Saturday, June 16, 2012

A DIY Tour of Tacloban and Palo in Leyte

The other Friday, I brought my two sons and Mrs. Noelizm in Tacloban to see the sights in Leyte and Samar. Upon arriving at Tacloban Airport, we just rode the San Jose-Tacloban jeepney at Php 13/person fare, instead of taking the expensive taxicab or vans to the downtown.

We arrived at Welcome Home Pensione by 11:00 am to drop our bags. Luckily, our reserved room is unoccupied, so we were allowed to check-in early for Php 800/night with 2 double beds. The room is basic yet clean. Only bath soap and bathroom tissue are provided as room supplies. Wifi is available at the garden area.

They don't serve breakfast, but many restaurants are just walking distance like Chowking, Giuseppes, and Stephanie's, where we tried their Php 200 lunch buffet on our first day. It is near the Divine Word University, and just across the Duptours van terminal for our Samar trips on the next 2 days. Very convenient location for us.

After a short siesta, we walked 2 blocks before riding a tricycle to start the tour of the place. Tricycle fare is Php 7/person within the downtown. We passed by the Price Mansion on our way to the Leyte Capitol Building. 

We braved the heat of the sun just to take photos outside the historic building. It is where Sergio Osmena was installed as the president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, by Gen. Douglas MacArthur on 23 October 1944.

The capitol's facade is decorated by 2 relief sculptures on either side. The left one shows the important figures during the Spanish rule, while the right one shows Gen. MacArthur and the Filipino-American troops during the last World War.

You can't miss the 2 cannons that seem to guard the left and right flanks of the building. On the middle of the front open space is a flagpole with sculptures of Filipino soldiers from the time of Lapu-Lapu. This was the temporary seat of power until 27 February 1945, before Osmena relocated to the war-torn Malacanang Palace in Manila.

We just walked to the McDonald's outlet to the port, where we took a short break from the sun's heat, before riding a jeep to Palo, Leyte. The fare is Php 14/person up to the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. This is where MacArthur's forces have landed on 20 October 1944, three days before Osmena was proclaimed as president.

The bronze sculptures are much bigger than their models' actual sizes. Among the Filipinos on the sculptures are President Osmena and Gen. Carlos Romulo, who later on became the secretary-general of the United Nations.

At the back of the statues is the seawall on top of the red beach. The sand's color is black, and the "red beach" name was just assigned to it during their assault to liberate Leyte. A nice park surrounds the elevated pond of statues.

Later that afternoon, we proceeded to Palo Cathedral by contracting a tricycle from the park for Php 80. The original church was built in 1596, but was destroyed first by a fire, then a tropical storm carried away its roof in 1897. 

Aside from the tall pointed belfries, it has a nice gold-plated altar.

The renovated church was designated as a cathedral in March 1938. Like the other old churches, it served as a rendezvous area whenever marauding moros terrorize the town. From the Palo Cathedral, we rode a Palo-Tacloban jeepney to Robinsons Mall to buy some supplies.

During our last morning in Tacloban, I walked up to the port and market area, in search of breakfast meal and pasalubong. That was the only time that I was able to take photos of the CAP Building, formerly known as Price Mansion, where President Osmena took residence during the early days of the Commonwealth.

I wasn't able to see the museum and the preserved internal features of the mansion, which was formerly owned by Walter Scott Price. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American war in the country who decided to stay in Tacloban, married a Cavitena and grew wealthy after founding the Leyte Transportation Company.

On the right side of the building are the statues of Gen. MacArthur and President Osmena, depicting the handover of power on the commonwealth era. 

I saw a nice old building on my way to the downtown, with tarpaulin posters of former actress Cristina Gonzales, promoting their welness business. Its probably owned by the Romualdezes. Below is a snapshot of Tacloban port from the Jollibee store along Avenida Rizal.

We saw many watermelons being sold from bancas docked along the port. Tacloban Market is on the left side of this area.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this ma'am! It helped me plan my backpacking trip to Leyte Island this weekend. Thanks again! :)