|Daguitan Rapids and Danao
Lake. Located in Burauen. Hiking or horseback riding
to the lake; swimming and picnicking on Danao Lake;
riding the Daguitan Rapids in makeshift rafts of banana
trunks or the steadier, softer rubber tires fashioned
into rafts; 2-hour exciting ride; beautiful scenery,
lovely tropical plants.
National Park. Located in Burauen. Established
notional park since 1937; offers inspiring craters,
hotspring, multi-colored muds and rocks, lakes, virgin
forest with giant ferns and orchids, lagoon with colorful
carps, and temperate climate.
Leyte Mountain Trail. An
outstanding trekking area which starts from the Mahagnao
National Park, Burauen, to Danao Lake and Tongonan
National Park in Ormoc, a distance of approximately 40
Rainforest tour, beautiful lakes -
Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsuran and Danao; the spectacular
Guinaniban Falls, breathtaking view of mountains, forest,
plains and the small islands of Samar and Leyte from the
crest of the central Amandiwing Mountain Range; the
profusion of tropical flora and fauna including colorful
insects, butterflies, dragonflies, and bugs and giant
millipedes, deers, wild boar, monkeys, birds, orchids and
Kaupnit Balinsasayaw Park.
Located on Mahaplag - Baybay road, favorite campsite,
view of the highest peak in Leyte; aesthetic, panoramic
and invigorating climate.
Tongonan Hotsprings National
Park. Located at Ormoc City. A valley of geothermal
power source that can supply power to the whole region
when fully developed; cool and relaxing climate; first
geothermal power giant to operate in the Philippines.
Lake Danao. Located at Ormoc
City, 125 kms. from Tacloban City; 2,100 feet above sea
level and 3 kms. long undetermined dept; wild animals
roaming its surrounding forest; hunter´s paradise; lake
said to be the habitat for giant eel.
Himokilan Island. Located in
Hindang, largest island of the Cuatro Islas where the big
delicious coconut-cracking crabs called "tatus"
Farmer´s Training Center for
Rural Development Sab-a Basin. Located at Sab-a Basin
(situated with the towns of Tacloban, Palo, Sta. Barugo,
Jaro, San Miguel, Alang-alang and Babatngon). Virgin
forest; lovely hills.
Tacloban Festival (Last week
of June). The Tacloban Festival kicks off with the
Subiran Regatta, an annual sailboat race held at the
eastern entrance of the San Juanico Strait.
The Balyuan / Pintados Festival.
A pageant re-enacting the historical exchange of images
between Barrio Buscada of Basey, Samar, and Tacloban
City, which highlighs the annual fiesta of the Sto. Niño
in Leyte. Also there is the Pintados Festival, which
revives the tradition of painting the body and dancing to
the rhythm of bamboo sticks. On the last day is the
Tacloban City Festival celebrating the homecoming of its
Sto. Niño image marked by much merrymaking in the usual
grand fiesta tradition.
Subiran Regatta (June). An
annual contest held along the eastern portion of Leyte
Gulf. The regatta is participated in by different
fishermen living along the fishermens villages of Leyte
and Samar. "Suviran" is a native sailboat with
outriggers used in small scale fishing. The race is done
without using a paddle but only skill and technique to
maneuver the sail. The race is held within the Cancabato
Torugpo (Black Saturday). An
exciting traditional jousts of native carabaos (pasungay)
and horses (paaway) at Brgy. Camansi, Carigara. It was
held 300 years ago in defiance to the rigid regulations
of the Spanish friars. The yearly carnival offers a
complimentary treat to foreign tourists.
Sunduan Ha Carigara ( Easter
Sunday). An annual homecoming of Holy Cross Academy
alumni of Carigara, Leyte. The celebration consists of
cultural, social and religious activities-float parade
& contest depicting the rich history of Carigara;
cockfighting, songs, dances and drama contests; barrio
fiesta; and observance of Lent.
Pamalandong (Holy Week in
Palo Pilgrimage). Good Friday. A re-enacment of the
Lord´s Passion celebrated in Palo, a municipality 11
kms. away from Tacloban City. It consists of the
religious rituals which starts 12:00 at noon at the
grounds of the Palo Cathedral. The Good Friday rites
include "The seven Last Words" during which the
crucified image of Christ (a wooden antique image
probably hundred of years old and ingeniously provided
with a mechanism by its unknown artist) reacts to each
word, until the final death and removal from the cross.
A quaint Good Friday local custom
is the gathering of the leaves from the mock-forest where
the three crosses stand by the people believing they
bring luck, cure illness and other attributes.
This is followed by the procession
that includes all the biblical characters of the Passion
Play and this caps the rituals for the Good Friday.
Balyuan (June 29). A pageant
re-enacting the historical exchange of images between
Barrio Buscada of Basey, Samar and Sitio Kankabatok now
Tacloban City. It is held in the afternoon and highlights
the annual fiesta of Santo Niño de Leyte.
Pintados De Leyte Festival (June).
The custom of tattooing earned for the Leyteños the name
of Pintados. From ancient history, Roman conquests also
made mention of tatooed people in Britons, Saitas,
Oriental Tartar, Macasar and other parts of the world.
The origin of the practice is
different to determine but the strongest contention is
that an ancient priestess instigated it and through the
members of her cult, began the custom.
The tattooes, however, became
distinctive marks of courage and generally made the
origin, orientation and livelihood of the bearer
identifiable. The most basic design of tattooes began
from ankle to groin and consisted of two bonds a finger
or almost two in width. The tattoo in the chest were made
like breastplates. When the tattooers did their work more
artistically, they left between the bond (which were
colored blue) and white designs.
