The province’s capital is the vibrant city of Tacloban. It is home to approximately 1.9 million Leyteno’s who speaks either Waray or Cebuano and almost everyone can speak and understand the English language. Most of its inhabitants rely on farming rice, maize, coconuts, abaca, tobacco, bananas and sugarcane. For those that live near the sea, fishing is the primary source of income. The main staple is rice and fish.
Leyte also has been notable for geothermal electric power plants near Ormoc.
Leyte boasts its longest bridge that connects it to its sister island Samar, the San Juanico Bridge. It was completed in 1972 and has been a great boost to the economy of Leyte and its sister island, Samar. The bridge offers a magnificent view of the skies and the sea especially during sunset. It is an hour travel from the airport to this bridge. Your visit to Leyte would never be complete without visiting this pride of Leyte.
An hour travel away from San Juanico Bridge, lies the MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial National Park in Palo. This park commemorates the historic landing of General Douglas MacArthur in Leyte Gulf. This park has a life-sized statues of Gen. MacArthur along with other historic personalities.
At the heart of Tacloban lies The Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum. It boasts the painting of the fourteen stations of the cross done by Filipino artists and a bas-relief of the legend of the first Filipino man and woman (Malakas and Maganda).
If you want to take a plunge in the cool waters, Leyte has its share of beautiful lakes and beaches. First off, there is Lake Danao located in Ormoc City. It is a two hour drive from Tacloban. It has a beautiful violin-shaped lake hemmed by cloud-capped mountain ranges.
Not to be taken off the list of course is the beautiful Kalanggaman Island. Its turquoise waters and white sand makes the one hour travel by boat all worthwhile. It has been a secluded island but because of its gradual recognition, it has welcomed numerous tourists both foreign and local into its shores. Sometimes during weekends, the island may be swarming with tourists making it a little crowdy. But during weekdays, one can indulge in its beauty–its majestic sunrise and sunset along with pure quiet and star studded nights during the night. At the break of dawn, one can even simply walk along the beach and indulge in the turquoise scenery and the sound of the lapping waves. Truly a destination for those who are weary of the noise in the cities.
Unfortunately on November 8, 2013, the strongest typhoon ever recorded in history hit the province destroying 70-80% of the province’s structures and left 10,000 casualties. Nonetheless as the people of Leyte may be naturally resilient, it has stood its ground. The strongest typhoon may have destroyed their homes but not their spirit.
So next time you are planning to travel, why not include Leyte in one of your destinations? Besides meeting its resilient people, you will surely enjoy visiting this island of the Philippines.