LEYT[S]E PLAN: The four-day Leyte Province Adventure Part 3 (Rafael’s Farm and Tacloban City)

Missed part 1 and part 2 of our Leyte Adventure? Well here’s a VIDEO to sum it all up!

Anyway, now on to the last and final part of the LEYTSE PLAN.

KALANGGAMAN ISLAND was our ultimate goal since “Day 1” but SHIT always happens (in the worst timing ever), so we had to make adjustments and change our itinerary.

After spending the night in Ormoc, we decided to explore one of the provinces that made the international headline during the Yolanda incident—Tacloban City.

We left Ormoc at 8am and rode a van to Tacloban while eating our favorite fastfood breakfast, Jollibee’s pancake sandwich and brewed coffee (welcome to the good life po! Paaak!). After two hours, we finally arrived in Tacloban proper. Tacloban is one of those towns you can explore in an hour. It was only 10am so we decided to check Google for any interesting finds. Soon enough we found Rafael’s farm in one of the listings which looked very inviting because of its relaxing lush landscape.

We headed to the jeepney terminal in for our adventure to Babatngon. Upon boarding, it felt like sardines have it better than us for the driver kept on insisting na “kasya pa” while in fact, only half of my butt cheek was occupying the seat! He even put a stool at the center space to accommodate more passengers. So yeah, “LECHE” na naman!

After almost 40 minutes of holding my deadly fart, we finally made it alive in Rafael’s Farm! We rushed inside to relieve our pangs of hunger before heading off to explore the place as much as we can to see for ourselves if it lives up to its reputation based on the excellent reviews online. And I guess I’ll be adding another one upon catching a glimpse of the quintessential beauty of the place.

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this greeted us upon entering the farm

The garden/farm restaurant was fairly expansive and would require a lot of energy to thoroughly explore so we decided to get our lunch first. The restaurant had a very serene ambiance and an appealing interior. We were greeted by the friendly staff and they recommended one of their bestsellers, the baby back ribs without RICE but with herb-roasted chicken, and cassava for dessert. PAAAK! The food was really good and was freshly prepared. We wanted to order more but since we were already on our fourth day of our vacation and were running out of funds, we just pretended that we’re on a diet. A very strict diet, I must say. Haha!

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the restaurant
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Baby Back ribs
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Herb-roasted chicken
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Cassava
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Lounge Area

After lounging and chatting about how glad we were to have survived each other’s company, Joyce and I started our adventure. It was really relaxing to just look at the clouds, the mountain, the birds, and the beautiful landscape around us. I was surprised to find some of the staff members fishing in the pond. Apparently most of the ingredients they use to prepare the food come from the farm, like the vegetables, herbs, fish, and meat.

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Man-made pond
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Karl Kalabaw, the photobomber

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I noticed that some parts of the farm don’t look the same in the photos I found online and apparently that was mainly because of the Yolanda incident. Yup, they were affected as well by the great typhoon that hit Tacloban two years ago. Despite this, the farm was still able to maintain its serene and rustic beauty. It actually made the place more interesting and added character to the farm.

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This used to be the restaurant

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The beautiful mess made by Yolanda

One of the main attractions in the farm was its man-made lake. We would have like to explore it too; unfortunately the wooden boat was not in good condition. Nevertheless, we still had a lot more to see in the farm.

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Man-made lake

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another main attraction is this tree house, currently under repair

It took us an hour and a half before we realized that we’ve yet to explore the rest of Tacloban. It was almost 4pm when we left Babatngon.

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Selfie before leaving Rafael’s farm

Upon arriving in central town, we searched for another cheap place to stay. The cheapest we found was GV hotel (not sure where they got their name from but I’m sure it does not mean Good Vibes). It offered basic accommodations, nothing fancy—just what we needed considering our budget.

We were supposed to visit San Juanico Bridge during sunset but it was 5:30 in the afternoon already and it would take us another 30 minutes to get there so we just decided to rest for a while.

It was our last day in Tacloban and it felt like we were missing out on a lot of things. Good thing an old college friend, Jeff, lives in Tacloban and invited us to dinner. Jeff toured us around for a bit while we looked for a place to eat. I was impressed of how Tacloban was able to recover from the typhoon tragedy. Everything looks normal again, from the business establishments to the local residents.

Jeff, Joyce, and I talked more about Tacloban’s recovery over dinner (well 30% about Tacloban and social issue, 70% about college chismis) which continued over three bottles of beer in hotel XYZ.

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With Jeff who guided us around Tacloban
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The ABC bar in XYZ hotel, i kid you not

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We signed off early for our flight back to Manila the next morning. While Joyce and I were waiting for our flight, I can’t help but smile as I remembered our adventures and misadventures in Leyte. Aside from the unlimited ka “LECHE” han, I chose the LEYT[S]E PLAN or the Leche Flan to describe our adventure. Leche Flan is one of the trickiest desserts to prepare but one of the most delicious, too!
Our Leyte trip had a series of unfortunate events, sure, but it was definitely one for the books. Leyte took me by surprise, with its unexpectedly breath-taking natural wonders, delectable local food, stunning island and beach adventure, not to mention its very hospitable and friendly people. It is surely one of the under rated travel destinations which I highly recommend people to explore next time they encounter those seat sales to Tacloban.
The LEYTSE PLAN tested not only our patience but also our strength, courage, budgeting skills, and most importantly, our friendship (char! Haha). After all, that’s what traveling is about—making us wiser, better, and stronger. Ganeeern!

Cheers to more ganernderlust!

Always have, always will be modeling,

O

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Expenses:

Day 4

Van from Ormoc to Tacloban – 120php

Jollibee breakfast – 60php each

Jeep from Tacloban proper to Babatngon (vice versa) – 50php (25php one way)

Lunch in Rafael’s farm – 350php

Tricycle from jeep terminal to town proper – 50php (100/2)

GV hotel 700php – 350php (divided by two)

Tricycle from hotel to airport – 100php (200/2)

Breakfast (silog) – 50php

Total – 1,130php

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