Leyte Travel Guide

Overview of Leyte

When it comes to tourism attractions, Leyte is diverse. Leyte is a must-see when in the Philippines because it has both historical sites and beautiful islands for the ideal vacation. The Leyte Landing Memorial Park, where General Douglas MacArthur landed and uttered the famous phrase "I shall return," must be visited as part of any tour to Leyte.

The gorgeous Kalanggaman Island, which is located in Leyte, is known for its pristine waters and fine, white sand. Leyte is also home to the San Juanico Bridge, which connects Leyte to Samar and is the longest bridge in the nation. Leyte offers beautiful natural wonders like the guitar-shaped lake in Lake Danao National Park where you can swim, kayak, or go fishing.

Where to Go

Tacloban City

The capital of Leyte, Tacloban City, has historical significance as it played a crucial role during World War II. You can visit the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park and the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum.

San Juanico Bridge

Connecting the islands of Leyte and Samar, the San Juanico Bridge is the longest bridge in the Philippines. The view from the bridge is spectacular, and it's a great spot for taking photos.

Caluwayan Palm Island Beach Resort

Located in Marabut, this beach resort offers white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and water activities such as kayaking and snorkeling. It's a perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Leyte.

Leyte Landing Memorial

Also known as the MacArthur Park, it commemorates the landing of General Douglas MacArthur during the Battle of Leyte in 1944. The site features a larger-than-life bronze statue of General MacArthur.

Hill 120 (The Battle of Leyte Gulf Park)

This park is dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who fought during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas.

Kalanggaman Island

While not directly in Leyte but accessible from the province, Kalanggaman Island is known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. It's a popular destination for day trips and snorkeling.

Cuatro Islas

Another island-hopping destination, Cuatro Islas (Four Islands) consists of Digyo, Mahaba, Apid, and Himokilan Islands. Each island has its charm, and you can explore their unique landscapes.

Lake Danao National Park

Located in Ormoc City, this park features a serene lake surrounded by lush forests. Visitors can enjoy boating, bird watching, and hiking in the area.

What to Do

Explore the Historical Sites

Visit the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in Palo, Tacloban, which commemorates the landing of General Douglas MacArthur during World War II. Explore the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Cross the San Juanico Bridge

Take a drive or walk across the iconic San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in the Philippines. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding waters and landscapes.

Relax on the Beaches

Spend a day at Caluwayan Palm Island Beach Resort or other coastal areas for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.

Visit Leyte Gulf Park

Explore Hill 120, known as the Battle of Leyte Gulf Park, where you can learn about the historical events that took place during World War II.

Island Hopping

Experience island hopping to destinations like Cuatro Islas (Four Islands) or Kalanggaman Island for pristine beaches and vibrant marine life.

Bird Watching at Lake Danao

Head to Lake Danao National Park for bird watching and nature walks. The park offers a serene environment and is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Attend Festivals

Check the local calendar for festivals. Leyte hosts various festivals celebrating cultural traditions and historical events. The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is a popular one that showcases colorful street dances and cultural presentations.

Explore Ormoc City

Visit Ormoc City and enjoy the beauty of Lake Danao, as well as the city's parks and gardens. Ormoc is also known for its delicious local cuisine.

Engage with Locals

Immerse yourself in the local culture by interacting with the friendly Leyteños. Participate in community activities, attend local events, and learn about their traditions.

When is the Best Time to Visit Leyte

The best time to visit Leyte is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April. During these months, Leyte experiences relatively less rainfall and more stable weather conditions. The skies are clearer, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities, beach exploration, and sightseeing. The dry season is particularly suitable for those who want to enjoy the beautiful beaches, historical sites, and natural attractions.

From May to October, Leyte experiences its wet season. While this period sees higher rainfall, especially in the later months, it is important to note that these conditions are a normal part of the tropical climate. The wet season can actually be quite enchanting, transforming the landscape into lush greenery and vibrant scenery.

How to Get to Leyte

By Air

Leyte is accessible by air, and the most convenient way to reach the province is by flying into Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban City. The airport serves as the main gateway, and several domestic airlines operate regular flights to and from Tacloban. Travelers can easily find direct flights from major airports in Manila, Cebu, and other key cities. The airport is well-equipped, making it a comfortable and efficient entry point for those coming to explore the diverse attractions of Leyte.

