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4 Historical Landmarks To Visit in Tacloban City

Located in the heart of Eastern Leyte, Tacloban serves as a major transportation hub for locals coming in and out of the island. The town is mostly known for its iconic San Juanico Bridge and for being the hometown of the country’s most controversial first lady, Imelda Marcos, to whom the longest bridge was dedicated to.

It was 2013 when Tacloban made news not only in the Philippines but in the rest of the world. The huge storm surge brought by Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Typhoon Yolanda, caused Tacloban to fall into ground zero. When the world thought that the area was totally erased from the face of the earth, the Taclobanenos proved that they can gracefully rise up from that fall. Today, the people living in Tacloban has gotten back to their feet, now stronger and braver than ever before.

June 18, 2017 — A scorching temperature and an hour delayed flight did not hinder my travel buddies and me from seeking adventure on our first day. After we got off the plane and stepped outside the terminal premises, we were bombarded with tons of tour offers to different destinations here and there. We couldn’t focus on the persistent tour operators at that time because of our empty stomachs. After all, it was past lunchtime when we arrived. While having lunch at an eatery just a few steps away from the terminal, we asked the servers what itinerary we should follow for our 4-day stay in the region. They all led us to Sambawan Island in Biliran. Kalanggaman Island seemed way too far for our brief days off.

We settled on taking a city tour for the rest of the afternoon in Tacloban. the server from the eatery referred Kuya Dodong as our van tour operator. Kuya Dodong’s fee for the service was ₱1,500, but we were able to trim it down to ₱1,000. Kuya Dodong brought us to San Juanico Bridge, MacArthur Shrine, The M/V Eva Jocelyn Memorial and Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Park. We were so blessed to have Kuya Dodong as our tour guide. After visiting the tourist spots around town, he dropped us to the van terminal bound to Naval, Biliran without additional costs.

Should you plan to go to this beautiful town, below are 4 remarkable landmarks that you can visit during your stay in Tacloban.

 

 

 

San Juanico Bridge

The San Juanico bridge is the longest bridge in the Philippines which measures about 2,200 meters long. This is one of Marcos’s infrastructure legacies during his administration that has been operating since 1973. The bridge connects two towns from different islands – one is Santa Rita in Samar and the other is Tacloban City in Leyte.

It takes a while to cross the viaduct, but the scenic view of the seas and the skies are never tiring to look at. The tourists are not allowed to stop and take a photo, but some tour guides bend the rules to grant tourists their much-anticipated photo-op. Boy, the thrill is in getting a great shot in the bridge. My group and I had to cross back and forth until the two-lane road was clear of passing cars. It was like playing patintero with vehicles. It was fun but I advise you to be very careful! We got our tour guide from the airport area, but I heard there are also tour guides stationed in the park under the bridge.

Tacloban Leyte San Juanico Bridge

Tacloban Leyte San Juanico Bridge

San Juanico Bridge, Leyte (5)

San Juanico Bridge, Leyte (5)

Tacloban Leyte San Juanico Bridge

Tacloban Leyte San Juanico Bridge (3)

Tacloban Leyte San Juanico Bridge (3)

San Juanico Bridge, Leyte (5)

San Juanico Bridge

Tacloban Leyte San Juanico Bridge

 

Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Park

The Sto. Nino Shrine and Heritage Park looks nothing but luxurious. This opulent property used to be a vacation home of the late President Marcos and former first lady Imelda. Upon entering this beautiful mansion, tourists are led to a shrine dedicated to Sto. Nino. Surrounding the shrine are several rooms which served as guests rooms for the family’s visitors during the early days. The mansion also has a grand ballroom and an impressive dining hall, with glamorous furniture and adornments in every corner. It is without a doubt that the Marcos gained wealth during his regime.

The entrance fee for the first three persons in a toured group is ₱200. The additional head will be charged ₱60. Tourists will also pay ₱30 for every gadget that they will carry inside the shrine, on top of the entrance fees. The management also charges ₱200 to its visitors who will take a video. (Personally, I think everything was overcharged, especially with the per-gadget fee. We didn’t go inside after all.)

 

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

Sto. Nino Shrine, Biliran, Leyte

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

Tacloban Leyte Sto Nino Shrine

 

 

M/V Eva Jocelyn Shrine

The M/V Eva Jocelyn Shrine is a memorial marker of the typhoon Yolanda’s blow in Tacloban City back in November 2013.  The local government left this remnant of the ship as a reminder of the tragedy in this residential area. This was the site where the massive vessel ravaged innocent lives while the storm struck the land. When I went here, I did not truly appreciate the shipwreck. But now that I know the story behind it, it gave me a different kind of compassion for the lost lives. The beauty of this tourist spot is in the tragic history it carries.

Tourists may offer any amount as their donation by the registration booth. There are no required fees to enter.

 

Tacloban Leyte Yolanda Shipwreck

Tacloban Leyte Yolanda Shipwreck

Shipwreck, Biliran, Leyte

 

MacArthur Landing Memorial Park

The symbolic MacArthur Landing Memorial Park is located at the Red Beach in Palo, a neighboring town of Tacloban. The memorial’s main attraction consists of seven larger-than-life statues of American soldiers who returned to Leyte and walked in the knee-deep waters of Red Beach despite the possible attacks from the Japanese Forces. This park serves as a tribute to the American-Filipino alliance during the Second World War. If you wish to go here, be informed that there is no required fee to enter the memorial site.

Identified to have walked alongside Gen. MacArthur were President Sergio Osmeña, Lieutenant General Richard Sutherland, Brigadier General Carlos P. Romulo, Major General Courtney Whitney, Sergeant Francisco Salveron and CBS Radio correspondent William J. Dunn.

 

 

Indeed, the town of Tacloban holds a big chunk of the country’s glorious history. If you plan to visit, you may use our actual itinerary below.

 

Itinerary and Expenses

Note: This is an itinerary based from an actual trip of 4 persons in 2017.

 

Day 1 (June 18, 2017) 1:42 PM Arrival at D.Z. Romualdez Airport
2:00 PM Lunch
2:35 PM Start of City Tour ₱1000 per group
5:00 PM End of City Tour

 

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2 Comments

  1. Hi! Can I have the contact number of Dodong please since we will be going there next week. Thanks!

    1. Hey, Julia! I don’t have the mobile number of Kuya Dodong, but once you get to the eatery nearby the airport, you’ll find tour operators like his rate.

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