It’s the weekend so I’ve joined the French Canadians on their excursion to Maasin City in the south of Leyte, we drove for almost 5 hours to reach our destination, and I decided to give the camera (and my eyes and brain) a well earned rest on the journey, and listened to some music for the first time in a week and really take in the breathtaking scenery. The drivers here travel so fast and what can only be deemed recklessly, there’s no traffic lights, few road markings and many of the roads (even the major ones) are in a bad state of repair, but I’ve still not seen a crash or even a scrape, I suppose if everyone drive crazily then everyone knows to be fully alert all of the time! We drove up over the mountains and arrived in Maasin, where we quickly changed and grabbed a boat to Canigao Island which was absolute paradise – white sand, palm trees and a greeny-blue sea that was the warmest I’ve ever felt, stunning! I had a walk around the island with Winston and JR which took about 15 minutes, you can stay here if you like and I would have definitely been up for sleeping on the beach! After a few hours here we headed to a sea food restaurant next to the beach and I shared a kilo of sweet and sour shrimp with Daniel, before returning to the hotel for my first hot shower in over 10 days (the bathroom at my homestay only has a bucket of cold water!) and heading to bed, where I slept solidly for 8 hours, it’s so cool by the sea so slept amazingly well, very much needed! On the Sunday I rose at 5.30am and had a great breakfast of bacon and eggs (I”ve had no ketchup since I left the UK – for people that know me that’s very unusual!) and witnessed the locals coming out at dawn to search for shellfish while the tide was out, and also one of the best rainbows I’ve ever seen, it reflected in the water to create and awesome sight. Afterwards we headed to Hanginan Mountain nearby, it’s a place of pilgramage for many Filipinas, but I hadn’t been told we were going for a trek so I only had my flip-flops! It was raining at the start so the track was muddy and wet, and half way up my shoes broke and couldn’t be fixed, so I made it up the rest of the way barefoot! After reaching the top Daniel commented that I was probably the first Yorkshireman to scale the mountain barefoot (although a lot of it was paved), I think he may have been correct! At the top I tried to fix my shoes but as I toiled away a local man approached me and gave me his spare pair of flip-flops and wouldn’t except any cash for them, so I made a donation to the church where I was also blessed with the Black Nazarene. After heading back down we drove to Bontoc where Winston grew up, it was fiesta day so there was an incredible party atmosphere, we ate lunch at his grandmothers and then joined the dancing procession along the promenade while the sun blazed overhead. A really fantastic weekend and superb to see some more of Leyte island – I’d love to return here and explore some more! Everyone here is so pleased to see us, we’re constantly being asked to have our pictures taken with the locals, it’s really off the beaten track so they don’t have masses of visitors and so welcome us with open arms.