By Sea

For those who prefer a maritime journey, Leyte can be reached by sea. The province has several ports, with the most prominent being the Tacloban City Port. Various ferry services operate routes connecting Leyte to other neighboring islands, including Cebu, Bohol, and Mindanao.

Travellers can choose from a range of ferry options, offering different levels of comfort and travel durations. The sea voyage provides a scenic approach to Leyte, and once at the port, visitors can easily access different parts of the province using local transportation.

By Car / Bus

Leyte is well-connected by land, and getting there by car or bus is a viable option for those who enjoy road travel. The province has an extensive road network, and major highways link Leyte to other parts of the Philippines.

Travellers can take buses or rent cars for a more flexible and scenic journey. The San Juanico Bridge, connecting Leyte and Samar, is an iconic structure worth experiencing during a road trip.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

Navigating within Leyte is relatively convenient with the availability of taxis and ride-sharing services in urban areas, especially in places like Tacloban City. Taxis are a common mode of transportation, and they can be hailed on the streets or booked through ride-sharing apps. These services provide a comfortable and efficient way to explore the city and reach specific destinations.

By Car / Motorcycle

Exploring Leyte at your own pace is made possible by renting a car or motorcycle. Car rental services are available in major cities, providing flexibility for travellers to visit various attractions and navigate the roads independently.

Renting a car is especially recommended for those planning to explore the scenic landscapes and more remote areas of Leyte. Similarly, motorcycles, often referred to as "habal-habal" when hired for transport, are a popular choice for short-distance travel within towns. Riding a motorcycle allows for easy maneuvering through traffic and access to locations not easily reached by larger vehicles.

What to Eat

Local Food

Indulge in the rich local food of Leyte by savoring delicacies at notable restaurants such as Stone Grill Restaurant, Spy's Diner, II Fattoria Restaurant, and Jo's Chicken Inato Milagrina.

Fresh Seafood

Along the coastal towns and beachside areas, travellers can find numerous seafood restaurants and eateries offering a wide array of ocean-fresh delights. Establishments such as Pagatpat Seafoods Restaurant, Tita Dina's Seafood Restaurant, and Ochó Seafood and Grill are popular choices for those craving the taste of the sea.

Western Food

In Leyte, several restaurants offer a delectable array of Western cuisine, providing a delightful contrast to the local flavours. Establishments like Isaiah Foodzillas, Giuseppe’s and Fahrenheit Food Center.

What to Buy

When exploring Leyte, consider bringing home unique local products that showcase the province's rich culture and craftsmanship. Look for intricately woven handicrafts made from abaca fibers, such as bags, hats, and home decor, which are skillfully crafted by local artisans. Leyte is also known for its delicious delicacies, including binagol (taro and coconut dessert) and moron (chocolate and glutinous rice cake).

Purchase beautifully designed shellcraft items, showcasing the artistic talent of Leyteños. For those seeking souvenirs with historical significance, consider items related to General Douglas MacArthur, as Leyte played a crucial role in World War II. Whether it's traditional crafts, delectable treats, or historical memorabilia, Leyte offers a diverse range of souvenirs that reflect the province's vibrant culture and heritage.

Where to Stay

Leyte provides a variety of accommodation options catering to different preferences and budgets. In Tacloban City, the capital of Leyte, you'll find a selection of hotels ranging from luxury establishments to more budget-friendly choices. The city's central location makes it a convenient base for exploring the surrounding areas.

For a beachfront experience, resorts like Caluwayan Palm Island Beach Resort offer a tranquil setting with stunning ocean views. In Ormoc City, there are hotels and inns offering comfortable stays, often situated near Lake Danao for a scenic atmosphere.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

For your journey to Leyte, it is advised to pack lightweight and comfortable attire, taking into account the tropical climate. Choose breathable materials such as cotton and linen to remain cool in the heat.

Bring swimwear for beach outings, and consider modest clothing when visiting religious sites. Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are suitable for casual outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful if you plan to explore nature reserves or hike.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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