Liloan Travel Guide

Liloan is the largest city on Panaon Island near the Philippines‘ province of Southern Leyte. This was the first town liberated from the Japanese by General Douglas Macarthur in 1944.

But today Liloan is better known for its diving potential than its WWII history. Dive shops arrange trips to prominent sites around the island. In former days, Liloan was known for attracting herds of whale sharks, though increased boat traffic has pushed them further south to the small town of Pintuyan.

The most popular diving grounds are directly under the Liloan Bridge, but the strong current and spontaneous whirlpools demand a higher level of experience. Beginners are better off diving at the Napantaw Fish Sanctuary.

Travel to Memot - getting there

Liloan is the point of entry for Panaon Island and is connected to Southern Leyte via the Wawa Bridge. The best dive sites are directly under this bridge. Tacloban can be reached by bus orjeepney in about an hour. From here it is possible to travel to Manila by land (26 hours), sea (30 hours) or air (1 hour).

In brief

Worth it? Divers looking to spot whale sharks away from the crowds and commotion of Donsol will enjoy Liloan.

What to do: go diving, look for whale sharks.

Best time to go: whale shark season is from November to April.

How long? A day or two is plenty of time in Liloan.

Trivia: Liloan takes its name from the tiny whirlpools (called lilo) that complicate passage through the Panaon Straight Passage.

Liloan attractions

  • 1 - Diving: though diving was more popular in the past when whale sharks frequented these waters, it remains a well-supported sport today.
  • Napantaw Fish Sanctuary: this diving spot is characterized by black coral and enormous gorgonians.

Side trips from Liloan

  • Pintuyan: whale sharks have been migrating from Liloan south to Pintuyan, making this the best place to sight these enormous creatures.