Magsaysay Boulevard of Tacloban City is known for its several parks and recreation centers.  Ask not the locals as you might just get a negative feedback for its notorious impression of the area.  

Try to visit the place though, feed your curiousity and experience it for yourself. After all, we should have a sense of skepticism and stand for our own judgment, not merely based on hearsay.  I wasn't able to visit the parks at the Magsaysay Boulevard for my last homecoming but I am hoping this will be the subject of my next visit.  To name a few if the said parks, these include: the Childrens Park, the Botanical Garden and the vicinity of the Leyte Park Hotel.  The latter is actually more of a hotel rather than a park.

Since my last visit, a lot has changed for the said boulevard.  And this is definitely for the better.

First attraction in the said boulevard is the Madonna of Japan.  This is more improved than the one I have always come to know of since childhood.  Honestly, this site is taken for granted by most Taclobanons and rarely would you be able to meet someone from Tacloban who would recommend you to visit the said site, because of its ambiance.  But still, once in Tacloban, try to have the time to look at the said tourist attraction.  

Web search engines (Google) declares this site as one of the famous tourist spots in Tacloban City, Leyte.  The image is said to be the symbol of peace between Japan and the Philippines after the World War II.  This has also been erected in honor of those Filipinos who died during the World War II.  Being significant to the Philippine history and one of the landmarks that makes Tacloban City known for, we could only hope for this area to be preserved and well-maintained by the Local Government Unit.  

facade of the Madonna of Japan

Today, there is no denying that Japanese are visible in the country.  In fact, there is an increasing number of  Japanese investors in our country, which contributes to the growth of our economy.  I also have Japanese relatives settling here in the country. This being said, this symbol of Japanese and Filipino camaraderie should be preserved, as this will signify not only a sign of respect but as a contribution to the local tourism industry.

This stone monument of Madonna Maria Kannon popularly known as the Madonna of Japan is located at the foot of the Kanhuraw Hill and will greet you upon entering the Magsaysay Boulevard. 

interiors of the Balyuan Amphitheater
On the right side of the Magsaysay Boulevard coming from Real Street is the Kankabato Bay.  A noticeable structure on the said side is the Balyuan Amphitheater.  From a far, this looks like a huge tent used as a temporary shelter.  

During my childhood, this area has always been the site of an old watch tower made of steel, with a dilapidated staircase that is about to collapse anytime soon, known as the Balyuan Tower.  Being hazardous and an eye sore to the public, this is just right that the Local Government drastically changed the tower into an amphitheater.  There have been several attempts of rehabilitating the tower but time must have come to its end that it could no longer be remedied.  It withstood all types of natural calamities for a time, but everything has its end.  It is true that endings are beginnings for this matter.  

Today, this is a venue for cultural shows and entertainment of all sorts.  Balyuan means exchange in waray dialect.  The place is named after the festival wherein the image of Sto. Nino of Basey, Samar is exchanged with the the image of Sto. Nino of Tacloban City, Leyte.  The said exchange happens in the bay fronting the balyuan amphitheater (formerly balyuan tower), which is celebrated annually sometime in the last of week of June.

If you happen to have experienced and be at the Baywalk Area of Manila years ago before its demolition, where bars and drinking sprees sprout, Tacloban City has its own version of nightlife along the bay.  

The Kankabato Bay is a site to behold while dining out and having a taste of Tacloban's barbeque in the stalls located in the sides of the Balyuan Amphitheater.  This has been a venue for drinking sprees and for catching up with friends, family and loved ones. 

Kankabato Bay at day

at night

isaw served on the stalls beside the amphitheater

One thing is certain for this featured landmarks at the Magsayasay Boulevard, Tacloban City, Leyte, that is, it is the place where friends, family and lovers share memories.

For making this revisit possible, special thanks to my lifetime and childhood friends Dr. Vanessa Monge-Banzon, Rene Gunabe, Dr. Jen Cordero and Ms. Donna Abogado-Batan of Vacazion.

For budget travellers, you may want to try Your Home Pensionne located at Lopez Jaena St., Tacloban City, Leyte.  I recommend this place for backpackers and for practical travellers who wants to spend less on accommodations.  It is also situated near the New Magsaysay Boulevard.

My good friend Rene is the manager of the said pensione house and rates are as follows:

Single - Php650.00 (good for one person only)
Family room - Php 950.00 (good for four persons only)
with hot and cold shower: single- Php700.00 (good for one person only)

*for every extra bed/persion, there is an additional charge of Php100.00.  Of course, rates are subject to change without prior notice.    Amenities include: fully air-conditioned rooms, cable tv, private comfort room, 24 hours security, wifi access for free, parking space and no brownout.  For information and reservations, contact him at the following numbers: (053) 523-8863/ (053) 327-6817/ (0920)827-0149.

For your future travel itineraries and other concerns, I further recommend Vacazion, just look for Ate Donna Abogado-Batan.  Or you may contact me if you need travel assistance and I'll refer you to her.  She offers reasonable and budget friendly itineraries for your travels depending on your preference.  Their office is located at Real Street, in front of the Sto. Nino Shrine and they now have a branch in Ormoc City as well.

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  1. Hi! Found your site through a link in Facebook. I enjoyed reading it even if I'm living in Tacloban already.

    1. thank you for the compliments! so what can you about madonna of japan? hehe