Leyte

Things to Do and see in Leyte

HISTORICAL

Leyte Provincial Capitol

Located at the corner of Sen. Enage Street and Magsaysay Boulevard, Tacloban City. Built in 1907, it is the seat of the provincial government of Leyte. It was also the seat of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines when President Sergio Osmeña, Sr. came in 1944 with the WW II Liberation Forces. Historic viewing of murals depicting the First Christian Mass in the Orient and General Douglas MacArthur’s Landing is offered.

CAP Building (formerly Price Mansion).

Located in Justice Romualdez St., Tacloban City. An example of American colonial homes built in the 1900s. Sturdy mansion where General Douglas MacArthur put up his official headquarters and residence during the Liberation period in 1944.

Redona Residence

Located in T. Claudio Street, Tacloban City. Official residence of President Sergio Osmeña, Sr. when he stayed in the province with the American Liberation Forces in 1944 until the Philippine Commonwealth was re-established in Manila.

Gen. Douglas Macarthur Landing Memorial

Situated in Red Beach, Palo, Leyte, the monument marks the spot where General Douglas MacArthur landed with the American Liberation Forces in 1944. The statues of the liberators stand in a lagoon, 1.5 times bigger than lifesize. It is also the site of the 50th Leyte Landing Anniversary Commemorative Rock Garden of Peace. A beautiful beach can be found in the area.

Hill 522

Located in Palo, Leyte, 12 km. from Tacloban City, plus a trek 522 ft. up. Commonly called Guinhangdan Hill, it was the entrance to the first liberated town of Palo in 1944 after having been heavily bombarded to destroy the garrisons built by the Japanese artillery units. Foxholes built by the Japanese still exist. There is a memorial marker built by Mie Prefecture.

Hill 120

Located in Dulag, Leyte, 34 km. from Tacloban City. Commonly called Catmon Hill, it was where the first American flag was raised by the Liberation Forces of the U.S. Army on October 20, 1944 after the Fall of Bataan. Battle sites of Leyte Valley can be found here. It offers a panoramic view of Leyte Gulf and surrounding coastal towns; a landscaped garden with tropical flowers and shrubs; benches, concrete tables with canopy; restroom, open-air stage where memorial programs are held.

Battle of Baluarte Marker

Located in Baluarte, Brgy. Minuhang, Barugo, Leyte, 52 km. from Tacloban City. Site of the historic battle between Filipino guerrillas and Japanese Imperial Forces at dawn of August 24, 1944; significant because there was no Filipino casualty while all the Japanese except one were killed in the encounter. Spacious parking space; fresh young coconuts available by arrangement; fisherman’s village.

Hilongos Bell Tower

Located in Hilongos, Leyte. Highest existing bell tower built during the Spanish era; historic viewing of Spanish fort/marker at churchyard.

Japanese War Memorial Cemetery. Located in Brgy. San Diego, Burauen, Leyte, 52 km. from Tacloban City. Site of one of the fiercest battles fought in Leyte for the liberation; Japanese cemetery frequently visited by memorial tour groups. Remnants of airfield built by the Japanese soldiers during World War II; flower garden where the Japanese visitors offer gifts and prayer for their dead.

Buga-Buga Hills

Located in Villaba, Leyte, 125 km. from Tacloban City. Mountain stronghold of General Suzuki where thousands of Japanese soldiers died defending the area and hundreds of American lives were sacrificed in the assault to capture this hill during World War II; frequented by big Japanese memorial tour groups and bone hunting expedition and object of pilgrimage by domestic and foreign tourists.

Philippine-Japan Peace Memorial

Located in Carlota Hills, Ormoc City, 109 km. from Tacloban City. An impressive memorial marker put up by Nagoya and Gifu Prefectures; one of the city’s picturesque hills overlooking Ormoc Bay.

Boy Scout Monument

Located in Rotunda at Fatima Village, Tacloban City. The first Boy Scout monument in the world erected in human form in 1941.

