Tacloban is the largest city in the Eastern Visayas with over 200,000 people and the capital of the province of Leyte. Tacloban was briefly the capital of the Philippines, from 20 October 1944 to 27 February 1945 and is still the home of the Pintados Festival, commemorating the life and culture of the early settlers of Tacloban.
Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 recorded the highest winds ever over land and destroyed most of Tacloban and killed more than 6,000. However, resourceful Filipinos ensured that by early 2015 much of the infrastructure had been rebuilt and normal life had returned.
Waray-Waray is spoken here, but many also understand Cebuano, English and Tagalog.
Daily flights from Manila with Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Airphil Express, Zest Air and SEAir take about an hour. Cebu Pacific has flights to and from Cebu every afternoon and Philippine Airlines serves the same destination in the morning. No shipping line still plys between Manila and Tacloban.
There are many ways to get from the airport to all over Tacloban City, especially downtown, which is where most of the fun and excitement happens.
Jeepneys are the cheapest way to get downtown and typically cost ₱10 for a one way trip downtown; for a taxi or pedicab you are looking at around ₱50-100 (if asked for much more then you are being ripped off).
Early in 2010, taxis now operate from the airport to any part of the city. M Lhuiller Taxi have the most number of units. Taxi service is now available from the hotel to fetch you to the airport or any destination within the city and sub-urban towns around Tacloban at higher cost.For pick-up from downtown hotels in Tacloban to the airport, the standard price is ₱250. More than this amount is above the norm. Be prepared with the exact amount as drivers may not always have loose change. When wanting taxi service at your hotel, ask the front desk, they have contacts with taxi operators and drivers. For out-of-city points, price is negotiable.
A tricycle is the easiest way to get from A to B. It will bring you to any place in the city for a fare of around ₱9.
Jeepneys are also an option and the cheapest way to travel all around the city, although confusing at first, it may take you a while to adjust to the directions and the naming of the different sections of the city, if in doubt ask a local; everyone is very willing to help.
When walking around the city and crossing streets, observe traffic rules as the city imposes its "anti-jaywalking ordinance." For some tourists and visitors who are used to the indifference of pedestrians in other cities in the Philippines, Tacloban could be a different place for them.
The feel of the city is not as urbanized as in other highly urbanized cities in the Philippines. So every visitor and many locals who come from rural towns ignore this local ordinance.
Buses and vans of various companies leave from their own stations in downtown or the Tacloban Bus Terminal near Robinsons Mall.
Get rides all over Leye, Samar and even to Manila and Mindanao here.
San Juanico Bridge. The longest bridge in the Philippines connects the city to the third biggest island of the Philippines, Samar. The bridge spans 2.14km and is one of the major tourist spots in the city.
MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park. A Monument dedicated to the return of General MacArthur to Leyte and the start of the campaign to recapture and liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation on 20 October 1944. The Monument Park is located in Palo, about 10km from Tacloban Downtown. Free of admission.
Santo Niño Shrine Tacloban's most famous daughter, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, built this bizarre shrine. Today it houses a varied display of antiques and objets d’art, with each room dedicated to a Filipino province, as well as a bizarre diorama of Imelda doing good deeds. Upstairs has rooms for each of the family members, while on the ground floor is the gaudy Santo Niño shrine. It still shows signs of damage by Yolanda and the display of all the dusty and broken riches provide the shrine some morbid fascination. 200PHP for up to three people, 8am-5pm.
Tacloban Capitol Building. The Leyte Provincial Capitol is a neoclassical building built in 1907. Located at the corner of Sen. Enage Street and Magsaysay Boulevard, the "Capitolio" is the seat of the provincial government of Leyte. It was also the seat of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines when President Sergio Osmeña came in 1944 with the WW II Liberation Forces.edit
Balogo waterfall. A nice waterfall in the Salvacion Barangay, some kilometers west of Tacloban. A short but nice walk through the forest is required to get there. Ask the locals for Directions.edit
The shipwrecks of Anibong, Anibog Barangay, . Altogether eight vessels were washed ashore during Typhoon Yolanda. Their picture went around the world as the ships rested in the middle of settlements and roads far inland. They killed many people as they were washed inland, due to crushing the houses in the path. Just the bow of the Eva Joycelin remains on Anibong road and was turned into a memorial for the Yolanda victims, while a complete second ship still rests near the shore (11°15'7.65N,124°59'28.48E)edit
Bukid climbing hall, 206 Burgos St, . Indoor climbing and boulder hall with a small outdoor shop. 150PHP for 2 hours. Organises regular outdoor activities and the shop caters to all walks of life with rock climbing, mountaineering, La Routa Adventure race, mountain biking, camping, kayaking...(11.242888,125.000965)edit
Tacloban Grandstand Stadium, Athletic Road (Sta Cruz St). Public sports stadium. Free swimming pool, basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts. Full sized soccer field and running track.edit
Tacloban is cheap. Period. There is not a huge amount to buy in Tacloban, but there are various markets, bazaars and malls. The latest is the Robinson mall.
