Tacloban is slowly recovering from the destruction left by Typhoon Yolanda, which flattened the city on November 9, 2013. It is the capital of Eastern Visayas and has been regaining its role as the center for commerce and trade. The memories of the typhoon may linger forever in Tacloban, but it is still a gem in the region, thanks to its numerous destinations and the optimism of the people who continue to work together to restore the city to its former glory.
Even after suffering damages from Typhoon Yolanda, the San Juanico Bridge remains a stunning sight in Tacloban. Stretching at two kilometers, it is the longest bridge in the Philippines. It connects the province of Leyte to the island of Samar. The San Juanico Bridge is the most iconic landmark in the region and one of the most beautiful structures in the country.
The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is celebrated annually in Tacloban on the 29th of June to honor the Senior Santo Niño, the patron of the city. The feast was merged from the Pintados Festival of Tacloban and the Kasadyaan Festival of Leyte. The celebration is as lively as ever courtesy of grand parades, street dances, musical performances, fireworks displays, and a whole lot more.
An interesting place to visit in Tacloban is the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, originally built as a presidential rest house by former President Ferdinand Marcos for his wife Imelda Marcos. The museum houses luxurious furniture, antiques, artworks, and several items used to be owned by the couple and their family.
Commercial airlines like Cebu Pacific Air, AirAsia, and Philippine Airlines serve Tacloban's Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport. Direct flights from Manila Domestic Airport are available daily and take about one and a half hours.
For those who are on a tight budget, there are bus lines like Philtranco that serve Tacloban. The trip will take more than 20 hours, so make sure to pick a comfortable seat and bring necessities for the long haul like food and water.
How to Get Around
Jeepneys ply the main roads of Tacloban. For a minimum of PHP 7.00 per ride, this mode of transportation will definitely appeal to travelers on a budget.
Tricycles are another means of getting around in Tacloban. While the fare is a bit costlier than that of a jeepney, tricycles can take you even to the remote places. It's also a good option for tourists who are not familiar with the destination, as they can always ask the tricycle drivers for directions.
The Spider is Tacloban's version of the multicab. It can accommodate up to eight passengers. The minimum fare is PHP 10.00.
By Taxi or Car Service
You can also order taxi services or car rental services if you want a more comfortable way of getting around Tacloban.
What to See
Although Typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc on this city in 2013, Tacloban remains full of wonders, both natural and man-made.
The San Juanico Bridge is one of the most beautiful and popular sights when you're in Tacloban. Spanning 2.16 kilometers, it is the Philippines' longest bridge and connects the provinces of Leyte and Samar. Some people go to this impressive landmark for a scenic drive or early morning jog, while others, especially shutterbugs, take photos of this amazing structure.
Sto. Niño Church is another of Tacloban's notable landmarks. It enshrines the image of the Sto. Niño, which is considered miraculous. The church was constructed in the 1700s and has been renovated following its destruction during Typhoon Yolanda.
Meanwhile, the Madonna of Japan, also known as Madonna Maria Kanon, stands within the grounds of the city hall and framed by lush garden surroundings. This unique depiction of the Virgin Mary was a gift from the Japanese and symbolizes peace among Filipinos and Japanese after World War II.
The remains of the M/V Eva Jocelyn, one of the ships that were run aground by Typhoon Yolanda, were turned into a memorial park in the Anibong District as a tribute to the victims of the natural disaster. Tourists visit the place to pay their respects.
Like most provinces in the Philippines, Tacloban also has a charming beach for visitors to enjoy. White Beach is a popular attraction for those who want to frolic in white sands or swim in clear waters. It is also visited by divers and watersport enthusiasts.
Tacloban has varied attractions that will capture the different interests of tourists.
If you're a history buff, don’t miss visiting the Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum. It was built by the late President Ferdinand Marcos for his wife Imelda, a native of Tacloban. The establishment also has a chapel as well as a replica of the image of Sto. Niño. The museum is filled with priceless antiques, works of art, and other grandiose items owned by the Marcos family.
The CAP Building is another attraction for history lovers. This stately building is formerly known as the Price Mansion which served as General Douglas McArthur's residence in Tacloban. It also became the provisional capital in 1944 during the Commonwealth Government.
