#Philippines, Tacloban

TACLOBAN REFLECTIONS: “Ang Tubig Ni Kuya Batman!” by @SpankyEnriquez

Thank you for all those who supported our Tacloban Projects this 2014! Here's a photo wrap-up by my partner Spanky …

Kuya Batman Nature's Spring 


One of the most indelible images of this trip is this bottle of water. 

During yesterday's Boodle Fight organized by the Gawad Kalinga, I was enjoying the communal lunch with a group of kids, around 5 to 8 years old, who were all happily stuffing their faces with rice, pansit bihon, fried fish, and ginataang gulay. At one point, they all needed some water to wash down all the food~ so I gave them the one bottle I had brought with me.

The children shared the water among themselves, each taking a carefully measured sip, to ensure that everyone in their group got a swallow or two.

I left them to go to the covered area a block away for the Operation : Santa gift giving, and a few minutes later, when I was halfway there, I heard a child shouting "Kuya Batman! Kuya Batman!", and turned around to see a little girl, one of the kids I gave my bottle to, running towards me with the same bottle~ now full again with clean water that she'd asked from one of her neighbors.

As she reached me, with the biggest, sweetest smile, she said "Salamat po!" and handed me back my bottle, replenished and refilled. I was almost too stunned to say thanks to her~ I managed to, but I had to put on my shades.

'Random acts of Kindness'. At the back of my mind, I always thought it would be great if the kids we've interacted with through this project would grow up cherishing these memories, and in turn, when they are of age, remember to always be ready to be kind to others. Little did I know that in this instance, I'd be the first person to experience that little girl's random act of kindness.

Read more

Gawad Kalinga, Tacloban

TACLOBAN: 140 Days After Typhoon Yolanda (A Photo Essay March 2014) #TindogTacloban

Tacloban 140 days after Our Awesome Planet-58.jpg
I visited Tacloban with my friend Spanky to create an ongoing Voluntourism Program in partnership with Operation Santa, to help the people of Leyte affected by Typhoon Yolanda. 

As donation fatigue sets in, the artificial economy created by International aid is removed, and the media starts to focus on 2016 politics, the Yolanda-affected areas will be forgotten — unless we do an ongoing program to help the people rebuild.

I love Tacloban because of its yummy food and warm hospitality. Visiting the city, 140 days after the typhoon hit, changed our life perspective forever.

Related Blog Post: Awesome Tacloban Series

Here’s a Photo Essay of our visit…

Read more


Leyte Pasalubong

Tacloban is the Ultimate Leyte Pasalubong haven. The top 4 pasalubong from Tacloban are Binagol, Chocolate Moron, Sagmani and Carigara’s Pastillas. I would recommend that you buy all your pasalubong from Tita Aida’s delicacies along P.Zamora St. (across Chowking).

Binagol (P25? /each) is made in the town of Dagami. It is made of talyan (a root crop similar to gabi). coconut milk and sugar. It is called binagol because the mixture is placed inside a coconut shell called “bagol” and steamed inside. We love the sweet surprise hidden at the bottom of the coconut shell.

Moron (P25? / each) is a suman with chocolate flavor. It is made of ground rice cooked in coconut milk then flavored with cocoa. It is smooth like a budbud kabog. Just imagine a suman dipped in chocolate batirol. Our favorite!

Sagmani (P25? /each) is the less popular among the pasalubong delicacies. It is similar to Binagol but it is made of cassava, gabi or sweet potatoes. It is cooked with coconut cream, sugar and sometimes coconut meat.

Carigara’s Pastillas Special (P150). The special pastillas of Carigara is made of pure carabao’s milk. . Addicting.


Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

PS. For Tacloban folks — can you validate my price for Binagol, Moron and Sagmani? I forgot.


Tacloban City — Top 10 Foodie Secrets of Tacloban (Part 2)

6. Ayo Cafe

I like the cozy and homy vibe of this cafe. They are famous for their Spanish-style bangus and orange ribs. One of the interesting displays inside the restaurant is Anjanette Cabansag's (the owner) collection of Coke stuff.

Ayo Cafe Menu
Entree, Salad, Omelets, Pasta, Main Meals, and Hot Coffee and Tea
Waffles, Desserts, Shakes and Smoothies, Fruit Juices, Lemon Lime, Nature Chillers, Coke and Pepsi, Beer

Spanish Style Bangus (P130). Brings back memories of the spanish style sardines I used to love when I was a child.

Assorted Cheese Wraps (P60). Simple with a nice presentation.

Anjanette Cabansag's Coca Cola Collection. I wonder if this is also part of Coke's campaign to paint the town red like in most sari-sari-store in the city.

Ayo Cafe
#5 JCO Arcade Apitong Road, Tacloban City
(+63 53) 325-4461

7. Guiseppe's Italian Restaurant

For 16 years, Guiseppe is the best italian restaurant in Tacloban. Joseph (Guiseppe in italian) Bonavitacola married a filipina and decided to establish a family in Tacloban. Taclobanons would go to Guiseppe for special occasions and celebrations. They are famous for their steaks and pizzas. For Manila tourists, people would come here if they don't know where else to eat in Tacloban. Guiseppe is to Tacloban as Sutokil is to Cebu. The food is really good but why would you want to eat in a Manila-style restaurant when you are in the province.

Antipasta, Pasta, and Beef | Pizza, Desserts, Shakes and Beverages | Seafood, Pork, Chicken, Vegetable and Filipino Specialty

Pizza All Toppings (P185) served on thin crunchy crust.

