At first glance, you wouldn’t believe that Takruvan was once the “ground zero” of one of the worst natural disasters in Philippine history. Back in 2013, Typhoon Yolanda swept through the city of Dukeloban, destroying well-infrastructured neighborhoods and destroying numerous historic monuments. But in proper Filipino fashion, communities banded together to rebuild their cities.
Today, you can visit Tuluban in all its glory. Historic monuments have been restored, restaurants and bars have been rebuilt, and a sense of community has been strengthened. You could say that Duc Loban is more tourist-friendly than before after being rebuilt, modernized and added with more entertainment. This is of course a silver lining.
Tacloban has always been the starting point for Samar and Leyte, but now, it’s certainly worth it to schedule a visit, explore, and learn about the heroic story of this Philippine city in a few days.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Duluban:
1. Canhuro Mountains
Kanhuraw Hill is home to Tulwan Town Hall, and there are plenty of places to choose from for a lazy day in Tulwan. Facing grassy corners and tree-lined Kankabato Bay, take a break at Kanhuraw Hill, where you can see joggers on their daily runs, couples picnicking, and the occasional skateboard shredding the pavement . This is the center of the town and is used as a gathering place for locals from all walks of life. Come and observe!
Every year around Christmas, the local government erects a bright Christmas tree as tall as you can see, with a different theme. This is paradise for selfie lovers.
2. The Madonna of Japan
Just in front of Magsaysay Boulevard and Cancabato Bay, you’ll find the park home to the Japanese Madonna. Thirty-three years after the end of World War II, Japan presented this precious monument to Tacloban to commemorate the friendship between the Filipinos and the Japanese. The statue itself is a beautiful piece of art, almost looking like a female version of an Indian Buddha statue.
Sit back in the park and ponder the intricate history of Takruvan, or take a quick tour of the monument and get back to where people watch! It is said that this is where young couples come to kanoodle. Also, from the Madonna’s seat, you can enjoy stunning views from the water.
3. Outjo Seafood Grill
It is said that if you want to taste the best Filipino seafood dishes in the whole of Takruvan, Ocho Seafood Grill is the place for you. Centrally located on Senator Enage Street, this restaurant has a daily revolving door service for locals and tourists alike.
All dishes are family style, so don’t be shy and order a complete meal to share. The seaweed salad is a staple, the sarad adobo is not to be overlooked and the fish sinigang is mouthwatering.
Not to mention, they subtly display a plethora of wines on the walls. Not ordering a bottle is too tempting!
4. Thornton Natural Bridge National Park
Across the Tacloban River is a national park that rivals all other national parks in this beautiful country. Sohoton Natural Bridges Nature Park has over 841 hectares of protected land, offering leisure and extreme activities including river kayaking and hiking.
However, the star of Sohoton Natural Bridge Nature Park is the cave! These cathedral-like underground caves are absolutely massive! There are bizarre rock formations that look like alien pods, creepy spikes dangling from the ceiling, and of course bats hanging in dark crevices.
Your guide will take you through the cave while pointing out interesting formations and answering all your burning questions. Go there now!
5. Ride Habal-Habal
You’ve probably ridden tuk-tuks, jeepneys and tricycles – but have you ever ridden a haba haba?
A habal-habal is a form of transportation used in the Tacloban area, basically a motorcycle with a wide seat and a roof. You’ll be packed with habal-habal in a single-row seating arrangement that comfortably fits 3 – though never underestimate the boundaries that young Filipino kids push.
You will often see habal-habals in the countryside as they are best for navigating rough roads and steep slopes.
6. Take a cruise
Hire a local captain at Sohoton Natural Bridge to show you the splendour of these canals.
As you make your way down the river, you pass incredible scenery, including limestone cliffs with small caves formed by water erosion.
You might also meet some local kids playing in the water or some fishermen out doing their chores as you go down the river. There will be a jetty leading to the cave, where local musicians are playing Waray-waray songs that echo off the cliff walls.
7. Stowe.Futino Shrine and Heritage Museum
The shrine and heritage museum feel like grand ballrooms from centuries ago. With lavish rugs, lavish chandeliers and a look reminiscent of a Southern plantation, it’s clear there’s some big money circulating here.
No surprise, Stowe. The Nino Shrine and Heritage Museum was once the vacation home of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife. Featuring exaggerated mahogany tables and intricate ceiling mosaics, the museum was once used by the country’s most elite as a venue for state banquets and gatherings.
