Tacloban is a highly urbanized city in the Philippines and a provincial capital of Leyte. The city was formerly known as Kankabatok, which is from the name of its original inhabitants, who were Kabatok. The name was later changed because of the way they use to hunt, where they would use bamboo that they call Taklub, so eventually the name changed to Tacloban. It was briefly the capital of the Philippines from 20 October 1944 to 20 February 1945. The city has a population of about 242,089 and has great historic landmarks, also being a naturally beautiful place. Here are some places I would recommend you visit while in the city.
1. Red Beach
There are rumors that this name originated from the fact that supposedly blood was flowing through the water during the Leyte landing on 20 October 1944. The Red Beach is a beautiful natural attraction to visit with a great open area and a great view of Samar Island. At the beach, some statues represent MacArthur and allies when they took back the Philippines from the Japanese; so this is also a great site for taking pictures.
Address: Tacloban, Philippines
2. CAP Building
The CAP Building is a historical landmark in the Philippines and is also a place that showcases great cultural heritage of the country. This building once served as a temporary seat of the government during the restoration of the civil government in the Philippines. The building also acted as the general headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur during the time of World War II.
The building at the center of today’s conference hall features MacArthur memorabilia and also an art gallery. The statues of MacArthur and Osmena that stand in the mansion serve as a reminder for the Philippines to adhere to the democratic process and structure, something they fought about. The building is a great place to visit to learn more on the history of the Philippines and also World War II.
Address: Saint Nino St. and Justice Romualdez St., Tacloban, Leyte Province 6500, Philippines
Website: CAP Building
3. San Juanico Bridge
The San Juanico Bridge is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway that stretches from Samar to Leyte. It is the longest bridge going over a water body in the Philippines and was made of steel girder viaduct and reinforced with concrete piers, making it an arch-shaped truss design. The construction of the bridge started in 1969 and was completed in 1973; this was done by Ferdinando Marcos. The bridge offers a great view of the San Juannic Strait with its whirlpools, as well as the islets of the two provinces on the strait. The bridge, a monumental project, was originally known as the Marcos Bridge and was also frequently dubbed as the ‘Bridge of Love’ because Ferdinando Marcos dedicated the bridge to his wife, Imelda, who was known as the ‘Rose of Tacloban.’ The bridge is a cool site that you do not want to miss out on when you visit Tacloban.
San Juanico Bridge
Address: Pan-Philippine Hwy, Santa Rita, Leyte, Philippines
4. Sto. Nino Shrine and Museum
The Sto.Nino Shrine and Museum Location: Real St.. Tacloban City Photo By: Diony Jun PayoPosted by Diony Jun Payo on Monday, 27 March 2017
This museum is a favorite tourist spot in Tacloban due to its associating with Imelda, who was the wife of Ferdinand Marcos. The museum is one of the rest houses that Marcos had built for his wife, who only stayed there once. The mansion has 13 rooms which were for Marcos, his wife and their children. Inside the mansion are paintings of historical events, especially in Leyte, and also many antique ceramics, Austrian Mirrors, chandeliers from Czech, tiles from Italy, jars from China, floors from Argentina, pottery and collectibles. The Sto. Nino Shrine and Museum is a place I would highly recommend you visit while in Tacloban and see the great vintage items and antiques collected in the mansion.
Sto. Nino Shrine and Museum
Address: Real St, Downtown, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
5. Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross is located just on the outskirts of Tacloban, on the slope of a hill know as Calvary Hill. The statues at the stations depict the stages that lead to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The first is a representation of the condemnation of Jesus. Jesus is receiving the cross and later falling with the cross. The next is when he met his mother on the way to Calvary. They show how Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross and there are more stages depicting events up to his resurrection, which is at the very top of the hill.
From the top of the hill, you will also get to see amazing views of the city and that of San Juanico Strait. The Stations of the Cross is considered a sacred place and offers people the opportunity to pray and reconnect with their Christian faith through the remembrance of the suffering, death, and resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ. This is an experience you do not want to skip out on during your visit.
