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Leyte

Posted by on May 13th, 2009
Filed Under: Featured, Leyte

Leyte Map
Leyte

The island of the Waray-waray, Leyte is located in the eastern part of the Visayas. It is very close to the province of Cebu and the Camotes. The capital city is Tacloban, which occupies a large part of the island. It speaks two languages, Waray-waray and Cebuano, due to its close proximity to the Queen City of the South.

The way of life in Leyte is more on farming and fishing, and it is basically all about provincial living. You can find a lot of historical landmarks and scenic places around. There are also several places you can go to since Leyte is a large island with numerous towns and islets.


Philippines Leyte Samar-Leyte Link

The beautiful and mountainous island of Leyte has its own share of notable distinctions such as the location of the longest bridge in the country. The San Juanico Bridge connects the islands of Leyte and Samar at their narrowest point along the San Juanico Strait.


Palo Cathedral Philippines Leyte
Palo Cathedral, Palo, Leyte: This church is originally constructed in 1596 by the Jesuits and later taken over by Augustinians and Franciscans. The two towers were built in the mid 1800s. The church was officially proclaims a cathedral in March of 1938, shortly before the outbreak of the second world war. The cathedral was used as a hospital between October 1944 to March 1945 by the the American forces in the initial months of Philippine Liberation.
Photo by storm-crypt


Palo Cathedral Philippines Leyte
Palo Cathedral – North East Side
Photo by storm-crypt

Editor addon

Ryan: Leyte is not a very touristy area, and it takes a bit of prodding to get into Leyte’s hidden treasures.The beaches are not that spectacular but quite decent enough, and if you crave for the ritzy, international crowd of Boracay and Palawan, then better skip out on Leyte. It does have a heap of charming fishing villages where you can stroll and frolic like what little Imelda Marcos did when she was an impoverished, illegitimate child running barefoot on its beaches (and you will get to understand her super fascination with shoes).


Why Not Go


Leyte is not the best place to go if you are looking for great sandy white beaches. You can always checkout the nearby Camotes Island if this is what you are hoping to find on your vacation. Moreover, you cannot find the convenience and luxury afforded by a first class metropolis around the area. So there are no tall buildings and huge shopping malls around.

Editor addon

Ryan: There is a beach in Barangay San Jose, 8 kilometers from Tacloban City called the White Beach. And at the northwestern tip is Higatangan Island (which is actually part of Biliran) which has a very nice white sand bar but close to Leyte itself. Kaburubutngaan hit dagat near the coastline of Libertad, Capoocan, Leyte and Puro Island also in Leyte has largely undeveloped white sand beaches as well.


Why Go


There are a lot of things you can find in Leyte which have become instrumental in shaping the country the way it is now. They also have nice resorts at very affordable rates as well as gardens and parks that are well worth your money. You do not even have to spend so much when visiting Leyte as most of the things you can find here are pretty cheap.


Philippines Leyte Tacloban City
Provincial capitol, Tacloban City
Photo by storm-crypt


Best Time to Visit


It is often raining in Leyte that in fact, it rains an average of 163 days in a year. It rains more often from November up until January, with typhoons passing by every once in a while. But if you want to be there to take part of grand fiesta celebrations, you can go to Ormoc on the last week of June, and the Pintados Kasadyaan Festival of Tacloban every 29th of June. This is a month-long fiesta of merry-making, parades, pageantry and street-dancing. This celebration is given in honor of the Senior Santo Nino.

Editor addon

Ryan: The problem with traveling in Leyte is that its right up there in the Philippine typhoon alley – weather conditions can alter your schedule, and transport is not very reliable. Accessibility and information to the different areas is scarce and unreliable. If you are the type of traveler used to the sometimes razor-sharp efficiency of traveling to Boracay or Palawan, you may have to extend your patience a little more.


