Maasin City, the capital city of Southern Leyte has been a place of religious pilgrimage in Region VIII. It has (if my memory serves me right) three religious destination that people from different walk of life visits, namely, St. Francis Xavier in Hanginan , Monte Cueva and the Mama Mary Shrine. Hanginan is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites not only in Leyte but also within Eastern Visayas.
This is my third time to visit and hike the 1,300 feet Hanginan but it will be my first time sharing it here on my blog, this is a backlog post but because Holy Week is coming once again, I finally decided to post this.
I am a Roman Catholic and practice the Catholic faith. For us, Holy Week means staying at home, reflecting, going to churches, watch available TV shows, when my grandma was still alive, I used to come with her during Pasyon or Pabasa. I haven’t gone or attended a Pabasa ever since she died. Also, Holy Weeks means climbing mountain or any higher places of worship. If you are in Leyte, book a trip to the Southern part now and climb to Hanginan. I dare you!
Faith aside, non-believers/Catholics are very much welcome there. I have non-Catholic friend who joined us just for the adventure and company. If you are really into mountain climbing/trekking, Hanginan is a good place for you but keep in mind that it is still a sacred pilgrimage site.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you are from Ormoc, V-Hire are available every hour for a minimum fare of PHP 150-160 per person. After that ride a tricyle going to Hanginan for PHP 10.
If you are from Cebu, there are boats departing every night to Bato, Leyte for a PHP 220 per person. Or you can also go with the Cebu to Ormoc, Ormoc to Maasin route.
If you are from Manila or some parts of Northern Luzon, there are no direct flights yet but the nearest airport would be in Tacloban. So from Tacloban, just ride a Van/V-Hire that will take you to Maasin
WHAT TO EXPECT
Hanginan is a mountain barangay, expect a tough terrain going there. No worries, along the way there are a lot of sellers, from food to souvenirs. Piece of advise, better to start the hike as early as possible and expect a lot of people climbing with you during Good Friday.
To summarize, Hanginan is one of my most recommended place to visit when you are in Southern Leyte. Personally, this place holds a special place in my heart. The first time I climbed last 2014, I literally crawled halfway because been living the sedentary life, no exercise and all, imagine me taking rest every 30 minutes with large sweats and haggard face. This place made me realize a lot of things be it faith, religion or life as a whole. There will be pain, sacrifice is needed and roads are difficult but all of these will lead you to a beautiful destination and awesome memories that will be forever reminisced.