The capitol building of Leyte Island, in Tacloban city, on a colourful cloudy sunset...

The capitol building of Leyte Island, in Tacloban city, on a colourful cloudy sunset...

Tacloban is on a peninsula and in a part of the island near Samar.  There is a long bridge, the longest in the Philippines, linking the two islands together.  I arrive in late afternoon and have a little walk to explore...

Tacloban is on a peninsula and in a part of the island near Samar. There is a long bridge, the longest in the Philippines, linking the two islands together. I arrive in late afternoon and have a little walk to explore...

local boys playing around

local boys playing around

got a nice and cheap hotel room here... even with private bathroom (a rarity for me) and the now-familiar bucket-shower, a garbage pail filled with cold water and a scooper.

got a nice and cheap hotel room here... even with private bathroom (a rarity for me) and the now-familiar bucket-shower, a garbage pail filled with cold water and a scooper.

Christmas bulletins at the Santo Nino Church in Tacloban.  A sermon is going on when I arrive, good times!!

Christmas bulletins at the Santo Nino Church in Tacloban. A sermon is going on when I arrive, good times!!

taking in part of the sermon, which is mostly in English

taking in part of the sermon, which is mostly in English

The preacher in action!

The preacher in action!

outside the city hall, which has a big artificial Christmas tree made of what looks like umbrellas, in the colours of the Philippine flag.

outside the city hall, which has a big artificial Christmas tree made of what looks like umbrellas, in the colours of the Philippine flag.

at gardens nearby the city hall called the 'Japanese Madonna'... hmmmm.

at gardens nearby the city hall called the 'Japanese Madonna'... hmmmm.

nice sunset despite the clouds!

nice sunset despite the clouds!

these gentlemen fixing a bridge and have attracted a crowd of local kids to watch the action!

these gentlemen fixing a bridge and have attracted a crowd of local kids to watch the action!

the construction worker in action!

the construction worker in action!

the very flirty and bold schoolgirl embarrasses her shy friends, hahaha!

the very flirty and bold schoolgirl embarrasses her shy friends, hahaha!

climbing up Calvary Hill, which has its own stations of the cross, this phenomenon, trails leading to different 'prayer stations', is quite popular in this country...

climbing up Calvary Hill, which has its own stations of the cross, this phenomenon, trails leading to different 'prayer stations', is quite popular in this country...

one of the stations, with religious statues and a plaque with a prayer to recite...

one of the stations, with religious statues and a plaque with a prayer to recite...

nice views of Tacloban City from up here... this was the city that was destroyed during the big typhoon a few years ago, killing thousands of people, but it's been rebuilt quite nicely.  Actually at this point its more modern and developed than other cities i've visited, that hadn't been hit by the typhoon...

nice views of Tacloban City from up here... this was the city that was destroyed during the big typhoon a few years ago, killing thousands of people, but it's been rebuilt quite nicely. Actually at this point its more modern and developed than other cities i've visited, that hadn't been hit by the typhoon...

panoramic of Tacloban

panoramic of Tacloban

Jesus is like 'whusssssup!!!' on top of Cavalry Hill

Jesus is like 'whusssssup!!!' on top of Cavalry Hill

a bunch of schoolkids hanging out in this shaded area on the hilltop, next to the Jesus statue....

a bunch of schoolkids hanging out in this shaded area on the hilltop, next to the Jesus statue....

in the very far distance here, you can see the bridge that links Samar and Leyte Islands...

in the very far distance here, you can see the bridge that links Samar and Leyte Islands...

Tacloban port and market areas...

Tacloban port and market areas...

mobbed for photos by the local kids, as usual

mobbed for photos by the local kids, as usual

in the market, this guy sleeping in a bucket!!!  hahaha!  His giggling friends motioned for me to photo him....

in the market, this guy sleeping in a bucket!!! hahaha! His giggling friends motioned for me to photo him....

sea-kids playing around on the docked boats next to the dock

sea-kids playing around on the docked boats next to the dock

Hahaha!!!  This group of kids was looking at these baby chicks for sale, and I startle the energetic boy... but after his surprise the group mobs me for more photos, of course!

Hahaha!!! This group of kids was looking at these baby chicks for sale, and I startle the energetic boy... but after his surprise the group mobs me for more photos, of course!

