Leyte Island is part of the Eastern Visayas region, and it saw some of the most important events in the history of the Philippines. The most notable event was the landing of General Douglas McArthur, which led to one of the world’s largest naval battles. Fast forward to the present, the province continues to attract locals and tourists with not only its historical attractions, but also its religious and scenic sites. So, if you want an unforgettable sightseeing experience in the province, then this list is for you. Come to Leyte Island and try out these 11 best activities.
1. Cross the San Juanico Bridge
Over 2.16 kilometers (1.2 mi) in length, San Juanico is considered the longest bridge in the whole country. It connects Leyte and Samar, and it’s a good place to jog or go for a walk and take photos. Even if you’re driving through, you will surely love the view of the islands and islets. Just keep in mind that vehicles are not allowed to stop. So if you have a driver, you can tell him or her to drop you off at the end of the bridge.
San Juanico Bridge
Address: Pan-Philippine Hwy, Santa Rita, Leyte
2. Swim or go kayaking at Lake Danao
The guitar-shaped Lake Danao in Ormoc remains to be one of the island’s most popular natural sites. It is located 700 meters (2,296 feet) above sea level, offering a climate cooler than most of the province. You can go for a refreshing swim in the tranquil water or rent a kayak and explore the rest of the area. Kayaks are available for rent at around 6 USD per hour. The same rate applies to the floating cottages, which include a grill. Get ready to be enthralled by the sight of the surrounding mountains and volcanic rocks.
Address: Ormoc, Leyte
Price: from 0.20 USD
3. Enjoy the sunset view from Ormoc Bay
It was the location of one of the most significant events in World War II, but now, it’s a spot where you can unwind and enjoy the sights. Make your way to Ormoc Bay at around 6:00 pm for a marvelous view of the sunset. The sights of the Camotes Islands and Mount Magsanga also promise to leave you in awe. Indeed, a visit to Ormoc Bay is the best way to end the day.
Address: Ormoc, Leyte
4. Visit the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park
Learn more about Leyte’s history at the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park in Palo. The park honors General Douglas MacArthur and his return to the Philippines to help defeat the Japanese forces on the 20th of October 1944. On your visit here, you will see the bronze statues of the heroic general and his comrades on a shallow pool. There’s a marble wall near the sculptures that contains the proclamation of MacArthur upon his arrival to the country. Without a doubt, this park will make you appreciate the courage of the soldiers who fought for the nation’s independence.
Visit the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park
Address: Brgy. Candahug, Palo, Leyte
Opening Hours: 24 hours
5. Explore the Santo Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum
The Santo Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum in Tacloban City is one of the 20 rest houses built by former President Ferdinand Marcos. Take a trip to this beloved heritage site and see its wide collection of antiques and artworks not only from the Philippines, but also from Germany, Italy, and France. At the shrine, you will see the image of the Santo Nino, which is the Catholic’s title for the baby Jesus. The bedrooms will also enthrall you with their fusion of Filipino and European design. Other highlights include the paintings of the Stations of the Cross by local artists, the wood carvings of Filipino mythological figures, and the replica of the Malacanang Palace ballroom.
Santo Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum
Address: Real St, Downtown, Tacloban City, Leyte
Price: from 4 USD
Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on weekends)
Phone:: +63 533219775 or +63 534018172
6. See the Our Lady of the Assumption Shrine
a quick visit to Her! Thank you Mama Mary for all the Blessings and Guidance!😘👆Posted by Mona Liza Ochavillo Marquez on Tuesday, 20 December 2016
The privately owned Our Lady of the Assumption Shrine in Maasin City is one of the most well-known religious sites on the island, and it features a 3 meter (10 foot) statue of Mother Mary. It can only be reached by climbing over 300 steps, but once you arrive, the tall sculpture and the chapel’s colorful architecture will make you say that it’s worth it. According to believers, if you recite the Stations of the Cross while climbing the stairs, your prayers will be answered. The shrine is lit up at night, making it look even more spectacular.
Our Lady of the Assumption Shrine
Address: Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Opening Hours: 4:30 am to 7:00 pm
7. Trek to Masaba Falls
If trekking is your thing, then you’re definitely going to enjoy Masaba Falls in Palompon. The only way to reach the site is by river trekking, and it usually takes 30 to 60 minutes before you reach the site. Along the way, you will pass through the forest, giving you a chance to become closer with nature. When you arrive at the seven-tiered waterfalls, you can go for a swim or just sit on one of the rocks and admire the scenery.
