37th: Leyte

"What are you going to do in Tacloban? Why Tacloban?" I sometimes get this comment when people knew I booked a trip there. I don't get it why I have to get such reaction because it appears to me that it's not worth it to go there. Does traveling in the Philippines always have to be the famous ones? I do like the seeing famous places but sometimes I also like to explore the underrated ones.

There are a number of things to do and visit in Leyte. One of those famous tourist spots is Kalanggaman Island which is famous for its amazing sandbar. Unfortunately, my friends and I were not able to go there because tours are fully booked. Besides, I don't wanna join a big group of crowd because I feel like I won't enjoy the place that much. Instead of sulking in that incident, we just maximized our stay and explored what other things Leyte has to offer.

First stop: The longest bridge in the Philippines - San Juanico Bridge. This bridge connects two provinces in the country namely Leyte and Samar. Somehow I got a taste of being in two places at once (this is so A Walk to Remember if you know what I mean). :)))

Second stop: Provincial Capitol of Leyte. Its architectural style is Greek-inspired since white color and columns were used as its features. If you're a fan of architecture and critical about it, it's good to explore the various architectural features of Leyte.

Third stop: UP Tacloban. I just forced my friends to include this in our itinerary (hahaha) because an item in my bucket list is to visit all Oble statues in the Philippines. Woooh #UPFight

Fourth stop: Chew Love Resto. The heat is such a torture so we needed to grab some refreshment. We went to this resto which is famous in Tacloan due to its artsy and chill vibe.

Fifth Stop: Sto. Nino Shrine. Honestly, we didn't go inside and just took photos of the facade because 1) what's inside is about the Marcoses (it's one of Marcos' presidential rest houses) and 2) I'm not a big fan of the Marcoses.

Sixth Stop: Sto. Nino Church. Whenever I travel, I make it a point to visit a church because its my way of being grateful for having the opportunity to travel.

Seventh Stop: MacArthur Landing Memorial Park. For those who studied Philippine History, this marker should be very familiar to you. It is also in this scene when General MacArthur said one of the memorable quotes in Philippine History: "I shall return."

Eighth Stop: Paru-Parong Bukid Nature and Conservation Wellness Center. Before Yolanda hit Tacloban, this place was doing good in tourism and on full operation but after Yolanda, the staff were lessened, the place was ruined (and still recovering) and the number of tourists visiting the place lessened, according to the person-in-charge who I had a chat with. But I'm positive that they will be able to bring back the old nature and wellness center.

We stayed here on our last night in Leyte. The owner was generous enough to give us a big discount for an overnight stay. When in Paru-Parong Bukid, their Blue Rice and Green Smoothie are a must try. By the way, the place is 30 minutes away from the city center or what the locals call as "downtown".

Leyte may not be the province which is as enticing to visit as other provinces in the Philippines. but if you're just going to be open-minded, you will also realize that it is worth the visit. Besides the places we visited, the stories I heard from locals during and after Yolanda struck me the most.

No comments:

Post a Comment