Frugal husband is set to go back to school for further studies this June so we’re upping our vacation time (while he still can vacay)! Last weekend, we spent 3 days and two nights at Tacloban city, Leyte.
Prior to leaving for our trip, I had set a mental budget of at most, PhP 7,000.00/ USD 140.00 for this weekend trip. That’s approximately the cost of a one night hotel stay at any 4 or 5 star hotel in Cebu.
Our costs are approximated as follows:
(1) Oceanjet fare (@600 each per way aircon) PhP 2400.00
(2) Accommodation PhP 1200
(3) Food, fare, and others PhP 2,648
For a grand total of PhP 6,248.00 or PhP 3,124 per person.
Tacloban city post Typhoon Yolanda / typhoon Haiyan
This was only my second time in the Leyte area, my first time was way back in high school when we did a road trip from Cebu City all the way to Manila via Leyte. This time it is post Yolanda. I was happy to see that Tacloban is fast recovering, as apparent from the businesses that appear to be flourishing in its downtown area. There are three major malls, a bustling sea port and mountain resorts, among others.
Tacloban is a far cry from the devastating effects of typhoon Yolanda. The city is more aware now though and has set up storm surge warnings all around.
The cheapest way to get around the city is by riding a multicab, which costs only PhP 8.00. A better way is on foot.
A walking tour of Tacloban city
It’s best to start walking from uphill. Take a ride to Leyte Park Resort. Just go inside and wander. The place is pretty accommodating to tourists who wish to merely sightsee. The hotel also has a fabulous café and restaurant facing the gulf, if you wish to indulge.
Once you’re done, walk down to the University of the Philippines Tacloban campus and see the oblation man.
On the other side of the street would be the UP botanical garden.
Note that these places are all a bit rundown, as would be expected after typhoon Yolanda! So please manage your expectations.
The Philippine Japanese peace Park is just down the road. A little walk right after the hall of justice. Here, you will find the Madonna of Japan, which was a gift from the Japanese as a sign of Peace to the Filipino people after world war 2. There’s a garden as well. But we didn’t bother as it was raining.
Going further down there’s supposed to be an amphitheater, but we couldn’t find it. We weren’t sure whether it still exists or whether it was destroyed.
One thing you shouldn’t miss (which we did) is majestic Leyte Capitol building. It is a few steps away from Leyte Park Resort. Its façade is fronted by three spectacular columns and surrounded by statues. We passed by it on our way to lunch. Unfortunately we missed it!
The McArthur Park at Palo, Leyte
Take a multicab and a tricycle and you’re in the next town of Palo, Leyte.
McArthur Park is an oldie but a goodie. Here you will see the tribute given to McArthur and his team who returned to fight with the Philippines against the Japanese in 1943-44(?! My history is shaky). I come here for the beautiful sculpture, manicured gardens, and the sea breeze.
Walk a little further to read the personal messages left by various heads of state (like queen Elizabeth, etc.) acknowledging the Filipino soldier’s valour in fighting with them during world war 2.
Have some pineapples from Ormoc city across the street.
San Juanico bridge and MV jocelyn
A trip here won’t be complete without visiting the longest bridge in the country. San juanico bridge is a mere 1 hour jeepney ride from Tacloban city. Walk on it and feel it vibrate as the vehicles pass (and inwardly scream in fear!).
There’s a nearby restaurant that offers board games for you to enjoy with your family while you dine. Its interiors were surprisingly quaint. I forgot the name of this restaurant-cum-hotel. It shouldn’t be difficult to find as it is a mere 5 minute walk from San Juanico.
A quick multicab ride from here Is MV JOCELYN, a ship that ran aground during Yolanda.
On the way home to cebu, we did a quick walking tour of Ormoc city. I’ll post it soon!
Have you been to tacloban lately?