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This was Typhoon Yolanda's “ground zero”. Tacloban took a direct hit on 8 November 2013, when the mother-of-all tropical storms destroyed the city. Yet as you walk through Tacloban's streets today, it's impossible to imagine the apocalyptic scenes on that fateful morning. The center has been fixed up, hotels have been repaired and there's even a degree of cafe culture evident. Tacloban's bars are again filled with local drinkers instead of relief workers. Yes, the city has resumed its role as the commercial heart of both Leyte and Samar.

The psychological wounds will take longer to heal. The images of destruction, the loved ones lost…none of this will ever be forgotten.

For travelers passing through you can expect traditionally warm Visayan hospitality. For this vibrant, somewhat gritty, port city has re-emerged from recovery mode and is once again welcoming visitors.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Tacloban.