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Revisiting Tacloban and Palo (Leyte), Basey and Marabut (Samar) and Balangiga (Eastern Samar) few months after Typhoon Yolanda

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism

Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) has always been one of my favorite regions. I've been here several times and it doesn't fail to amaze me every time. Last March 27, 2014 I was fortunate to be invited as one of the vounteer-tourists for "The Do Good Project". It an initiative spearheaded by Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours in partnership with the Department of Tourism Region 8, Bangon Tours and some kind-hearted sponsors. The project aims to bring people together to help the survivors of typhoon Yolanda in any way possible.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
On top of a ship in Brgy. Rawis, Tacloban City


March 27, 2014 - NAIA Terminal 4

I took a 7:00 AM flight to Tacloban City via AirAsia Philippines. Since it was an early morning flight, I made sure that I arrive at the airport 2 hours before the estimated time of departure. We started to board at around 6:30 am. When I reached my designated seat, I settled my things and waited for the take-off.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
AirAsia flight crew assisting the passengers

Since it was an early flight, I haven't had anything solid in my stomach. I just had coffee before I left our home. I want to have breakfast sana on the plane but I was really very sleepy, so I just decided to sleep several minutes after take off.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
Inflight Menu

But if you want to have breakfast, check out the inflight meals offered by AirAsia.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
Maan's Pasta Arrabiata - PHP 200.00

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
Junior Cho's Korean Beef Stew (PHP 200.00)
and Chicken Adobo ala Mariles (PHP 200.00)

It was a safe and smooth flight that I didn't realize that we were already near Tacloban City. I woke up when the plane is about to land. Thank you AirAsia!

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
San Juanico Bridge as seen from my seat



March 27, 2014 - Tacloban City

Upon arrival, we were fetched by our host, Ms. Ludette of Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours. We then went to Alejandro Hotel to have our breakfast. Then we proceeded to BarraxZ at Calle Z, our home for 4 days here in Tacloban City.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
BarraxZ at Calle Z

After having our lunch at Calle Z Cafe, we went around Tacloban City to see the extent of damage by Typhoon Yolanda in the city. This is a part (Phase 1) of The Do Good Project.


Tacloban City Leyte Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
A restaurant inside Leyte Park

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
This used to be a floating restaurant


Tacloban City Leyte Samar Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
The church's interiors being reconstructed




March 28, 2014 - Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte

On the 2nd day of The Do Good Project, we went around Tacloban City in the morning to see the effects of the typhoon in Brgy. Anibong and Brgy. Rawis. This is were the ships that ravaged the houses in the area during the height of the typhoon can be found.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
At Brgy. 68 Anibong in Tacloban City

Tacloban City Leyte Samar Post Haiyan Yolanda Do Good Project
This is the ship that ravaged the houses at Brgy. 68 Anibong in Tacloban City

Tacloban City Leyte Samar Post Haiyan Yolanda Do Good Project
Star Hilongos at the shore of Brgy. Rawis, Tacloban City which they plan to convert into a restaurant

Before lunch time, we drop by at the Department of Tourism Region 8's office for a courtesy call.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
With the staff of DOT Region 8

In the afternoon, we went went to San Joaquin in Palo, Leyte to distribute some school bags, school supplies, clothes, toys and insect repellants to some residents. These items were donated by Waray Bayaay and AY Foundation.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
Some of "The Do Good Project" recipients in Brgy. San Joaquin

Going around the affected areas also gave us the opportunity to talk to some survivors. Hearing their stories of survival is truly heartbreaking. On the other hand, you can see their strength and their willingness to move on from the calamity that happened.

Tacloban City Leyte Samar Post Haiyan Yolanda Do Good Project
Talking to the survivors



March 29, 2014 - Basey and Marabut (Samar) and Balangiga, Eastern Samar

This day is the volunteer-tourists' debriefing day. We chose to explore Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park, Balangiga Church in Eastern Samar and Kandongos Falls in Marabut Samar.

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park

Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park in Basey Samar
Exploring Panhulugan Cave in Basey Samar

Tacloban City Post Haiyan Yolanda Voluntourism
Road trip to Eastern Samar


Marabut Samar
Kandongos Falls in Marabut Samar

Before going back to Tacloban City, we stop by the lovely San Juanico Bridge to take a few photos. It's still marvelous as it was before. We arrived back in Tacloban just in time for dinner at Calle Z Cafe.

Tacloban City Leyte Samar Post Haiyan Yolanda Do Good Project
Stopping by the famed San Juanico Bridge before coming back to Tacloban City


March 30, 2014 - Tacloban City

Since my AirAsia flight back to Manila is at 1:30 PM, we didn't plan anything for our last day in the city. We just went to the market at the downtown area to buy some pasalubong to bring back home. My family loved the moron and binagol! Yummy!!!

Binagol
Binagol

Moron
Moron

It was a fruitful and meaningful 4-day trip in Eastern Visayas. I am so happy to be part of The Do Good Project to share my time for the residents affected by the typhoon. You too can be a Volunteer-Tourist! Join "The Do Good Project!"



Thank you AirAsia Philippines for flying me to Tacloban City! AirAsia flies daily to Tacloban City, the gateway to Eastern Visayas! Book now at www.airasia.com, follow them on twitter at @airasiaPH or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AirAsiaPhilippines for the latest news on seat sale and promos.




Some photos used in this post were from Sir Gerry and Ms. Ludette Ruiz of Leyte Gulf Travel and Tours.







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Pinoy Adventurista is one of the Top Travel Blogs in the Philippines and the World. In 2013, he visited all the 81 provinces in the Philippines.