Tacloban is a charming city with a long and colorful history, warm and welcoming people, a rich culture, and a fast-growing economy. Located at the northeastern tip of the Island of Leyte, it is famously surrounded by lots of natural attractions, including numerous falls and nature reserves.
But even if you’re pressed for time and can’t stray far from the city limits, there are still plenty of things for you to see and do here. This is especially true if you stay in one of the many hotels in Tacloban located in the downtown area. Indeed, staying in any of these accommodations means you’ll be close to some of the most popular tourist spots that the city has to offer.
In case your busy schedule only allows you to stay for a weekend, here’s a list of attractions in Tacloban City that should make it to your itinerary:
Watch the Sunrise from the Balyuan Amphitheater
Tacloban City is located right beside Cancabato Bay, which is something you should consider seeing if you want to treat yourself to picturesque views of the horizon. Fortunately, Balyuan Amphitheater offers the perfect vantage point for such an activity.
This performing arts venue is located at the end of Magsaysay Boulevard, southeast of the city hall. If you’re willing to get up early, you can watch the sunrise from here and turn it into a jump-off point for your tour of the most popular tourist attractions in the city proper.
Pass by the City Hall and Visit the Madonna of Japan
From the amphitheater, you can walk by the Tacloban City Hall and head to the Madonna of Japan, a park that symbolizes the friendship between the Philippines and Japan. During World War II, the area where the park is today served as a campground for Japanese soldiers. A few decades after the war, the park was constructed to celebrate the reconciliation of the two nations.
Tour the Santo Niño Church
Visiting the Santo Niño Church is a must when in Tacloban City. Located at the corner of Real Street and Zamora Street, this place of worship is one of the most celebrated religious structures in the province of Leyte. In case you can’t find it from the get-go, just look up to the skies; the church has a tall belfry that can help you find your way there.
Drop by the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum
Follow Real Street and you’ll eventually see the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum. One of the more controversial attractions in Tacloban, this structure was one of the many presidential rest houses built during the Marcos administration. For a more intimate look at the building and its contents, you can take a paid guided tour of the place. Inside, you’ll see a portion of the properties acquired by the former president’s family during their time in power.
Walk Along a Section of San Juanico Bridge
An attraction that has been featured in countless history books and postcards, the famed San Juanico Bridge is a celebrated structure at both the local and national levels. The bridge, which crosses the San Juanico Strait to connect the islands of Leyte and Samar, is the longest one in the Philippines. It has a total length of 2.16 kilometers and is one of the main tourist attractions of Tacloban City.
A weekend stay in the city is a great chance to see this remarkable bridge in person. It’s also an option to take a cruise along the strait to see the bridge from a different perspective.
Take Pictures of the MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial National Park
Located some 5 kilometers from the city limits, this park serves as a reminder of the beginning of the Philippines’ liberation from the Japanese forces during World War II. It also features a shallow, manmade pool as well as bronze statues depicting General Douglas MacArthur and his entourage arriving in Leyte on October 20, 1944. A museum adjacent to the site enables visitors to take a deeper look at the events that transpired on that day.
Go on a Food Trip within Tacloban City
Of course, a tour of Tacloban City wouldn’t be complete without tasting the savory and sweet dishes that the area is known for. If you’re craving international cuisine, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of restaurants that can cater to your needs within the city. And given Tacloban City’s proximity to various bodies of water, you’ll find lots of restaurants that offer scrumptious seafood dishes at affordable prices.
Many of these attractions can be found in Tacloban City’s downtown area, so you’ll have no trouble visiting them in one go if you’re based in a centrally located accommodation. Plan your itinerary well, and you’ll be able to see some of the most popular destinations in the city over a weekend. After that, why not plan another trip to venture outside of Tacloban and see more of what Leyte Province has to offer?
Yogi wanderer. Solitude searcher. Book worm and chill out music tripper.