By: | September 4th, 2014 | 0 Comment

The island of the Waray-waray, Leyte is located in the eastern part of the Visayas. It is very close to the province of Cebu and the Camotes. The capital city is Tacloban, which occupies a large part of the island. It speaks two languages, Waray-waray and Cebuano, due to its close proximity to the Queen City of the South.

The way of life in Leyte is more on farming and fishing, and it is basically all about provincial living. You can find a lot of historical landmarks and scenic places around. There are also several places you can go to since Leyte is a large island with numerous towns and islets.

The beautiful and mountainous island of Leyte has its own share of notable distinctions such as the location of the longest bridge in the country. The San Juanico Bridge connects the islands of Leyte and Samar at their narrowest point along the San Juanico Strait.

The beautiful and mountainous island of Leyte has its own share of notable distinctions such as the location of the longest bridge in the country. The San Juanico Bridge connects the islands of Leyte and Samar at their narrowest point along the San Juanico Strait.

How to get to Leyte

By Land

The current road network that crisscross Southern Leyte involves major arteries that connects Leyte via two main outlets – the Maasin-Mahaplag-Baybay on the Western region and the Mahaplag-Sahod on the central region through the Maharlika Highway.

As of 1996, Southern Leyte stretched a total of 1,413,736 kms – 20% consisting of national roads, 25% provincial roads, 9% municipal road, and 46% barangay roads.

By Air

By air, Philippine Airlines as well as Cebu Pacific has three flights daily plying the Manila to Tacloban route. The total time of travel is 1 hour and 10 minutes. Air Philippines likewise has four weekly flights plying the Cebu-Tacloban route.

Southern Leyte currently only has one operational airport stationed in Pananawan, Maasin. It is regarded as a feeder airport with a runway 1200 meters long and 30 meters wide. However, the airport does not currently service commercial flights. There are no terminals and they can only accept general aviation planes weighing less than 12,000 pounds during the day.

By Sea

Trips by Sulpicio Lines going to Tacloban takes about 36 hours. The ship leaves Manila three times a week. The departure day should be arranged one week prior to the trip.

There are about a dozen seaports in Southern Leyte with the Maasin and Liloan ports classified as national ports while ten are municipal ports. From these ten ports, five are now fully functioning – the Maasin, St. Bernard, Sogod, San Juan, and Liloan. From Cebu, the trip will take approximate 6 hours on a regular ship and a couple of hours on Supercat and Waterjet. A ferryboat trip takes 3 hours from Liloan to Surigao.

From Cebu, one can reach Southern Leyte by taking a Fast Boat going to Ormoc and then ride an air-conditioned van going to Hinunangan.

Once you reach town, it is quite noticeable that people are using modified pedicabs as freight haulers. The passenger seat is substituted with a flat piece of metal and a short fence.

Tourist Attractions

Leyte Provincial Capitol
Location: Cor. Sen. Enage St. and Magsaysay Boulevard, Tacloban City
Description: Built in 1907, it is the seat of the provincial government of Leyte
Attraction: Viewing of historic murals depicting the first Christian Mass in the Orient and Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s landing
Description: Became the seat of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines from October 23, 1944 to February 27,1945 when President Sergio Osmena, Sr. came in 1944 with the WW II Liberation Forces.

CAP Building (formerly Price Mansion)
Location: Justice Romualdez Street, Tacloban City
Description: An example of the American colonial home built in 1900.
Attraction: Sturdy mansion where General MacArthur put up his official headquarters and residence during the liberation of the Philippines in 1944. The building suffered a direct hit from a bomb dropped by a Japanese warplane.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur Landing Memorial
Location: Red Beach, Palo, Leyte; can be reached by public transport or private vehicle
Description: Spacious parking space; garden with a variety of Philippine flowers and shrubs; beautiful landscaping
Attraction: Monument marking the spot where General MacArthur landed with the Liberation Forces; lagoon where the statues of the liberators stand 1.5 times bigger than life-size; beautiful beach; Leyte Gulf and Samar Island; 50th Leyte Landing Anniversary Commemorative Rock Garden.

Palo Metropolitan Cathedral
Location: Palo, Leyte; 12 kms. from Tacloban City.
Description: Catholic Church; landscaped grounds; gold-plated altar and stations of the cross carved by local artist.
Attraction: 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.

Tacloban City Hall
Location: Atop Kanhuraw Hill, Tacloban City
Description: Landscaped garden with concrete tables and chairs; canteen; function hall; City Tourism Office.
Attraction: 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-Japan peace memorial markers.

Hill 522
Location: Palo, Leyte 12 kms. from Tacloban City, plus trekking 522 ft. up.
Description: Clearing site for camporals, picnics and healthful climbing
Attraction: Commonly called Guinhangdan (root word: “hangad”; to look upward) Hill, 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; memorial marker built by Mie Prefecture.

