Thursday, December 6, 2007

Things to do In Tacloban and Nearby

Mentioning Tacloban City, in Leyte to every Filipino always brings back the memory of WW II’s most popular phrase “I shall return” of Douglas Macarthur. The Red beach of Tacloban City is a famed landmark where General MacArthur landed on October 20, 1944 as the fulfillment of his promise to liberate the Filipinos from the hands of the Japanese invaders. Today, this historic event can be witnessed through the larger-than-actual-life size statues of Gen. MacArthur, Carlos P. Romulo, Pres. Sergio Osmena and some other men walking ashore fronting the Red Beach.

Much of the city’s touring activities are based on this memorable event and most of the tourists whether Filipinos, Americans or Japanese are close relatives of the heroes who come to Tacloban to reminisce.

But there is more to Tacloban City than WW II memorablias. Tacloban City is nestled in a rugged bay that made it a natural shelter for seafarers during typhoons.

Being a small city, its easy to take in the entire city in an afternoon’s walk. Along Magsaysay Boulevard, are open air café’s and small barbecus stands that serve cold beer. A perfect way to enjoy cool afternoons while enjoying the fresh sea breeze.

Here are a few tihngs you can check out inTacloban City and nearby.


Dio Mainland Resort - Located in Brgy. San Jose, 7 km. from Tacloban City. Native cottages, native beach kiosks, function facilities, swimming pool, spacious parking area, restaurant, ground sports facilities. Commonly called Baluarte San Jose where remnants of World War II Japanese pill boxes and a canon still exist and preserved for viewing; panoramic view of Leyte Gulf and Samar Island.

Tacloban City Hall -Located atop Kanhuraw Hill. Seat of the city government of Tacloban since June 12, 1952; overview of Tacloban City, Cancabato Bay, San Pedro Bay, San Juanico Strait, Cataisan Point and Samar Island; surrounding Philippine-Japanese peace memorial markers. Landscaped garden with concrete tables and chairs; canteen; function hall; tourism office.

People’s Center and Library - Located in Real Street, Tacloban City. Historical documents recording the rich cultural heritage of the people of Samar and Leyte; a collection of dioramas of the 82 ethnic tribes of the Philippines; a collection of books on the humanities. Social hall and reading room.

San Juanico Bridge - Located in Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City, between the islands of Leyte and Samar – the south entrance at Tacloban and the north entrance at Babatngon. Said to be the narrowest yet the most navigable strait in the world. Beautiful islets and infinite whirlpools; rushing water scene; good for fishing and water skiing. San Juanico Bridge is the longest and most beautifully designed bridge in the Philippines; picturesque San Juanico Strait with a thousand whirlpools; lovely islets; picturesque views.

Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum - The infamous mansion built by Imelda Marcos during the heyday of the Marcoses. It is located in Real Street, Tacloban City. Contains the paintings of the 14 stations of the Cross done by Filipino artists, wooden bas-relief of the legend of the First Filipino man-woman (Si Malakas at si Maganda); tastefully decorated guestrooms of varied Filipino motifs; image of the Holy Child; a collection of original paintings by Fernando Amorsolo; spacious ballroom; and priceless collector’s items.

Madonna of Japan - Located at the foot of Kanhuraw Hill, Tacloban City. Landscaped garden with statue of the Goddess of Peace called Maria Kannon donated by the Japanese people – a symbol of peace and friendship between the Philippines and Japan; scenic view of Samar Island and Kankabato Bay. Benches, lamp posts, altar for offerings.

Sto. Niño Church- Located at the corner of Real and Zamora Streets, Tacloban City. Miraculous Image of Santo Niño, patron saint of Leyte. Also known as the Church of Liberation. Stations of the CrossLocated atop the hill above Serin District overlooking Tacloban City. The 14 Stations of the Cross in more than life-size concrete forms leading to the 18-foot statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Place for prayer and meditation on the Passion of Christ.

Buddhist Temple - Located in Anibong District, Tacloban City at the foot of a hill. A beautiful 2-storey pagoda where monks and Buddhists make their worship, prayers, and offerings. Overlooking Tacloban City and Samar Island. A wide balcony ideal for religious functions/receptions.

La Purisima Shrine - Located in Brgy. Guindapunan, Palo, Leyte, 12 km. from Tacloban City. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception replica which has been the object of devotional pilgrimage since its erection in 1879. Steps leading to Hill 522; shrine.

Palo’s Holy Week Traditions - (Good Friday; Palo, Leyte)Palo, Leyte was declared in the Diocesan Synod of 1910 as a center of faith and religiousity in Eastern Visayas. Oldest of Palo’s Holy Week traditions is the Penitentes, a penitential fraternity of cassocked, barefoot, and hooded members organized by Fray Pantaleon de le Fuente, OFM in 1984 supposedly to replace the flagellants, fanatics who whipped themselves or have themselves whipped to atone for wrong doings, whose cult of fanatics was gaining momentum among the faithful.

Turugpo - (Black Saturday; Brgy. Camansi, Carigara, Leyte)Traditional jousts of native carabaos (pasungay) and horses (paaway). Cockfight (karambola) is another attraction.

Subiran Regatta - (June 28; Tacloban City) An exciting race of one-man native sailboats with outriggers locally called “subiran” along scenic and historic Leyte Gulf. The race is done without using a paddle but only skills and techniques to maneuver the sail.

Pintados Festival - (June 29; Tacloban City)A dance festival of painted dancers celebrating important events like exploits of war, nature worship in narrative dance movements depicting their own folk practices and beliefs. The custom of tattooing earned for the Leyteños the name of Pintados. From ancient history, Roman conquests mentioned tattooed people in Briton, Saitas, Oriental Tartar, and other parts of the world.

