LEYTE, together with Samar and Biliran in the Eastern Visayas remains among the nations most marvelous, undisturbed travel destinations.
The island of Leyte has a past etched in history. It is the site of the first mass in the Philippines and the region of some of the most monumental battles of World War II. The single, largest naval battle in human history took place offshore from Leyte during World War II. Red Beach, south of the island’s leading city. Tacloban. was the silent General Douglas MacArthur’s triumphant return to the Philippines in October 1944.
Memories of bloody battles of World War II are present at MacArthur Park, Palo. Here, larger than life statues of General MacArthur, President Sergio Osmena. Generals Carlos P. Romulo and Basilio Valdez and four American officers commemorate the famous landing at Red Beach. Inside the park is the Stone Garden of Peace where world leaders have inscribed pledges of peace.
Hill 522 or Guinhangdan Hill in Palo, marks the site of the liberation of the town by U.S. Forces. The American flag was first hoisted be Liberation troops on Hill 120 in Dulag. Price Mansion in Tacloban was MacArthur’s temporary headquarters.
There are constant reminders of Spanish influence in Leyte. These include the imposing Cathedral of Palo and the Hilongos Belltower. Religious shrines abound with the Santo Nino Church and the Madonna of Japan in Tacloban and the La Purisima Shrine in Patio. Natural attractions include the San Juanico Strait, site of the country’s longest and most impressive bridge and Lake Danao. Cualros Islas. Hindang and Inopacan are famous for their white sand and coral reefs.
SOUTHERN LEYTE: Limasawa Island is the site of the first Christian Mass in Asia on March 31, 1521. The island is also a divers paradise. A good challenge for climbers and trekkers are Padre Burgos, San Francisco and Pintuyan. Big Plain (Patag Duke) in Libagon. Other natural attractions of Southern Leyte include caves at Cagnitoan and Guinsohotoan as well as beaches at San Pedro and San Pablo: Sulphur Spring in Anahawan.
Tacloban is the largest city and regional capital of Eastern Visayas. There are attractive parklands, including the Japanese Garden and Madonna Statue with views over the San Juanico Strait to Samar. The heritage of the city is exhibited at the People’s Center and Library. Price Mansion and the Santo Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum. The city has a wide range of quality accommodation and takes full advantage of succulent, local seafood delivered fresh from the waters of San Pedro Bay.
Hotel Alejandro is a lasting tribute to Dr. Alejandro Montejo, Tacloban’s long time resident, doctor and gentleman. Constructed in 1932, the hotel has a remarkable World War II history, from being occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army to liberation and home to well-known American War correspondents. The hotel has 44 immaculate rooms and the Wrold War II Museum contains original photographs of the Leyte Landing and General Douglas MacArthur.