Friday, June 13, 2014

Eastern Visayas Tribute: 6 Tacloban City Sites Worth Seeing At Night

Biliran and Ormoc are amazing places. As both areas made me fall more in love with my country. The waterfalls and the rice terraces in Biliran were remarkable. And the historical structures in Ormoc made me appreciate more of the Philippines' past hardships and achievements. So if you've already explored much of Visayas (or any part of the archipelago for that matter), then you will surely agree that "It's More Fun In The Philippines."


But my 4-day backpacking trip in Eastern Visayas didn't end in Biliran and Ormoc City. I continued to wander through Region VIII, and spent my last two days in Tacloban City --- Coreene's hometown. Cuks randomly asked me about plans on visiting her there. We haven't seen each other for so long since she worked abroad. So I decided to book a plane ticket without hesitation. I did it not just for the sake of traveling to a new Philippine destination, but to also spend time with a friend that I missed dearly. I actually thought that I wouldn't be able to make the trip since I broke my 5th metatarsal 3 weeks before the actual departure. But when I had the chance to rebook my plane ticket without being charged, I moved the trip to November. And in the most inopportune time, I left Tacloban a day before Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. [You can read my short tribute HERE]. 

Super Typhoon Yolanda destroyed several areas in Tacloban --- a few of the sites that I will write about here. So allow me to pay tribute to this wonderful place by showing you its beauty before it was ruined by the storm.

I set foot in Tacloban again, after a 2-hour road travel from Biliran. And this time, I was going to spend around 24 hours in the city before flying back to Manila. Coreene was a happy camper, and was really excited to show me around her birthplace. So as soon as we checked into our hotel, we rode the jeep to Sto. Niño Church. It was already 6 PM when we left our lodging.

1) The STO. NIÑO CHURCH houses the ivory image of Tacloban and Leyte's patron saint --- the Sto. Niño. The religious structure, which is also known as the Church of the Liberation, looked serene and majestic before Yolanda destroyed it.


Coreene and I spent almost 2 hours just walking around town. From Sto. Niño Church, we trailed towards Magsaysay Boulevard by Cancabatoc Bay. The long road that was bordered by tall trees paved the way to some of the most interesting institutions and landmarks, and some of these were: 

2) The CITY HALL of Tacloban lies atop Kanhuraw Hill. The seat of the city government offers a panoramic view of several waterscapes such as Cancabato Bay, San Pedro Bay and San Juanico Strait.


3) The BALYUAN PARK (has a mini-amphitheater), which faces the Cancabato Bay, was the place where the Balyuan rites were held. It was a ceremonial and historical exchanges of the Sto. Niño images between Tacloban City in Leyte and Basey in Samar (this was during the 18th century).


4) Cuks and I also passed by UPVTC (University of the Philippines Visayas, Tacloban College) just to take pictures. The educational institution was acknowledged and established in July 2, 1973 as a regional unit of the UP System. 


5) The LEYTE PROVINCIAL CAPITOL is a neoclassical edifice that was built in 1907. It was used as the seat of the Commonwealth Government when former President Sergio Osmena came in 1944 with General MacArthur's liberation forces. At present, the 'Kapitolyo" is now being used as the seat of the provincial government of Leyte. You should check out the bas-reliefs on the edifice as it depicts MacArthur's landing and the first mass at Limasawa. 


6) We made our way to PLAZA LIBERTAD (also known as Liberty Plaza), which was just across the Capitol, to get a better view of the historical structures architectural design. You can relax here, as it is surrounded by green grass and bright lamp posts.


DINNER AT SUNZIBAR & COFFEE BREAK AT CAFE LUCIA

It was almost 8 PM when we decided to eat dinner. That's when Coreene took me to Sunzibar. The art-infused dining room looked a bit crowded given its small area. But you won't think about the space any longer once you're served with their delectable dishes. Since Coreene frequents the restaurant, she already took the liberty of ordering for us, and chose Diablo from their 'Pork Barrel' selection (a tender and spicy steak dish), Nacho Salad from their 'Taqueria' list (comes with fresh vegetables, cheese, salsa and honey mustard sauce) and a pitcher of Redberry Iced Tea.



Coreene wanted to get her caffeine fix before heading back to the hotel, so she suggested that we have a coffee break at one of her favorite hangout places --- Cafe Lucia (along Sagkahan Road). The cozy cafe, which fronts the sea, offers a wide range of drinks and dishes. The interiors of the place was very artsy, as several artworks were hung and displayed around the space.



I loved Tacloban at night. But I was more excited to explore it during daytime. I slept that night with a big smile on my face, as the city truly welcomed me with open arms. [DAY 2 is up next!]


For an overall look on our 4D/3N itinerary and expenses, just click my TRAVEL EXPENSE SHEET.

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

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