Ormoc / Leyte, Leyte

THE PROVINCE AT A GLANCE

BRIEF DESCRIPTION
One of the oldest provinces in the country, Leyte is perhaps the most economically developed of the six provinces of the Eastern Visayas region. The province is a showcase of rich history set in an unspoilt setting. Testaments to this rich heritage, such as vestiges of the Spanish colonial era (early 1500s to late 1800ís) still dot the land. Well-preserved homes and buildings dating back to this era line centuries-old streets in most towns.


BRIEF HISTORY

Leyte has a colorful history. Leyte๑os, like the Samare๑os when it comes to their province, like to point out of that their forebear were among the first to welcome the Spaniards but they were also among the first to resist the invaders. Leyte was one of the provinces where the early seeds of nationalism were planted.

In 1521, Magellan sailed from the island of Homonhon, Samar to the island of Limasawa, Leyte, entered into a blood compact with Rajah Kolambu. On Eastern Sunday, March 31, of that year, was celebrated the First Mass in the Philippines. Some historical researchers, however, are now disputing this.

The next century witnessed a religious uprising lead by Bancao, the Limasawa chief, and his high priest, Pagail. The revolt began in Carigara and spread to neighboring towns before it was quelled. 27 years after the 1622 uprising, another revolt hit Leyte - an offshoot of the Sumoroy rebellion then simmering in Samar. And in the center of the disturbances, the village of Bacor, rebels burned the church and its convent.

By 1768, Leyte, now separated from Samar, became a politico-military province. The set up continued until the end of Spanish rule, when Gen. Vicente Lukban took over Leyte and Samar in the name of the Revolutionary Government. It was WWII, however, which placed Leyte on the world map. On October 20, 1944, Gen. Mac Arthur, at the head of the largest US fleet of transport and warships, and accompanied by Commonwealth President Sergio Osme๑a and Gen Carlos P. Romulo, landed on Palo, Leyte to reclaim the Philippines from the Japanese. On May 22, 1959, the province was divided into Leyte and southern Leyte.


LANGUAGES/DIALECTS

"Waray" is generally spoken by the people of Leyte except those who live in the western side who generally speak Cebuano.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES
The plains and valleys are fertile, producing hemp, copra, corn, rice, tobacco, bananas, papayas and pineapple. The swamps teem with nipa and mangrove, and the mountains yield rattan and timber. There are thousands of hectares of virgin forests with wealth just waiting to be tapped.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Philippines.

 

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