Leyte is one of a number of islands in the Philippines described as economically depressed, or poor in simple language. Agriculture is handicapped by the typhoons as well as the rough terrain. Furthermore, there is comparatively little trade as the center for trade in the region is Cebu, west of Leyte. Few tourists come to the island as
it lacks outstanding scenery or man-made attractions, as well as infrastructure.
Leyte is an island, divided by a mountain range into two
parts quite different from each other. Not only that the
eastern part speaks another dialect than the west (Warays/
Cebuanos), there is also a different focus in agriculture (coconuts/sugar). However,
rice is grown in the lowlands on both coasts.
The largest city on the island is Tacloban. However, it is not the economic and
cultural center of the
entire island but only
for the east coast.
1521, on the small
which lies west of southern Leyte.
Another place just
south of Tacloban, Tolosa, gained nationwide fame and some international
the former first Lady of the Country, Imelda Marcos, came from there.
Biliran is a small island hiding in the Visayan sea between Leyte, Samar and Masbate
a bit further away. With a length of 32 km and a width of 18 km, this place can be
easily explored in a few days. As will be visible as it is in Siquijor, Biliran became a
separate autonomous province in 1992 and therefore economic aid fl ows directly
from the offi ce in Manila into the backcountry of Naval. Therefor the development
of the island goes faster at times than it does at other places. But do not expect
big cities, well paved roads all around the island! After all, this is still a place where
people take their time, enjoying the day as it comes.
Part of the Biliran province are some uninhabited islands and the slightly bigger
Maripipi and Higatangan island which are easily reached by regular boat services
and offer good alternatives for a relaxed day off the bike.
Arriving & Leaving
Entering Leyte will be most easily via Tacloban or Ormoc. Both have fl ight connection with Manila. Ormoc is easily reached by boat from Cebu and Manila. Entering Biliran is best via boat from Cebu to Naval or via the bridge which connects Leyte
Located in the northwest of Leyte, Ormoc is a small town with quite a few nice places
to stay overnight. The small city comes alive every year in April when the big bike
festival is held.
Tacloban City is the largest city and regional center of the Eastern Visayas region of
the Philippines. It is also the capital city of Leyte. Tacloban is located on Cancabato
Bay, in the San Juanico Strait which divides the islands of Leyte and Samar. Unfortunately there is no boat transfer between Cebu and Tacloban (might change).
Naval is a small harbor town, in the western part of Biliran. Located in the middle, it is something like the center of the Island. Naval has twice a week boat connections to Cebu.