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Tacloban City

Tacloban City
Syudad han Tacloban
Lungsod ng Tacloban
Highly urbanized City

Map of Leyte with Tacloban highlighted
Tacloban City
Tacloban City
Location within the Philippines

Coordinates: 11°15′N 125°00′E / 11.250°N 125.000°E / 11.250; 125.000Coordinates: 11°15′N 125°00′E / 11.250°N 125.000°E / 11.250; 125.000

Country Philippines
Region Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)
Province Leyte (geographically only)
District 1st District of Leyte
Established ca. 1770
Capital of the Province 26 February 1830
Chartered city 12 June 1953[1]
Highly urbanized city 18 December 2008[2]
Barangays 138 (see § Barangays)
 • Type Strong mayor-council
 • Mayor Alfred S.Romualdez nephew of Madame Imelda R. Marcos
 • Vice Mayor Jerry T.Yaokasin
 • Total 201.72 km2 (77.88 sq mi)
Highest elevation 21 m (69 ft)
Lowest elevation 2 m (7 ft)
Population (2010)[4]
 • Total 221,174
 • Density 1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Demonym Taclobanon
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6500
IDD/Area code +63 (0)53

Tacloban (, Tagalog and Filipino: Lungsod ng Tacloban) officially the City of Tacloban, is the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte.[5] It is approximately 360 miles (580 km) southeast of Manila. It was the first city in Region VIII to become a "Highly Urbanized City" and is the largest city in terms of population in Eastern Visayas.[6] It is also the regional center of the Eastern Visayas. Tacloban was briefly the capital of the Philippines, from 20 October 1944 to 27 February 1945.

In an extensive survey conducted by the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center and released in July 2010, Tacloban City was ranked among the top ten most competitive cities in the Philippines. Tacloban ranked fifth overall, and second in the emerging cities category.[7]


Tacloban was first known as Kankabatok, an allusion to the first inhabitants – Kabatok. They established their dwellings in the vicinity of the present day Sto Niño Church. Others who came later were Gumoda, Haraging and Huraw who erected their own settlements in nearby sites. Huraw’s domain is the hill where the city hall now sits. The combined settlements acquired the name Kankabatok, meaning Kabatok’s property.

By the end of the 16th century, Kankabatok was under the political administration of Palo and part of the parish of Basey, Samar. It was discovered in 1770, by the Augustinian Mission, who were superseded by the Franciscans in 1813. During this period, Kankabatok was renamed to Tacloban.

The change of the name came about in this manner: Kankabatok was a favorite haunt of fishermen. They would use a bamboo contraption called "Taklub" to catch crabs, shrimps or fish. When asked where they were going, the fishermen would answer, "(to) Tarakluban", which meant the place where they used the device to catch these marine resources. Eventually, the name Tarakluban or Tacloban took prominence.

It is not known when Tacloban became a municipality because records supporting this fact were destroyed during a typhoon. It is commonly believed that Tacloban was officially proclaimed a municipality in 1770. In 1768, Leyte and Samar were separated into two provinces, each constituting a politico-military province. Due to its strategic location, Tacloban became a vital trading point between the two provinces.

The capital of Leyte was transferred from one town to another with Tacloban as the last on 26 February 1830. The decision to make Tacloban the capital was based on the following reasons: 1) ideal location of the port and 2) well-sheltered and adequate facilities. On 20 June 1952, Tacloban was proclaimed a chartered city by virtue of Republic Act No. 760.[1]

The arrival of Colonel Murray in 1901 made him the first military governor of Leyte. His first official act was the opening of Tacloban port to world commerce. Before World War II, Tacloban was the commercial, education, social and cultural center of the Province of Leyte. Copra and abaca were exported in large quantities. The leading institutions were: Leyte Normal School, Leyte High School, Leyte Trade School, Holy Infant Academy and Tacloban Catholic Institute.

On 25 May 1942, Japanese forces landed in Tacloban – signalling the beginning of their two-year occupation of Leyte. They fortified the city and improved its airfield. Since San Pedro Bay was ideal for larger vessels, the Japanese Imperial Naval Forces made Tacloban a port of call and entry. This time was considered the darkest in the history of Tacloban and the country due to the incidences of torture among civilians, including the elderly. In response, guerrilla groups operated in Leyte – the most notable of which was the group of Colonel Ruperto Kangleon.

