Maasin City is one of the oldest communities in Southern Leyte, although it used to be called Nipa. It supposedly got its current name back during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, as when Spaniards went by the Canturing River, they asked the natives in Spanish what it was called. Not understanding the question, they responded “Maasin" (salty), thinking that they were being asked how the water tasted. The name stuck, and it became known as Maasin from then on. As a people, the residents of Maasin City are known for their devout faith, which is why this place is one of the known pilgrimage places in the Eastern Visayas. Beyond the religious sites, the city also holds several gems for those who are looking for adventure.
1. Spend some time in contemplation at the Maasin Cathedral
The Cathedral of Nuestra Señora De Asunsion, otherwise known as Maasin Cathedral, was built in the 17th-century, making it the oldest as well as the biggest church in the city. Various religious orders have served in the church, including the Jesuits, the Augustinians, and the Franciscans. The church was destroyed thrice in its history. The present church was completed in 1968, the same year that it was declared the seat of the Diocese of Maasin. As such, don’t be surprised to find a more modern interior in the cathedral, versus its antique façade. However, some of the statues of saints still harken back to the Spanish era. Note that the church is only open if there is mass. However, there is mass every day at 11 am, so visitors who want to visit can schedule their trip to arrive at or near that time. As a side note, history buffs may also want to explore St. Joseph College, right beside Maasin Cathedral, which was constructed in 1928. The city itself has several colonial-era houses dotting the streets.
Address: National Road, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
2. Visit Jaleca Hills
Jalica Hills Shrine, Maasin City So.Leyte Philippines.. Among dakong pasalamat sa Mahal nga Patrona sa makanunayong tabang ug gugma..to GOD be the glory ,..AMEN "THANK YOU MAMA MARY"WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH..:)Posted by Venerando Lacerna on Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Another pilgrimage site in Maasin City is Jalleca Hills, where a Shrine to Our Lady of Assumption, the tallest shrine in the country, can be found. Visitors will need to climb a little over 300 steps in order to reach the religious landmark.
Address: Barangay Mantahan, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
3. Climb all the way to a church inside a cave
Monte Cueva Shrine, also known as the Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, is distinctive for being a church inside a cave. The property was donated by Odong and Loring Chung to the Diocese of Maasin. It is higher than Jaleca Hills, with pilgrims needing to climb 550 steps to get to the church. While the steps may be concrete, the path can get steep, especially near the top, so those who have health problems may not be able to climb all the way to the church.
Monte Cueva Shrine
Address: Barangay Rizal, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
4. San Francisco Javier Pilgrims Center
San Francisco Javier/St. Francis Xavier Pilgrims Center is said to be a miraculous church, with all the visitors’ prayers answered and petitions granted. There are even anecdotes about those who recovered from a dreaded disease after visiting the shrine. One has to trek for at least two hours to get to the shrine. As with Monte Cueva Shrine, the elderly and those who have health problems may need to evaluate if they can make the climb, because the terrain is quite rough. As a side note, the Hanginan trail is said to be highest point of Maasin City. It is known for serving as the watchpoint of soldiers during the Spanish era.
San Francisco Javier Pilgrims Center
Address: Barangay Hanginan, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Access: The trail starts at Barangay Isagani
5. Cool off in the waterfalls of Maasin City
Cagnituan Falls - Maasin CityPosted by Beautiful Islands In The Philippines on Thursday, 11 September 2014
Maasin City is home to several waterfalls. The most famous are Cagnituan/Guinsohotan Falls, which also have their own underground river, and is found in the middle of a mini-forest. Following the subterranean river will allow you to reach Guinsohotan Cave, a subterranean cave which has beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations. While it may be challenging to explore it, spelunkers are rewarded with the possibility of swimming in its lagoon, or bathing in its waterfalls. Other waterfalls in Maasin City are Busay in Barangay Combado and Sagpun in Barangay Ibarra.
Address: Barangay Cagnituan, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Access: Take a multicab to Barangay Maria Clara. From there, ride a habal-habal (passenger motorcycle) to Barangay Cagnituan
6. Enjoy the sun on one of Maasin City’s Beaches
Several beaches can also be found in Maasin City. One of the most popular is Tunga-Tunga, which is 1,000 square meters (0.2 acres) of white sand. Little Denmark in Barangay Bilibol also has a good beach. Other beaches include Mercado Beach and Talisay Beach in Barangay Ibarra and Dakong Bato sa Pugaling in Barangay Isagani. Those who prefer to dive or snorkel may also opt to visit Padre Burgos or Ilijan Point. Both spots offer wonderful underwater sights to snorkelers and divers, with various varieties of fish and even sea turtles making the corals in either location their home.
Address: Barangay Tunga-Tunga, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Address: Sito Panas, Barangay Bilibol, Maasin City
7. Learn more about the city’s history by visiting Abiera Museo d’Art
The museum is actually a residence, privately owned by the Abiera family and started from the collections of Salvador Abiera. However, guests are welcome to check out the exhibits, which include historic artifacts and relics, including those dating back from the Cenozoic era, old coins, fossils, and gems. Other items in the collection are weaponry, believed to have been brought by Ferdinand Magellan’s men when they docked in Southern Leyte in 1521.
Abiera Museo d’Art
Address: Barangay Tunga-Tunga, Maasin City, Southern Leyte
8. Be one with nature
Camp Danao Forest Park, also known as the Maasin City Forest Park, contains a man-made lake and played host to the 2010 Boy Scouts of the Philippines National Activity. Also within the park is Maasin Zoo and Adventure Park, which are good destinations for those traveling with children. Different animals can be seen in the zoo, such as tigers, crocodiles, lions, camels, snakes, monkeys, and several types of birds. Bird watchers may also opt to visit Bogo Bird Paradise, a privately owned property where visitors can see different types of birds, including rare ones.
Camp Danao Forest Park
Address: Sitio Danao, Barangay Malapoc Norte, Maasin, Southern Leyte
The road to Maasin City may be long, but it is one worth taking
Admittedly, it takes a bit of an effort to get to Maasin City, as the closest airport here is in Tacloban City, which is approximately four hours away. An alternative route would be to take a ferry from Cebu. In any case, the town’s sights and history would be enough to erase the tiredness, especially for those seeking comfort and peace of mind. Whether you are planning a pilgrimage to help renew your spiritual vows, or if you are looking for a place where you can find peace and quiet, Maasin City has something to offer to you.
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