Monument of the Filipino Soldier

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 frredom.

Palo Metropolitan Cathedral

Located in Palo, Leyte, 12 km. from Tacloban City. Converted into an evacuation hospital of the Allied Forces of Liberation and refuge of civilians during World War II. Founded in 1596 by Augustinian friars; view of the famous Hill 522 overlooking Palo. Catholic church; landscaped grounds; gold-plated altar and stations of the cross carved by local artist.

Breakneck Ridge

Located in Brgy. Limon, Capoocan, Leyte, 72 km. from Tacloban City. Site of the bloodiest battles during the liberation of the Philippines; scenic viewing of the battle areas, nearby hills, and valleys; now a busy junction with street vendors, sari-sari stores, and eateries serving native food.

Dio Mainland Resort

Located in Brgy. San Jose, 7 km. from Tacloban City. Native cottages, native beach kiosks, function facilities, swimming pool, spacious parking area, restaurant, ground sports facilities. Commonly called Baluarte San Jose where remnants of World War II Japanese pill boxes and a canon still exist and preserved for viewing; panoramic view of Leyte Gulf and Samar Island.

Tacloban City Hall

Located atop Kanhuraw Hill. Seat of the city government of Tacloban since June 12, 1952; overview of Tacloban City, Cancabato Bay, San Pedro Bay, San Juanico Strait, Cataisan Point and Samar Island; surrounding Philippine-Japanese peace memorial markers. Landscaped garden with concrete tables and chairs; canteen; function hall; tourism office.

 

CULTURAL

People’s Center and Library

Located in Real Street, Tacloban City. Historical documents recording the rich cultural heritage of the people of Samar and Leyte; a collection of dioramas of the 82 ethnic tribes of the Philippines; a collection of books on the humanities. Social hall and reading room.

Sta. Fe Community Museum

Located in the Sta. Fe Leyte Municipal Hall. Contains antiques and artifacts dating back to the Spanish period like porcelain, bottles and WW II mementos. The collection was initiated by the people of Sta. Fe led by the town mayor and the municipal tourism council.

Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum

Located in Real Street, Tacloban City. Paintings of the 14 stations of the Cross done by Filipino artists, wooden bas-relief of the legend of the First Filipino man-woman (Si Malakas at si Maganda); tastefully decorated guestrooms of varied Filipino motifs; image of the Holy Child; a collection of original paintings by Fernando Amorsolo; spacious ballroom; priceless collector’s items.

 

NATURAL

White Beach

Located in Brgy. San Jose, 8 km. from Tacloban City. Good for fishing, swimming, boating, skiing, picnicking. Private and public beach houses; fishermen’s village; beach kiosks.

San Juanico Strait

Located in Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City, between the islands of Leyte and Samar – the south entrance at Tacloban and the north entrance at Babatngon. Said to be the narrowest yet the most navigable strait in the world. Beautiful islets and infinite whirlpools; rushing water scene; good for fishing and water skiing. San Juanico Bridge, motor vehicles.

Red Beach

Located in Brgys. Baras and Candahug, Palo Leyte, 10 km. from Tacloban City. Landing site of the Allied Forces headed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the liberation of the Philippines in 1944; panoramic view of Leyte Gulf and Samar Island; ideal place for promenading; picnicking, swimming, and windsurfing. Beach resort with restaurant, other guest services, and sports facilities, native beach, kiosks with wooden picnic tables, and benches for rent.

Mt. Kankahanay

Located in Jaro, Leyte, 37 km. from Tacloban City. Scenic virgin forests, very cool climate, almost 4,000 ft. above sea level; hunter’s paradise.

Mahagnao National Park

Located in Burauen, Leyte, 66 km. from Tacloban City plus hiking. Established national park since 1937; awe-inspiring craters, hot springs, multi-colored muds and rocks, lakes, virgin forests with giant ferns and orchids, lagoon, and temperate climate.