Address: Brgy. Masaba, Palompon, Leyte
Facebook: Masaba Falls
8. Enjoy Kalanggaman Island
Another natural attraction worth checking out in Palompon is the uninhabited Kalanggaman Island. With no commercial establishments around, you can expect a tranquil atmosphere from day to night. The island is famous for its clear blue water, soft white sand, lush scenery, and sandbars that stretch on both sides. You can bring your own tents if you want to stay overnight. Camping rates are around 15 USD. Apart from swimming and sunbathing, Kalanggaman is also the best place for snorkeling, diving, and kayaking.
Address: Kalanggaman Island, Palompon, 6300 Leyte
Price: from 3 USD
Phone: +63 535559731
Website: Kalanggaman Island
9. Have a fun time at Canigao Island
If Palompon has Kalanggaman, then Matalom has Canigao Island. It’s just five minutes away from the town center, and it has turquoise waters, white sand, and beautiful coconut trees. You can swim as long as you want or go for a walk and take photos of the lovely scenery. Sunbathing is highly recommended as well. If you want a more adventurous experience, then bring out your snorkeling gear and see the tropical sea creatures and coral gardens up-close. You may also have a chance to meet the friendly local fishermen and go fishing with them. As for the sunset view, prepare to be totally mesmerized. Cottages are available for 10 USD per night while camping rates cost around 2 USD. The pier in Matalom, which is just walking distance from the municipal plaza, offers boat rides to the island for about 1.21 USD. Entrance fee to the island is included in the price.
Address: Matalom, Leyte
Price: from 0.80 (adults); 0.40 (child)
10. Witness the beauty of corals and colorful fish at Napantao Fish Sanctuary
If you’re a sucker for marine life and water adventures, a visit to the Napantao Fish Sanctuary is the perfect day trip for you. There have been endless issues with the Philippine waters being affected by climate change and poor waste management, marine life is continuously being threatened, thus more effort from local environmental organizations to help preserve marine life and promote it as a diverse and fundamental part of Philippine tourism. Specifically, in Leyte, the Napantao FishSanctuary is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) which has been so since 1996, continues to house and care for several stunning coral reefs, fishes, and sea creatures that make up the rather diverse marine life Leyte boasts. Diving in these parts is allowed but requires a fee to pay to local barangays in order to continue the enforcement, monitoring, and maintenance of the sanctuary. There are also snorkeling and diving tours around the area and is best to book in groups and during low tide in order to get a great close up underwater tour of Napantao’s rich marine biodiversity.
Napantao Dive Sanctuary
Address: Brgy Lungsodaan, Padre Burgos, 6602 Southern Leyte, Philippines
11. Feed bananas to wild monkeys at the Hindang Cave and Wild Monkeys Sanctuary
When in the southern part of the Philippine Islands, travelers should be keen to explore the greenery that surrounds the rural province. Southern Leyte is filled with beautiful trees and greenery, as well as undiscovered natural spots like waterfalls, springs, caves, and structures. Hindang, the fifth class municipality of Leyte is a quiet little town below Mount Bontok where the most stunning caves are found. Wild monkeys take refuge in the Hindang Cave which tourists and first-time travelers to Leyte should note, as these monkeys can sometimes just steal your belongings and even food, thus the need to take caution. The Hindang Cave gained notoriety for being a place of refuge for Filipino rebels hiding from Japanese invaders during the Second World War. Apart from the stunning stalagmites and stalactites, Hindang Cave is a rather relaxing natural attraction and continues to be one of Leyte’s most beloved caves.
Hindang Cave and Wild Monkeys Sanctuary
Address: Hindang, Leyte Province 6523, Philippines
Price: 0.20 USD
Leyte Island is simply marvelous
Leyte Island also promises to satisfy your taste buds with its beloved dishes. Don’t forget to try out the local delicacy known as “Binagol”. It’s the taro vegetable mixed with sugar, milk, and peanuts. If that’s not enough, you should also have a taste of glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk and cocoa. This dish is better known as Choco Moron. Now that you’ve read about the best things in the province, it’s time for you to experience it. Pack your bags and appreciate the many wonders of Leyte. You won’t be disappointed.
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