Note: This is a part of my May 2 - 8, 2015 Samar-Leyte-Biliran-Mactan-Cebu Trip which includes: Capul Island, San Antonio Island, Dalutan Island, Sambawan Island, The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Shrine, Ciriaco Hotel, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Other Calbayog tours, San Juanico Bridge, MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park, Limasawa Island
Each time I have a Leyte tour package in my capacity as a tour coordinator, I would see to it that this historical mark is a part of it. It is also known as MacArthur Park or Leyte Landing Memorial Park. This was declared a national park on July 12, 1977 through Letter of Instructions No. 572 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos. Prior to that, this was formerly Imelda Park. Imelda Marcos is the wife of former President Marcos and a native of Leyte.
Its mere location is already scenic by itself as its along the stretch of Red Beach of the Municipality of Palo which is a part of the province of Leyte. Tourists can cool themselves from the sea breeze at the back of the park. It is also very accessible since it is only 6 kilometers away from Tacloban Airport.
Being a Filipino, this place is significant to me as it commemorates the historic landing of the American, Australian and Filipino guerilla forces headed by General Douglas MacArthur on October 20, 1944 where it is now a protected 6.78- hectare (16.8 acres) coastal plain area. These forces recaptured and liberated the Philippines from a 4-year occupation of the Japanese forces headed then by General Tomoyuki Yamashita during World War II.
The park's focal point are the seven double-life-sized bronze statues on a shallow manmade pool depicting MacArthur and his entourage during the historic A-Day Landing as captured in the iconic photo by Gaetano Faillace. They were President-in-exile Sergio Osmeña, Lieutenant General Richard Sutherland, Brigadier General Carlos P. Romulo, Major General Courtney Whitney, Sergeant Francisco Salveron and CBS Radio correspondent William J. Dunn. Designed by sculptor Anastacio Caedo and inaugurated during the 37th anniversary of A-Day in 1981, the statues mark the spot where MacArthur fulfilled his promise of "I shall return" at Red Beach, so-called for the blood spilled on it during the war. In front of the statues, two historical markers in English and Filipino can be found explaining the significance of the scene being depicted. A museum stands adjacent to the site which contains historic photographs and other memorabilia of General MacArthur including a copy of his speech upon landing and a bronze cast of his footprints.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Manila, you can either take a plane with flights of few airlines flying to Tacloban City daily or an option to take a South Road or by bus along Pan Philippine Highway (AH26) via Bicol Peninsula, then to Samar and it crosses the San Juanico Bridge and to the island of Leyte for 26 hours or 854.8 kilometers but not to include the waiting time while in Matnog of the province of Sorsogon for a ferry boat ride crossing the turbulent San Bernardino Strait to Allen port of Northern Samar.
From Tacloban Airport, it would take another eight (8) minutes drive for 6 kilometers to get to the park via SSS. There are also public utility vehicles which would take the tourists to this point.