- How to Get to Leyte
- 16. Yolanda Memorial Monument
- 15. Balsa Kafe
- 14. Sky Cafe Baybay City
- 13. Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park
- 12. Sabang Daguitan Surf Camp
- 11. Agas-Agas Bridge
- 10. Alto Peak (Mt. Aminduen)
- 9. MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park
- 8. Twin Islands (San Pedro Island & San Pablo Island)
- 7. Lake Danao
- 6. Sambawan island
- 5. Limasawa Island
- 4. San Juanico Bridge
- 3. Canigao Island
- 2. Cuatro Islas
- 1. Kalanggaman Island
Leyte is a province in the Visayas region that is home to pristine lakes, lush forests, historic sites, and some of the best white sand beaches in the Philippines. On top of these, it is also popular for Kalanggaman Island, one of the most beautiful sandbars in the Philippines and best islands in the Philippines.
Along with the province's natural wonders, Leyte features significant cultural landmarks, such as Limasawa Island, which is considered the birthplace of Christianity in Asia, making it a must-visit destination for devout Catholics in the region.
Filled with a diverse array of natural and historical attractions, Leyte is easily one of the best places to visit in the Philippines for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs wanting to understand and experience the country's charms. To help you plan your trip to this sunny province and one of the most underrated destinations in the Philippines, we've compiled the best Leyte tourist spots, which include the best sights in Northern and Southern Leyte.
How to Get to Leyte
Photo by Philippine Airlines
One of the most convenient ways to get to Leyte from Manila in Luzon is by taking a flight. Major airlines in the country, such as Philippine Airlines, have nonstop flights to the airport in Tacloban City from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (also known as Manila International Airport). Thanks to Leyte's proximity to Manila, the flight usually only lasts for about an hour and a half.
Another popular option is to fly from Manila to Cebu in Visayas and then ride a ferry to Ormoc City in Leyte. Some popular ferry operators that regularly have trips from Cebu to Ormoc and vice versa are SuperCat, OceanJet, and Lite Ferries.
Whether you plan on taking a plane or ferry to Leyte, opting for an online trip booking is recommended to avoid long lines and crowds while traveling. You can also check out our Philippines travel guide to read about the Philippines travel requirements you might need for your trip.
16. Yolanda Memorial Monument
In honor of those who died when Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Typhoon Haiyan) struck Tacloban City in 2013, a memorial was constructed near the Tacloban City Convention Center. Also known as the Astrodome, this indoor arena played a vital role during the storm's onslaught as it served as an evacuation center for over 8,000 people at the time.
The monument is an abstract metal structure that resembles strips of metal intertwining together into a vertical pillar. Inside this pillar-like structure is a ball that also seems to be made of thick metal strips. Since its construction, the memorial has become an important tourist destination in Leyte that sheds some light on the province's history.
15. Balsa Kafe
Photo by Balsa Kafe
Balsa Kafe is an open-air cafe that sits in the middle of a rice field in barangay Bogasong, Libagon. The cafe features bamboo walls and a thatched roof, which make it resemble a large Bahay Kubo. Thanks to its location, guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the lush rice fields and towering trees surrounding this Leyte tourist attraction.
In between visiting the beaches in Leyte and going on different tours, this cafe is among the best places to visit in Leyte for a refreshing change of scenery as well. As you take in the view, you can also enjoy the cafe's recipes that are inspired by Filipino cuisine and Asian fusion. Among their bestsellers are their adobo and halang-halang dishes, which are both made with native chickens. For dessert, their signature Puto de Balsa and hot chocolate make for a perfect pair.
14. Sky Cafe Baybay City
Photo by Sky Cafe
Sky Cafe is an open-air restaurant perched on a hillside in Baybay City. As a hillside spot, the cafe offers an unobstructed view of the sea of clouds that often form in the area. The best time to visit the cafe is from 5 to 8 AM, so you can catch the sunrise that casts a warm orange glow on the sea of clouds. The cafe also features a small wooden viewing deck where you can stand for the perfect photo with the sea of clouds behind you.
While taking in the serene view, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast. The cafe's signature breakfast is popular Filipino viands like beef tapa and tocino paired with a serving of garlic rice and a fried egg. During your time here, you can also request a pair of disposable gloves so you can eat with your hands, which is a common practice among locals.
13. Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park
Photo by Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park
Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park is a national park that consists of natural hot springs, lakes, lush greeneries, and the iconic Mahagnao Volcano. Trekking is one of the best activities to try out here, as the park's trail will take you past various flora and fauna that showcase the area's biodiversity. As you go through the trail, you'll likely spot several species of orchids, lilies, and birds. You will also come across a majestic waterfall that flows into a steady river, which helps keep the area's climate cool.
- Read our article on the must-see volcanoes in the Philippines
The park's most famous attractions are the two volcanic lakes, Mahagnao Lake and Malagsum Lake. These crater lakes are bordered by verdant trees, making for a picturesque view. You can even take a refreshing dip in the clear waters of Malagsum Lake after your trek.
