by - 1:10 AM

Magsaysay Boulevard of Tacloban City, Leyte is noted for several parks and recreation centers.  For locals, you might just get a negative feedback.  Nevertheless, just don't mind them as ones opinion is never the representation of the majority.  Try to vist the place 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 this will be the subject of next visit.  To name a few, these parks 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 definity 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 time to have a look at the said tourist attraction and judge for yourself. 

Web search engines such as 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.  Thus, being of significance to the Philippine history and one of the landamarks that makes Tacloban City known for, this should be preserved and well-maintained by both visitors and locals alike. 

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, as well.

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.  Since my childhood, this area has always been the site of an old watch tower made of steel, with 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 has been attempts of rehabilitating the tower but time must have come for 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 point.  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.

The following photos are courtesy of Dr. Vanessa Monge-Banzon:

Balyuan Amphitheater as its backdrop

If you happen to have experienced and be at the baywalk years ago when bars and drinking sprees were near the Manila Bay, Tacloban City has its own version of nightlife near 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, after all, you do not travel to sleep the whole time at your transient house.

My good friend Rene is the manager of the said pensione house, according to him 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