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Leyte: Adventure in 3 days

By: Tiro

On Friday evening the 24 th of November 2006 as I prepared for my journey to another island, the island of Leyte, what came up to my mind aside from attending my brothers weeding and the baptizing of their first child was the chance to visit the famous landmark that Leyte is know for.

On my arrival the next day at 5:45 early in the morning in Tacloban City the Capital City of Leyte, my brother Richard asked me if I want to go with him to the rice field that early morning since it is harvesting season. Even though I felt very sleepy because I hadn't slept during the entire night because of excitement over for the first time to visit Leyte. I said, “yes” to my brother. To my surprise it was really great to see people very happy while harvesting the rice they had planted and additionally that the whole planting field was covered by fog so I could almost not see the whole rice field for almost 10 minutes. Then it appeared again. At about 7:00 AM we went home and there I tried to sleep at least 5 hours and get ready for my lunch. After eating my lunch, at about 2:00 pm, it was time for me to visit the famous landmarks namely: San Juanico Bridge and the Statue of General Douglas MacArthur.

It takes almost an hour to travel from Tacloban City to San Juanico Bridge. In the mid 1960's during the Marcos administration the decision was made to erect the San Juanico Bridge (aka "Marcos Bridge") over San Juanico Strait from Bgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City, Leyte, 10 Km from the city proper (Leyte Capital) to Sta Rita Municipality, Western Samar, 96 Km from Catbalogan (Samar Capital).  San Juanico Bridge is the Longest Steel structure built in 1973 still during the Marcos administration. The 2.16 Kilometer Bridge uses 43 Spans and it is 41 Meters High, joining Leyte Island to Samar Island.

Do you know that “ It has been presented as a Gift and "Testimonial of Love" by the late Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos to the first lady, Imelda, a native of Leyte.”

On the 26th of November 2006, my last day in Leyte and time to visit Palo Leyte where the Statue of General Douglas Macarthur is located. The place was so great. It has a big plaza, and at the middle of the plaza is where the statue of Macarthur stands together with the other soldiers. After visiting plaza it was time for us to go home to prepare for celebration after the baptismal of my niece, daughter of my brother Richard. As the darkness started to cover the day, there was a singing of “HARANA” a traditional song offered to the wife after the baptismal of the first child and followed by drinking of traditional wine “TUBA” our coconut wine.

On 27th of November 2006, at 4:00 AM I started to pack my things to prepare for my long travel from Palo Leyte (Eastern Leyte) to Ormoc City (Western Leyte). It takes almost 3.5 hours to travel. As I was sitting in the bus I started to think about my experience in Leyte, and I said to my self “ It is a short experience but that experience will last and Leyte will have special place as part of my LIFE”.