Leyte Mountain Trail

An outstanding trekking area which starts from the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park, Burauen to Lake Danao Natural Park in Ormoc, a distance of approximately 40 km. Rainforest tour, beautiful lakes – Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsu-ran and Danao; the spectacular Guinaniban Falls, breathtaking view of mountains, forests, plains and the island of Samar and Leyte from the crest of the central Amandiwing Mountain Range; the profusion of tropical flora and fauna including colourful insects, butterflies, dragonflies, bugs, giant millipedes, deers, wild boars, monkeys, birds, orchids, and giant ferns.

Tongonan Hotsprings National Park

Located in Ormoc City, 123 km. from Tacloban City (also accessible from Kananga). A valley of geothermal power source that can supply electricity to the whole region when fully developed; cool and relaxing climate; first geothermal power plant to operate in the Philippines.

Himokilan Island

Hindang, Leyte, 140 km. from Tacloban City plus 30-minute pumpboat ride. Largest island of the Cuatro Islas where the big delicious coconut-cracking crabs called “tatus” are found.

Lake Danao

Located in Ormoc City, 125 km. from Tacloban City. A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 km, long; hemmed by cloud-capped-mountain ranges of undetermined depth; wild animals roaming its surrounding forest; hunter’s paradise; lake said to be the habitat of giant eel.

Cuatro Islas

Located in the towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pumpboat ride. Four lovely isles namely, Digyo, Apid, Mahaba, and Himokilan bordered by white sandy shore; surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, the best in Leyte island. A total of 287 species of reef building corals can be found in the islands waters; rich fishing ground.

Mahaba Island (Cuatro Islas).

Located in Inopacan, Leyte, 130 km. from Tacloban City via Baybay, or 2-hour ride from Ormoc City; plus 30-minute pumpboat ride. Underwater paradise for eco-tourism; marine sanctuary; beautiful view of Camotes Sea; good fro swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving; limestone formation represents fossil coral reefs and fauna. Outrigger boat service; kiosks; restroom; viewing deck; diving equipment for rent; sari-sari (variety store) SCUBA tank; dive buddy; snorkelling equipment; glass bottom boat; “baruto” for rent.

Amihan Cebu Woodlands

Located in San Isidro and Calubian, Leyte. The coastline formation is ideal for swimming, water rides, and scuba diving. Cattles wildly roam around the fenced pasture land; coconut, forest trees, acacia trees, grasslands, shrubs, and mangroves enhance its scenic country appeal.

Mt. Pangasugan Ecopark

Located in Brgy. Pangasugan, Baybay, Leyte. One of the few remaining virgin rainforests in the Philippines. It is richly endowed with diverse flora and fauna, many of which are considered endangered species like flying lemurs and tarsiers; a unique and precious ecological asset.

 

RELIGIOUS

Madonna of Japan

Located at the foot of Kanhuraw Hill, Tacloban City. Landscaped garden with statue of the Goddess of Peace called Maria Kannon donated by the Japanese people – a symbol of peace and friendship between the Philippines and Japan; scenic view of Samar Island and Kankabato Bay. Benches, lamp posts, altar for offerings.

Sto. Niño Church

Located at the corner of Real and Zamora Streets, Tacloban City. Miraculous Image of Santo Niño, patron saint of Leyte. Also known as the Church of Liberation. Catholic church with daily masses; conference room where religious meetings are held.

Stations of the Cross

Located atop the hill above Serin District overlooking Tacloban City. The 14 Stations of the Cross in more than life-size concrete forms leading to the 18-foot statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Place for prayer and meditation on the Passion of Christ.

Buddhist Temple

Located in Anibong District, Tacloban City at the foot of a hill. A beautiful 2-storey pagoda where monks and Buddhists make their worship, prayers, and offerings. Overlooking Tacloban City and Samar Island. A wide balcony ideal for religious functions/receptions.

La Purisima Shrine

Located in Brgy. Guindapunan, Palo, Leyte, 12 km. from Tacloban City. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception replica which has been the object of devotional pilgrimage since its erection in 1879. Steps leading to Hill 522; shrine.