Where to Stay


Philippines Hotels and Resorts

Save up to 75% on hotels in Philippines

We are focusing on two progressive cities in Leyte which are: Ormoc and Tacloban. For Ormoc, you should stay at Sabin. It is a resort hotel, with two swimming pools. It is a very nice place to stay and quite affordable too. Room rate starts at $35.

When you go to Tacloban, you can stay at the Leyte Park Hotel, which was originally built for Imelda Marcos, the most famous former First Lady of the country. Standard room rate is at $48. You can also stay at the MacArtrhur Park Beach Resort as it has a very nice beach and lush gardens. It is cheap too with rates starting at $32.


Where & What to Eat


• Chito’s Chow Bar and Restaurant: Great Chinese food especially their ‘mixed seafood’ soup. You can find it at the Ormoc Superdome.

• Giuseppe’s: Authentic Italian dishes served here. You should sample their Pizza Napoletania- it is simply the best. You can find them in Tacloban, along Avenida Veteranos Street.

• Rafael’s Farm and Garden Restaurant: Great food, great view. They have a complete meal for only $6, inclusive of drinks. You can find them in Babatngon, Leyte.

• Sunzibar: Awesome Mexican food that is just right for the palate. Try their burritos and nachos. They are located along Burgos Street in Leyte.


Nightlife


Well, you cannot find it in Ormoc. Everyone is sleeping by 10pm and the streets are mostly quiet and dark at this time. However, in Tacloban, there are a few hangouts around. You can go to Inzomnia at Real Street for some dancing. You can also go to bars and nightclubs.


My to do List


• First, have a taste of the famous Ormoc pineapples. They are small and extremely sweet. You should also grab a bite of their cassava cake- great for dessert. You can find both almost anywhere in the city. Then proceed to Lake Danao which is pretty near. You will see a violin-shaped lake that is a couple thousand feet above sea level. Very nice and quiet place to go in Ormoc.

• Then you move on to Tacloban and sample their moron, it is made of sticky rice with chocolate, and wrapped in banana leaves.

• Once you have had your share of the local delicacies, let us move on to the places to see in Leyte. Start with the Leyte Landing at the Red Beach, where General Douglas MacArthur arrived to free the people during World War II.


Philippines Leyte
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Leyte Island, Philippines, 1944


Philippines Leyte Red Beach
Red Beach, Palo, Leyte: Memorial of former Philippine president Osmena and then Pacific Theatre world war II commander, Gen. MacArthur, and their staff — wading in the shores of Palo, Leyte in the closing months of the second world war.

This landing preceded one of MacArthur’s famous lines: “People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil consecrated in the blood of our two people…”

During the time when MacArthur’s forces landed in the Philippines, the allies were already aiming their plans at Japan, Philippines, doesn’t have any strategic value. But MacArthur, vowing to keep his promise and avenge the Japanese forces in the Philippines, insisted and persuaded then president Roosevelt, Chester Nimitz(Pacific Fleet Commander) and the rest of US top brass — to take the Philippines en route to Japan. One of the major strategic value (after all) that the allies accomplished was the annihilation of the Japanese Navy who tried to ambush the Leyte Landings — in probably the greatest Naval battle of all time — the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
With the memorial(and the original Leyte Landing Photo), is then president Sergio Osmena(Quezon’s vice president, became president when Quezon died in the US), and Carlos Romulo, the rest are their and MacArthur’s staff.

Even before I was in grade school, I’ve been seeing photos of the landings. From books, and stories of my grandfather who was a USAFFE lieutenant and a guerilla. Finally, I am now standing at Red Beach to see this memorial.
Photo by storm-crypt

• Next, check out the San Juanico Bridge, which is known to be the longest bridge in the country, offering picturesque view of nearby islets and sparkling waters. The San Juanice Bridge connects Leyte to Samar, crossing the San Juanico Strait, and is about 7,200+ feet in length.