Leyte was the first to be liberated by the combined Filipino and American troops. General Douglas MacArthur's assault troops landed in the Tacloban and Palo beaches (White Beach and Red Beach, respectively) and in the neighboring town of Dulag (Blue Beach) on 20 October 1944. These landings signaled the eventual victory of the Filipino and American forces and the fulfillment of MacArthur’s famous promise: "I Shall Return."

Three days later, on 23 October, at a ceremony at the Capitol Building in Tacloban, General MacArthur accompanied by President Sergio Osmeña made Tacloban the temporary seat of the Commonwealth Government and subsequently the temporary capital of the Philippines until the complete liberation of the country. The provincial government of Leyte and the municipal government of Tacloban were re-established.

Atty. Paulo Jaro was the Liberation Mayor of Tacloban. The first mayor of this capital upon inauguration of the Philippine Republic was Hon. Epifanio Aguirre. On 8 January 1960 General Douglas MacArthur made his "sentimental" journey to Leyte.

The city has been proclaimed as a highly-urbanized city by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 4 October 2008[8] and ratified by the people on 18 December 2008[9]


Tacloban is located on Cancabato Bay, in the San Juanico Strait which divides the islands of Leyte and Samar.


Tacloban has a tropical rainforest climate, also known as an equatorial climate, usually (but not always) found along the equator. Tropical rainforest climate is a type of tropical climate in which there is no dry season – all months have mean precipitation values of at least 60 millimetres (2.4 in). Tropical rainforest climates have no pronounced summer or winter; it is typically hot and wet throughout the year and rainfall is both heavy and frequent. One day in an equatorial climate can be very similar to the next, while the change in temperature between day and night may be larger than the average change in temperature between "summer" and "winter".

The average high (daytime) temperature for the year in Tacloban is 29.4 °C (84.9 °F). The warmest month on average is May with an average daytime temperature of 31 °C (87.8 °F). The coolest month on average is January, with an average (nighttime) temperature of 23 °C (73.4 °F).

The highest recorded temperature was 41.1 °C (106.0 °F), recorded in December. The lowest recorded temperature in Tacloban is 12.8 °C (55.0 °F) which was also recorded in December.

The average rainfall for the year is 2294 mm (90.4 in), with the most rainfall on average in December with 305 millimetres (12.0 in) and the least on average in April with 119 millimetres (4.7 in).

Climate data for Tacloban City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37
Average high °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 23
Record low °C (°F) 16
Rainfall mm (inches) 281.7
Avg. rainy days 20 17 15 14 14 16 16 14 16 19 20 21 202
 % humidity 85 84 82 81 82 82 82 81 82 84 86 86 83.1
Source: weatherbase


According to the 2010 census, Tacloban has a population of 221,174 inhabitants. Tacloban is predominantly a Waray-speaking city. The language is also officially called Lineyte-Samarnon ("Leyte-Samarnon"). Tacloban is culturally and linguistically diverse. A decade before the end of the Spanish sovereignty, the place was dominantly a typical colonial community. Most of its residents were either pure Iberian families or the new generations of Spanish-Filipino blood. Today’s population consists of a mix of Spanish and Chinese mestizos, foreign expatriates and native Leyteños.


Upper estimates suggest that 70% of the Tacloban's population are Roman Catholics. 25% are Protestant/Evangelical Christians.

Other studies have suggested that only 0.12 percent of the population are Muslims.


Tacloban is the economic center of Eastern Visayas region, with an economy largely focused on commerce, tourism, education, culture, and government in the region. Several regional broadcasters are based in the city, including ABS-CBN.

Economically, Tacloban is one of the fastest growing cities in the Philippines. It has one of the lowest poverty incidence rates in the country (at roughly 9%, while the national poverty incidence stands at 30%), and is the richest local government unit in Eastern Visayas.

The airport also makes the city a key regional transportation hub.

In the mid-90s, Tacloban City worked out the acquisition of 237 hectares (590 acres) for its Economic Zone, which was finally realized and approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1210 on 23 April 1998. The Eastern Visayas Agri-Industrial Growth Center (EVRGC) was then officially registered as an Eco-Zone with the City Government of Tacloban as the developer/operator.


Main article: Transportation in Tacloban

Tacloban is served by Daniel Z Romualdez Airport, multicabs, taxis, jeepneys, and buses. Daniel Z Romualdez Airport has had plans (for many years) to upgrade to an international airport.

At present, the airport is served by four airlines that offer domestic flights to and from Cebu, Iloilo and Manila.

Health Facilities

Tacloban as the regional center of Eastern Visayas offers quality healthcare services. There are lots of hospitals and other medical institutions serving the city's population.

