This summer, perhaps, one of the best gifts I could spoil myself is to go to places I’ve been to before. Being a “probinsyana” (countrywoman) residing in Leyte, of course, has a lot of perks. Not only that I get to eat a lot because it’s summer break and I’m home, but also because Leyte as a whole has a lot of hidden paradise to bargain. One of which is one of Southern Leyte’s Holy places, Monte Cueva. This uphill shrine’s been existing for a very long time now, however there are still a lot of workings to be made.
Maasin City is the capital of Southern Leyte. Maasin is 100.44 km away from the City of Ormoc, for about 1 to 2 hour drive. People from Cebu need not to worry for there are a lot of shipping companies that offer day and night trips from the port of Cebu City to Ormoc, Bato and some places that are a lot nearer to the City of Maasin. You can check it yourself just to make sure. Or might as well book a flight from Tacloban then a land trip to Maasin via bus or van. See, Maasin is very accessible. (Travel Guide)
We left home at 4:30 AM, haven’t gotten enough sleep and here we go, travelling for about 2 hours to South. Private cars are very convenient since you can sleep without giving any care to the things you bring, plus no stop overs so expect an earlier reach. It has been a while since the last time I visited South, so I was so intrigued as to how it would look now. Half of the travel I was just looking outside of the window, while half of it I spent on sleeping.
For other who are not familiar with it, sure a lot of you aren’t, Monte Cueva is a small cave which was developed into a chapel inside. Monte Cueva is a holy place, thus, a lot of believers, locals and from outside of the city, really visit the place. As to what I would always say, it’s a place for “Let your silence be heard“.
(Note: Bring water or any extra shirt) Since the shrine is located 172 meters above sea level, sure you’ll have a lot of walking to do. The road up is too steep, you can either choose the stairway or the zigzag plain and cemented way up. We took the ordinary one on the way up since we were intending to take the stairway on our way down. It was really a one sweaty 6:30 AM hike, t’was all good though.
My sister, in Pink sweaters, reached the shrine way too quick. We were there for thanksgiving for my sister’s recent graduation and for the continuous blessings we are receiving. On the way up, I was riotously fast, but upon reaching to the end point, I was already cathing my breath and nausea kicked in. I thought I’d faint, worst is I’d die lol. Was it because of my lack of sleep? Hmm.
I really thought I’d never get to the top, thank God I still made it. Nature is truly an antidote to everything you’re feeling deep within. (Note: Please! Eat your breakfast before going up). It was an opportunity for me to take random photos since we were the only people who went up that early. Guess it was a bad thing since it was supposed to be a time for praying. Oh, I feel guilty.
And then finally, we reached the top! As expected, still so dainty and holy. There were quite a lot of changes from the outside but the chapel inside remained very magical. Obviously, I was still in awe.
It was one of the greatest feelings ever, to finally reach the end point. I get to rest inside while contemplating about life. The walk took almost 30 minutes, I’m not sure, but it was indeed a sacrifice. But of course, things did not just ended there.
On the other side of the cave, you’ll see a canteen. Waters and drinks are sold there, also souvenir items you might want to buy. The canteen was still closed since it was still too early.
The view at the top is just so beautiful. Finally, I was able to breathe in some fresh air while this time, headache kicked in. I was aiming on recreating a photo we had while we were younger on the same spot as what you see on the above photo, too bad I wasn’t in my good state. But it was definitely a worthy experience, atleast for once in awhile my parents, my sister and I get to bond on the same old place we enjoyed. Can’t believe there were no heavy changes, I remember I was still in highschool (or was it grade school?) since the last time I climbed there.
On the way down, or vice versa, you might want to use the stairs haha look, kinda’ scary. Oh well, I’m just so happy that they maintained the natural characteristics of the cave, the place as a whole. Though I almost fainted, I’m still willing to go back. Somehow, going there has been one of our traditions already. I’m so inlove with the place, so if ever you’re planning to set a date to climb, Monte Cueva will never disappoint you. And I know you will love it as much as I did. And I hope my photos are quite convincing, hope you enjoyed this post as I really enjoyed making this one. Since the travel time would take longer if you’re from outside of Maasin City, make sure to bring packed food already. Nakakagutom, I swear. Ahh, I will be back!