Leyte’s capital, Tacloban, is known historically as the birthplace of Imelda Marcos and, just outside the city at Palo, the site of the return of General MacArthur with the first of the American landings during the Second World War, which would begin the costly reclamation of Filipino liberty from the Japanese and also eventuate in the country’s independence.

Catering to these two giants of Philippine history, the Santo Nino Shrine and Heritage Center is a bizarre unused Mansion built by Imelda Marcos and features a room dedicated to each of the Filipino provinces, housing art objects and antiques, while the MacArthur Memorabilia Rooms features items belonging to the famous general.

At the actual site of the American landings at Red Beach, near Palo, the Leyte Landing Memorial features bronze statues of the General and his entourage wading ashore and a memorial garden.

On the southern tip of Leyte, in Padre Burgos, there are several dive resorts along Sogod Bay catering for the offshore quest to visit the Whale Sharks and other dive excursions to the Limasawa Panaon islands.


Off Leyte’s northern shore, Kalaggaman Island offers a small islet escape, while the island of Biliran offers a hike to the active Calibran Volcano, while beyond, remote Maripi Island’s Candol and Sambuan beaches also beckon the adventurous castaway.