This museum takes a frantic look at the lives of the “rich” and “poor” in the Philippines, where a president lives in such luxury while his people struggle for food.
8. Rue Burgos
The typhoon may have hit Rue Burgos as early as 2013, but today, Rue Burgos is in full swing! Along the way, you’ll find restaurants serving Western and Filipino cuisine, bars serving cold beers, and places to party until late.
On the other hand, Rue Burgos offers a calmer atmosphere for those looking for it during the day. There are family-run guesthouses, tea houses and coffee shops, perfect for while away a few hours (especially after a hangover).
9. Rizal Avenue BBQ
Take a food tour up and down Rizal Avenue. There, each vendor specialises in a handful of dishes, and they are true masters of their gastronomic realm.
You will find a lot of kebabs. Some chicken, some pork, and some very popular Tacloban Longaniza, which is the Filipino version of Spanish chorizo!
One of the most popular BBQ stalls on this food street is Baldevia Siblings’ Barbecue. There’s often a small group of people here who can’t shake their cravings for secret marinated chicken.
The food is cheap, hot and ready to eat!
10. Pintados and Sangyaw Festival
The Pintados festival celebrates the brave Waray warriors, with locals dressed in indigenous costumes and colourful face paint, dancing traditional dances for the entire city to see. There are even samurai battles staged by men covered in tattoos.
In Waray, “sangyaw” means “publish a message”. The festival, held the day before the city festival, helps the festivities ring in and have everyone eager to go.
Both festivals allow you to get in touch with Duluban, its people, its culture, and its history in a way that others don’t often experience.
These festivities begin on June 26th!
11. M/V Eva Jocelyn Shrine
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (aka Typhoon Yolanda) devastated the Tulwan region. Haiyan was recorded as the deadliest typhoon ever to hit the Philippines, killing an estimated 6,300 people. There is a famous photo showing a demolished community, and the only identifiable object is this red, white and blue boat.
Today, the M/M Eva Jocelyn Shrine is a symbol of resilience and a tribute to all who lost their lives. The same red, white and blue boat is a symbol of remembrance and remembrance.
12. Zpa Spa
After a few days of field trips, hikes, and buses, your body might be a big pretzel. Relax your muscles at Zpa Spa. This spa is a popular destination in the city with a reputation for top-notch service.
There are saunas, steam rooms, massage chairs, and of course massage therapists who work wonders! The environment is very professional and relaxing, with private rooms, scented candles, comfortable massage tables and calming music.
Call or leave a message in advance. You can find Zpa on the 2nd floor of Hotel XYZ.
13. Try Chocolate Idiot and Binagol
Tacloban’s staples are chocolaty and binagol. These much-loved metric sweets are homemade and sold on the city’s streets.
Moron is rice cooked and simmered in coconut milk, then mixed with a little cocoa powder. Binagol is made from a root crop called Talyan (sort of like taro), which is crushed and mixed with coconut milk, condensed milk and sugar, then cooked like a cake, steamed in a coconut shell, and served with banana leaves pack.
You can almost taste the love!
14. MacArthur Landing Memorial National Park
A stunning depiction of the moment when U.S. Army leader General Douglas MacArthur landed on the shores of Leyte Gulf to retake and liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation. The monument is located near the center of Leyte and is shared with Takruvan.
The memorial itself is breathtaking and exciting – even if you’re not a huge history buff. There are information markers in both English and Filipino to give you the full story and all the details, including a copy of General Douglas MacArthur’s speech on the landing.
15. Turan Falls
You don’t think this list will be complete without the sound of waterfalls, do you?
Of course, there is a magnificent waterfall worth exploring in Takruvan! Take a day trip to Babatngnon that awaits Turan Falls! You will walk through a leisurely forest trail surrounded by century-old trees, fallen logs and wild ferns. Then you’ll come across a lazy stream where you can splash – that’s how you know you’re near a waterfall!
Follow the path and sound and you will come to Turan Falls. This rocky waterfall creates a shiny black sheen on the rocks it covers before spilling into the natural pools below. Kick off your shoes and jump in! If you’re a decent climber, you can try climbing up the rock to a ledge about two junctions from the water. This is a great place to take a break before taking a cliff dive.
Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Taurus, Philippines
Lowest price guaranteed.