Much as I would like to write in details about this trip, as of its writing Leyte, and other parts of the Philippines has be ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan. I can only but capsulize my half a day tour around Tacloban City, and it’s neighboring municipality, Palo, Leyte through the images I got, and the memories I had of it during my short visit. I woke up way too early than I should that morning. Maybe, even after having resigned to staying at the hotel I was doubtful at, I never called it my temporary home, but more of a shelter for the night. The hot pink color for curtains may look good on a teenagers room with it’s lime green walls but I was too tired to celebrate it’s complimenting match.
I figured, Biri Island is not going anywhere, so I quickly washed my face, and grabbed my stuff for more exploration before taking a long land trip ahead. I asked the receptionist how much it would cost me to hire a pedicab to tour around the city, he looked at a lounging pedicab driver, and said the rate. 300PhP may not seem bad, but I only wanted to go to a few sites that should I commute won’t cost me near half of the agreed rate. It is like this instance that I wish the local tourism would regulate fare rates, and fees. Then again, I was renting the pedicab by myself, I might as well make the most out of the obvious rip-off.
MACARTHUR LANDING MONUMENT
I figured that our first destination would be the furthest away from the city proper, or the city itself. Neighboring Tacloban, Leyte is the the Municality of Palo – one of the historical towns of Leyte. Well known for the site of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Philippines together with Philippine and American military forces after a period of exile in 1944.
Standing massively, and with confidence with the sun rising at it’s back is a memorial at the beach site where MacArthur and his troops landed. It is now locally known as the MacArthur’s Park. Ofcourse, the pedicab driver took to my liking when he genuinely accompanied, and offered tell-tale breathes of alcohol over conversations. Someone had a good night out last night, I thought, when he shouted at me to “lapit ka sa monumento madam!”. So I did like any tourist would, and smiled more that I would. Only because the guy was using a hot pink camera I handed earlier. The sight of that!
ROCK GARDEN OF PEACE
The rock garden is in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Gulf Landing. It is also located at MacArthur’s Park. The monument stands between a row of rock slabs from different peace-loving countries. The form an outer circle ring where one can read the inscriptions of messages of solidarity, friendship, and goodwill.
The monument of the 50th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landing. Rock Garden, Palo, Leyte.
12th National Jamboree of the Boys Scouts of the Philippines Site Monument. Palo, Leyte
The Filipino Soldier.
HEADING BACK TO TACLOBAN.
Heading back to Tacloban city proper, the driver asked me if I was up for a short walk. With a yes, he brought me the the boulevard near the Tacloban City Convention Center or the Tacloban Coliseum. Since the sun was not so high up yet, I took a short leisure stroll along the boulevard. Looking at the pctures now, and hearing about how Superstorm Haiyan hit this city, I gravely wonder how those homes built near the water.
STO. NINO SHRINE, AND HERITAGE MUSEUM.
Sto. Niño Shrine, and Heritage Museum. Tacloban, Leyte.
I was honestly excited to see the Sto. Niño Shrine, and the heritage museum being a repository of the Marcos’ collections. Maybe because it was because of the museum nutcase I was but it was not yet opened when I got there. The is a supposed entrance fee, and a tour guide for each group of 5 guest. Taking photographs are allowed but with a fee for every camera. I opted to just checking out the grounds, and the old building itself, took a peek inside the shrine through an open window, and hopeful that someone was awake, and took pity at the early travelista. So I hopped back in the pedicab, and went on my way to the next destination.
OPERATING HOURS: 8-11 AM; 1-4 PM
ENTRANCE FEE: 200PhP/Pax
MISC. FEE: 30PhP/Camera
STO. NINO CHURCH
|Sto. Niño Church. Tacloban, Leyte.
Considered the most religious site of the province of Leyte, the Sto. Niño Church houses the miraculous patron saint of Tacloban, the Sto. Niño. I like how the subtle orange color, and the tall bellfry is visibly obvious among the city skyline. The interiors mirror the church’ facade is simple, and plain without much details on it. It does however has has ornately decorated saint’s encasement at the altar that matched with the simple but elegant chandeliers that hanged from the high ceiling. I just missed the early mass in local dialect when I got there. I lit some candles, and whispered my prayers instead.
GODDESS OF PEACE & THE MODERN DAY PENITENCE.
Fenced in bars of steel, and brick columns is the monument of the Madonna of Japan. I was not actually expecting this along my short trip around town. It was the driver who brought me to the place, and said that I could take my time around because it was quiet there. The image of Madonna of Japan is also known as Maria Kannon, and a gift from the Japanese people to the Philippines, as a symbol of peace, and friendship among two nations. It is stands on an open enclosure near the Modern Day Penitence at the Calvary Hill that is overlooking the San Juanico Bridge. I was not able to go closer to the the 18 foot statue of the Sacrad Heart of Jesus at the Modern Day Penitence, and its life-sized 14 Stations of the Cross because it was under repainting then.
PROVINCIAL CAPITOL & KM 0 MARKER.
The Leyte Provincial Capitol stand massively proud in white paint, and wall scultures of historical happenings. It was constructed in 1944, and was the temporary seat of the Philippine Commonweath Government Pres. Osmeña landed at Palo with the American troops. At the intersection of the road leading to the Provincial Capitol is the Kilometer Zero or KM 0 for the Leyte, where all the “kilometerage in the island of Leyte, and in the cities of Tacloban, and Ormoc are reckoned from this kilometer post.”
SENDING THOUGHTS FROM TACLOBAN.
I then stopped by the Tacloban Post Office to send to postcards for two different addresses, one for home, and one for someone who kept me company along my trip. I asked the driver to take me back to the hotel I was staying in a route that I could see much of Tacloban City. It was different to see it lit, and with life. The night before felt so empty, and cold that it was a welcome to see life around the city. I thank the driver, and paid him the agreed rate, and bid him well.
I decided that I would not be taking a walk along the San Juanico Bridge as much as I wanted to. I needed to get some shut eye after the drama I had that night, and before taking another land transit bound for Allen, Northern Samar. I only get to admire the bridge that connects islands Leyte, and Samar from the open windows of the van. It may have been a quick visit but I know that someday I get to go back, and visit it again. I was okay watching the snaking bridge slowly enveloped by the land ahead not knowing how the rest of my day would go.
You might also like to read the rest of the Leyte posts here:
Unexpected & In Tears At Tacloban City
Remembering the Brief Leyte Visit
“The Filipino Soldier. He needs no eulogy from me or from any other men…
He belongs to history as one of the finest examples of successful patriotism.
He bolings to posterity as the structure of the future generations in the principles of liberty, and freedom,
and he belongs to the present by his virtues, and his achievements.”
– Gen Douglas MacArthur