cocounut trees! you're in the tropics!
I went home to my folks in Leyte during the Holy Week for some much-needed break from work. In the Philippines, "Holy Week" is a long holiday starting on Maundy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday. It was a long weekend, so what better way to escape the heat and stress of the city than to go home and see mi papa and mi mama and my the rest of the brood.
Usually when I go back home, it is spent hibernating with some good books and doing the rounds of cable shows. These are delicious stuff which I could not indulge in when I'm in Manila.
the giant tadjao from afar
However, for my recent homecoming, I decided to try something new...like exploring my province for a change. I have been shuttling once or twice a year to my province, usually for the holidays. I must admit that I have not seen much of my province for a long long time. This time, I decided to hook up with friends from high school and walk around the city. I was surprised to see a lot of developments especially in Tacloban City. There is a new mall, some good restos springing all over offering good food, new watering holes by the bay, even more traffic lights! Hahaha! This is indeed new!
My good friend Firie who has been home for a while and is a constant companion everytime she is in Manila, is a sucker for good food like me.
We share the same passion for a good meal and the beach. Since it was raining as it usually does in the province, we stuck to the first one. Of course, there is no other way to catch up on each other's life but over good food. She brought me to "Sombrero". It was a quaint little hole along Paterno Street in Tacloban offering a wide variety of grilled local and some "influenced" dishes. I particularly enjoyed the sinfully calorie-laden mango shake with whipped cream on top. Yummy! The well done steak was juicy just right, really amazing to have in my far away province. For dinner, we tried "Cafe Urbana", a Spanish/ Cuban-inspired resto along Gomez Street. I loved the fusion of Spanish and African tones in its interiors. The food was just perfect with the spiced linguini and vongole pasta, the tangy dressing of the Caesar Salad, and more.
it is good to come home to this
I was really overwhelmed by these developments.
I still remember my teenage years in Leyte when we were just contented to have some good "lomi" (a pasty soup with fat noodles flavored by chopped pork) after school, or a dose of our daily burger at Jollibee or McDo. I chatted with some of the waiters asking them who the owners of the restos were. I learned that most of the owners are people who studied and worked outside the province and later came home to set up their own businesses. In the process, they brought home what they have learned from studies abroad or in Manila and made these their own by setting up these businesses. A great way to share their knowledge with their fellow Leytenos.
a lil hut, some foliage by the beach...perfect
Leyte is surrounded by water. Our province has a rich history of water-realted activities. During World War II, Gen.
Douglaas MacArthur landed in the Leyte Gulf to start the end of the war. Later on, his famous words, "I have returned..." would go down in history as words of a man who ended the war in the Pacific. Today, the famous Leyte Landing is marked with a monument and a park aptly called, MacArthur Park and Resort. The monument is beside a beach resort where you can enjoy the waves and Leyte breeze from the Cancabatoc Bay.
manning the bridge at Tadjao Beach Resort
I wanted to check out the beach so I packed the family into the van and bought some ripe mangoes along the way. The sweltering heat is bearable in the province but just the same, the best way to fight off the summer heat is to hit the beach and laze around the sand. I wanted to try a beach which we haven't been to yet, so off we went to Tadjao Beach in Tolosa.
It is 45 minutes from Tacloban City and around 40 kms from the main city.
Tolosa is famous for being the hometown of former First Lady Imelda Marcos. "Tadjao" is Waray for "clay jar" which Tolosanons are famous for. In Leyte, the "tadjao" is an earthen jar made of hardened clay which our grandparents used to store water, rice wine, or vinegar. Of course, in modern times, we have turned to the more synthetic containers. I think with the heightened awareness on energy-saving activities, it is best to go back to the "tadjao" and save the earth from millions of gallons of plastic bottles. Hmmm..I'll tackle this in a separate campaign.
that's my bro Jimmy with the giant Tadjao
Anyway, Tadjao Beach Resort is a new place to enjoy the beach and is owned by an American. It is set in an hectare of huts and abundant coconut trees and so many tadjaos all over the place. A visitor is charged with an entrance fee of Php 50.00. You can avail of a tent for Php 700.
00 for a maximum of eight persons inclusive of entrance fee. If you have a bigger group, the best way to accommodate everybody is to avail of the nipa hut for Php 1,500 for a maximum of 15 persons. I liked the efficient crew who immediately set up our tent in no time complete with tables and chairs. In 5 minutes after doing away with the payment and all, we were ready to relax and enjoy the day by the beach.
Firie said that there are caves and waterfalls in nearby Samar Island. She did say that the top of Limasawa Island in Samar, where the first mass in the Philippines was held during the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores is just amazing. I plan to organize an expedition with my fellow city dwellers next time. In fact, my recent trip home has made me realize that there are a lot of things that can be done in Leyte. I have been to nearby provinces and many places all over the country but I must admit that I still need to discover my own home.
Coming home has given me some realizations which I choose to keep to myself first as of the moment. One thing is for sure, I will be coming home more often and I will introduce you to Leyte.
with the tadjaos and a lovely gumamela