ahead of time.

My dad playing around with his camera.

The island has basic facilities but you can bring fresh food and grill on the spot. The island also sometimes have fresh seafood (from fishermen dropping by) that you can purchase.

Some local fishermen docked with fresh fish and seafood.

There are so much to do in the small island:

You can snorkel (Bring your own gear)

Kayak (Bring your own kayak)

Dive (if you have the gear)

Camp for the night

Find the sandbar (located at the tip of the western side of the island during low tides)

You can actually explore the entire island in less than three hours!

Or if you’re like me, just swim all day!

Waters are so clear even with this aerial shot.

Here are the island associate fees according to Canigao Island Facebook Page:

Courtesy of Canigao Island Facebook Page

They really made the island local friendly (fee-wise) and the municipality of Matalom is doing its best to maintain the island’s ecosystem. Most of the islands visitors are also locals.

Other island hoppers of the day.

So there you have it! This is definitely one of those place I tend to visit at least three times every time I visit the Philippines. It is also really close to our house so it makes it for an easy one day trip. I hope you get a chance to visit Leyte, and when you do, come see this beautiful local paradise!

Playa Del Carmen and the Grand Sunset Resorts

The most beautiful sound in the world to me comes from pure waves crashing onto the shore. It sends my senses into a delightful state as my body begins to unfurl its tightly knotted muscles while my brain unfolds its tightly coiled threads of thoughts signaling the beginning of a vacation. All ready to turn off any sort of thinking, and abandon reality, or at least, postpone it for now, but all I really hear is the sound of Los Angeles coming to life as I wrap up this article at five in the morning on a Tuesday, all the while wishing I was back in my peaceful state, lying on a beach cot somewhere, ice-cold drink in hand and eyes on the aquamarine skies and seas. Continue reading “Playa Del Carmen and the Grand Sunset Resorts”

Ho’onani Oahu

Before anything else, I have to tell you that plane tickets to Oahu, Hawaii are expensive, even if you are coming from the US of A! Our plane tickets costed us roughly $700 roundtrip per person!

That’s more than a plane ticket to most countries in ASIA! But don’t worry, Southwest has a proposed route that is supposedly flying into the island soon and is definitely out to keep competition up and prices down!

If you are having doubts about going to Oahu, check out this video that we made and it’ll be sure to give you plenty of motivation 😉

Aloha, Oahu Hawaii!

If you do get to have the chance to find some cheap and rare tickets that goes for $400 roundtrip, you’re in luck because that is considered a STEAL. Also, can I just tell you right now that Oahu is FREAKING beautiful?!

I never imagined it to be the way it is. Hawaii is also the only US state to ever have a royal family and a royal palace! The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi originated in 1795 with the unification of the islands of Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi. Kauaʻi and Niʻihau soon joined the kingdom In 1810 and two major dynastic families ruled the kingdom: the House of Kamehameha and the House of Kalākaua. Oahu, is still home to the ʻIolani Palace, the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs: King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, which you can visit with a guided tour.

‘Iolani Palace


When I was planning this trip, I had about the same expectation as other trips to tropical countries that I’ve been lucky to visit but oh man, Oahu? I think I found my new retirement place!

Our rental parked on the side of Kamehameha Highway

If you are a beginner to Oahu, Hawaii, I have a few (3 to be exact) suggestions for you.

First off, you might want to start in Oahu and you might want to rent a car so you can get around the island.

Trust me, it’s definitely worth the experience! Car rental fees starts at about $45/day for companies such as enterprise, budget, and avis.

Secondly, you might want to stay in a hotel in Waikiki where everything is accessible (including ABC stores in every corner, which is the Hawaiian equivalent of an upscale 7-11).

You can definitely find hotels and condos from around $75 and up but we chose Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel because of it’s to-die for beach front views (I swear this is NOT a paid advertising). An oceanfront room will cost you a steep $189-$200 per night (plus hotel fees) but you will be rewarded with the best sunsets you have ever seen in your entire life!

Sunset from the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

Balcony facing Waikiki Beach

View of Diamond Head Crater, a defunct volcano

We stole a drone pic of our room balcony and immediately got a warning call from hotel security, worth the risk I think as we captured some pretty nice videos!

Waikiki Beach

Thirdly, you especially might want to drive to other beaches and experience the local life because this is where you will feel the real island vibe.

Driving the western coast of Oahu

A local parked at the side of the road to fish, what a life!

First stop, Waimanalo Beach. This was the perfect introduction to Hawaiian beaches. White-pink soft sands, beautiful soft-blue waves, I mean, we just found a spot and laid out our beach mats (that we bought at an ABC store for $2 each).

Waimanalo Beach

Then we went on to Kuaoloa Mountain Park facing Chinaman’s Hat island.

Kuaoloa Mountain Range

Kuaoloa Mountain Park

A view of Chinaman’s Hat Island from the park

A beach nearby

We got to visit Kaneohe Bay which has the most magnificent mountain ranges and drove through to Ka’a’awa Valley which looked like it came straight out of a movie set. Not surprisingly, a lot of famous Hollywood movies were shot there like Jurassic Park and I can definitely see why!

Aerial View of Ka’a’awa Valley taken with the DJI Mavic Pro

Aerial view of Ka’a’awa Beach taken with the DJI Mavic Pro

As we didn’t have any plans, we parked at the first empty beach area, took out our beach mats, and spent half a day at the Ka’a’awa Beach (and returned the next two days).

Ka’a’awa Beach

Ka’a’awa Beach

At this point, I really felt like a local. The next day we did more driving and headed to the north of the island to experience the “North Shore” area and to also try the famous Giovanni’s Food Truck. We got around using Google maps and Yelp fine so if you’re worried about getting lost, there’s also only a few major highway from Waikiki area to North and if you want to see the west coast, take the Kamehameha Highway.

Giovanni’s Food Truck

Going back to Waikiki area, don’t forget to stop by Sandy Beach as you will see some gorgeous volcanic black rocks and tide pools.

Sandy Beach

The beach is also home to famous food trucks in Oahu!

And that ends my Oahu recap! If you ask, will I go back? I’ll tell you that I’m already planning my next trip! Why?

The people are chill.

The weather is absolutely amazing all year round (according to my Fiance who has gone at all seasons of the year).

Tropical Flora and Fauna with the best greenery you’ve ever seen.

and most of all, the beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world! It is so unreal!

I promise!

I hope you enjoyed my mini guide to Oahu, Hawaii and hope that you can get the chance to visit this beautiful Island.

My next goal to visit in the Hawaiian Islands is Maui!

Links:

DJI Mavic Pro