Leyte is popularly known for this part of Philippine History – the Leyte Landing or the MacArthur Park located in the vicinity of the Government Center, in Baras, Palo, and can be reached by a public utility vehicle for about 30 minutes from downtown Tacloban, the entry point when you come from Manila or Cebu by plane.
When you are visiting Leyte, Imelda Shrine in Real Street is not to be missed. Not really a pride of this place, but this is worth your political opinion once you get to see the grandeur of the Marcoses (or Romualdezes for that matter) during the height of their political power in 70’s and 80’s. This used to be the residence of Imelda Romualdez Marcos’ brother in the olden days, but was turned into a Sto. Nino Shrine with lots of rooms showcasing the Philippine pride and culture in one coming and with an Olympic size swimming pool too. I was personally awed of the choice of materials used in constructing the mansion- white leather from Italy, hard woods, capiz shells, bamboos, and more. The furniture and features are very much dreamy except that you can actually touch them. You come here to be awed, but it’s up to you to form your opinion.
I have landed on Leyte. And with your first visit to this land, you shall return again. By the grace of Almighty God…
Leyte offers great pasalubong ng bayan. Here is one intricate combination of sweet and bland tastes of binagol, product of Dagami, made of taro rootcrop, coconut syrup, condensed milk, peanuts – and I will not spill the secrets – and contained in a halved coconut shell covered with banana leaves.
One can also pack a dozen of chocolate moron (pronounced faster, accent on second syllable) from Abuyog. This is made of ground glutinous rice mixed with ordinary rice (to avoid making it a tikoy), coconut milk, cocoa – again, I will not squeal the secrets – and rolled and wrapped in banana leaves. Both products are available in Tacloban, Zamora Street.
If in the area, one can also try sinagmani, roscas de Barugo (baked directly from the hands of women of Barugo), banig products (weaved mats or bags from Basey, Samar but there are now weavers from Tanauan, Leyte).