Leyte: Multi-Faceted and Feature-Rich

The province of Leyte in the Philippines has historic significance not only to its locals but to the entire nation as well. It is located in the Eastern Visayas region southeast of Manila, the Philippines’ capital city. It occupies the northern section of the island that also bears its name. Its nearby islands include the scenic province of Samar to the east and Cebu, a major tourist destination in the country, to the west.

The first major historical event in the Philippines and the province of Leyte took place here in 1543 when Spanish explorer Ruy Lopez Villalobos came here and named the place as Las Islas Felipenas after the Spanish royalty. As you might have guessed it, the country’s name is its derivative.

The next major historical event occurred in World War II. Modern history’s largest naval battle occurred in Leyte Gulf on October 1944. Winning the battles in Leyte was a key move for Allied victory in the Philippines. From this province sprung the liberation of the country from Japanese occupation.

Since the province has made its mark in the history of the Philippines, then you should expect to see historical sites. Some of these historic sites are McArthur’s Landing Memorial marking the spot of his promised return, old Spanish houses in Baybay, and the Filipino Soldier Monument.

The climate in the province is observed to have more rains from the months of November to January. However, you should take note that there is no particular dry season that occurs within an entire year. The climate is perfect for crops such as cassava, sweet potatoes, and sugar cane. The best time of the year to visit would have to be after the months of heavy rain have ended and onwards.

Accommodations and Hotels

There are a lot of possible accommodations in the province. You may go for a cheap inn if you’re backpacking or have a stiff budget. You may choose any of the hotels or resorts as viable options depending on location, grade, and location. For instance, the province’s capital, Tacloban City, has a very prominent hotel known as Leyte Park Hotel. It is located at the San Pedro Bay, which lends a nice tropical ambience to the place.

If you’re not the type who wants to stay in a downtown area with all the noise from the traffic and busy people outside then the Rosenvil Pensionne is a great place to stay. It is situated away from all the hustle of a downtown area and is cheaper than many resorts. You also have the option to get accommodations on beach resorts like the Olot Beach Resort, but you should expect to have the rates a bit higher than what you might expect.

There are accommodations in the downtown area where rates are a cheaper than most but you would have to endure the noise in exchange for accessibility to other key locations. Room rates in Leyte province would usually fall below $20 for the really cheap accommodations. The really expensive ones will go from $40 to $80 on room rates.

Restaurants/Dining Options

Fast food is ever reliable in most areas of the Philippines. You can find them almost anywhere and you’ll find them here in Leyte as well. Your staple fast food chains in the Philippines, which include McDonald’s, Jollibee, Shakey’s Pizza, Dunkin Donuts, and Chowking, can easily be found. Regular fast food meal prices here in the province are less than $5.

Those who are looking to try native delicacies and the best of Leyte cooking then you can try any of the restaurants in the area. A lot of these establishments specialize in seafood, which would be a fascinating delight for those who are fond of them. Good examples of such restaurants are Agus and Bamboo Seafood Garden. Meal prices for fine dining here may be a bit higher at $10 to $20.

Leyte Province has a rich historic heritage that displays the Filipinos’ love for freedom. Visitors will enjoy the scenic spots and the historic sites not to mention the glorious cuisine.

Leyte Province

Leyte is an island province in the eastern section of the Visayas region. It is rich in history, culture, natural resources, and scenic spots. Leyte is among the feature-rich provinces in the country with diverse traits and attractions to stir the interest of any traveler—like a cut diamond of countless sparkling facets.

Sitting amidst neighboring Visayan provinces Leyte is steeped in qualities derived from their strong influences. In fact, its constituents are of two types classified by two influential dialects: Cebuanos and Warays. Cebuano speakers of Leyte are mostly found in the southwest and Waray speakers in the northeast. Leyte people are tugged sideways by a range of influences, but mainly from Cebu and Samar.

Leyte’s other neighboring provinces are Masbate on the north side, Bacolod on the far west, Bohol on the southwest, and Surigao directly to its south. Bodies of water surrounding the province lend accessibility to it, like the Bohol Sea, Pacific Ocean, and the Visayan Sea. These features contribute to Leyte’s being a jewel in the Visayan region and a strategic location this side of the country.

International explorer Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, being so mesmerized at the first sight of the island, called it “Las Islas Felipinas” in 1543. In another circumstance, American forces in 1945 deemed Leyte as a crucial position in the region and in the entire archipelago to launch a major offense against the Japanese forces. The 1944 Battle of Leyte Gulf is a memorable event in the history of Leyte, as well as the world famous landing of General Douglas MacArthur at Palo, Leyte.

Today, Leyte residents are preoccupied with rice farming on the plain, particularly in its capital city, Tacloban, and coconut farming on its more hilly and mountainous regions. People on the coasts of Leyte still enjoy fishing, and perfect dive sites are also available in 5 places: two in Padre Burgos, Donsol, Macrohon, and Hilongos. Leyte has 3 main cities (Tacloban, Ormoc, and Baybay) and 40 municipalities. Ormoc is an independent city.

For a quick look at Leyte’s picturesque and memorable tourist attractions we have Buga-Buga Hills in Villaba, Leyte, and Hill 120 or “Catmon Hill” in Dulag, Leyte. Both are war memorials. There’s the famous Santo Nino Shrine and its Heritage Museum in Tacloban, and, of course, Southeast Asia’s longest bridge, San Juanico, connecting Leyte and Samar.

Leyte conjures many images of the past as well as potential in the future. It also brings together people of various origins and cultural backgrounds for a rich adventure any traveler will enjoy experiencing.

 




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