Leyte, a province in Eastern Visayas, is one of the places that I consider under the “road less traveled.” It is not as popular as the destinations in Western Visayas.
Nonetheless, I joined my folks in their homecoming celebration to get to know the province and visit my other relatives, whom I haven’t known.
History books say that this province was where General Douglas MacArthur first landed to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese Imperial Army.
When I visited Pangasinan in early January of this year, they were also claiming that MacArthur first landed in Lingayen Gulf. Their marker said, the landing was on January 9, 1945.
And so, when the plane descended at the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport in Tacloban, we decided to visit the landing site in Palo, Leyte, which was just 15-20 minutes away. I was surprised when I saw the site in Red Beach. The monument was not that huge as it may seemed in pictures.
For first-time visitors like me, this is a must-see site in Leyte. I saw the marker and it reads: “On this spot, General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines on October 20, 1944.”
If the marker says 1944, then Palo, Leyte is indeed the first landing site of MacArthur in the Philippines.
After taking pictures, we headed to the San Juanico Bridge, considered to be the longest bridge in the Philippines at 2.16 kilometers. It stands above the San Juanico Strait and connects the provinces of Samar and Leyte.
Light was bidding farewell. I was already worried. And just like what I expected, no tripod means failed night photography. haha. I must buy a light tripod next time. And so I promised myself to return to San Juanico and get decent shots (I’ll tell more of this in my succeeding posts.).
I bade San Juanico farewell, and also told it, “I shall return.” I didn’t research on good places to eat in Tacloban but since my folks, aunt and cousins were craving for seafoods, they chose Tacloban Seafood Restaurant when they saw it on the map that I got from the airport earlier. From San Juanico, we drove around 25-30 minutes before reaching downtown Tacloban, where the restaurant was.
And when I stepped out of the van, “Oh! It’s a Chinese Restaurant.” Hmm… I was expecting to be eating near the sea. Oh well, since we’re hungry, we entered the restaurant and ate. At least, the food served were delicious and satisfied our hunger. I even forgot to take pictures because of my grumbling stomach. haha.
We left Tacloban at around 8pm and prepared ourselves for a three-hour long drive to the small town of Bato, Leyte, our main destination for this trip.