Sto Nino Church, Philippines Leyte
Sto Nino Church, Tacloban City, Leyte: Miraculous Image of Santo Nino, patron saint of Leyte; Also known as the Church of Liberation.
Photo by storm-crypt

• Then, go to the Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, which was originally built for the Marcoses, filled with religious paintings, a huge ballroom and designs made by no-less than the Philippine National Artist himself, Fernando Amorsolo.

• You can also go caving in Tacloban at the Jiabong and Gubingo caves. They are about an hour and a half’s drive from the city.

• Moreover, you can do kayaking, simply by renting a kayak and enjoy a fun adventure under the San Juanico Bridge.

• If you love surfing, one of the best surfing destinations in the country is here. Just drive 3 hours to Calicoan where you will be greeted with gigantic waves. The coast is fronting the Pacific Ocean.

Editor addon

PKTan: Calicoan Island is one of the islands of the town of Guiuan, in the province of Eastern Samar. It lies east of Leyte Gulf, off the southeast point of Samar. The island can be reached from Tacloban City by a two-hour bus ride.

Editor addon

Grace: Leyte is definitely not the common tourist destination, however the historical values of Leyte make it one worth the trip. Here’s a quick rundown of the other historical attractions of Leyte not listed. *click on link, or scroll to comments section.


Stay Away From


There are a handful of people who take advantage of foreigners in the area. They charge you more for rides and even room rates. This can also happen when you are looking for tour guides or car rentals. Make sure to check out the charges first and see if they are reasonable; if not then try to haggle on rates or look elsewhere.


Getting There


You can get to Leyte by air via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Airlines. There are 3 daily flights from Manila to Tacloban. You can also get there from Cebu via Air Philippines and other small planes, which travel to Tacloban daily. If you plan to travel by ferry, you can take Sulpicio Lines which has a Manila-Tacloban route 3X weekly. From Cebu, you can also take the fast crafts such as the Supercat and Oceanjet which have about 3 trips to Ormoc daily, and from there, you can take a V-hire (vans for hire) to Tacloban which will take about 2 hours. You can also get there by land with bus liners such as Philtranco which travels to Tacloban from Manila, and they also have bus trips around Samar and Leyte.

From Samar, you can take the scenic route via San Juanico Bridge by means of a bus or the local jeepney.

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Roz Visarra has always been fond of travelling. As a young girl, she would travel with her parents in the Visayas and Mindanao because their relatives are from all these areas. She currently resides in Cebu, the Queen City of the South and looks forward to her next travel. Learn more about me [+]

Tourism Philippines thrives on the knowledge of the community. Got a tip, photo or even a guide on a place you been to in Philippines? We will love to hear from you!

21 Responses to “Leyte”

  1. Ryan says:

    Wasn’t there a beach in Barangay San Jose, 8 kilometers from Tacloban City that is called the White Beach?

    And at the northwestern tip is Higatangan Island (which is actually part of Biliran) which has a very nice white sand bar but close to Leyte itself.

    Kaburubutngaan hit dagat near the coastline of Libertad, Capoocan, Leyte and Puro Island also in Leyte has largely undeveloped white sand beaches as well…

    • Jerald says:

      Maybe you’re talking about the Dio Island. I am not really oriented with this place the fact that I’ve never been there before. But this place is seen from a bay at San Jose where we used to go for swimming. It is also near at the Tacloban Airport. As seen from the bay, it is surrounded by white sand and it used to be a resort before. A 10-20 minute canoe boat ride from the shores of San Jose would do.

  2. Roz says:

    White Beach is nice I guess but it is not really a “white” beach. Nothing like Boracay or Panglao. The sand is like the ones you’d use in aquariums Lol. Missed out on Puro Island and the Cuatros Islas though…ooops! sorry!

    • kram says:

      missed out Lake Danao…15-20mins from the city its a 700+m above sea level pear-shape lake, good area for mountain biking and camping. :)

      • Ryan says:

        Apparently Lake Danao aka Lake Imelda is seriously threatened by illegal settlements and has been a victim of slash and burn as well as illegal logging. Poachers from within the area as well outsiders have been hunting doves, pigeons, and hornbills. What is the local government of Leyte doing to stop these practices?

