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12 June 2010

Exploring the night scene in Tacloban City

I was in Tacloban City lately and was quite amazed at how it has grown into a cosmopolitan city worthy of exploration. And in this time of the year where everything and everyone is glistening from the heat, the best way to explore the city is at night.

And so I did.

The newly opened Robinson’s Place is a good way to cool down. The mall literally changed this part of northern Leyte, and people flock there to become part of the Filipino multitude of mallrats.

Jose Karlo’s is a nice place to hang around. They have a good variety of coffee mixes and cakes and surprisingly, some pork rinds (chicharon) unknown to some coffee shops in Manila and Cebu. I wondered if they too would serve beer like Brewpoint in Tagbilaran who is known for the beer rather than coffee. But I did not ask.

After downing several cups, I received an invitation to have dinner at Brod Pitt (I forgot what street it is located but it is near Philhealth and Globe offices.) The place is not for celebrities despite its namesake but the ambiance is casual and homely.
For 600 pesos, a combo meal of rice, a slab of pork barbecue, chicken and corn soup, sizzling bangus, pinakbet, turon (banana) and four glasses of iced tea is justifiable enough. The bangus is good (we requested that the bangus be fried only and not put in a sauce) with the vegetable trimmings still crunchy and not overcooked. Their pinakbet also is unbelievably nice. The turon is perfect to end the meal, the banana is wrapped and fried together with a generous amount of langka and dozed with caramelized sugar and sesame seeds.
The next stop is at the Leyte Convention Center. The center is a new addition to this prosperous city. The lower ground floor is converted into commercial stalls, as is the trend now of local governments to earn more income. Several bars find their way here and people come flocking at night. A good way to see and be seen in Tacloban.

El Marino Restobar is a good place to hang out. Loud music, young crowd and cheap Red Horse. A 50 pesos entrance fee is an excuse to stay outside and feel instead the sea breeze coming in from the boulevard. Also staying outside means you can see people and be besieged by ambulant vendors selling peanuts right in your face.
The last time I was in Tacloban, night life is almost zero with just a few bars catering to the dirty old men types. Schooner is an example.

But now you actually have a choice. A good choice.

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