The island measures about 180 km (110 mi) north-south and about 65 km (40 mi) at its widest point. In the north it nearly joins Samar, separated by the San Juanico Strait, which becomes as narrow as 2 km (1.2 mi) in some places. The island province of Biliran is also to the north of Leyte and is joined to Leyte island by a
bridge across the narrow Biliran Strait. To the south Leyte is separated from Mindanao by the Surigao Strait. To the east, Leyte is somewhat “set back” from the Philippine Sea of the Pacific Ocean, Samar to the northeast and Dinagat to the southeast forming the Leyte Gulf. To the west are Cebu and Bohol.
Leyte is mostly heavily forested and mountainous, but the Leyte Valley in the northeast has much agriculture.
Politically, the island is divided into two provinces: Leyte and Southern Leyte. Southern Leyte is in the south and includes the island of Panaon, while Biliran Island, a separate island which used to be a part of Leyte province, is to the north and an own province: Biliran Province.
The chief cities of Leyte are Tacloban City, on the eastern shore at the northwest corner of Leyte Gulf, and Ormoc City, on the west coast.
Leyte today is notable for the geothermal electric power plants near Ormoc.
However, Leyte is most famous for its role in the reconquest of the Philippines in the World War II. On 20 October 1944, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore on Leyte, saying “I have returned”. However, the Japanese did not give up so easily, as the ensuing Battle of Leyte proved, and convergence of naval forces resulted in the four-day Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history.
Visit Leyte and savor the perfect blend of history, culture and nature! As the staging point for the country’s liberation during World War II, Leyte abound with historic sites where fierce battles once took place along its beach-fronts and strategic hilltops. MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in Palo: immortalized with larger than life, bronze statues of the liberator’s during the second world war and the Leyte Provincial Capitol that once served as the seat of the post-liberation Philippine Government. In Leyte, experience a kaleidoscope of festivals that showcases the Leyteño culture, way of life and folklore. Satisfy your cravings for sweets with the delectable binagol, moron, sagmani, roscas and pastillas. Try the appetizing local roasted pig (lechon) that tastes more delightful when doused in vinegar and garlic dip. Other natural points of interest include the placid guitar – shaped Lake Danao in Ormoc City, Tongonan Hot Springs, Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park in Burauen, and Cuatro Islas in Hindang and Inopacan, which are punctuated with white sands and coral reefs. The Cathedral of Palo and the Hilongos Bell tower are reminders of Spanish influence in Leyte. The impressive San Juanico Bridge, connecting Leyte to Samar, is the country’s longest bridge, spanning almost 2.16 kilometers over the picturesque in San Juanico Strait.