Hill 120
Location: Dulag, Leyte, 34 kms. from Tacloban City.
Description: Landscaped garden with tropical flowers and shrubs; benches, concrete tables with canopy; restroom, open-air stage where memorial programs are held.
Attraction: Hill 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; Catmon Hill and battle sites of Leyte Valley; panoramic view of Leyte Gulf and surrounding coastal towns.

Japanese War Memorial Cemetery
Location: Brgy. San Diego, Burauen, Leyte; 52 kms. from Tacloban City.
Description: Canopy of native design; 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.
Attraction: Site of one of the fiercest battles fought in Leyte for the liberation; Japanese cemetery frequently visited by memorial tour groups.

San Juanico Bridge
Location: 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.
Attraction: Longest and most beautifully designed bridge in the Philippines; picturesque San Juanico Strait with a thousand whirlpools; lovely islets; picturesque views.

Mahagnao National Park
Location: Burauen, Leyte, 66 kms. from Tacloban City
Attraction: Established as a national park since 1937; awe-inspiring craters, hotsprings, multi-colored muds and rocks, lakes, virgin forests with giant ferns and orchids, lagoon, and temperate climate.

Lake Danao
Location: Ormoc City, 125 kms. from Tacloban City
Attraction: A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 kms. 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
Location: Towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pump boat ride
Attraction: 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. breathtakingly beautiful sunset on summer evenings; museum for specimen on wildlife.

Madonna of Japan
Location: At the foot of Kanhuraw Hill, Tacloban City
Facilities: Benches, lamp posts, altar for offerings.
Attraction: 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.

Sto. Nino Church
Location: Corner Real and Zamora Sts., Tacloban City.
Facilities: Catholic Church with daily masses; conference room where religious meetings are held.
Attraction: Miraculous Image of Santo Nino, patron saint of Leyte; also known as the Church of Liberation.

Crucified Christ and the Map of Leyte Pilgrim Monument
Location: Kanhuraw Hill, Tacloban City.
Facilities: Fountain with wishing pond adorned with floating candles, lamp posts.
Attraction: Image of the Crucified Christ seen through the map of Leyte.

Stations of the Cross
Location: On top of the hill above Serin District overlooking Tacloban City.
Facilities: Place for prayer and meditation on the Passion of Christ.
Attraction: 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.

With the scorching heat and climate change, all roads lead to KALANGGAMAN ISLAND.
KALANGGAMAN is a strip of land with an area of less than 10 hectares, situated approximately 12 kilometers from the shoreline of the mainland of Palompon, Leyte. With its rich marine environment , it served as traditional fishing grounds of the local fisherfolks and communal area for swimming and social gatherings of local residents. Lying midway to Cebu province, it has milky white sand and crystal clear waters, blue waters and palm trees.

Kalanggaman’s root word, “langgam” means ant in Tagalog, it is a bird in the Visayas. Whatever it is, KALANGGAMAN ISLAND is emerging as a beach holiday hide-away. Foreign tourists hop on the Island from nearby Malapascua Island of Cebu. On weekends, it is full of local tourists – families, employees, yuppies, marine sports buffs and nature lovers. Various occasions, varied experiences and impressions.

Kalanggaman is tiptoeing as it strikes a sensitive balance between tourism and preservation of its natural charm. We, the Department of Tourism Region 8 Family, were recent island visitors. While we enjoyed swimming in its clear aqua marine waters and frolicking in its white sandy beach, we dreamed that its picturesque shorelines, mangrove and marine life would remain intact for succeeding generations. The idealism of pristine nature would seem to be the trade-offs for the little physical discomfort of guests like us. For Kalanggaman is equipped only with the basic tourist facilities like restrooms, kiosks, canteen and battery – powered electricity. Appropriate and minimal development interventions that is.

What is a day and night like in Kalanggaman? Camping is fun. You can sleep soundly and safely on the beach. Have a mosquito repellant, just in case. More travel tips: sunblock to protect your skin, sunglass, hat, flashlight, sleeping gear, mineral water, ice cubes, foodstuffs. Different strokes for different folks, however. Local picnic treats are typically Filipino – food galore from crispy lechon, adobo to rootcrops.

Kalanggaman is friendly to children and non-swimmers. The waves are not intimidating. It has an intertidal white sand bar that appears and disappears along the western part of the islet depending on the direction of the waves. A briefing is given on activities and areas suited to scuba diving, swimming, bird watching, snorkeling, boating, etc.

About Marianne Castro

Hi, I’m Marianne. I’m a blogger based in Cebu, Philippines. I’m adventurous and enjoys exploring different places. Philippine Online Travel intended as a travel guide, local promotion, information and local search page for Philippines. If you want your place to be featured, for partnerships and sponsorships. - email me at info@philippine-online-travel.com

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