  3. Grace says:

    Leyte is definitely not the common tourist destinations, however the historical values of Leyte make it one worth the trip.

    Here’s a quick rundown of the historical attractions not listed (pardon me if it had been mentioned by Roz) –

    1. The Cap Building located at Justice Romualdez in Tacloban City, which is formerly known as the Price Mansion is an American colonial architecture built in the 1900s. This is where General MacArthur put up his official headquarters and residence during the liberation of the Philippines in 1944. It is also used as a temporary seat of Government following the proclamation of the restoration of civil government in the Philippines. The Price Mansion also features a MacArthur Memorabilia, an Art Gallery and a Conference Center.

    2. Hill 522 (Guinhangdan Hill) & Hill 120 (Catmon Hill) located at Palo and Dulag respectively. With deep historical values, and a good place for picnic & walks.

    3. The Japanese War Memorial Cemetery is a common destination for memorial tour groups as it is site of one of the fiercest battles ever fought in Leyte for the liberation of the Philippines.

    4. Located at Villaba, the Buga Buga Hills is a site where fierce battles between the Japanese and Americans happened. It is also known as General Suzuki’s Calbukos or Canquipot. A common destination for Japanese tour groups!

    5. You will probably see the Peace Memorial between Philippines & Japan at Ormoc city Carlota Hills where you get a great view of the Ormoc Bay.

    6. *I’ve nvr seen these 2* But the 2 monuments of the Boy Scout movement & Filipino Soldier are worth a visit.

    This Boy Scount monument depicts scouting as a vibrant and dynamic movement proclaiming to the whole world the dynamism of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines as it serves the needs of the millions of Filipino boys who must train under the guidance of adult volunteers in their quest for excellence and better quality of life.

    The monument of the Filipino Soldier is located in the rotunda at Brgy. Pawing, Palo, Leyte. A tribute to the Filipino World War II soldiers and veterans who offered their supreme sacrifice for the sake of freedom.

    • Ryan says:

      Excellent post Grace! Any other natural attractions that you may know of Leyte? I will definitely going the Samar-Leyte trail which will terminate in Calicoan, Eastern Samar (for surfing) next year.

      • Hector Gomez says:

        It must also be noted that the airport in Tacloban was once used as an airfield during WWII, as well as the one in Tanauan. However, for some reason, the government of Leyte, up to now, seems to shrugged off the important roles these airfields played during WWII. There is no coordinated effort in re-claiming the historical places and putting up a Leyte Landing memorial museum/building, particularly in Palo, Leyte. They can ask for a donation of WWII aircrafts, naval vessels, etc. that can be housed on a museum and promote tourism to the next level.

    • drach says:

      when in villaba or palompon try to sample the SALBARO it is a delicacy in the area… it is like a primitive bread its crispy on the outside soft on the inside… its main ingredients are flour, coconut and tuba wine for leavening but nowadays they use the commercial yeast… it is bake in an improvised oven made of tin fueled by coconut husk… makers of salbaro usually accept orders… one can specify to use tuba wine and some shredded young coconut meat for garnish

  4. Bayaki says:

    Thumbs up for the informative writeup and comments! Going to have one on Southern Leyte? Don’t forget about diving at Sogod Bay and Limasawa Island!

    Ryan, don’t miss Mt. kankahanay while you are there!

    • Ryan says:

      Bayaki,

      I will definitely go to Southern Leyte- as I will be planning to dive at Padre Burgos (and since you mentioned it – Sogod Bay and Limasawa is on my list now!) . Leyte, Southern Leyte and the Samar provinces have a lot of beautiful places to discover- there is just not a lot of things written about them. I have not finalized my travel plans for September- would it be a great time for me to visit Southern Leyte during that month? I will be in Pahiyas + a little bit of Quezon islands tomorrow, then Ilocos in June, for July – I will squeeze in Pagsanjan or Zambales or even back to Anilao for Verde Island before I leave for Vietnam, Hundred Islands + Bolinao Pangasinan in August. September will be a free time for me. :) So yeah, let me know asap if Southern Leyte would be a good time to visit on that month.

