For several years now we’ve been lured to off-the-beaten track destinations for one primary reason: the raw, untouched beauty of such places. We have nothing against developed tourist spots but most out-of-the-way vacation spots are closer to nature and allow for moments of solitude. The downside of course is the lack of what most travelers consider as basic conveniences. In some cases we would end up in places without electricity, running water or even food and a decent place to sleep in.
Such a place is Digyo Island at Cuatro Islas in Leyte. Digyo was the second island destination of our Cuatro Islas island-hopping tour, right after Mahaba Island. We already knew beforehand that there are no stores offering cooked food on Digyo so we brought packed lunches, snacks and drinking water. But there are a few huts being rented out so we had a nice shade to protect us from the heat of the noonday sun and a place to take our lunch and rest. What we weren’t prepared for was the state of the restroom/s. There is a restroom to be sure… but no running water.
In our past travels we’ve often handled problems of no restrooms during island-hopping tours creatively. This time our hosts – the island caretakers – handled the problem with common-sense wisdom by dispatching kids with pails to fetch water from the sea. Why of course! Why worry about water when you have millions of gallons of it all over the place?
We’d be nuts to keep going to places like this if we placed a high premium on convenience but one look at the beauty that is Digyo was enough to convince us that going to this island was well-worth the hassle. The lightly swaying coconut palms and the surrounding crystal clear waters in various shades of aquamarine, emerald and turquoise gently breaking on the creamy white sand beach easily lulled many in our group to sleep on this lazy afternoon.
Digyo is the smallest of the Cuatro Islas group of islands at 3.5 hectares. We could easily cover the length of the island from end to end in about 15 minutes but chose to walk slowly, enjoying the beauty of the place, taking a dip in the warm, glassy waters and taking snapshots here and there. Like Kalanggaman Island up north, Digyo has sandbars stretching out at its northwestern and southeastern extremities with the latter the more pronounced. The presence of these sandbars was perhaps the reason why sea turtles used to make Digyo a nesting ground.
Sadly, we learned that the sandbars and the white sand beach of Digyo were even more beautiful before but a considerable quantity of sand was carted off for a resort hotel in nearby Cebu. The municipality of Inopacan has taken steps to protect these islands in recent years, and many of the areas are now protected marine environments. It also led to an inevitable clash with people who had claimed parts or even whole islands as private property. We won’t get into this debate anymore but hopefully steps would be taken to maintain the pristine beauty of these islands and make them accessible to the general public for generations to come.
We wrapped up our stay at Digyo by mid-afternoon and proceeded to our third island destination: Himokilan Island. More adventurous souls who want to stay longer and explore more of Digyo would have to bring tents for an overnight stay. In the meantime we were content to enjoy even just a part of Digyo and reserve the rest for perhaps another visit.