Hinunangan town will become closer to the provincial capital with the plan to build a new road connecting.

The town, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is one of the farthest municipalities in the eastern tip of Southern Leyte province from Maasin.

The Department of Public Works and Highways Southern Leyte District Engineering Office will conduct a feasibility study for the Maasin–Bontoc-Sogod-Hinunangan road project this year.

The DPWH eyes the completion of the proposed project in five years, based on preliminary plans.

From the existing 153-kilometer national highway, traversing 11 towns, it will be reduced to 69 kilometers, crossing only two towns between Maasin City and Hinunangan.

“We are excited about this proposed road. Travel time will be reduced to only two hours from more than three hours to four hours at present,” said District Engineer Ma. Margarita Junia.

The proposed project will upgrade the existing 35-kilometer road that links the city to Bontoc town and some parts of Sogod. The highway will be widened to 6.7 meters from the existing five meters.

It requires the opening of a 24-kilometer mountainous trail from Buenavista village in Bontoc to San Miguel village in Sogod and from Buac Gamay village in Sogod to Calag-itan village in Hinunangan.

Aside from cutting travel time, the road is expected to bring economic opportunities to sleepy upland villages of Bontoc, Sogod, and Hinunangan towns.

Hinunangan is a 3rd class town with a population of 29,976 based on the 2015 official count. According to the local government website, it is known as the “rice granary of the province” for its vast plain land entirely planted with rice.

The town is also a producer of rattan and wood-based furniture, abaca handicraft items, pineapple, vegetables and other forest products.

The town’s picturesque beaches and islands have been attracting tourism-related investments put up by immigrants from Europe and North America

Hinunangan is also known as a major gateway in Leyte because of its proximity to Tacloban City, the regional capital. The opening of the Abuyog-Silago road cuts travel time from the main city by half from the previous six hours to less than three hours.(PNA) JMC/BS/SQM/DPWHPR/EGR