Aside from swimming in its warm waters, you can also hop on a boat and sail across the lake for an idyllic moment on the water. If you want to spend a night in this serene getaway, you can set up camp along the lake's bank and fall asleep to the sound of the water lapping the shore.
- Check out our article on the best crater lakes in the Philippines
12. Sabang Daguitan Surf Camp
Photo by Sabang Daguitan Surf Camp
Sabang Daguitan Surf Camp sits along the coast of Dulag and offers several water activities that are great for a day on the beach. Aside from surfing, visitors can also try other popular things to do in Leyte, such as skimboarding, kayaking, and fishing here.
- Read our article on the best surfing spots in the Philippines
Thanks to the camp's location by the mouth of a river, guests can easily enjoy the easy flow of the river or head to the beach for the waves. If you want to spend time on the river, you can even rent a floating hut perfect for an idyllic escape.
The camp also has comfortable cabins where you can spend a night or two. Along with this, the camp cares for their own farm and allows visitors to buy their produce on a "pick-and-pay" basis so you can experience harvesting vegetables with your own hands.
11. Agas-Agas Bridge
Standing at 89 meters above ground, the Agas-Agas Bridge is the tallest bridge in the Philippines. This impressive structure is situated in the town of Sogod and is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway, a network of pathways connecting Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.
The bridge began construction in 2006 so vehicles could avoid a mountainous section of Agas-Agas that was prone to landslides during the rainy season. It was eventually finished in 2009.
Two years later, a zipline facility was opened by the bridge to provide a fun experience for tourists. The twin zipline measured up to 880 meters from above the bridge to the riverbank below, making it one of the longest ziplines in the Philippines. However, the operations for the zipline were eventually halted, and the extreme sports facility has yet to reopen.
10. Alto Peak (Mt. Aminduen)
Photo by @aba_walter on Instagram
Alto Peak towers at about 1,332 meters above sea level, making it one of the tallest points in Eastern Visayas and one of the most notable geographical features of the Philippines. It stands inside the Lake Danao National Park in Ormoc City. The park is also a common jump-off point for those planning to hike up to Alto Peak.
As you make your way through the grassy paths, you will also come across various flora and fauna that thrive within the area, thanks to the cooler climate the abundance of trees provides. You will also pass by another serene body of water called Lake Hanagdan. This is also a great spot to rest and catch your breath before continuing the trek to the summit.
- Check out our article on the best mountains to hike in the Philippines
After passing by a local campsite area, you will eventually be able to get a clear view of the peak. As the climb generally takes more than a day to complete, it is recommended to spend the night at the campsite before starting your final ascent to the peak. At the top, you'll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the surrounding lakes and forests.
9. MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park
Photo by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines
Known as one of the most notable historical tourist spots in the Philippines and Leyte, the MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park in Palo features bronze sculptures of General Douglas MacArthur and his fellow officers as they landed in Leyte Gulf during World War II. MacArthur arrived to help the United States and the Philippines drive away the Imperial Japanese forces that had occupied the Philippines since 1941.
Before his famous landing in Leyte, the general had initially fought against the Japanese forces months after the occupation began. However, the Japanese army eventually overpowered him and his staff in 1942, forcing them to escape to Australia, where he promised, "I shall return."
Following his return, the Battle of Leyte Gulf commenced, which ended nearly three years after with the surrender of Japanese forces. Aside from the statues sculpted by Anastacio Caedo, visitors can also visit the nearby museum, where you can read MacArthur's speech upon returning to the Philippines.
8. Twin Islands (San Pedro Island & San Pablo Island)
Photo by San Pedro Island/Pong Dako - Hinunangan Southern Leyte
These two islands are located off the shore of Hinunangan town in Southern Leyte. Each islet is named after patron saints of the region. Both islands boast two of the best Leyte beaches and pristine waters teeming with marine life.
San Pedro Island, the bigger of the two, is also known as Pong Dako, which means "big island." Less than 500 people live on San Pedro Island, and there are rentable cottages you can book if you wish to spend a night on this quiet island.
- Read our article on the best island hopping destinations in the Philippines
Meanwhile, San Pablo Island is also called Pong Gamay (small island). Less than 100 houses are built on the island, but there is also a resort called Tocmo, that you can rent during your stay. Besides being a great snorkeling spot, San Pablo Island also features a 12-meter-deep lagoon called Lelang Lagoon.
7. Lake Danao
Lake Danao is a guitar-shaped crater lake in Ormoc City that spans about 148 hectares and is among the best Eastern Visayas tourist spots and one of the most beautiful lakes in the Philippines. This pristine body of water is surrounded by lush forests and greeneries that are home to various species of flora and fauna. Dotting the lake's shores are also several rock formations and volcanic rocks.
The lake is also located at around 650 meters above sea level, which allows it to enjoy a cooler climate, perfect for promoting a more biodiverse ecosystem. Along with admiring the natural landscape here, you can also try out various activities like kayaking on the lake, enjoying a meal on a floating cottage, and swimming in the cool waters.