Bookworms will also delight in the People's Center and Library. This library houses thousands of books that are available for the public.
Meanwhile, for the religious, go on a pilgrimage to Calvary Hill where you can visit the life-size dioramas of the Stations of the Cross and the statue of the Crucified Christ.
There is also a spot for thrill-seekers in Tacloban. Bukid Outdoor Shop organizes adventure trips such as mountaineering, spelunking, and camping to name a few. It also has a wall climbing gym for those who want to try bouldering.
Events and Festivals
June is the busiest month for Tacloban because it celebrates not one but two grand events: the the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival and the Sangyaw Festival. Held every June 28, Sangyaw Festival is a celebration of the rich cultural and religious heritage of the Taclobanons. The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Leyte kicks off one day after: it is a merging of two festivals: the Pintados and the Kasadyaan Festivals. Its celebration is two-fold: to honor the patron saint Sto. Niño and to showcase the native culture and history of Leyte. Street dances and parades feature locals with face and body paint to mimic the ancient warriors of Leyte called pintados.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
There are branches of your favorite fast food chains in Tacloban's malls and city centers like Jollibee, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Mang Inasal.
When you’re in Tacloban, make sure to try some of their unique offerings which you can find in their restaurants. At Ocho Seafood Grill, you can choose which seafood you want and have it cooked the way you like it.
At Calle Z Cafe Restaurant, you will be served a selection of hearty local meals that will keep you satisfied. Meanwhile, gourmet local and international dishes make up the menu of Rafael Farms Garden Restaurant. As its name suggests, you'll get to savor delicious meals in the company of nature.
If you're craving for Italian food, head to Giuseppe's and order their delectable pizzas and pastas. For some Mexican form, try the amazing creations of Sunzibar.
Carinderias are the budget-friendly eateries available all over the towns and cities in the country. Tacloban has its share of these establishments which serve affordable meals and feature the local flavors of the city.
The barbecue stalls along Rizal Avenue are popular spots for affordable street food. You can enjoy grilled dishes like barbecued pork and chicken, isaw (skewered chicken intestines), and longganisa (sausages).
Bars and Clubs
Club 6500 Elements is one of the popular night clubs in Tacloban. Visit this place if you want great booze while mingling with the fun-loving locals.
Where to Shop
Robinsons Place Tacloban and Gaisano Capital Mall both offer a wide selection of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
Tacloban Public Market not only sells Tacloban's freshest catch and produce but also some pasalubong items such as Leyte's famous native delicacies: sagmani, moron, and binagol which are collectively known as S.M.B.
Bahandi Pasalubong Center at Tacloban's airport offers a variety of souvenirs like handicrafts for last-minute shoppers.
What to Buy
When it comes to pasalubong in Tacloban, the native Leyte sweets are on the top of the list. Make sure to bring home some sagmani (a delicacy made from sweet potato and cassava), suman moron (rice cake with cocoa), and binagol (a sweet taro delicacy encased in a coconut shell.
ATMs and Money Changers
You can find banks and ATMs in Tacloban if you need to withdraw some cash.
Fare: PHP 1,300.00 to PHP 1,400.00 (By bus); PHP 1,700.00 to PHP 4,000.00 (By plane)
If you're going to take the bus to Tacloban, you can book tickets ahead of your departure at online ticketing websites like PinoyTravel. Meanwhile, if you want to get the cheapest airfare to Tacloban, make sure to look out for seat sales of your trusted airlines.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 300.00
Carinderia meals cost as low as PHP 50.00. Meanwhile, the dishes at most restaurants range from PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00.
Shopping: PHP 10.00++
Sagmani, moron, and binagol are each sold at less than PHP 10.00 apiece.
Accommodation: PHP 800.00 to PHP 3,000.00
Choose between hostels and hotels for your accommodation in Tacloban. You can have an overnight stay at a private room for a little over PHP 800.00 at ZPad Residences.
Activities: PHP 200.00++
The entrance fee at Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum costs PHP 200.00 for three people. If you brought a camera with you, you'll have to pay an additional PHP 30.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 150.00++
The terminal fee at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport is PHP 150.00.