When the missionaries from Spain
arrived in Leyte, they found the Pintados gruesome but
later learned to appreciate the happy contentment and
beauty of the people. With the coming of the Spaniards,
the people learned new ways of life and blended this with
neo-pagan ways of the Pintados.
Even today, the happy blend exists
in the customs and practices of Leyte. The Leyteños have
retained their cultural roots while assimilating the
changes that progress brings.
Leyte Landing Anniversary
(October20). A commemorative program which marks the
anniversary of the October 20, 1944 landing on Leyte of
the Allied Forces of LIberation. Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur
and his men waded ashore at "Red Beach" in the
town of Palo where statues of the liberations now stand.
The historic event is usually
attended by high ranking government officials and the
ambassadors of the United States, Japan and Australia.
World War II veterans come on sentimental journey.
Grand Santacruzan (May). A
parade and contest of "parol" (lantern) with
beautiful "sagalas" participated in by the
different barangays of Tacloban. It starts at the
historic Leyte Provincial Capitol terrace and ends at
Plaza Rizal (one and a half-hour procession) where the
winners are proclaimed. Criteria include greatest number
of sagalas and participants, most artistic lantern, best
lighting and most disciplined group. The Search for Reyna
Elena is the culmination of the Grand Santacruzan. The
selection´s criteria includes beauty, poise, social
graces, talent and intelligence. After the proclamation
of the winners, the coronation and the giving of awards
and prizes follows.
Pahoy-Pahoy (May). Barugo
Leyte. Scarecrow festival.
Fourth Provincial Inter-High
School Tourism Quiz (August). Region-wide. A tourism
quiz covering regional, national and international topic.
Pasaka Festival (August)
Tanauan, Leyte. A dance parade and cultural presentation
(comparza) "Pasaka" connotes warm welcome,
progress, and religious homage.
Third Regional Tourism Quiz
(September). Tacloban City. A tourism quiz covering
regional, national, and international topic.
Lubi - Lubi Festival (August
15). Calubian, Leyte. A festival showing various uses of
the coconut tree and its by-products thru dances and
Kaadlawan Han Samar
(November). Catbalogan, Samar. Foundation Day celebrated
with socio-cultural activities.
Calbayog Grand Karakol
(October). Calbayog City. Joyous street pageantry of
Christmas Festival in Palo
(December). Palo, Leyte. A week-long celebration of
Christmas which includes Simbang Gabi, Drum and Bugle
Corps Competition. Christmas Cultural Show and a contest
for Best LIghted Barangay, Best Belen, and Lantern
The Islands of Leyte and Samar
The islands of Leyte and
Samar are collectively known as the Eastern Visayas
Region 8. It is composed of six provinces namely: Samar
(25 towns with Catbalogan as capital), Northern Samar (24
towns with Catarman as capital), Leyte (41 towns with
Tacloban as the capital), Southern Leyte (18 towns with
Maasin as the capital) and Biliran (8 towns with Naval as
the capital). The regional capital is the City of
Tacloban in Leyte. This is where the regional offices of
all government institutions are located. Eastern Visayas
has a total land area of 21,561.8 sq. km.
Region 8 has
a population of 3,366,917 with annual average growth rate
of 1.77% based on the 1995 census. This is distributed
among the six provinces with Leyte having the biggest
population with 1,643,460 and a population density of
262.2 p/sq.km. This comprise 48.81% of the total
population. The next is Samar with 589,373 and a
population density of 105.4 p/sq.km. Third is
Northern Samar with 454,195 with a population density
of 129.8 p/sq.km. Fourth is Eastern Samar with a
population of 362,324 and a density of 83.5 p/sq.km.
Fifth is Southern Leyte with a population of 317,565 and
a density of 183.1 p/sq.km. And Biliran with 118,012 and
a density of 212 p/sq.km.
Based on the
said survey, there are 693, 679 families in region 8 with
an average annual income of P49,912 per family and an
average annual expenditure of P37,522. The remaining
amount of P12,390 is the average annual savings.
geologic findings, during the ice ages or Pleistocene
period (2 million years - 8,000 B.C), the islands of
Mindoro, Luzon, and Mindanao were connected as one big
island through the islands of Samar, Leyte and
Sohoton Caves in Basey, Samar showed stone flake tools
dated 8550 B.C. Other diggings along the Basey River
revealed other stone flakes used until the 13th century.
Philippine history also places these two islands
prominently. The island of Homonhon in Guiuan Eastern
Samar was first sighted by Magellan in his voyage to the
orient, one that led to his death in the hands of the men
of Lapulapu in Mactan, Cebu. In the next expedition
(1565) headed by Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, he named Leyte,
"Filipina" after Prince Philip of Spain. Leyte
and Samar then were ruled as one province under the
jurisdiction of Cebu. Samar and Leyte were
separated as provinces in 1768.
Bernardino Strait between Samar and Luzon was a gateway
for the Spanish Galleon. Royal Port was established in
Palapag Northern Samar to protect galleons from winds and
stormy seas. In 1649, shipbuilders were drafted to Cavite
shipyards to build galleons and other vessels. In the
same year, the recruits led by Sumuroy of Samar
staged a revolt which was one of the earliest recorded
revolt against Spain.
also saw a victory of the locals against the American
forces when the people of Balangiga staged a successful
raid against the Company C of the American battalion
stationed in Balangiga, Samar. The Americans retaliated
and killed at least 60,000 Samarnons including civilians.
War II, Leyte and Samar figured prominently as
battlefields. On October 20, 1994, American troops
led by General Douglas McArthur and Commonwealth
President Sergio Osmeña landed on Red Beach Palo, Leyte
signaling the defeat of Japan. The Battle of Leyte Gulf
is known as the biggest naval battle in modern history.
For a time after then, the center of the Philippine
Commonwealth Government was in Tacloban.