MACARTHUR LANDING MEMORIAL NATIONAL PARK. Commonly known as MacArthur Park, is one of Leyte’s significant landmarks. It is where the famous bronze statue of General Douglas MacArthur is found which commemorates his historic return to the island of Leyte on the early afternoon of October 20, 1944. Built along with the stutue of the brave General are his landing Filipino companions – then President Sergio Osmeña, General Carlos Romulo and four other soldiers. Because of the park’s significance in the history of the Philippines, the same has been declared as a National Historical Landmark in the year 2004.
Inscribed on a marble wall in front of the bronze statues is General MacArthur’s promise to return which have been kept in the hearts of all Leyteños. Indeed, a well-preserved promise that while it has already been fulfilled, it continues to give hope to the present generation.
The Park is located at Brgy. Candahug, Palo, Leyte which is three (3) kilometers away from the town proper.
FULFILLMENT OF A PROMISE
by Aaron J.P. Almadro
Whenever guests from Manila or other places visit Eastern Visayas, one of the mandatory tourist places one must visit is the McArthur Memorial Park.
A stones throw away from Tacloban City (actually, around 15-25 minutes depending on traffic), the park is a family-friendly space where people converge for a stroll, picnic, photo session, or simply a breather from the mundane.
It’s a huge laid-back park lined with trees and covered with grass, perfect to plop down read a book. Some people come here for photoshoots and other creative activities for a picturesque backdrop.
But unbeknown to a lot, this isn’t just the usual tourist spot. On this area was where the largest naval battle in history took place. The current idyllic seafront and clear skies, during the second world war was filled with battleships, and wreckage, and dogfighting fighter planes. Though this great battle wasn’t as bloody, it was a spectacle and surviving veterans retell the story of this great war with mist in their eyes.
By sharing this story to my visitors, I could tell that they could see the park in a different light. So when I let them walk around, they imagine the great battle that happened here.
On the far right area of the park is a smaller monument exhibiting the “Eternal Flame.” A sculpture that was erected during the 50th Leyte Landings Anniversary back in October 1994. Surrounding the structure are plaques in memoriam of the great war and the lives lost during the war. From Great Britain, to Thailand, to Australia. All member countries of the great Asia-Pacific Alliance all have their messages to share.
One that is most notable is the plaque from Japan with two simple words in Japanese script and in English: Eternal Peace. Simple, short, but full of meaning. A humble tribute to the country (and province), that served as their home and homebase, and also the place where their subsequent defeat started.
The McArthur Memorial Park has undergone very minimal changes, even after Supertyphoon Yolanda ravaged the place and stripped all the trees of their leaves and ripped all the plant from the ground, roots and all. It still has this simple and wide area for strolling, and the centerpiece of it all: General Douglas McArthur, President Sergio Osmeña, and their whole entourage frozen in time for all to see.
To see the promise that was fulfilled and freed the country to be the best it can be.