Leyte is a province in the Eastern Visayas region. Tacloban City is its capital city, which is also known as the “Gateway to Eastern Visayas.” Because, Ormoc City, my hometown, is a component city of the province and it is also affectionately called “Beauty by the Bay.” Historically, the province was divided into Leyte and Southern Leyte in 1959. And Biliran became a separate province in 1992. Leyte became a part of world history during World War II when one of the largest and fiercest armies battles were fought in the Leyte Gulf. The Battle of the Leyte Gulf culminated during the landing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur to American and Filipino soldiers on the coast of Palo. Leyte is indeed a beautiful province, full of wonderful people and interesting attractions. And now, I want to share with you 18 exciting things in Leyte that you can experience in this province!
1. Walking or running across the San Juanico Bridge:
The San Juanico Bridge is considered one of the very famous landmarks of Leyte and the whole region. One reason for that is its inclusion in our history books. With a length of 2.16 kilometers, it is the Philippines’ longest bridge, linking the islands of Leyte and Samar. You can either stroll over the bridge and take in the stunning views of the islands and islets, or you can race across it. I found out that a lot of people are doing their exercises- running and walking across the bridge in the early morning on the bridge.
2. Visit the Provincial Capitol of Tacloban:
In Tacloban, I recommend you visit the Capitol building. The Leyte Provincial Capitol served as the Capitol Building of the Philippines from October 23, 1944, to February 27, 1945, during the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines. Today, it is the seat of the Leyte provincial government. It is a neoclassical building built in 1907 and located along Senator Enage St. and Magsaysay Boulevard in Tacloban City.
3. Try Bukid Outdoor Shop wall climbing and Climbing Gym in Tacloban:
One of the most exciting things to do in Tacloban is wall climbing or bouldering at the now popular Farm Outdoor Shop. Make a visit to their gym located at 206 Padre Burgos Street, Tacloban City. I recommend that you should not miss it too!
4. Take time to relax in the Butterfly Farm in Babatngon:
Located in the small town of Babatngon in the northern part of Leyte is the Butterfly Farm Nature Conservation Center. It is truly a wonderful place — a haven for people who love nature in its simple, peaceful, and beautiful state. This is a great place for wellness enthusiasts too!
5. See the Leyte Landing Memorial Park in Palo for yourself:
One should not miss a visit to the place where the great Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed in Leyte. The Leyte Landing Memorial also known as MacArthur Park is located in Brgy. Candahug sa Palo. Red Beach is close by, so named after the US military’s color-coding scheme and bloodshed at sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf
6. Try Tanauan Skimboarding:
The town of Tanauan, which is located a few kilometers south of Tacloban, the place where boiling skimboarding first began in the Philippines. Today, it hosts many national and international skimboarding competitions.
7. Chase the three unfamiliar lakes in Ormoc:
Ormoc has three beautiful lakes located in the mountain barangays of the city. These are Lake Downtown (also known as “The Little Lake Danao), Lake Janagdan, and the very famous Lake Danao. The lakes are ideal for boating, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and sight-seeing.
8. Climb Alto Peak to Ormoc:
The highest mountain in the Eastern Visayas is Alto Peak. It is a popular mountain for climbing in Leyte and a popular training climb for the region’s numerous outdoor clubs. It is situated at a height of 1,332 metres above sea level. You can see the magnificent view of Alto Peak through bundok ng amandewing (Amandiwin Mountains in Leyte). The jump-off point is Brgy, Cabingtan.
9. Watch a colorful sunset over Ormoc Bay:
Ormoc Bay is one of the best spots to see a sunset in Leyte. One can witness the sunset in a majestic view of Mt. Branches and islands of Camotes.
10. Explore the seven-level, Masaba Falls, in Matag-ob:
Per-ob is a municipality in the western part of Leyte. It is a small town where you can explore the engaging seven-level, Masaba Falls. You can reach the waterfall on foot after a 30-minute 1-hour river trek.
11. Swimming and snorkeling on Kalanggaman Island in Palompon:
Kalanggaman Island is now fast becoming a well-known tourist destination in Leyte. The island is located off the coast of Palompon, in the western part of Leyte. The island is famous for its vast stretch of sandbars, white beaches, clear seawater, and tranquil surroundings.
12. Take a bath on a beach in Merida:
Still in the western part of Leyte is the quiet town of Merida, where you can find beautiful beaches to swim in.
13. Beach bumming in Albuera:
Albuera is a small town located 15 kilometers south of Ormoc City. It is also famous for beaches and resorts. Personally, The beaches here are my favorite because of the beautiful view of Ormoc Bay.
14. Climb Mt. Pangasugan sa Baybay:
This mountain is famous for mountaineers. Mt. Pangasugan is also recognized as “the Eastern Visayas’ last forest boundary.” It is situated at a height of 1,150 metres above sea level. The 2nd Visayas Mountain Festival took place here in 2005.
15. Discover the four Islands in Inopacan and Hindang:
These are beautiful islands off the coast of the towns of Inopacan and Hindang. The names of the islands are Apid, Digyo, Mahaba, and Himokilan.
16. Canigao Island in Matalom:
Canigao Island is also a must-visit destination when in Leyte. It is a 15-20 minute boat ride from mainland Matalom and it is in fact a stunning island paradise.
17. Explore Bito Falls in Javier:
If you like river trekking and waterfalls, you can also explore the majestic Bito Falls in Javier. You will enjoy nature and the cold water after a 2-hour river trip from its drop-off point in Brgy. Tambis.
18. Go on a food trip:
Yes, you are, read it correctly! Put some delightful delicacies and recipes in your stomach as you travel throughout the province of Leyte. Taste the binagol and moron in Tacloban, pastillas in Carigara, cassava bread in Ormoc, and roscas in Barugo.