      Cheers Bayaki!!

      Ryan

  5. Concerned.Nomad says:

    Been very interested in going to Leyte and Southern Leyte, anyone know how’s the situation with the landslide problems in the area? The Guinsaugon incident still rings a bell in my head after such a long time.

    • Ryan says:

      We will do a good research on that Concerned.Nomad, and that area is on my destination list so I update everyone once about St. Bernard I visit the place. Meanwhile, you may check the Mines and Geosciences Bureau for updates on the ongoing geohazard mapping project of the Philippines.

  6. badjaw says:

    @ryan: . .ahmmf . .have you really been to ormoc? judging from your posts, i believe when you went there you over slept and missed the nightlife :D Have you heard of Dustria, Bistado, Dadas, Maninas, Chebobs, Bebidas, Bo’s, Buffy’s, Maniquin, d’ Drop & Foostreet? I actually have a long list of places you can go hanging out in the evenings in Ormoc . You can even hang out in the plaza during evenings because there are bands playing there. . .
    nd yup! Chito’s Chow Bar and Restaurant offer the best chinese dish but it’s not located at the Ormoc city superdome It’s actually beside the veterans park and in front of the food park.

    @grace: . . .totally love your post. . .

    Hmmmm, if you’d like to learn more try checking Ormoc City’s tourism website, it would help. chow!

  7. Frederick says:

    try Palompon for bird watching and night safari at Tabuk island sanctuary (part of the tres marias islands) and the white beach of kalanggaman island in between Palompon, Leyte and Cebu.

  8. ellen says:

    I’ll be going to Ormoc City by the 2nd week of August (first time). It’s my mom’s hometown. After 56 years, she finally will go back and trace her roots. She was barely ten years old when she left Ormoc to live in Manila. As soon as I knew the plan, I checked on the websites containing infos about the place. Learning from my mom as a young kid, Leyte is really a historical place and she’d always talk about the bravery and heroism of the people of Leyte, hence, a bliever of Gen. McArthur and the American regime.

    Thanks guys! I learned a lot about the place, how to get there, what and where to eat. You’ve posted lots of useful infomation especially Grace. Thanks!

  9. vispi says:

    Greetings!

    This site surely imparts a lot of info for travelling people.
    However, can you cite products and/or novelty items that can be brought home as pasalubongs?

    Thanks in advance!

  10. james says:

    how about cabalian southern leyte, any info on this town? or any hotspot for tourist to visit in this area.. my relatives mostly grow there.. but im living here now in cebu for quite time thats why I know more Cebu than Leyte.. tnx for this site, it helps a lot..

  11. bee says:

    There are a lot of great spot Leyte can offer…
    You just have to be adventurous enough to see it..
    Or when you check out Leyte websites,
    you will see a lot of great places and activities you can try..

    There are a lot of beaches…
    Try it..

  12. Anwel says:

    I’ve been staying tacloban now for 2months already and all i can say there is a lot improvement in the area.less crime, i havent heard any news about snatching the place is safe and you can see a lot of foreigners. Regarding the destination lake danao is the best very quite you can rent a bangka and tour around the lake or rent the floating cottage and request for adobong shell and its yummy..you can go to sogod if you want some adventure they offer ziplines and cable car in agas agas bridge, go to maasin city to visit their zoo they have camels and also to the 600 steps in maasin city for religious person.go to biliran if you want to see falls and to mirippipi the beach is awesome..i suggest sabin resort in ormoc city. Visit the mc arthur park the san juanico bridge,the museum, robinson mall.i heard also that robinson is opening its branch in abucay and metro gaisano in marasbaras and also SM in sagkahan..

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