While it's the political capital of Leyte, this bustling city is the geographic and commercial centre of both Leyte and Samar. Smack in the middle of this pair of islands separated only by the San Juanico Strait, Tacloban is a relatively cosmopolitan outpost in a large underdeveloped and poor territory.
Activity centres on the bustling wharf area and market in the middle of town. Tacloban's most famous daughter is Imelda Romualdez Marcos, whose family home is at Tolosa, a little way south; the family's influence in the town is evident in street names and various public buildings.
Historically, Tacloban is better known as the place to which General MacArthur returned with US liberating forces on 20 October 1944 (actually, he landed at Palo, a few kilometres outside the city). This date is celebrated annually, and there are WWII memorials around the town, including moulded reliefs on outer walls of the Capitol Building that commemorate the landing.