6. Sambawan island
Sambawan Island is a small islet located off the northwestern coast of Biliran, a former sub-province of Leyte. Boasting stunning stretches of sands and cool waters with a vibrant marine ecosystem, this island is a perfect spot for divers. Aside from exploring its surrounding waters, you can also enjoy the area's quiet atmosphere as there are only a handful of commercial establishments here.
For a more convenient stay, you can rent cottages and tents as well so you can take a break from the sun every now and then. On top of being one of the best diving spots in the Philippines, the island's waters are great for swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking too.
Aside from the water activities, you can go on a trek up to the island's highest point, where you'll find a watch tower from where you can get a fantastic view of the sea. If you plan on staying on the island until sunset, this is the perfect spot to watch the sky turn from blue to warm shades of orange and pink.
5. Limasawa Island
Limasawa Island is an idyllic seaside destination off the southern coast of Leyte. It is best known as the place where Ferdinand Magellan, along with his fellow explorers, held the first Christian mass in Asia, marking the start of Christianity in the Philippines and the region. Close to the site of the first Christian Mass, visitors can head up some stairs that end at a commemorative Magellan's Cross.
Aside from being one of the top Southern Leyte tourist spots among devout Catholics, visitors can also get a fantastic view of Leyte, Bohol, and Mindanao from here. Meanwhile, the island's shores boast white sand beaches that are surrounded by clear waters.
There are also a handful of fish sanctuaries here that make it an ideal place for snorkeling and scuba diving, two of the best things to do in the Philippines. For visitors who want to spend more than a day on the island, there are several hotels and homestays here as well.
4. San Juanico Bridge
The San Juanico Bridge connects Tacloban City in Leyte to Santa Rita City in Samar, specifically across the San Juanico Strait. It was inaugurated in July 1973 and goes on for 2.16 kilometers, which makes it the second longest bridge in the Philippines after the new Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.
The entire structure is also a part of the Pan-Philippine Highway or Maharlikha Highway and is among the most iconic architectural landmarks in the Philippines. Along with serving as a major thoroughfare to boost economic activity in the two provinces, the bridge has also become one of the top Leyte tourist attractions, thanks to its craftsmanship. Crossing the bridge to see the fantastic views of the sea framed by the Samar and Leyte is also among the top things to do in Tacloban.
3. Canigao Island
Situated off the southwestern coast of Leyte, Canigao Island is a popular tropical destination in Eastern Visayas due to its powdery white sand and clear waters. The surrounding waters are teeming with vibrant marine life, making this an ideal vacation spot for animal lovers as well.
Aside from swimming and snorkeling, you can also opt to go scuba diving to explore even more of the island's surrounding marine sanctuary. On the surface, you can rent a kayak or a jet ski, play beach volleyball, toss a frisbee around, and soak up some sun on the shore.
In between your activities, you can head to the local wet market for freshly caught seafood that you can have cooked right there. Among the best dishes to try are oysters and spider shells. If you want to spend a night on this stunning island, there are dedicated camping spaces where you can pitch a tent as well.
2. Cuatro Islas
Photo by John Mark Milan
Cuatro Islas is a group of four lesser-known islets located off the western coast of Leyte. Three of the landmasses (Apid, Digyo, and Mahaba) fall within the boundaries of Inopacan town, while Himokilan Island is a part of Hindang town. As these islets are located close to each other, Cuatro Islas is a top spot for island hopping in the Philippines.
Photo by John Mark Milan
Apid Island is best known for its fishing village and the craftsmanship of its locals. Among the best crafts they make are "banigs" or sleeping mats made out of strips of palm tree leaves.
As for Mahaba Island, visitors can walk along its white sand shores and explore the nearby marine sanctuaries, which house various fish species. Lastly, Himokilan Island features a lush hill that is perfect for treks on sunny days alongside its powdery shores.
1. Kalanggaman Island
This bird-shaped island sits off the coast of Palompon, Leyte. Kalanggaman Island is best known for its 795-meter-long white sandbar that along with its surrounding waters, makes it one of the best Philippine sceneries. Featuring powdery sand and surrounded by aqua water, it has easily become one of the best sandbars in the Philippines and among the top tourist spots in Visayas.
While one of the favorite activities here is to stroll along the soft sandbar, you can also plunge into the waters to discover the marine ecosystem hidden just beneath the waves. Visitors may also rent cottages along the shore, where you can relax after soaking up some sun and enjoying the cool waters.
Meanwhile, tents and huts are also available for rent for anyone that plans on spending the night on this pristine islet and waking up to the sound of the waves. For a hassle-free trip, it's recommended to book a Kalanggaman Island tour package, like a Kalanggaman Island tour from Cebu, with a Philippine travel agency like Guide to the Philippines.
Start Planning Your Trip to Leyte
Home to natural and historical wonders, Leyte has various activities that are sure to capture a traveler's awe and interest, making it one of the best places in the Philippines for family vacations and solo adventures. See the best of what the island province has to offer by going on Leyte tours or Philippine tour packages via travel booking websites.
For hassle-free trips, you can book Philippines vacation packages that include stays in top-notch accommodations with facilities similar to the best 5-star hotels in the Philippines and transfers to and from top tourist destinations.
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