 

MAN-MADE

San Juanico Bridge

Crossing over San Juanico Strait, connects Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City (Leyte side) and Sta. Rita town (Samar side), approximately 10 minutes from Tacloban City; accessible by passenger jeepneys, buses, motorcabs and private vehicles. Longest and most beautifully designed bridge in the Philippines; picturesque San Juanico Strait with a thousand whirlpools; lovely islets; picturesque views.

SOS Children/Youth Villages in Milagrosa

Located in Brgy. Diit, 6 km. from Tacloban City. Cottages housing orphaned and abandoned children and youth; sports facilities; playground; social hall. Well-maintained villages; a beautiful school building and cottages donated by an Austrian philanthropist, the late Dr. Herman Gmeiner.

Visayas State College of Agriculture

Located in Baybay, Leyte, 118 km. from Tacloban City. Standing on a 1,000-hectare campus on the foothills of Baybay mountains, VISCA has emerged as premier agricultural college in the south. The college has established a reputation in root crop farming; beautiful landscape; long stretch of beaches for swimming and boat riding; panoramic view of Camotes Sea; breathtakingly beautiful sunset on summer evenings; museum for specimen on wildlife. Recreational facilities for ground sports, concrete beach kiosks, canteen, souvenir gift shops, wet market, hostel, guesthouse, pavilion, social hall.

 

FESTIVALS

Palo’s Holy Week Traditions (Good Friday; Palo, Leyte).

Palo, Leyte was declared in the Diocesan Synod of 1910 as a center of faith and religiousity in Eastern Visayas. Oldest of Palo’s Holy Week traditions is the Penitentes, a penitential fraternity of cassocked, barefoot, and hooded members organized by Fray Pantaleon de le Fuente, OFM in 1984 supposedly to replace the flagellants, fanatics who whipped themselves or have themselves whipped to atone for wrong doings, whose cult of fanatics was gaining momentum among the faithful.

Turugpo (Black Saturday; Brgy. Camansi, Carigara, Leyte).

Traditional jousts of native carabaos (pasungay) and horses (paaway). Cockfight (karambola) is another attraction.

Sunduan ha Carigara (Easter Sunday; Carigara, Leyte).

Easter Sunday celebrations with songs and dances and a colourful parade of floats depicting the rich history of the town of Carigara, once a capital of Leyte.

Sanggutan Festival (May 18; Barugo, Leyte)

The Barugo Sanggutan Festival honors the age-old process of coconut wine (tuba) making that has been and will always be a part of the life of the Barugueño. Sanggutan, the festival, is a dance of celebration. It is dance of men (the managgetes) and women (their wives, sisters, daughters) involved in the production of the red wine. It is also a dance of men and women enjoying the spirit of this gift from, literally, up high. The costumes are the everyday wear of the mananggete and his family, which is to say the dominant color is red, because the tuba dyes everything and everyone that it touches.

Lingganay Festival (June 18; Alang-alang, Leyte).

Street pageant depicting the legendary and mythical story of the bells.

Subiran Regatta (June 28; Tacloban City).

An exciting race of one-man native sailboats with outriggers locally called “subiran” along scenic and historic Leyte Gulf. The race is done without using a paddle but only skills and techniques to maneuver the sail.

Pintados Festival (June 29; Tacloban City).

A dance festival of painted dancers celebrating important events like exploits of war, nature worship in narrative dance movements depicting their own folk practices and beliefs. The custom of tattooing earned for the Leyteños the name of Pintados. From ancient history, Roman conquests mentioned tattooed people in Briton, Saitas, Oriental Tartar, and other parts of the world.

Balyuan (June 29; Balyuan Tower, Tacloban City)

The Feast of Sto. Niño, the revered patron saint of Tacloban, is celebrated with a pageant re-enacting the historical exchange of images between Barrio Buscada of Basey, Samar and Sitio Kankabatok, now Tacloban City. The Basey Flotilla bearing the church and government leaders goes on a fluvial procession along San Pedro Bay. A budyong (shell) call announces the sight of the flotilla off Kankabatok Bay.