Melyn Aytona, 17 Panay St., Philam Village, Las Piñas, Philippines (Tacloban), ☎ +63 917 972 7659. Gaisano Mall as the homologue of Manila's Ever Gotesco Mall having much cheaper items perfect for backpackers.edit
Tacloban Market. A good place to get all kinds of fruit, vegetable, fish, meat, etc. Located near the harbor.edit
Calle Z for "bulalo" meat is along Independencia Street. Just ask the tricycle driver to bring you to this restaurant. It has a homey ambiance.
Ocho Grill. Seafood restaurant near the harbour.
Zaibatsu Cafe Bar - along Sen. Enage Street, at right going to the provincial capitol from downtown Tacloban.
Burgos Street hosts a great variety of restaurants! If you are not sure what to eat, go there!
Pouki on the corner of Av. Veteranos and Paterno Street. Famous for their delicious burgers. Open in the evening.
Cheap and delicious BBQ sellers can be found on almost every corner in the evenings. Try all kinds of grilled chicken, pork or seafood. Many BBQs can be found near the market. Another popular place is near Sto Nino Parish where you can enjoy your BBQ and cold beer on the seaside.
Na Ning, Av. Veteranos / Paterno Str.. Makeshift bar in an old truck with kitchen and outdoor area. Nice burgers. Very popular amongst young locals and expats. The first bar to open some days after Yolanda.(11.2407,125.0040)edit
Don't leave Tacloban without trying their most famous beverage. Tubâ is the regional drink in the islands of the Eastern Visayas which, not by accident, are the second-biggest coconut-producing region in the Philippines.
Locals climb coconut trees early in the morning with a bamboo container for the coconut sap they'll collect on their shoulders. During the first climb, they look for unopened flowers in the coconut tree and then cut the tip off the flower and attach their long bamboo container that can hold about a litre of sweetish cloudy-white sap that then flows out. Sturdy trees can yield about 4L of sap each day. The sap that has been collected from all the different trees is filtered to remove sediments and then tightly covered for the ageing process to begin. A bit like Scotch, the longer the tubâ is aged, the finer and mellower its taste. A yearold coconut wine is already good, but those aged three or more taste even better. The Waray call the tuba “bahal” and “bahalina,” respectively. Red colouring from bark of lauan-trees can be added. If it's been aged this way for less than about a year, it's called bahal and bahalina when it's older - up to 3 years or so.
For nightlife in the city, two hotspots are where the partygoers go clubbing:
Club 65Hundred at the Leyte Park Hotel is a complex of restaurants and bar while Tacloban Astrodome is surrounded by various bars. Open air kiosks at the Magsaysay Boulevard also offer drinks and foods.
GV Pensione, Corner of Juan Luna and Veteranos, ☎ +63 53 325-3142. Good budget option, safe and clean.PHP420. edit
Leyte Park Hotel, one of Tacloban's well kept charm (actually a monument of its own comparable to the San Juanico Bridge). There you will see a bird's eye view of the Cancabato Bay.
Melyn Aytona, 17 Panay St, Philam Life Vil Laspinas, ☎ +63 917 972 7659. edit
Ron and Fire's Place, Malaki Subdivision, Purok 3, Brgy 91 Abucay (From the new bus terminal toward downtown it is about 1-2km. If you feel like walking, walk out of the new bus terminal, turn right and follow the road toward Tacloban downtown. The road will start to slope upwards. You will pass a vehicle checkpoint, a shell gas station on your left and after about another 500m you will see a small street on the right. There is a mechanic shop on the corner. Take this street and it's the last place on the right with the large wooden door.), ☎ +63 939 904 6828, . Private backpackers. Ron is German and Fire is Filipino. Dorm, sgl & dbl options. The double room is en suite with balcony and fan. Free coffee and tea and potable drinking water available through the taps in the kitchen and bathrooms. The guesthouse has a modest kitchen which guests can use to prepare their meals. There is a gas stove, rice cooker, refrigerator, and utensils.₱300 per person, ₱800 Double Room. (11.2427,124.9906)edit
Yellow Doors Hostel, Juan Luna Street, Tacloban, ☎ +63 921 6000 165, . The first backpackers hostel in Tacloban, offering its guests affordable accommodations, social and cultural activities, and volunteering opportunities. Nice and homely place, opened after Typhoon Yolanda, using upcycled debris material and furniture to create a modern and friendly hostel. Free Wi-Fi, breakfast and as much coffee and tea as you can handle. Check out the great rooftop-terrace. Dorm beds (₱450-550) and private double rooms (₱1100.)(11.240285,125.003185)edit