Send love to Tacloban

Put love back in the city of beauty and love.

Tacloban City Hall. photo by Izah Morales –

Everytime Jeff Petilla is asked where he is from and he’d answer ‘Tacloban,’ he would always get puzzled faces trying to figure out where it is. “Now, I guess everybody knows where Tacloban is,” said Jeff, resident veterinarian at UP Veterinary Teaching Hospital, “but it is just saddening that my hometown will be known not for the nice beaches and fresh seafood, but for this unfortunate calamity… I just hope that someday we’d be able to rebuild a better Tacloban.”

A beach resort in Tacloban. Photo by Susan Yao
A beach resort in Tacloban. Photo by Susan Yao
SJ Golf Course.  Photo by Susan Yao
SJ Golf Course. Photo by Susan Yao
San Juanico Bridge. Photo by Izah Morales –
Photo by Marky Ramone Go –
Photo by Marky Ramone Go –
Photo by Marky Ramone Go –
sea side (Photo by Marky Go)


But where is Tacloban and what used to be this city now flattened by the super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)?

photo by Erik De Castro – Reuters

Tacloban City is dubbed “a city of progress, beauty and love.” It lies in the province island of Leyte, eastern part of the group of Visayas islands at the center of the Philippines. Facing the Pacific Ocean, it’s a fishing community with a population of about 220,000.

Formerly known as “Kankabatok,” its name was changed to “Tarakluban” or a place where locals used the taklub, a bamboo trap for crabs, shrimps and fish. As its name has evolved to its present name, it has also become Eastern Visayas’ center of trade, culture, education, communication and tourism.

Tacloban’s official website says its airport is the 6th busiest in the Philippines, “being the gateway to Eastern Visayas and other Regions in the Country as well. From a merely 2-4 Flights daily, in the past few years it has overwhelmingly increased to at least 18 Flights a day.”

Some of the city’s attractions are

  • Philippine-Japan Commemorative Peace Park
  • 18-hole course San Juanico Park Golf and Country Club
  • the Price Mansion built in 1910 where General Douglas MacArthur resided for three months during the liberation period
  • Maria Kanon Madonna of Peace Shrine that houses the statue of an Asian Madonna carved out of rare Miyagi rock
  • a life-size statue of the world’s first Boy Scout Monument
  • Calvary Hill that overlooks the city and the 2.16 kilometer long San Juanico Bridge

Almost everone speaks Waray-Waray, while 6% speak Cebuano/Kana/Visayan and 4% speak Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan and others. Almost 95% are Catholics, 0.12% Muslims, 0.83% Iglesia ni Kristo followers, 0.94% Evangelicals, 0.49% Seventh Day Adventist and 3.10% follow 22 other religions.

But right now, all these differences in language and religion fade into a blur as those who are left surviving hold on to a single belief, which Jeff hopes: a better Tacloban.

Photo by Bullit Marquez – Associated Press
Photo by Bullit Marquez – Associated Press
photo by Aaron Favila – AFP

How to support:

Philippine Red Cross ( Donate through bank deposits:
BDO, Metrobank, PNB, Unionbank, and BPI), PayPal, Ushare, PayDollar, Bancnet, GCash, 7 Eleven Philippines, Cebuana Lhuiller (PH). Details and instructions for in-kind donations and cash can be found in their website. For donations to be properly acknowledged, you may fax the bank transaction slip at nos. +63.2.527.0575 or +63.2.404.0979 with your name, address and contact number. The Philippine Red Cross hotlines are 143, +632 527-0000, 09324995241 and 09175261957.

World Food Program USA ( WFP IS ALREADY MOBILIZING TO HELP FAMILIES AND CHILDREN IMPACTED BY THE STORM WITH EMERGENCY FOOD RELIEF – it says on its website. Donations can be made through the website or by texting the word AID to 27722 to instantly donate $10.

Habitat for Humanity ( Habitat for Humanity Philippines is raising funds to provide Cleaning Kit to 50,000 families, Shelter Repair Kit to 30,000 families and 10,000 Core Houses – all to the affected areas of Super Typhoon Haiyan

Unicef ( – The UN relief agency that focuses on the needs of children says it is ready to airlift 60 metric tons of emergency supplies to the region. Donations can be made at the website or by calling 1-800-FOR-KIDS. Follow updates on Twitter @unicefusa

-Oxfam is raising funds to deploy water and sanitation materials to those affected. See link

Wonder where these kids are now. Hope they made it. (Photo by Marky Ramone Go –


Calamity photos from The New York Times

Photos before the storm by Izah Morales of, Marky Ramone Go of, and Susan Yao (thanks to Kist Ong –

Data from

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