San Juan Cabalian is a coastal town located in the province of Southern Leyte in the Philippines. It is named after the patron saint, St. John the Baptist, and is known for its pristine beaches and natural attractions.

One of the town’s main attractions is Cabalian Bay, which is popular among tourists for its clear waters and coral reefs. It is also home to several marine species, making it a great spot for snorkeling and diving.

San Juan (Cabalian) is a beautiful and vibrant town that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and exciting activities for visitors to enjoy.


San Juan Cabalian was originally called Cabali-an, which was derived from the local dialect meaning “a place where there are lots of crabs.” The town was founded in the early 1900s and was officially recognized as a municipality in 1948.

During World War II, San Juan played a significant role in the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese occupation. The town was the site of several battles between the Japanese and Filipino-American forces, and many brave soldiers lost their lives in the fight for freedom.

In 1961, the town’s name was changed to San Juan by virtue of Republic Act 3088, which was sponsored by Senator Pedro Sabido. The town was named after Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of the town’s church.

Today, San Juan is a peaceful and picturesque town that is known for its natural beauty, pristine beaches, and warm hospitality. The town’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Its people are known for their resilience, hard work, and strong sense of community, making San Juan a great place to live, work, and visit.

Native Delicacies

As a coastal town, it is known for its abundant seafood and has several native delicacies that are popular among locals and visitors alike. Here are a few of them:

  • Kinilaw – This is a type of seafood dish that is similar to ceviche. It is made from raw fish or shellfish that is marinated in vinegar or calamansi juice, onions, ginger, and chili peppers.
  • Lechon Baboy – A roasted whole pig that is seasoned with spices and stuffed with lemongrass, onions, and other aromatic ingredients. This dish is typically served during special occasions such as fiestas and weddings.
  • Inasal na Manok – A grilled chicken dish that is marinated in a mixture of calamansi juice, soy sauce, vinegar, and other spices. It is served with rice and a dipping sauce made from vinegar, calamansi juice, and chili peppers.
  • Binagol – A sweet dessert made from grated taro root, coconut milk, and sugar that is steamed inside a coconut shell. It is typically served during special occasions such as Christmas and Easter.
  • Piyaya – A type of sweet pastry that is made from a thin layer of dough filled with muscovado sugar or sweetened coconut. It is usually eaten as a snack or dessert.

These are just a few examples of the many native delicacies that can be found in San Juan Cabalian, Southern Leyte.

How to get there?

To get to San Juan Cabalian in Southern Leyte, there are a few options depending on your starting location:

By Air: The nearest airport is Tacloban Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, which is about a 3-4 hour drive to San Juan Cabalian. From the airport, you can take a taxi or van to the town of Maasin, and from there, you can take another van or jeepney to San Juan Cabalian.

By Bus: You can take a bus from Cebu City to Liloan Port, then take a ferry to San Ricardo Port in Southern Leyte. From there, take a van or jeepney to San Juan Cabalian.

By Private Vehicle: If you have your own vehicle, you can drive to San Juan Cabalian by taking the Southern Leyte Circumferential Road. You can also rent a car or hire a private car from Tacloban or other nearby cities.

By Motorcycle: If you prefer a more adventurous way to travel, you can rent a motorcycle in Tacloban or other nearby cities and ride to San Juan Cabalian. Just make sure to follow all safety precautions and wear proper gear.

Regardless of the transportation mode you choose, it is always a good idea to check the latest travel advisories and make sure you have all the necessary documents. Enjoy traveling!

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