Sto. Niño de Leyte Fiesta (June 30; Tacloban City)

Grand fiesta of Tacloban celebrated with the traditional turn-over ceremonies of the “Teniente” made by the immediate past Hermano Mayor to the incoming Hermano Mayor. This is accompanied by the ritual of giving the medallion containing the names of all Hermanos Pasados and the Standartes.

Hulatan Festival (August 11; Julita, Leyte)

Depicts the historical events which led to the creation of the municipality.

Pasaka Festival (August 14; Tanauan, Leyte)

A dance parade and street pageantry showing the culture of the town of Tanauan as it honors its patron saint, Our Lady of the Assumption. Pasaka connotes warm welcome, progress, and religious homage, and is the native word for assumption. A symbolic send-off of Our Lady of the Assumption where dancers in native costumes carry offerings to the town’s patroness as she is assured into heaven.

Lubi-Lubi Festival (August 15; Calubian, Leyte)

A dance festival extolling the many uses of the coconut parts as costumes, props, and accessories. The dance is in homage to the town’s patron saints, Our Lady of Fatima and St. Roque. This street dance and merrymaking depicts the origin of the town’s name, which means abundance of coconuts (lubi) which is considered as the “tree of life.”

Buyogan Festival (August 19; Abuyog, Leyte)

Adjudged as one of the ten best festivals of the Philippines, Buyogan’s artistic choreography and realistic costumes focus on the appearance and movement of the honeybee locally called “buyog” from where the town’s name originated.

Regional Tourism Quiz (September, on World Tourism Day; Tacloban City)

Inter-high school quiz on domestic and international tourism topics to create tourism awareness and encourage the active participation of the studentry in the promotion of Eastern Visayas as a tourist destination.

Parayaw han mga Kada-An / Linggo ng Kasuotang Pilipino (September, movable; Tacloban City)

The attire is an eloquent manifestation of national heritage and culture. Thus, the observance of the “Linggo ng Kasuotang Pilipino” has been implemented by the Department of Tourism to project the unique Filipino identity; create a sense of pride in being Filipino; and give due respect to Filipino heritage and culture. The exhibit features baro’t saya, binabaye, cayab, sando, salico, lo-on, enaqua, condonga, and panuelo of women who willingly agree to show their period gowns and dresses for young generations to have a glimpse into our local culture and heritage.

Leyte Gulf Landing’s Anniversary (October 20; Palo and Dulag, Leyte)

A commemorative program which marks the anniversary of the Ocotber 20, 1944 landing on Leyte of the Allied Forces of Liberation. General Douglas MacArthur and his men waded ashore at Red Beach in the town of Palo where statues of the liberators now stand. The historic event is usually attended by national government officials and dignitaries from embassies of United States, Japan, and Australia as well as World War II veterans who come on a sentimental journey.

Karisyohan han Pasko ha Palo (December 6 – January 6; Palo, Leyte)

The town of Palo, which is the religious center of Eastern Visayas, is transformed into a veritable ”Christmas Village” wherein the whole community participates in the beautiful Filipino traditions of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. In 1989, Enrico M. Saboren, a tenor based in California, started to decorate his family ancestral house with artistic Christmas decor from abroad. This “House of Fantasy” fascinate people from all walks of life who make it a point to visit Palo to enjoy the unique sights. As part of its annual entertainment, community competitions like best decorated barangay, best belen, best parol (lantern), old traditions of pastores and Christmas carol singing, drum and bugle corps, and other festivities make Christmas in Palo truly enjoyable.

Kasadya-an Festival (Movable date; Tacloban City)

Leyte’s festival of festivals, participated in by various municipalities in order to preserve cultural traditions thus enhancing the town’s touristic appeal.

 

WHERE TO STAY

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