Stay | The Oriental Leyte: Grandeur Beyond the Waves

Morning by the infinity pool at the Oriental Leyte
Morning by the infinity pool at the Oriental Leyte

I think the world already knows what happened to Tacloban, Leyte more than three years ago (November 2013). Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastated Tacloban and the surrounding areas putting the region on a global spotlight. Pre-Haiyan, one of the fanciest seaside resorts stood in Palo, The Oriental Leyte. It received the brunt of devastation being located by the beach. But three years would be more than enough to pick up the pieces. Along with the province and the city getting back at their feet, the Oriental Leyte was rebuilt. Last November 2016, the hotel opened its doors again, softly to the public.

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Tacloban Commemorates Typhoon Yolanda: 3 Years After

Candle lighting for commemorating Typhoon Yolanda 3 years after
Candle lighting for commemorating Typhoon Yolanda 3 years after

I remember Yolanda so well. It was the onset of our Travel Mindanao tour three years ago (2013). I was at the airport and my flight to Butuan got cancelled. I got upset but found out sooner how petty my disposition was compared to what was happening to the people in Tacloban. As Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) was ravaging Tacloban and the rest of eastern Visayas, communications line were cut-off leaving the rest of the country to wonder what was happening. When we finally got a glimpse of what has transpired, it looks like a scene straight out of a dystopian series or movie. Dead bodies everywhere, infrastructure devastated and people are in shock, still in disbelief of what happened to them. No one can imagine this could happen. An unforgettable bleak moment in the country’s history.

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Tacloban Stay | Budget Stays at Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel

Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel in Tacloban City
Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel in Tacloban City

More than a year after Typhoon Yolanda struck Tacloban City, the city looks like it is still going back on its feet. Standing up is a slow process though as until now many establishments are still undergoing renovations. I wasn’t expecting much on some of the old established hotels here but the disaster could also mean a fresh start for them. I stayed at two more Tacloban stay within the city Primrose Hotel and Etsu Hotel aside from the one in the fringes Z Pad Residences. Here’s my take on these two city hotels.

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Tacloban Stay | In a Z Pad Residences Mini

At the Z Pad Residences Mini
At the Z Pad Residences Mini

There used to be a time when GoHotels in Tacloban was the best looking hotel in the city. Now a quick search in hotel booking sites like Agoda would wound up at least 8 establishments with different types and price range. I was looking for a budget to mid-range priced accommodation and Z Pad Residences kept popping up. So why not stay for a couple of days there and see what the place is like after a year Typhoon Yolanda struck.

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Nikon Shot | Waiting for the Bite

On a small damaged pier in Tacloban
On a small damaged pier in Tacloban

“A day is not always bright, and nights are not always dark. All that matters is what’s inside, because day and night are a reflection of you.” -Avantika

Tacloban was my last work assignment and it was a time when Typhoon Ruby was coming. Glad there were no major damages though this time. This was shot a few days before that storm. A small pier by Balyuan where people hang out in the afternoon. The breeze was pleasant, the waters still. Some students enjoy having a splash while the others take time to be still waiting for a fish to bite. Yes there are still edible fish there. Me, I just enjoyed people watching. Just sitting by the locals even if I don’t understand most of their conversations. This was shot with a Nikon D750.

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Nikon Shot | Afternoon Plunge in Tacloban City

After school plunge at Balyuan pier
After school plunge at Balyuan pier

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.

~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I spent almost a week in Tacloban City recently for one of my commissioned assignments. It was my first time in the area and I was able to see how the city is recovering from last year’s Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) devastation. I talked to people, explored the city and observed how many foreign nationals are there for volunteerism projects and aids. While I liked the idea, it has also spiked the prices of establishments as they catering to these foreigners. Some families displaced by the typhoon are still living along the “No Build” zones. Even after a year their promised houses aren’t built yet but they noticed some local officials already have 3 brand new cars post-Yolanda. It is interesting to actually see and hear what’s really happening in the city. While I applaud how the city is picking up and is looking more promising in developments with better choices for hotels and restaurants, its sad that recovery is still in a very slow pace. I get the same sentiments from most people I’ve talked to that help comes directly from foreign and local NGOs than where it should be, the local government. Yes they get help, but not enough, not as promised.

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