A jeepney in Tacloban (Photo: Samuel de Leon)

Where to stay

  • Go Hotels Tacloban, Tabuan National Highway, Marasbaras; +63 53 523 0391; www.gohotels.ph/locations-page/specific-location/tacloban. Tacloban City’s biggest budget hotel that’s just a 20-minute drive from the Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport.
  • Hotel Alejandro, Paterno St; +63 53 321 7033. An ancestral house built in 1932, this is now a five-story structure with 52 simple but clean rooms, a café, and a gallery of fascinating World War II photographs and memorabilia that history buffs will love.
  • Hotel XYZ, P. Zamora St, Downtown; +63 53 523 3888; facebook.com/hotelxyz.tacloban. A chic and stylish hotel with a business center, a spa and a gym. It’s also located just 20 minutes from the airport.
  • Leyte Park Resort Hotel, Magsaysay Blvd. A modern hotel on a hill overlooking the San Juanico Strait and San Pedro Bay.

Where to eat

  • ABCD Café, Hotel XYZ, P. Zamora St, Downtown; +63 53 321 3888. Chill out over sandwiches and coffee at this cozy café.
  • Balay Inasal, Magsaysay Blvd, Downtown; +63 916 795 8698. A casual, affordably-priced restaurant offering Filipino food and grilled specialties.
  • Café Lucia, Real St; +63 53 832 5081. This café has comfortable interiors and a great view of the sea, which makes for a romantic dining experience. Try the green tea and baby back ribs.
  • Cerebro Bar, Real St. Get a taste of the local indie music scene at this highly popular bar, which attracts a young, urban crowd. Some of the best local bands take to the stage every evening.
  • Giuseppe’s Ristorante, 173 Agenda Veteranos; +63 53 321 4910. A high-end restaurant that serves up a variety of pastas and other Italian dishes.
  • Great Palace, P. Zamora St; +63 53 321 3502. This Chinese restaurant dishes out excellent stuffed shrimp, among others.
  • K Patisserie, JTC Building, P. Gomez St corner Paterno St, Downtown; +63 926 211 4748. This hip café specializes in delectable cupcakes, cookies, teas and shakes.
  • Ocho Seafood & Grill, Senator Enage St; +63 53 325 4171; www.ocho.ph. Prices here are calculated according to the weight of each dish. The kinilaw (seafood ceviche) is a must-try.
  • Rene’s Lechon de Tanauan, 120 T. Claudio St; +63 53 321 1841. The lechon (roasted suckling pig) here is so delicious that you won’t need any condiments whatsoever.
  • Seafood & Ribs Warehouse, Brgy Guindapunan, Palo; +63 917 726 2804; facebook.com/seafoodribswarehouse/. As its name suggests, this paluto-style restaurant serves up excellent seafood and American-style ribs. 
  • Sunzibar, P. Burgos St; +63 53 523 4565. Favorites here include the pepper chops and creamy tomato soup. Portions are huge to boot!
  • SurpRice!, P. Burgos St; +63 53 325 8454. Tuck into hearty rice bowls in flavors like Oriental Beef.

What to do

  • Anibong Memorial Marker, Brgy Anibong. Observe a moment of silence at this historic site (the shipwreck of M/V Eva Jocelyn), a stark reminder of the tragedy of 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan.
  • Barangay Seawall. Seawall is one of the most densely populated villages in the city. Here, you can participate in rehabilitation activities to help the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the city in 2013.
  • Basey. Take a side trip to the town of Basey, which houses the St. Michael the Archangel Church, built in the 17th century. Basey is also known for its colorful and intricately weaved mats, which come from a plant called tikog.
  • Kalanggaman Island; www.kalanggaman-island.com. This gem of an island may be located four hours away from Tacloban, but its pristine sandbars and turquoise waters will make the journey worth your while.
  • MacArthur Landing Memorial Park, Palo. This park marks the spot where the American liberation forces landed during World War II. An often-photographed memorial commemorates the landing. Today, it is a plaza where people can enjoy recreational activities like jogging and picnicking.
  • Price Mansion, Sto. Niño St, Downtown. Known as the CAP Building, it was used as a temporary seat of Government and also served as the general headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur during World War II.
  • San Juanico Bridge. Connecting the islands of Samar and Leyte, this is by far the longest bridge in the Philippines.
  • Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park, Samar. Only an hour away by boat or road, this park in Southern Samar features some breathtaking rock and cave formations.
  • Sto. Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum, Real St, Downtown. This popular tourist attraction is one of the 29 mansions built for late ex-president Ferdinand Marcos. It houses a chapel for Leyte’s revered patron saint, Sto. Niño, as well as paintings of historical events.
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