by Marlon P. Labastida
The heart of the southern section of Leyte, Sogod. Sogod’s fast metamorphosis makes it distinct among other towns in Southern Leyte. As a man who was born and lived in Sogod, I can say how the once calm and less populated place turned into a bustling city-like municipality.
Who could predict that the once “kasagingan” is now the first mall in town, the Gaisano Capital. Then, the first mall is followed by a newly erected Sogod Town Center. Where the STC is built was once the oldest market in Sogod where my favorite barbershop used to be. In fact, I still remember the Boholano vendors selling their fabrics and other clothing materials, right next to the barbershop I mentioned. Who would have thought that the Sogod “tela” capital is now a shopping center?
With these changes, Sogod develops with grace and innovation. The town embraces these positive changes and uses them as propeller to grow and thrive. The people of Sogod take into account the demands not only of its residents, but also of the people in the neighboring towns. In fact, the emergence of shopping centres and malls in Sogod has brought convenience to the shoppers from other towns in the Sogod Bay area, and even shoppers from the Pacific and Panaon Island.
Aside from the Agas-agas bridge that Sogod takes pride in as one of the tourist spots, there are a lot of tourist places and traditional activities that people can appreciate.
Falls. Sogod is a haven of magnificent falls. First, the impressive Lum-an Falls in barangay Lum-an. The long walk you put through before having a glimpse of its magical beauty is worth the sweat. The thrill and excitement it gives from the sound of the rushing waters meeting its basin and the coldness that penetrates your bones, will surely make you fall in love with it! Barangays Mac and Kanangkaan have Manuto Falls and Manubsuab Falls, respectively which, just like Lum-an Falls, will surely give you the feeling of relaxation from life’s stressful experiences.
Beaches and resorts. Sogod is also known for accessible beaches and resorts as it is a town by the bay. The Durias Beach, Syshore, Villa Catalina and Neguilan Mountain Resorts are just few of the refreshing and accommodating places you can stay when you visit here. The former three are found at the heart of Sogod, while Neguilan is in barangay Kanangkaan. We also have a black sand beach in barangay Concepcion. If you want to see it, just tell the “potpot” driver to ferry you to Camp Millennial Beach Resort.
Beautiful landscapes. First in the list is the instagrammable Usay Lubi in barangay Milagroso. People flock to the place despite its steep path because of the magical overlooking view of the entire town of Sogod and its amazing bay. At its peak is the famous lone-standing tall coconut tree, which is visible from the poblacion. Next, the La Caridad Farm in barangay Buac. The country landscape, farm animals and its sumptuous food make people go back to the place. Another place to visit is the Bendicar Farm. Lastly, Sogod has Arianne’s Bonsai Garden in barangay Rizal and King David Integrated Farm with sunflowers in barangay Hibod-hibod.
Restaurants and Cafes. Your tour in Sogod wouldn’t be complete without dining in some of our known restaurants in town. Café Romara in barangay San Jose is the top spot. People from various towns drop by to taste its one of a kind food in the menu, matched with the restaurant’s grand and elegant design. Lapyahan in barangay Zone II is famous for its Lomi. A taste of it will surely relieve you from your jetlag or motion sickness. This place is also popular for its native-like ambiance and live band every Saturday.
Delicacy. Aside from being dubbed as the “Milk Tea Capital” in Southern Leyte, Sogod is also known for its abundant catch of mangko or bullet tuna. Sogodnons are best at preserving these through inun-unan or paksiw, with salt and vinegar as ingredients, or cooked through heat of the smoke or tap-an, and dajok or fermented intestines of the tuna. The most common delicacy is Tinabal Mangko. I know when you hear of it, Sogod is the first place that comes into your mind. The fish is soaked in salt and wait for a couple of days until it is ready to be cooked. Some say that tinabal may last for three months.
Religious belief. The Sogodnons are diehard Immaculate Conception of Mary devotees. Many people not only from Sogod said that they were helped and heard by the Virgin Mary in overcoming their struggles or problems. Many believe that some typhoons only passed by Sogod because of the protection from the Blessed Virgin.
My wish is that the new generation of Sogodnons would continually love and care for the places, the culture and traditions which they have grown up with. This would build their identity and make them distinct among others!
Mabulahanong Fiesta, Sogod!