A Weekend in Samar and Leyte

Last weekend I had the privilege of joining a group of medical doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, and other volunteers for a medical-dental mission in Basey, Samar.  There were more than a thousand patients who came for the free service.  I thank all those who sponsored this activity.  May your tribe increase a thousand fold.

Two dentists taking a break.  Do we look tired? 🙂

Our host was very kind enough to take us around Leyte and Samar.  Our first stop: the MacArthur Park in Palo, Leyte.  The park was built to commemorate the historic return of General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippine shores on October 20, 1944.  I was actually amazed when I saw the statues. What a powerful sight! Before the trip, I have only seen them in books and I was surprised to see that they were so big.  haha.

“I shall return.”

We walked around the small town of Basey, Samar.  We went to a factory that makes banig, placemats, bags, and other items out of dried leaves.  The weavers were really very good.  They worked fast and the products were of high quality.

A local lady weaves a fish on to the mat.

Then we found out that there was an organic farm near the place we stayed in.  Wow, they just harvested some okra and eggplants. They were fresh and beautiful but the farmers were not selling.  Too bad. 😦

On Sunday, my friends and I were ready at 5 in the morning.  We couldn’t miss the chance of running on the San Juanico Bridge!  It was the highlight of my trip.

The San Juanico Bridge is the longest bridge in the Philippines spanning a body of water and connects the islands of Leyte and Samar.  It is exactly 2.162 kilometers.  It is also known as the Marcos bridge as it is said to have been a gift from President Marcos to his First Lady, Imelda who hails from Leyte.


Look! No bulls allowed!  😛
The bridge is actually shaped like an “S” on the Samar side and like an “L” on the Leyte side.

Uh-oh!  Serious uphill ahead.

Soon it began to rain very hard.  Storm signal no.2 was hoisted over Samar due to tropical storm “Lawin”.  But I totally enjoyed the downhill run with the raindrops falling on my face.  Weeee!

I have reached the Leyte side. It was time to go back to the Samar.  Uphill running again!

photo credit: tourisminthephiliphines.com
Runners struggling on inclines and against wind resistance.
View of the bridge and Leyte from my airplane seat.

Thank you Cris for inviting me.  I had a wonderful time. 🙂


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