Province of Leyte
Leyte became the center of two important milestones in world history, which lend lasting color and significance to the history of the Philippines. In 1521 the province, was first visited by Spanish explorers led by Ferdinand Magellan who discovered a new route around the world.
Leyte, known as Tandaya to early Filipinos, was renamed Filipina by Roy Lopez de Villalobos in 1543, a name that later extended to the entire archipelago. Four centuries later, in 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the biggest naval battle between the Americans and the Japanese in world history, transpired in Leyte. General Douglas MacArthur, at the head of an army of more than 250,000 men waded ashore on the island at Red Beach, Palo, Leyte. This began the end of the Japanese Imperial Army, eventually, the second World War. Leyte is the largest of the six provinces of Eastern Visayas.
It lies adjacent to the island of Samar, connected by the San Juanico Strait, and east of the islands of Cebu and Bohol. It is bounded in the north by the Carigara Bay and in the east by the Leyte Gulf. To the west is the Camotes Sea, while the province of Southern Leyte lies south. The land is mountainous with a very rugged range cutting the island in half from northwest to southeast. It is composed of forty (40) municipalities and two cities, Ormoc and Baybay, which serve as its commercial centers. It has five (5) congressional districts and has a total of 1,503 barangays.
The mountain range that divides the island into eastern and western plains also serves as the line that delineates the language difference between the populace in each side of the province. The western portion faces Cebu, thus, the people speaks the Cebuano dialect. On the other hand, the Leyteños at the western side speak Waray. A dialect they share with the people of Samar provinces. Leyte is blessed with naturally endowed areas which are pieces of “Eden on Earth”.
It has an excellent tract in agricultural crop production which include coconut, palay, abaca, sugarcane and corn, as well as production of aqua-marine products. The province has abundant geothermal power reserves. The Leyte Geothermal Power Field in Tongonan, Ormoc City is the second geothermal power producer in the world. It also houses two of the country’s top dollar earners: the Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (PHILPHOS) and the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refinery Corporation (PASAR). Leyte is a place that never fails to calm, surprise, or captivate. It is embraced with scenic natural attractions and beautiful historical sites. These include Kalanggaman Island, Lake Danao National Park, San Juanico Bridge, McArthur Memorial National Park, Sto Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, and the Provincial Capitol of Leyte.