The Beauty of Leyte Philippines

Island of leyte

Leyte is an island province located in the Eastern Visayas region of the Philippines. It is about 180 kms long and 65 kms at its widest point. It is very near Samar Island which is the third largest island in the country (the biggest island is Luzon followed by Mindanao). The local dialect is Waray which is part of the Visayan group of dialects (Cebuano dialect is the most dominant in the region). The word Visayan itself derives from the Ceylonese term of the Sri Vijaya empire (modern day Sri Lanka) of which the Visayas island group was once a part of that empire. Other Visayan (local is Bisaya) dialects besides Cebuano and Waray are Hiligaynon and Ilonggo. The word Leyte is derived from the local word “hiraite” or someone who hails from the place called Ete.

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 bridge was built during the time of the conjugal Marcos dictatorship to please the former first lady Imelda Marcos who hails from Tacloban City, the largest and also the capital city of Leyte. Douglas McArthur Landing on LeyteA remote stretch of seashore located at Red Beach in the quaint town of Palo is world-famous in history books as the site where the eccentric American Gen. Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return and liberate the Philippines from occupying Japanese forces in WWII. It was also in nearby Leyte Gulf that the biggest naval battle in history took place. The 4-day “Battle of Leyte Gulf” broke decisively the might of the Japanese Imperial Navy and paved the way for the invasion of Japan.

Every island in the Philippine archipelago is unique in a certain way and Leyte is no exception. Leyte has so many attractions that one could literally spend months without ever getting tired of going to exciting places to see and visit. Its natural beauty is incomparable and is a delight for the nature lovers. However, its proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it more vulnerable to typhoons similar to Samar. The island of Leyte has also suffered natural calamities in recent years due to deforestation. The local populace is very friendly and fun-loving but suffers from a mindset of regionalism. This is perhaps unavoidable but also understandable given the sheer number of dialects in the Philippines and the archipelagic and fragmented geography of the country.

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