  • Public Hospitals
    • Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC)
    • Tacloban City Hospital
  • Private Hospitals
    • Bethany Hospital (owned by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines)
    • Divine Word Hospital (owned by the Benedictine Sisters)
    • Our Mother of Mercy Hospital (owned by the Religious Sisters of Mercy)
    • Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Hospital (owned by the RTR Medical Foundation)
    • Tacloban Doctors Medical Center (owned by a group of prominent doctors)


Main article: Education in Tacloban

Tacloban has a variety of educational institutions both public and private. Foremost of these are:


The executive power of the Sangguniang Panlungsod or the city council has the legislative power to create city ordinances. It is a unicameral body composed of ten elected councilors and certain numbers of ex officio and sectoral representatives. It is presided by the vice-mayor,The City Mayor and the elected city councilors are elected-at-large every three years.

The city government ceased to be under the supervision of the provincial government after it became a Highly Urbanized City in 2008. The city is now under the direct supervision of the national government.

Official seal of the city of Tacloban

The official Seal of Tacloban is the symbol of the city's identity where its meaning is inscribed when it became a city under Republic Act No. 760 on 20 June 1952.

The city's emblem stands for the following physical attributes and character:[10]

  • Left Portion - Symbolizes the province of Samar, major supplier of agricultural and marine products to the city, stabilizing its volume of business and trade.
  • Center - Stands for the beautiful and scenic San Juanico Strait
  • The Galleon - Illustrates the ship of Ferdinand Magellan who discovered the island of Limasawa where the first Christian mass was held in Philippine soil.
  • Right Portion - Leyte side, where Tacloban City is Located


The City of Tacloban is divided into 138 barangays,[11] each having its own government.

Only some of the barangays are neighborhoods with individual names. These include the following:

  • Libertad (Barangays 1 & 4)
  • Nula-tula (Barangays 3 & 3A)
  • Barangay 100 (San Roque)
  • Barangay 101 (New Kawayan)
  • Barangay 102 (Old Kawayan)
  • Barangay 103 (Palanog)
  • Barangay 103-A (San Paglaum)
  • Barangay 104 (Salvacion)
  • Barangay 105 (Suhi)
  • Barangay 106 (Santo Niño)
  • Barangay 108 (Tagapuro)
  • El Reposo (Barangays 55 & 55)
  • Picas, Sagkahan (Barangay 59)
  • Anibong (Barangays 66, 67, and 68)
  • Barangay 62 (Sagkahan Bliss)
  • Barangay 62A (Sagkahan Saging)
  • Barangay 62B (Sagkahan Picas)
  • Barangay 63 (Sagkahan Mangga)
  • Barangay 63 (Sagkahan Pleasantville)
  • Barangay 63 (Sagkahan Mahayahay)
  • Barangay 74 (Lower Nulatula)
  • Barangay 75 (Fatima Village)
  • Barangay 76 (Fatima Village)
  • Barangay 77 (Fatima Village)
  • Barangay 78 (Marasbaras)
  • Barangay 79 (Marasbaras)
  • Barangay 80 (Marasbaras)
  • Barangay 81 (Marasbaras)
  • Barangay 82 (Marasbaras)
  • Barangay 83 (San Jose)
  • Barangay 83-A (San Jose)
  • Barangay 84 (San Jose)
  • Barangay 85 (San Jose)
  • Barangay 86 (San Jose)
  • Barangay 90 (San Jose)
  • Barangay 91 (Abucay)
  • Barangay 92 (Apitong)
  • Barangay 93 (Bagacay)
  • Barangay 94 (Tigbao)
  • Barangay 95 (Caibaan)
  • Barangay 96 (Calanipawan)
  • Barangay 97 (Cabalawan)
  • Barangay 98 (Camansinay)
  • Barangay 99 (Diit)
  • Barangay 109 (V & G Subdivisions)
  • Barangay 109-A (V & G Subdivisions)
  • Barangay 110 (Utap)
  • Barangay 83-C (San Jose)
  • Barangay 95-A (Caibaan)
  • Barangay 87 (San Jose)
  • Barangay 89 (Baybay,San Jose)
  • Barangay 88 (San Jose)

Points of interest

Tacloban is a tourism hub and the primary gateway to Eastern Visayas. The region is world-renowned for its natural ecological beauty and diversity and for its historical significance in the Second World War.