Balyuan (June 29; Balyuan Tower, Tacloban City)The Feast of Sto. Niño, the revered patron saint of Tacloban, is celebrated with a pageant re-enacting the historical exchange of images between Barrio Buscada of Basey, Samar and Sitio Kankabatok, now Tacloban City. The Basey Flotilla bearing the church and government leaders goes on a fluvial procession along San Pedro Bay. A budyong (shell) call announces the sight of the flotilla off Kankabatok Bay.

Sto. Niño de Leyte Fiesta - (June 30; Tacloban City)Grand fiesta of Tacloban celebrated with the traditional turn-over ceremonies of the “Teniente” made by the immediate past Hermano Mayor to the incoming Hermano Mayor. This is accompanied by the ritual of giving the medallion containing the names of all Hermanos Pasados and the Standartes.

2 comments:

r. agner said...

hi there. nice blog. tacloban used to have the DWU museum at the now closed divine word university. sayang. for a write-up on this, i invite you to visit my blog: egotrikk.blogspot.com.
thanks!
-raul

The Guesthouse said...

Hi Raul,

Thanks for the comment.
We are back in Tacloban after some time in Manila. Yes DWU Museum is a big loss.

Hope the city government can find away to open the museum to the public. But I know that entails alot of coordination, and alot of headache.

Its our history we are losing here though.

Regards,
Fire

What to do in Tacloban City, Leyte and nearby

Kayaking
Enjoy the scenic San Juanico Straight . Rent a kayak for a day and paddle your way round the bay of Tacloban, under the beautiful San Juanico Bridge. Kayaks are for rent for around a thousand pesos a day.

Waterfalls in the City
A recent discovery , a majestic 30 ft waterfalls hidden in the mountains of Tigbao and Salvacion just4 Km. outside Tacloban . Maps towards the waterfall site is available. A day trip for picnic and swimming is most ideal.

Caving
Nearest to Tacloban is Sohoton National Park in Basey just off San Juanico Bridge. The Tourism Offisce in the Municipality of Basey provides excellent tour guides for a hassle free caving. Ideal for non professional, amateurs, and family trips.The one-man adventure outfit of Joni Bonifacio provides professional caving for the more advetourous. Explore the three caves of Jiabong in one day. The ultimate Langun – Gobingob Cave in Calbiga offers more for serious spelunkers. Langun-Gobingo expedition is usually a 3day – 2 night from one end of the cave to another, but an shorter trip can be tailored. Calbiga is one hour away from Tacloban. Jiabong is an hour- and a half trip from Tacloban


Wall Climbing
Bukid Outdoor Shop offers wall climbing. For 60 pesos you can climb till you drop. They also sell outdoor gears for hiking, camping, mountaineering, and surfing.

Surfing
Three hours away in Calicoan Guaian E. Samar, is a surfing paradise. Blessed with the thundering waves from the Pacific, local and foreign surfers throng to ride the waves of this new surfing capital. Not to mention that Guaian boast of long stretches of white sand sans the crowd and vendors. A laid back town, with friendly people, and a rich history. Do not miss the historic 300 year-old church in the town plaza.

Skimboarding in Tanauan
The secret is out, Tanauan and Dulag towns in Leyte offer the best spots for skimboarding. Tanauan is a 30-minute jeepney ride from Tacloban while Dulag is an hour away. The town of Tanauan is touted as the skimboarding capital of the Philippines. The town hosts the Tanuan International Skimbording Competition which is held every Easter Sunday of each year. Skimboarding gear is available for rent.

Mountaineering
The Leyte Mountain Trail is an outstanding trekking area which starts from the Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park of Burauen to Lake Danao Natural Park in Ormoc, a distance of approximately 40 km. This rainforest tour will cover the beautiful lakes of – Mahagnao, Malagsum, Casudsu-ran and Danao. The spectacular Guinaniban Falls is not to be missed. From the crest of the central Amandiwing Mountain Range is breathtaking view of mountains, forests, plains and the island of Samar and Leyte. The Leyte Mountain Trail houses a profusion of tropical flora and fauna including colourful insects, butterflies, dragonflies, bugs, giant millipedes, deers, wild boars, monkeys, birds, orchids, and giant ferns.

Tongonan Hotsprings National
Tongonan Hotsprings National ParkLocated in Ormoc City, 123 km. from Tacloban City (also accessible from Kananga). A valley of geothermal power source that can supply electricity to the whole region when fully developed; cool and relaxing climate; first geothermal power plant to operate in the Philippines.

Lake Danao
Lake DanaoLocated in Ormoc City, 125 km. from Tacloban City. A violin-shaped lake 2,100 feet above sea level and 3 km, long; hemmed by cloud-capped-mountain ranges of undetermined depth; wild animals roaming its surrounding forest; hunter’s paradise; lake said to be the habitat of giant eel.

Cuatro Islas
Located in the towns of Inopacan and Hindang, Leyte; plus pumpboat ride. Four lovely isles namely, Digyo, Apid, Mahaba, and Himokilan bordered by white sandy shore; surrounded by beautiful coral gardens, the best in Leyte island. A total of 287 species of reef building corals can be found in the islands waters; rich fishing ground. Himokilan is the largest island of the Cuatro Islas where the big delicious coconut-cracking crabs called “tatus” are found.

Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark
Mt. Pangasuhan Ecopark is located in Brgy. Pangasuhan, Baybay, Leyte. One of the few remaining virgin rainforests in the Philippines. It is richly endowed with diverse flora and fauna, many of which are considered endangered species like flying lemurs and tarsiers; a unique and precious ecological asset.