Tanauan (Leyte) Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to visit, food and drink scene, and more in Tanauan (Leyte) - a hidden gem in the Philippines. Read on for a comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Tanauan (Leyte)

Steeped in history and rich in culture, Tanauan (Leyte) lies on the eastern coast of the island of Leyte, in the Visayas region of the Philippines. The town is relatively small, but offers visitors an array of attractions, from stunning natural scenery to fascinating historical sites. Here’s everything you need to know for a memorable trip to Tanauan (Leyte).

List of Places to Visit in Tanauan (Leyte)

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • The MacArthur Landing Memorial: Located on Red Beach, Palo, this iconic memorial commemorates General Douglas MacArthur’s famous return to the Philippines during World War II. The memorial also features a museum with exhibits on the landing and the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
  • The Santo Niño Church and Museum: Originally built in the 1700s, this beautifully-preserved church features intricate stone carvings, murals, and stained-glass windows. The museum houses a collection of religious images and artifacts from the Spanish colonial era.
  • The Leyte Provincial Capitol: A grand example of American colonial architecture, the Leyte Provincial Capitol houses the offices of the governor and other provincial officials. Visitors can gain insight into the workings of local government and snap photos of the impressive facade and grounds.

Natural Attractions of Tanauan (Leyte): Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Lake Danao Park: This expansive park boasts a serene lake, surrounded by lush forests and towering mountains. Visitors can swim, boat, fish, or simply relax by the water. The park is also home to several hiking trails and zipline rides that offer stunning views of the lake and its surroundings.
  • The Mahagnao Volcano: Located within the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park, this active volcano offers challenging hiking opportunities for adventurous visitors. The trek to the summit passes through dense forests, bubbling mud pools, and even hot springs.
  • Himokilan Island: A short boat ride from Tanauan town, this picturesque island offers pristine white sand beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving areas, and breathtaking views of the Leyte Gulf.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Tanauan (Leyte)

For nature lovers and adventure seekers, Tanauan (Leyte) offers several exciting hiking and biking options. Some of the popular trails include:

  • Mt. Batugan-Burabod Trail: This challenging trail passes through forests, hills, and streams. The top of the mountain offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
  • The Leyte Mountain Trail: Going through the towns of Jaro, Dagami, and La Paz, the trail is a network of forested tracks that go through waterfalls, riverbeds, and rocky terrain. You may also come across beautiful orchids and butterfly species.
  • The Abuyog-Burauen Eco Trail: This 20-km trail meanders through rolling hills and rice paddies, and passes by ancient caves and mounds. You can also navigate the trail on two wheels, making it a perfect cycling adventure.

Best Things to Do in Tanauan (Leyte): Activities and Tours

  • Scuba Diving: Tanauan (Leyte) is home to some of the best diving sites in the Philippines, such as Napantao, Sogod Bay, and San Pedro Bay. Dive sites feature teeming coral reefs and a variety of marine life, including whale sharks and manta rays. Some diving centers in the area conduct night dives for the fearless adventurers.
  • Island Hopping: You can visit nearby islands such as Cuatro Islas, Kalanggaman Island, and Wawa Island, where you can explore hidden lagoons, white sand beaches, and coral gardens.
  • City Tour: For a cultural experience, join a guided tour of Tanauan (Leyte), which covers several historical sites such as the McArthur Landing Memorial, the capitol building, and the Santo Niño Museum and Church.

Week-Long Itinerary for Tanauan (Leyte)

Day 1: Visit the McArthur Landing Memorial and the Palo Cathedral. Day 2: Explore Lake Danao Park, hike the surrounding trails, and enjoy swimming and boating. Day 3: Trek the Mahagnao Volcano and enjoy a dip in its hot springs. Day 4: Discover the stunning beaches and clear waters of Himokilan Island. Day 5: Dive or snorkel in the waters of San Pedro Bay or Napantao. Day 6: Take a city tour, visiting historical sites such as the Leyte Provincial Capitol. Day 7: Visit the nearby city of Tacloban for some shopping and nightlife.

Food and Drink Scene of Tanauan (Leyte)

Must-Try Dishes

  • Binagol: A sticky rice cake made with root crops, coconut milk, and chocolate, and steamed inside coconut shells.
  • Linubian: A soup made of beef, taro leaves and coconut milk and flavored with lemongrass, ginger, onions and spices.
  • Kinilaw: Tanauan’s version of the famous Filipino dish made of raw fish or seafood, marinated in vinegar and other spices and herbs.

