It is a sad tale of how a beautiful town like Palo in Leyte is now turned into mere rubbles of ancestral houses and churches, of uprooted age-old trees and collapsed monuments. Of lives lost and fallen dreams, the super typhoon Yolanda completely changed its wonderful landscape and its charming character altered.
I have so much admiration for this town and I always keep coming back. In fact, just about 3 weeks ago, I was by its seaside for a quick afternoon delight of refreshing buko juice. Over time, I have collected images of its resplendence and started to draft a few lines. But Yolanda overtook me, wreaked anything on her path before I could publish my story. Nevertheless, indulge me into remembering and sharing still, the memories of this once bucolic town.
This quiet coastal town is the seat of the ecclesiastical government of the Archdiocese of Palo. It is the home of the archbishop and theology seminaries in the region. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Palo is at the heart of the town. It cuddles around it some of the heritage houses and landmarks that have helped shape the town’s quaint character.
On its famous Red Beach stands the iconic memorial sculpture of Gen. Douglas McArthur’s return to the Philippines. Hill 522 in Palo serves as a historical reminder of the country’s battle between the allied forces and the Japanese troops during World War II. McArthur’s Park is the town’s favorite hangout among the locals because of its breezy sea wall and the cool shade from the huge trees. Its historical value makes it the most visited landmark in the province.
The Oriental Hotel and Resort is by far the best in the entire Eastern Visayas. It is a first class accommodation that offers luxurious hotel comfort and excellent dining experience, all in a tonic tropical ambience.
I would like to remember Palo the way it was as a quaint town but with vibrant lifestyle. It exudes a distinct rural character but never too far from urban comfort. Today, we grieve on the loss of innocent lives and shattered economy. But the Warays and the rest of the Filipino people are known for our resilience. We will get back on our feet, fighting to bring back what were lost. As the Waray spirit shines, Palo will rebuild its glory mightier than it was.
This photo is courtesy of Jadd Meyrick Agner, photographer and a proud Paloano.
Palo and the rest of Samar and Leyte need our help. Let us be armies of deliverance. For your donations, you may contact the nearest International Committee of the Red Cross in your country or if you are in the Philippines, get in touch with Philippine National Red Cross and any help lines. You may also directly communicate through a community of people from Region8 through the link https://www.facebook.com/PadayaonR8
Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors.
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