Leyte (province)

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Province of Leyte
Flag of Leyte
Official seal of Leyte
Map of the Philippines with Leyte highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Leyte highlighted
Coordinates: 11°00′N 124°51′E / 11.000°N 124.850°E / 11.000; 124.850Coordinates: 11°00′N 124°51′E / 11.000°N 124.850°E / 11.000; 124.850
Country  Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Founded 1735[1]
Capital Tacloban City
 • Governor Dominico Petilla (LP)
 • Vice Governor Carlo Loreto (LP)
 • Total 6,313.33 km2 (2,437.59 sq mi)
Area rank 14th out of 80
  Excludes Tacloban City
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 1,567,984
 • Rank 15th out of 80
 • Density 250/km2 (640/sq mi)
 • Density rank 31st out of 80
  Excludes Tacloban City
 • Independent cities 2
 • Component cities 1
 • Municipalities 40
 • Barangays 1,393
including independent cities: 1,641
 • Districts 1st to 5th districts of Leyte (shared with Ormoc and Tacloban cities)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code 6500 - 6542
Dialing code 53
Spoken languages Waray-Waray, Cebuano, Tagalog, English
Website www.leyte.org.ph

Leyte (also Northern Leyte; Filipino: Hilagang Leyte) is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Tacloban City and occupies the northern three-quarters of the island of Leyte. The province of Leyte is located west of Samar Island, north of Southern Leyte and south of Biliran. To the west of Leyte across the Camotes Sea is Cebu Province. On 8 November 2013, the province was largely destroyed by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), killing a reported 10,000 people, having previously suffered similar destruction and loss of life in 1991 during typhoon Thelma.


The explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, first came to the island in 1543 and named it Las Islas Felipinas.

Proposed Division of Leyte[edit]

On March 27, 1923, Act No. 3117 proposed to divide Leyte into Occidental Leyte and Oriental Leyte but was not proclaimed by the Governor-General of the Philippines.

Battle of Leyte Gulf[edit]

When Americans stormed ashore at Leyte, it fulfilled the promise to return made by Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the days following the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in 1942.
Main article: Battle of Leyte Gulf

The Battle of Leyte Gulf took place in the seas surrounding this island from 23 October to 26 October 1944. It was the largest naval battle in modern history, when at least 212 Allied ships clashed with the remnants of the Imperial Japanese Navy, some 60 ships, including the super battleships Yamato and Musashi.

The First Battle of Leyte occurred on 20 October 1944. A successful Allied invasion of the island was the crucial element to the eventual Filipino and American victory in the Philippines.

Political divisions[edit]

Political map of Leyte

Leyte is subdivided into 40 municipalities and three cities. The municipalities are clustered into 5 congressional districts.

Ormoc City is an independent component city, while the capital Tacloban was declared a highly urbanized city in 2008. Both cities govern themselves independently of the province and their residents do not vote for elective provincial officials. Baybay attained cityhood in 2007 but reverted to its municipal status when the Supreme Court declared its city charter unconstitutional in 2008; however, Baybay would regain its city status following the reversal of the Supreme Court decision dated December 22, 2009. But on August 2010 a resolution has been passed striking down the 16 cities, since Baybay is part of the cities, it was not a city anymore. But, on February 15, 2011 Baybay is a city once again. The Supreme Court reversed its decision once again and Baybay now is a city.[4]

Highly urbanized city[edit]

Component city[edit]

Independent component city[edit]



Population census of Leyte
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 1,230,925 —    
1995 1,343,941 +1.66%
2000 1,413,697 +1.09%
2007 1,506,096 +0.88%
2010 1,567,984 +1.48%
Excluding Tacloban City
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

The people of Leyte are divided into two main groups, primarily by language. In the west and south are the Cebuanos, while in the north and east is the Waray-Waray (Leyte dialect).

But Waray-Waray is considered as the lingua franca of the province especially in the metropolitan area of Tacloban between the Cebuano speaking Leyteños or locally known as Kana and the Waraynons. This is also used as a lingua franca between Leyteños and other Filipinos of other ethnolinguistic backgrounds.

There are also some Spanish mestizos and some natives of the province who can understand and speak Spanish due to the province's colonial history.

Most Leyteños also can also speak and understand Filipino language (Tagalog), the national language of the Philippines and English although it is just their second and third languages respectively.

Leyte is predominantly Roman Catholic Christian province. According to the Year 2000 census, 97% of Leyte's population is Roman Catholic Christians, one of the highest percentage in the Visayas. While the remaining 3% are adherents of other different Christian sects, denominations and churches such as the indigenous Iglesia ni Cristo, Kingdom of Jesus Christ and Members Church of God International or popularly known as Ang Dating Daan and the foreign religious groups like Mormons, Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Seventh-Day Adventists (Sabadistas) and other Protestant groups.

Islam is also present in the province and concentrated in the metropolitan Tacloban area. It comprised 0.3% of Tacloban City's population and all adherents are Maranao and other Moro migrants from the Mindanao region who work mostly as traders.

Official Provincial Seal[edit]

Leyte Provincial Capitol - briefly became the seat of Philippine Commonwealth Government during the World War II era

The Official Seal of the Province of Leyte.

The upper portion is a perspective of the national Freedom Park commemorating the landing of General Douglas MacArthur and the American Liberation Forces in Leyte during World War II. The white cross represents the 2nd phase of Leyte's development when Magellan stopped here on his way to Cebu. The alphabet on the cross argent is the ancient Visayan paleographic syllabary of the letter L which stands for Leyte. The stars around the inner circle symbolize the forty-one (41) towns of Leyte and the everlasting flame symbolizes the soldiers who died during World War II.


The economy of Leyte is a mixed agriculture, fishing, industrial, energy and mining. Rice is farmed in the lowland plains areas specifically those around Tacloban, while coconut farming, is the main cash crop in upland and mountainous areas. Sugarcane plantation is no. 1 produce in Ormoc City. Since Leyte is an island province, fishing is a major source of livelihood among coastal residents.

The province is the site of the largest geothermal plant in Asia, making it one of the resource-rich provinces of the Philippines. Excess energy of the numerous powerplants in the geothermal valley that generate electricity is supplied to the national grid that adds to the energy demand in Luzon and Mindanao. Mining industry has started to pick up in the province with the exploration in MacArthur. The iron smelting in Isabel has been operational for more than 20 years since its inception.

Leyte ICT Park[edit]

The Leyte Information Communications Technology (ICT) Park is one of the economic zones approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).[5] Located at Pawing, Palo, Leyte, the 6.8 facility hosts two (2) business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, namely, the Expert Global Solutions (EGS) Company (formerly APAC Customer Services, Inc.) and ACUDATA, Inc. (a financial and data services BPO).

Leyte is emerging[according to whom?] to be an ICT-BPO Hub for Eastern Visayas.


Leyte is connected by air, with only one commercial airport located in Tacloban City. Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the Philippines, has two major airlines; Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Tacloban's airport primarily serves connecting flights from major Philippine cities (Manila and Cebu).

Philtranco, which has a bus stop in Tacloban and Ormoc, operates a route along Manila-Maharlika highway, passing through Allen, Northern Samar in Samar Island (via ferry boat) from Matnog, Sorsogon in Bicol region.

Commercial seaport is of vital importance. Major ports of the province are located at Ormoc City,in the south and Tacloban City, in the north. Small ports are also located in Palompon, San Isidro, Bato, Hilongos and Baybay City.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]