Local Beverages

  • Tuba: A drink made from fermented coconut sap, sweetened with honey or sugar, and served fresh or aged.
  • Sorbetes: A Filipino version of ice cream commonly sold on the streets, but Tanauan’s sorbetes is unique because they use coconut milk instead of cow’s milk.
  • Barako Coffee: A strong and bold brew made of Liberica beans found in the nearby city of Batangas.

Where to Stay in Tanauan (Leyte): Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Tolosa Hotel: Located in a quiet area near the town center, this hotel offers comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and has a restaurant serving Filipino and international cuisine.
  • Cagnipa Hills: This resort is perched on a hillside, providing spectacular views of the sea and surrounding forest. It offers cottages and villas with air-conditioning and private balconies. The resort has a restaurant, outdoor pool, and gardens.
  • Arlington Inn: A budget-friendly option located in the heart of Tanauan town, offering clean rooms, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.

What to Buy in Tanauan (Leyte): Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Binagol: A great gift or souvenir, this traditional rice cake comes in beautifully-designed packaging.
  • Abaca products: Hand-woven bags, baskets, and placemats made of abaca fibers, a plant traditionally grown in the Philippines.
  • Sarisari: A pack of assorted Filipino snacks, featuring sweet and savory treats.

Local Culture and Customs of Tanauan (Leyte)

The town of Tanauan is known for its lively festivals and colorful traditions. The most popular festival in the town is the Kasadyaan Festival, which is held every June. The festival showcases the town’s cultural heritage through music, dance, and elaborate costumes. The locals also celebrate various religious events, such as the Feast of the Santo Niño and the Holy Week.

Best Time to Visit Tanauan (Leyte)

The ideal time to visit Tanauan (Leyte) is from December to May, when the weather is dry and pleasant. June to November is the rainy season, and storms can disrupt travel plans.

Do’s and Don’ts of Tanauan (Leyte)


  • Learn a few basic Tagalog words to communicate with the locals.
  • Respect the local customs and traditions, such as removing your shoes before entering a private home or building.
  • Try the local food and drinks, especially the seafood and coconut-based dishes.


  • Wear revealing clothing in public places, especially in religious sites.
  • Touch or disturb any wildlife or natural habitats.
  • Litter or vandalize any historical sites or monuments.

Safety and Health

Safety in Tanauan (Leyte)

Overall, Tanauan (Leyte) is a safe destination for travelers. However, crime can still occur, so it is best to stay aware of your surroundings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive items. Follow basic safety precautions such as locking your doors and windows, and keep valuables in the hotel safe.

Health in Tanauan (Leyte)

Medical facilities in Tanauan (Leyte) are limited, so it’s advised to bring basic medical supplies such as bandages and sunscreen. Make sure to stay hydrated, as the weather can be humid and hot.

Getting to Tanauan (Leyte): Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Tanauan (Leyte)

The nearest airport to Tanauan is the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, located in the nearby city of Tacloban. The airport receives daily flights from Manila and other major cities in the country.

Bus Stations Near Tanauan (Leyte)

Several bus companies operate daily trips from Manila and other parts of the country to Tanauan. The most common and reliable bus companies are Ceres Liner, DLTB Co., and Philtranco.

Other Options

Taxis, vans, and jeepneys are also available in Tanauan town center. However, fares can be negotiable, so make sure to ask the locals for some tips.

How to Get Around in Tanauan (Leyte)

Jeepneys are the most common mode of transportation in Tanauan, and they operate within the town center and nearby villages. Tricycles and habal-habals (motorcycles) can also be rented for shorter distances.

Where to Go Next from Tanauan (Leyte): Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you have more time to explore, here are some of the destinations and excursions that are easily accessible from Tanauan:

  • Tacloban City: A bustling city northeast of Tanauan, known for its shopping centers, historic landmarks, and lively nightlife.
  • Ormoc City: A city on the western coast of Leyte, known for its beaches, hot springs, and historic sites.
  • Samar Island: A nearby island northeast of Leyte, known for its rugged landscapes, waterfalls, and surfing beaches.


Tanauan (Leyte) may not be as well-known as some of the more popular destinations in the Philippines, but it is a hidden gem that offers visitors a unique blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and historical landmarks. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to explore all that Tanauan (Leyte) has to offer.