Stations of the Cross
Address: Water Plant Maintenance Rd, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
6. Madonna of Japan
The monument of the Madonna of Japan, who was Maria Kannon, is a symbol of peace between the Japanese and the Filipinos. The monument was built in honor of all the soldiers that lost their lives in war. The statue is also referred to as the Icon of the Goddess of Peace. The statute has become an important historical landmark in Tacloban City. The statue was built because during the war the Philippine people had suffered a great deal and lost their lives under the Japanese people, and this eventually brew hatred. The statue was, therefore, a representation of reconciliation for the sake of peace and also a memorial for the fallen soldiers.
The park where the figure stands is located along Magsaysay Boulevard at Kanhuraw Hill. It is a very significant historical place and important for the Philippines because of the meaning it holds, and people go up to the statue to pray and find peace.
Maddona of Japan
Address: Madonna of Japan, Magsaysay Blvd, Downtown, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
7. Anibong Memorial Marker
Anibong Memorial Marker is a mini-park where the remnant of M/V Eva Jocelyn is placed and used as a shrine. The ship was one of the six cargo vessels that were washed ashore during the storm surge caused by super typhoon Hayan which is recorded as the deadliest typhoon to ever hit the Philippines. This has demolished the neighborhood, and the only recognizable object on this place then was this vessel. The actual bow of the ship was made into a memorial marker to mark the event where 6,000 people died. To see the beachside village and the scrap parts left over from the wrecks you may climb on the ‘deck’ of this shrine.
8. Try Chocolate Moron and Binagol
Taste the Visayan sweet delicacies while having your vacation in Tacloban. Take delight on their chocolate moron which is made of rice flour mix, chocolate, sugar, and coconut milk. Try the famous Binagol which is made of talyan, coconut milk and sugar that is placed inside a coconut shell. Also, you can munch on Sagmani which is almost similar to Binagol but made of cassava or sweet potatoes. It is cooked with coconut cream, sugar, and coconut meat. You may also treat yourself with Carigara’s Special Pastillas which is made of pure carabao’s milk. You can buy these sweet treats in public markets, terminals, and pasalubong centers. Meanwhile, should you want to buy other food souvenir items then you may visit Tita Aida’s delicacies along P.Zamora St.
9. Ride a Habal-Habal
Have an adventurous ride while mingling with the locals by riding a habal habal or motorcycle taxi. It is an indigenous means of transportation that you’ll often see in the countryside. It is usually used in far-flung barangays where other vehicles cannot easily pass through due to bumpy roads, steep terrain, and narrow roads. There are different kinds of habal-habal but the one in Tacloban is basically a motorbike with wide seats and a roof. If you want to try this motorcycle-pillion service, then you may spot them queueing outside busy train or bus stations. Have fun with the locals and the drivers as you balance yourself to ensure smooth transit as this type of transport requires balancing between the passengers and the driver.
10. River Cruise on Sohoton Natural Park
Sohoton Natural Bridge Natural Park features relaxing yet extreme activities. Cruise along Kadak-an River also known as the Golden River which is known to be one of the most scenic waterways in Tacloban. Sail on still water and expect to see ripples, limestone cliffs, rocky mountains and lush greens on the banks while hearing chirping birds. Moreover, you’ll also get to see some local kids playing in the water, women paddling their way along with the river and fishermen out doing their daily chores. Also, you would pass a dock that leads to the caves where local musicians are playing local songs. When you have finally reached the natural bridge, you’ll be astonished by its massive underground caves.
Sohoton Natural Park
Address: Basey, Samar
Have fun at Tacloban
Tacloban is a city filled with a lot of historic significance and landmarks that I would definitely recommend you to visit if you are into history or if you are just looking for a great place to visit for relaxation and fun. Other places you could visit in the city include the Tulaan Falls, Salvacion Falls and the White Beach, which all depict the city’s natural beauty.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.