Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text:
For lack of whale shark, in Sogod Bay (Leyte), I fell back on the little people of the reef... And there's plenty to do and observe!
I haven't written much since Leyte, where I started my trip to the Philippines (February 2008), because of the lack of a decent internet connection. But here I am now in Siquijor, where I write from Larena, the port and main city of the island. There is a relatively "high speed" internet center which will allow me to send more pictures. Here are some pictures I brought back from the reefs of Sogod Bay.
The reign of the "little one
So I was on the island of Leyte, in Lungsodaan near the town of Padre Burgos, to dive in the Sogod bay. On the spot, I opted for the nice little Sogod Bay Scuba Resort (SBSR)This is the first of a series of diving courses, created by two divers, an Englishman and an Australian, living in the Philippines: Ron Sparkes and Phil McGuire.
Update.Ron passed away in 2014, at the age of 66 or 67, as I found out years later, by visiting the page "Our team" of the SBSR.
My hope in Sogod Bay was to meet whale sharksI was probably there a little too early, because they were not there yet. I was probably there a little too early, because they were not there yet...
Fortunately, there were plenty of other bugs to console me.
On the "small" side, I also enjoyed nudibranchsThese little sea slugs have amazing colors (they wear their gills naked on their back, hence their name).
Here, nudibranchs are numerous, and their variety is spectacular... I photographed them endlessly!
The sites of Leyte are splendid, the coral is remarkably preserved. At the moment, the visibility is not so good, which forces us to concentrate on the "small" more than on the "big". According to Ron, you have to come in summer, in July for example, to hope to have a 20-30 meters visibility. But at this period, no whale sharks to pass...
All the usual tropical fauna is there, in abundance. Max Climates, the house-reef (the part of the reef just in front of the dive center) is beautiful. The site of Napantao, on the other side of the bay, just in front of the center, with two drop-offs full of life, is my favorite, I think (sometimes the current is a bit treacherous, we are advised to be very careful, but the day I was there, nothing at all).
Leyte, land side
I stayed only four days in Leyte, and I think now that maybe I should have extended my stay a little bit. To do a few more dives and discover more of the surroundings.
I only found the time to push to Padre Burgos on a tricycle. I didn't see anything at all of Malitbogcity located at about fifteen kilometers from where I was, where there is, if I believe my Lonely Planetone of the oldest churches in the area, built with dead coral.
At the end of the beach that the Sogod Bay Scuba Resort share with the Peter's Dive Center (the first diving center to have opened in this place, I think, at least the best known), there is a handful of shanties, half wood, half metal, and a few houses along the road, which make up the village of Lungsodaan.
The kids come back from school, school bags on their backs, uniforms with long plaid skirts for the girls, some of them already playing ball in the dust of the road. Everywhere, there are baskets and basketball courts, obviously more practiced than soccer, here. The American influence? The children (especially the girls, not intimidated at all!) are numerous to approach me, with the same eternal sentence, that they all had to learn in class: "Hello! What's your name?"
I try to answer by articulating well. Nothing works. "Corinne" systematically becomes "Cowine" or "Coquine". It works better when I pretend to be called "Corrina", like in the song...
In short, a charming welcome everywhere, in this small town not much frequented by tourists.