Steak with garlic and herbs

Joseph Bonavitacola's Guiseppe's Restaurant
173 Avenida Veteranos
Tacloban City, Leyte

Telephone: +63 53- 321-4910 or 327-0832
Mobile: +63 917 3060122
Email: [email protected]

8. Jose Karlos Cafe

Jose Karlos is the best and original Filipino designed cafe in the Philippines. This is better than any of the Filipino cafes I have seen (like Kape Isla, Bo's Coffee, etc.) in Metro Manila. Starbucks would look like an ordinary chain of coffee stores compared to Jose Karlos. I would like to commend the owner for a job well done with this cafe.

Jose Karlos Coffee Menu: Expresso, Brewed Coffee, Iced Expresso Beverage, Froccino, Chocolato, Tea, Fruit Chills, Pancakes and Waffle Special, Sandwiches.

It is nice to hang out here instead of Gloria Jeans or Bo's Coffee. In fact, the only edge of those other coffee shops is the free WIFI they offer. For Jose Karlos, I don't understand why they prefer to have an internet cafe and decided not to offer Free Wifi. Most local tourist these days are looking for FREE Wifi spot and I do hope they can offer this service.

The ambiance feels like you are just hanging out with your college friends at home.

Jose Karlos Cafe
in Front of Santo Nino Church

Read more


Tacloban City — Top 10 Foodie Secrets of Tacloban (Part 1)

The foodie scene in Tacloban City is underrated. Most people think that Guiseppe Italian restaurant is the only exciting foodie place in the city. I was so excited to explore the different flavors of Tacloban. I'm planning to share it with people via a Food trip/ Heritage/ Sangyaw Festival Tour of Tacloban next year. In the meantime, let me share with you the top 10 foodie secrets of Tacloban.

1. Rafael Farms Garden Restaurant

Rafael Farms is a cross between Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay and The Farm @ San Benito. Named after the adopted son (or grandson) of entreprenuer Rene Tampi, Rafael Farms is my vote for the best restaurant in Tacloban City. Rene started with a restaurant in Tacloban called "Join Us". It is a favorite meat place in the city and popular for ready-to-cook food and supply of meat.

A set menu only costs P220 which gives you a choice of salad; a side dish of green rice, potato sticks or sweet corn; a main course of pork, chicken, fish or baby back ribs, dessert and drinks. In Manila, P220 is the average cost of one gourmet dish. Check out the rest of the menu @ Rafael Farms.

From the Sandwich Bar, Drinks, Desserts, Barista Specials
Rafael's Farm Special Treat (P220), From Grandma's Recipe Box, Noodles from East and West
Family Favorites: Cool and Light, Grilled Pork from our Barbecue Pit, Chicken, Seafoot, Marinated Steak.

You can conveniently visit San Juanico Bridge which is only approx. 20 minutes from the farm.

Rafael Farms
Brgy. Pagsulhugon, Babatngon,
LeyteTelephone: +63 915 9200325 or +63 53 -325

Inside the main dining area, the ambiance is characterized by crocheted tablecloths, wooden/ garden chairs, seats covered with banig, and artwork-for-sale all around the dining area.

I would also recommend the big servings of Halo Halo ala Rafael Farms for merienda!

2. Rizal Avenue Barbecue Stalls and Aling Manang's Native Chicken.

If Bacolod is Manukan country, Tacloban is Barbecue country! Eating barbecue at night is an experience you shouldn't miss.

There are two recommended barbecue places to go. First, is the Baldevia Siblings's Barbecue stand along Rizal Avenue near the Tacloban Market. They use a special kind of marinate for their barbecue which is served with a special kind of vinegar. I have eaten in the RTR plaza, or the barbecue places near the bay, the Baldevia's barbecue stands out to be the best.

Second, I would recommend Manang's Native Chicken barbecue stand. You can see Manang's stall along Justice Romualdez at night. She serves a special kind of native chicken barbecue that only she can provide.

Don't miss to eat these Tacloban longganiza. It is sweeter and more meat than fat.

3. Ocho Seafood Grill
Cristina Gonzales would probably agree that this is the best fresh seafood restaurant place in Tacloban.

Eating baked scallops is one of the guilty treats when you visit Tacloban.

Ocho grill is a modern seafood paluto restaurant where you order from a fresh display of seafood and specify how you want it cooked.

Don't forget to order the fish skin chicharon that I've only seen in Ocho grill.

Ocho Seafood & Grill
Sen. Enage Street, Tacloban City
Telephone: +63 53 325-4171. 523-8808

Read more


Romancing San Juanico Bridge, Tacloban City

8 Things You Ought To Know About the Longest Bridge in the Philippines

1. San Juanico Bridge is the longest bridge in the Philippines measuring 2.162 kilometers in length.

2. The bridge connects the province of Leyte and the province of Samar.

3. It is also called the Bridge of Love because it was (allegedly) a gift of Ferdinand Marcos to Imelda Romualdez and to the city of Tacloban.

4. It was constructed in August 1969 and completed (before I was born) in December 1972.

Read more

Looking for a new place to eat?
Or a guide for your next destination?

Looking for a new place to eat?

Or a guide for your next destination?

Our travel tips and restaurant reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Join our mailing list to receive the latest food reviews and travel guides from Team Our Awesome Planet.

You have Successfully Subscribed!