San Juanico Bridge

San Juanico Bridge, which is 2.16 kilometres (1.34 mi) long and connects the islands of Leyte and Samar across the San Juanico Strait, is the longest bridge in the Philippines.

Santo Niño Shrine

Home of the Marcos Family, It displays the fortune and previous properties of the first[dubious ] dictator of the Philippines.

People's Center Library

The library houses a collection of books of different cultures from around the globe – USA, Europe and other countries – including French, Spanish and English literature as well as a compilation of law books. The People’s Center Library is used by local students as well as researchers.

Balyuan Park

Balyuan Park is located at the grounds of Magsaysay Boulevard. The historical exchange of images between Barrio Buscada of Basey Samar and Sitio Kankabatok, now Tacloban City. In the old days, Sitio Kankabatok was a small barrio under the jurisdiction of Basey town in Samar. During the Feast of Sto Niño, the residents of Sitio Kankabatok would borrow the bigger image of the saint from the chapel of Barrio Buscada in Basey. Sto Niño is the revered patron saint of both Kankabatok and Barrio Buscada. The image is returned promptly after the festivities. When Kankabatok grew into a barrio of its own, the local Catholic authorities decided that the bigger Sto. Niño image be retained in prospering village. Stories of the image missing in Buscada and turning up in Kankabatok aided to this decision. The Basey Flotilla bearing the church and government leaders goes on a fluvial procession along San Pedro Bay. A kara (shell) call announces the sight of the flotilla off Kankabatok Bay.

Madonna of Japan

Along Magsaysay Boulevard will encounter "Madonna Maria Kanon" (also known as: Madonna of Japan), a symbol of friendship between the Japanese and Filipinos. It is located at the Kanhuraw Hill near City Hall, facing Kankabato Bay. During the Second World War, the place became a campground for the Japanese soldiers. Many inhabitants lost their lives to help liberate the subjugated Philippine islands. Young men were forced to become soldiers in favor of the Americans?. Women were also enjoined to look after and take care of the young men in the battlefield. Those years indeed brought dreadful experiences to the people of Leyte. During those years, the Japanese soldiers were considered enemies. They were the subject of revulsion among Filipino people. Anybody who saw Japanese would yell out in disdain. However, as years passed, the Japanese government and its people tried to establish comradeship with the Filipinos. Thus, Japan and the Philippines became friends and started to support each other for progress.

Price Mansion

The Price mansion is an example of American colonial homes built in the 1900s. It was the official residence and headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur during the Liberation period in 1944.

Crucified Leyte

On the slope of Kanhuraw Hill is a small park with the statue of the Crucified Leyte at its center. The same image can be found in the provincial map of Leyte.

Santo Niño Church

The Santo Niño Church is considered the most important religious site in the province. It houses the miraculous image of Sto. Niño which is the patron saint of Tacloban.

Redona Residence

The Redona Residence is one of the remaining house built in the turn of the 19th century. It is a showcase of Filipino craftsmanship, and architecture. This historic mansion is in need of serious restoration for the legacy of historical architecture. It was the official residence of President Sergio Osmeña, Sr. in 1944, when Leyte was the seat of the Philippine government during the Liberation from the Japanese campaign until Philippine Commonwealth was re-established in Manila.

Leyte Provincial Capitol

The Leyte Provincial Capitol is a neoclassical building built in 1907. Located at the corner of Sen. Enage Street and Magsaysay Boulevard, the “Capitolio” is the seat of the provincial government of Leyte. It was also the seat of the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines when President Sergio Osmeña came in 1944 with the WW II Liberation Forces.

Tacloban Metropolitan Arena

Popularly known as "Astrodome" is a 5,000 seat indoor arena which is now the perfect location for basketball tourneys and other sporting activities, concerts and other big gatherings like the Search for Ms. Tacloban. It also houses multiple bars and businesses.


The city celebrates Tacloban Day annually on the 30th of June.[12]

Subiran Regatta

Subiran Regatta is a race of one-man native sailboats with outriggers locally called “subiran” along scenic and historic Leyte Gulf. The race is done without using a paddle but only skills and techniques to manoeuvre the sail. The Subiran Regatta is now on its 32nd year and counting. This contest is done annually on that weeklong celebration of the Tacloban City Fiesta. The race aims to preserve the art of sailing with the wind alone, and to showcase the mastery of this art by local boatmen.


