Arrived at Letye Park Hotel mid evening. I was surprised how large Tacloban seems, despite spending many hours looking at it on maps, the reality is different to what I expected. I am staying in one of the "cottages" in the garden, which seemed a pleasant idea when i booked it. In practice staying away from the main hotel buildings when there is a high chance of rain, may not be the best idea. The hotel was very badly damaged in typhoon Yolanda, and still shows signs of this, particularly the main roof which is missing most of its tiles. However my rooms, and the restaraunt and reception all seem good.
Day 1 Leyte. Off to Barangay Maya today, passing through many of the places I had looked at on Bing imagery, and subsequently mapped on OpenStreetMap. One reason for coming here was to see how it looked in real life, and also to update OSM. technology let me down today however, and I did not do much mapping.
Day 2 Letye - off to Maya again, meeting up with local family.
Day 3 - Suggested that I go to Castanas Spring Resort which is south of Abuyog. well worth the visit. A mountain stream fills three pools, one of which is large enough to swim in. the other two just for soaking. Despite being fresh mountain water it is not too cold, and it really is a very lovely place. Rained heavily for a while but there weer covered areas to shelter in. only one other foreigner here, a Norwegian who was here meeting a local family. Spent all day here, before taking the long trip back to Tacloban.
Day 4 - Off to Hinunangan, long drive south passing rice fields on he way, and a very pleasant trip through the mountains. Took a bit of finding the hotel, I had a rough idea oif wher it was, but even when we were 200 metres away from it one neigbour professed not to knwo where it was. The taxi drives on a bit more and finds it, but no one there. I walk round a bit, and find someone who works at the hotel, he gets a local restaurant to open while the hotwel owner comes back. Then after a hour or twos delay finally get access to the hotel. It is in reality a guest house, with I think only four rooms. But all very clean, and the owner is friendly. It is right at the beachside, so after setting in I go for a swim. The beach is lovely, maybe 2km long, brown sand, fringed with palm trees, and with a gently shelving beach it's good for swimming. In the evening I take a trike into the town which is 3km away, and have a very good meal, as there is no restaruant on site. Some locals a very concerned for my safety however. Apparantly a tourist was killed here last year by the NPA ( a terrorist group), and they are worried about me. i do not feel worried, but I can seetheir obvious concern. they speak to car company I have been using, but they cant collect me tonight, but the locals tell me even the cart company was worried when i said i was coming here. Decide to keep the locals happy I will reurn to tacloban tomorroow rather than spending another day here. Am encouraged to try Balut, by some locals who assure me its lovely. To be fair they eat it, and one girl eats four, I cant even manage one. probably the worst thing i have ever tried to eat.
Day 5 - Hinunangan & Tacloban. Breakfast in the hotel, and then time for a swim and some relaxation before the car arrives to take me back to Tacloban. With hindsight leaving today is better, as the car which was due to pick me up broke down, and I had a longer wait before they collected me from the hotel in Hinunangan. Had this happened tomorrow I may have missed my flight to Manila! Trip back through the mountains to Tacloban, staying this time at the Ironwood hotel. Decided to try a different hotel from my first one, as I wanted to be nearer the town center. Hotel is good, more modern, but in reality could be a hotel almost anywhere. My credit card doesn't work to pay hotel fee, so I have to use all my remaining cash. It's raining so later I dodge the showers to find a ATM, wishing I hadn't lost my umberella a few days ago. Surprisingly sleepy, so go to bed without really exploring the town.