Leyte Province, Region VIII, Philippines
PROVINCIAL PROFILE OF LEYTE
* Capital : Tacloban City
* Area : 5,713 sq km
* Population : 1,480,120
* Cities : Tacloban, Ormoc
* No. of Towns : 41
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The province of Leyte is in eastern Visayas. It is bounded by Carigara Bay in the north, San Juanico Strait and Leyte Gulf in the east, the Visayas Sea and Ormoc Bay in the west, and Southern Leyte in the south.
The Central Cordillera, which runs from north to south, divides the province into the broad Leyte Valley on the east and the Ormoc Valley on the west. Two smaller mountain systems form the northwest and northeast corners. The Northwestern Highlands run north from Ormoc Bay and Northeastern Highlands drop to San Juanico Strait. The peaks of the Cordillera are extinct volcanoes, with Mt. Lobi the highest at 1,349 m. The province has no distinct dry or wet season; rainfall is more or less evenly distributed throughout the year.
A BRIEF HISTORY
In 1521, Magellan sailed form the island of Homonhon, Samar, to the island of Limasawa, Leyte, where he entered into a blood compact with Rajah Kolambu on March 29. On Easter Sunday, March 31, Fr. Pedro de Valderama celebrated the first Mass in the Philippines. In February 1543, the Spanish navigator Roy Lopez de Villalobos named Leyte "Filipina," after Prince Philip of Spain. The name was later applied to the whole archipelago. Leyte was under the jurisdiction of Cebu in the early years of Spanish rule.
In 1735, it became a politico-military province, with Samar under its jurisdiction. Samar and Leyte were separated in 1768. The first capital of Leyte was Carigara, then Palo, Tanawan, and finally, Tacloban. The province of Leyte was created under Act No. 2711 on March 10, 1917.
During the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese in World War II, American troops led by General Douglas Mac Arthur and Commonwealth President Sergio Osmena landed in Palo, Leyte, on October 20, 1944 and announced the re-establishment of the Philippine government. On May 22, 1959, by virtue of Republic Act No. 2227, the old province of Leyte was divided into the present Leyte and Southern Leyte provinces.
The central mountains have affected the province's languages and cultural orientations. Leytenos on the east speak Waray while those on the west speak Cebuano.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The plains and valleys are fertile, producing hemp, copra, corn, rice, tobacco, bananas, papayas and pineapples. The swamps teem with nipa and mangrove and the mountains yield rattan and timber. Tacloban is the main port of shipment. Large-scale industries include processing industrial lime and phosphate fertilizer, producing copper, and manufacturing coconut oil. They are dependent on the energy supplied by a geothermal power plant in Tongonan. Small-scale industries are food processing, handicrafts, metalcrafts, and ceramics. Substantial forest reserves support an important logging industry. Leyte Gulf, Carigara Bay, and the Samar Sea are rich fishing grounds.