In the Sogod market, which extends from the highway to the seaside...

In the Sogod market, which extends from the highway to the seaside...

scenes from the market

scenes from the market

relaxing atop a mountain of clothes for sale!

relaxing atop a mountain of clothes for sale!

at the Sogod dock, arrive just in time to catch the tail end of a beautiful sunset!!!!

at the Sogod dock, arrive just in time to catch the tail end of a beautiful sunset!!!!

tons of kids jumping off the dock into the water, and also doing this 'water slide'

tons of kids jumping off the dock into the water, and also doing this 'water slide'

lovely sunset in Leyte

lovely sunset in Leyte

a fisherman on the dock

a fisherman on the dock

lots of small fishing boats in the shallows around the dock...

lots of small fishing boats in the shallows around the dock...

beautiful Philippines sunset!!!

beautiful Philippines sunset!!!

sun rays disappearing into the night.. but the fishermen stay out, at least a lot of them, turning on lights to do some niht fishing...

sun rays disappearing into the night.. but the fishermen stay out, at least a lot of them, turning on lights to do some niht fishing...

Sogod at dusk

Sogod at dusk

Sogod is preparing for its own Christmas festival, in the main plaza.  The music is loud and the mood is festive...

Sogod is preparing for its own Christmas festival, in the main plaza. The music is loud and the mood is festive...

neon lights for sale for the festival!

neon lights for sale for the festival!

Next stop, Padre Burgos, on the southern tip of Leyte Island... It is blazing hot but I manage to find my way to this mostly deserted dive resort, right on the beach.  This is view from my balcony!

Next stop, Padre Burgos, on the southern tip of Leyte Island... It is blazing hot but I manage to find my way to this mostly deserted dive resort, right on the beach. This is view from my balcony!

the gas around here is sold out of soda bottles and is bright red!

the gas around here is sold out of soda bottles and is bright red!

Padre Burgos petrol station!

Padre Burgos petrol station!

friendly village folks inviting me to drink some coconut alcohol with them!  good times, hahaha!!!

friendly village folks inviting me to drink some coconut alcohol with them! good times, hahaha!!!

My hotel is about 2km from the 'center' of this sleepy seaside village, but it's a nice walk.  Here I approach 'downtown'.

My hotel is about 2km from the 'center' of this sleepy seaside village, but it's a nice walk. Here I approach 'downtown'.

flirty village schoolgirls asking for photos, hahaha!

flirty village schoolgirls asking for photos, hahaha!

"downtown" Padre Burgos from the end of the dock

there was a whole 'pack' of cats lounging around this deserted, semi-outdoor mini-church!!

there was a whole 'pack' of cats lounging around this deserted, semi-outdoor mini-church!!

Next day, I prepare for my first scuba diving trip since Bali 7 years ago.  They wanted me to take an expensive refresher course, but I declined because it was too expensive.  But still they let me on a dual dive around the coastline, which has a shelf that drops off dramatically into very deep water.  The only other diver besides my dive master is a very old American sex tourist whose teenaged

Next day, I prepare for my first scuba diving trip since Bali 7 years ago. They wanted me to take an expensive refresher course, but I declined because it was too expensive. But still they let me on a dual dive around the coastline, which has a shelf that drops off dramatically into very deep water. The only other diver besides my dive master is a very old American sex tourist whose teenaged "girlfriend" saw him off. Should be interesting. Here we are packing up our equipment for the voyage.

It is grey and rainy as we set out.... should be interesting!!  Our first dive spot was very near, just off the coast (since, sadly, the Coast Guard wouldn't allow us to go to nearby Limasawa Island because of approaching typhoons!!).

It is grey and rainy as we set out.... should be interesting!! Our first dive spot was very near, just off the coast (since, sadly, the Coast Guard wouldn't allow us to go to nearby Limasawa Island because of approaching typhoons!!).

After the first dive, which was disastrous as I panicked underwater and had to resurface, but eventually got hold of myself and finished the dive.  Then, we head across the coastline to the second dive spot, right on the edge of the shelf...

After the first dive, which was disastrous as I panicked underwater and had to resurface, but eventually got hold of myself and finished the dive. Then, we head across the coastline to the second dive spot, right on the edge of the shelf...

Padre Burgos village, preparing for a big storm later on!

Padre Burgos village, preparing for a big storm later on!

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