The Land of History
Leyte is among the country’s most historic provinces, proud of its rich and significant past. It was the site not only of a major uprising against the Spaniards but also of the famous landing of US forces during World War II, marking its place in history as the point of entry for the American forces of liberation.
This historical consciousness is reflected on Leyte’s provincial seal. The stars symbolize the 49 towns of the province. The alphabet on the cross indicates its second phase of development, when Magellan passed through the province en route to Cebu. And the upper portion commemorates the landing of General Douglas MacArthur, through a perspective of the National Freedom Park.
Leyte is traversed by many low mountain ranges just like the Samar and Visayan islands. From the northwestern section to the southeastern extremities extends a very rugged, almost impassable ridge. There are also many extinct volcanoes, the most important of which is Mahagnao.
Its capital city, Tacloban, is the most important seaport on the eastern coast while Ormoc City is the primary outlet on the western coast.
Comprising a total land area of 5,712.8 sq. km., Leyte is bounded on the north by Carigara Bay, on the east by the San Juanico Strait and Leyte Gulf, on the west by the Visayan Sea and Ormoc Sea, and on the south by Southern Leyte.
The terrain of the province is relatively flat to gently rolling and becoming mountainous and rough towards the center where a mountain range begins.
Areas of Interest
The Leyte Provincial Capitol is the seat of the provincial government where historic viewing of a mural depicting the First Mass of Limasawa in the Orient and the landing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur can be done.
The Leyte Landing Memorial in Red Beach, Palo, marks the spot where American liberation forces landed it also has a lagoon where the life-size statues of Gen. McArthur and his fleet stands.
Lake Danao is a violin-shaped lake hemmed by cloud-capped mountain ranges. It is a hunter’s paradise where wild animals roam the surrounding forests. It is also said to be the home of a giant eel.
The Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum boasts the painting of the 14 Station of the Cross done by Filipino artists and a bas-relief of the legend of the first Filipino man and woman (Malakas and Maganda).
The San Juanico Bridge is the longest and the most beautifully designed bridge in the Philippines. It features the picturesque San Juanico Strait with a thousand whirlpools, lovely islets and view.
The economy of Leyte depends on agriculture. Rice is farmed in the lower flatter areas specifically those around Tacloban, while coconut farming, for coconut oil, and is the main cash crop of the more mountainous areas. Fishing is also a major source of livelihood among residents.
Heavy rains occur between November and February while March to April and August to September are the driest months.
People and Culture
The people of Leyte are divided into two main groups, primarily by language. In the west and south are the Cebuanos, while in the north and east are the Waray-waray.
The Cebuanos have ties with Cebu, the most populous province in the Visayas; the Warays are more tied to Leyte and Samar.
Source: Wow Philippines and Wikipedia