Tacloban Travel Guide

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It would be hard to talk about Tacloban now and not mention the tragedy that was typhoon Yolanda.Tacloban is an epitome of falling down and rising back again. Not at all in full swing, but definitely back in the game.

The influx of foreigners are definitely helping this Leyte’s capital’s economy. People of different colors and races are seen roaming around the city. They are here either for an NGO mission trip or as plain curious tourists.

We can all remember how all eyes of the world are on Tacloban.

Now, let us make you put Tacloban in your travel list. Either for tourism or charity, your presence will surely help the city forget some more.

How to Get There

Major and low-cost carriers fly several times daily to Tacloban. You can get an average of P2500 for an urgent flight; much, much less for a promo seat!

If you’re up for some whole day bus road trip, PP Liner also ply the route from Cubao to Visayas, roro (roll-in, roll-out) adventure included (for a little over a thousand pesos).

Tacloban Budget

Cost of living in Tacloban is fairly cheap similar to other cities outside of Manila. As I have family when I visited, I didn’t have an accurate estimate of expenses. But Pinoy Adventurista had it broken down for solo trippers at about P2,300 for 3-day stay.

Tacloban Itinerary

San Juanico Bridge

Before Yolanda, the first thing that comes to mind about Tacloban is the historic San Juanico Bridge. This is the longest bridge in the country at 2.16km of amazing view and Golden Gate Bridge-red-orange color.

San Juanico Bridge is shaped in a letter "l" when it's the end near Leyte

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Mc Arthur Landing Park

With then President Romulo, the iconic "I shall return" promise was made in this site by General Mc Arthur.

With then President Osmena and Brigadier General Romulo, the iconic “I shall return” promise was made in this site by General Douglas Mc Arthur.

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Sto Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum

This is Imelda Marcos’s grand home in Tacloban.

There are a total of 13 guest rooms, each with a unique diorama depicting  the life of the former First Lady and with specific themes. Around the house there are 2 conference-super long dining tables, rich collection of chandeliers, precious stones, artworks, intricate pieces of furniture, most of which are imported from all over the world. There is also an Olympic size pool, 2 grand ballrooms, and the Sto Nino Shrine that can be found upon entrance. Yes, it has its own chapel inside.

How Much to Pay?

A local tour guide awaits after paying the entrance fee of P200 for 3 people and the camera fee of P30. You will be led to the Sto Nino Shrine where the guided tour begins.

Click through this gallery and have a virtual tour of the mansion.

Entrance of Sto Niño Shrine

Entrance of Sto Niño Shrine
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Leyte Park

Leyte Golf Club

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Those roofs are the housing project for displaced Yolanda families

Those roofs are of the housing project for displaced Yolanda families

 

Korean-Filipino Friendship Park

 

It’s history dating back Korean War when the Filipino soldiers were among the first to help fight against the Chinese communist side by side the South Koreans.

 

This, therefore, is a heartwarming gesture. They did not forget.  The South Koreans set camp in Palo, Leyte to offer immediate relief at the height of Yolanda’s disaster. They even left this park as a token.

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Palo Cathedral

 

This Cathedral was an evacuation site but was flooded ceiling-high. That day, many lives were taken. It has now been rebuilt almost without the shadow of Haiyan.

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Displaced Ship

There were 2 ships that were brought to land by sheer force of the wave. It was dumbfounding. Imagine what wild current brought such massive, gigantic thing from sea to this neighborhood. What can a helpless body in the middle of this do to survive? Jaw-dropping.

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Ocho Seafood Grill

It was full house when we came on a weekend. That’s enough indication that the food is great! It’s a local version of Dampa only with wait staff on radio! I thought their system was smooth and efficient. They don’t need to go to the kitchen to place an order. Staff on the floor just entertain client calls so nobody waits to be accommodated. Somebody else from the kitchen serves your food. Pretty neat restaurant system!

Rafael Farm Garden Restaurant

We went for dinner on a weekday but the kitchen was already closed. Didn’t get a chance to peek more inside. Locals highly recommended this place. The hidden garden feel makes it an interesting place to drive to in itself.

Side trip to Basey, Samar

At the nearest end of Samar, a short 30-minute drive from Leyte, is the haven of all things banig! It was overwhelming to be welcomed into a 2nd floor full of patterns and colors of handwoven banig items. There were basket stools, bags, purses, placemats, table runners, souvenir items, and a lot more! Check out our Travel Finds Shop or this album if you want to order one.

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World-class export banig items of all colors and patterns can be found in this ancestral home in Basey, Samar

World-class export banig items of all colors and patterns can be found in this ancestral home in Basey, Samar

Local artisan sewing banig products in the workshop in Basey, Samar

Local artisan sewing banig products in the workshop in Basey, Samar

Modes of Transportation

Jeepneys and tricycles are available to take you around town.  

Look at this! Topload fun!

Jeepney and top load, only in the Philippines.

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Jayme Del Rosario (@jaymeedr) on

Where to Stay

Tacloban has a slew of accommodations from upscale hotels like Hotel XYZ Downtown, to Resort Hotels like Leyte Park Resort Hotel to basic pensionne houses scattered around the city.

Best Time to Go to Tacloban

The best time to go is now, while they are in the process of rebuilding.

Public service aside, June 29th is the grand Pintados Kasadyaan Festival of Tacloban. If you’re into experiencing this month-long merry-making, last week of June is your best bet.

How Long to Stay

3-day, 2-night stay is enough if you only plan on exploring Tacloban City. If you intend on digging deep into nearby provinces, give it a week.

What to Bring

Bare necessities and beach wear

Food to Try

Binagol: a sweetened nutty taro pudding

Sagmani: a local version of suman

Chocolate Moron: Delicacy made of rice flour and tablea

Other Things to Do

If you’re not pressed for time, go to nearby places of interests:

Canigao Island

Kalanggaman Island

Ormoc

Samar


 

It is not definitive whether typhoon Yolanda was a curse or a blessing. For a lot, it was a tragedy, but for some, it was an opportunity to rebuild, to own a (donated) home they can call their own, to have a reason for tourists to flock in to their city and boost their local economy.

Some thrived, some fled.

As it is in life, catastrophes can be opportunities or quicksands, depending on how you see it.

Let us make it a little more positive for them by bringing more livelihood for them. Visit Tacloban.