This is a re-enactment of the historical exchange of images between Barrio Buscada of Basey Samar and Sitio Kankabatok, now Tacloban City. In the old days, Sitio Kankabatok was a small barrio under the jurisdiction of Basey town in Samar. During the Feast of Sto. Niño, the residents of Sitio Kankabatok would borrow the bigger image of the saint from the chapel of Barrio Buscada in Basey. Sto. Niño is the revered patron saint of both Kankabatok and Barrio Buscada. The image is returned promptly after the festivities. When Kankabatok grew into a barrio of its own, the local Catholic authorities decided that the bigger Sto. Niño image be retained in prospering village. Stories of the image missing in Buscada and turning up in Kankabatok aided to this decision. The Basey Flotilla bearing the church and government leaders goes on a fluvial procession along San Pedro Bay. A budyong (shell) call announces the sight of the flotilla off Kankabatok Bay.

Sangyaw Festival

Sangyaw is an archaic Waray word which means to herald the news. The Sangyaw Festival was created by the former First Lady Imelda Marcos in the 1980s. The Festival has been revived in 2008 by her nephew and current city Mayor Alfred Romualdez. The Sangyaw Festival invites contingents of different performing groups of various festivals in the country to compete in this side of the region. Cash prizes and trophies are at stake as the Sangyaw Festival grooms itself to be a big festival to watch out in the succeeding years. Sto. Niño de Leyte Fiesta (30 June; Tacloban City) The weeklong celebrations peaks on the 30th of June, the Grand fiesta of Tacloban celebrated with the traditional turn-over ceremonies of the “Teniente” made by the immediate past Hermano Mayor to the incoming Hermano Mayor. This is accompanied by the ritual of giving the medallion containing the names of all Hermanos Pasados and the Standartes. Fireworks and grand parades mark the occasion. Every house in the city prepares a feast and opens its doors to guests and well wishers.


  • List of TV Stations in Tacloban City
    • DYTC-TV TV-2 Tacloban - ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation
    • DYTS-TV TV-4 Tacloban - TV5 Affiliate-BJDS MARKETING
    • DYTT-TV TV 6 Tacloban - Rural Airwaves Media Services
    • DYPC-TV TV-8 Tacloban - National Broadcasting Network
    • DYTO-TV TV 10 Tacloban - GMA Network
    • DYRP-TV TV-12 Tacloban - Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation
    • DYJP-TV TV-22 Tacloban - Southern Broadcasting Network operated by ETC
    • DYTC-TV TV-24 Tacloban - AMCARA Broadcasting Network operated by Studio 23
    • DYOU-TV TV-26 Tacloban - GMA NewsTV
    • DYLJ-TV TV-28 Tacloban - Rajah Broadcasting Network operated by 2nd Avenue
    • DYTB-TV TV-30 Tacloban - Associated Broadcasting Company
    • TV-39 - UNTV
    • DYNE-TV TV-46 Tacloban - Eagle Broadcasting Corporation operated by Net 25
    • DYLQ-TV TV-40 Tacloban - ACQ-Kingdom Broadcasting Network
    • PRTV-12 Tacloban - Local UHF Television Station in Waray-Waray
    • Leytenet Channel - Local Cable Television Station in Waray-Waray
    • An Aton Channel - Live simulcast of Aksyon Radyo
  • List of FM Stations
    • DYTT 89.5 Astig Waray - Rural Airwaves Media Services
    • DYTM 91.1 Love Radio - Manila Broadcasting Company
    • DYTY 93.5 Dream Radio - Leyte Broadcasting for Television & Radio
    • DYTC 94.3 My Only Radio for Life SIKAT!- ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation
    • DYTX 95.1 Bombo Radyo Tacloban - Bombo Radyo Philippines
    • DYXY 99.9 iFM - Radio Mindanao Network
    • 100.7 Thunder FM
    • 106.3 Double Power FM
    • 104.7
  • List of AM Stations
    • DYVL 819 kHz - Manila Broadcasting Company
    • DYDW 531 kHz - Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters
    • DYMP 1566 kHz - Philippine Broadcasting Service
    • DZRH - Manila Broadcasting Company
    • DYBR 711 kHz (Apple Radio)
    • CMN
  • List of News Programs
    • TV Patrol Tacloban (ABS-CBN Tacloban)
    • Balita Han Singko (TV5 Leyte)
    • Balitang Eastern Visayas (upcoming program GMA Eastern Visayas)

Sister city


External links

  • Official Website of the Provincial Government of Leyte
  • Republic Act 760 - An act creating the City of Tacloban
  • Blog entries about Tacloban City on AnAsianTraveler.Com
  • Tacloban City weblog

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