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Tacloban and Back

Tacloban and Back



Before I get started on this post I would like to share a few links that I came across that discuss retirement in the Philippines.  Numbers 2, 3 and 4  are actually listed in the text of the first one, but I figured that maybe someone may not want to see the first one and only one or two of the others.  So I just listed them separately to make it a more direct route for those people.



How Safe if Traveling in the Philippines

How to Plan your Retirement in the Philippines

Find the Top Retirement Cities in the Philippines

Buy a Beach Condo in the Philippines

Retire in the Philippines with $200,000 in Savings?

Smart Travelers Enrollment Program


On the 9th of April (2 days after our 35th wedding anniversary) we headed down to Tacloban.  We really wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to go, but decided we needed to get away.  We hang around the house too much, especially me.  The trip down there was pretty non-eventful, just a normal ride down via Grand Tours.  We made an interesting discovery while we were in Tacloban and the trip back was unusual to, but I’ll get to all that within the correct time frame later.

The trip from Calbayog to Catbalogan, where you need to get another van, took approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.  We had to wait awhile for a van that was going to Tacloban and we got one that was leaving at 0740.  It was a bit unusual because the van going to Tacloban at 0730 was not full.  We ended getting on that one, even though we could not get our regular seats (seats 3, 4, and 5) right behind the driver and lots of space by the door for my long legs.  We ended up getting seats 6, 7 and 8 and it wasn’t so bad except that the seat I had to sit in (#8) was smaller.  I still had more leg room, just not as much as the larger #5 seat.  We always try to buy 3 seats for the 2 of us so we don’t have to worry about other people sitting there and Lita can lay down if she wants to.  Also sometimes we have more luggage and we don’t want to bother the other passengers too much.

Besides needing to get away from the house we wanted to go to the new mall and maybe buy a crock pot and Lita wanted to get some Jasmine rice.  Seems that Jasmine rice is difficult to find here in Calbayog.   Although I hear it is available in a few places, Lita still opted for the Tacloban route.  Whatever, I was just glad to be gone for awhile.  The trip from Catbalogan to Tacloban via van is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.  So a total travel time of about 3 1/2 hours.

So we are in this new mall, SM Savemore, but it’s a bit early and only a few places are open.  This mall is right across from the Grand Tours terminal so we were there pretty quickly.  It is about 0945, but Lita is pretty hungry about now and even though there are a few restaurants in this mall, they are not one that she wants to go to.  We did decide to check out the supermarket part of the mall, as it was open.  While we were inside looking around, we saw Ramil, Robbie and Faye in there.  They were there shopping with Robbie’s sister and her son.  There ‘were’ going to go home after shopping there, but decided to hang with us.  We could not find all the things we wanted at this supermarket, so we decided to head over to Robinson Mall.  All we got in that mall was a bag of Jasmine rice.  I’m glad that Ramil and Robbie were there because I learned something that will save us some money and trouble the next time we are there.

We normally take a taxi to the mall when we go, because we don’t know the routes of the jeepney’s.  Well Ramil knew which jeepney to take.  Also instead of hauling around the things that we did buy, and what they bought, we just left the items at the Savemore supermarket.  We checked them in, got our little number and headed for the other mall.  Now I hope I get this name right because I wrote it down after we got back home.  If you take the jeepney that goes to Marasbaras, that one stops at Robinson Mall.  It’s only P8 per person versus P150 for the taxi.  We will definitely have to remember that on our next trip.

So inside Robinson Mall Lita decides she can’t wait to eat any longer.  We all head over to Shakey’s.  We all got pizza, chicken and iced tea.  A little while after we ordered I noticed that they also have nice looking salads there.  I think I’ll do that next time.  I don’t need to be eating all that pizza anyway, even though the thin crust crispy pepperoni I got was pretty good.  I seriously think I would have been more pleased with the salad if it was as good as it looked on the menu (but it probably didn’t).  While we were eating a little boy tried to climb up the escalator the wrong way and fell.  Someone got to him pretty quickly, but he was still crying.  We were on the first floor, so it was the down escalator and I guess he wanted to go up.

After eating Lita and I headed for the department store across the way to look for a crock pot.  Just like at the other mall, when she asked for a crock pot, we got weird stares.  So we just said slow cooker.  That they understood, but they didn’t have any.  We checked out a couple more stores there, including the appliance store, but no one had one.  We bought the Jasmine rice and only a few other things, we spent less than P3,000 at both supermarkets combined, so that’s good for us.  It’s usually around P6,000.

So now it’s time to head home.  We go by the Savemore Mall to get out groceries and walk across the street to the Grand Tour.  Someone from the supermarket actually pushed our groceries in a cart for us and brought the basket back.  Technically you are not suppose to tip them, but I think everyone does.  Just try not to make it obvious when you do it.

As we are waiting for a van, and we had already paid, I notice an ad on one of the posts.  There is an error on it.  I just notice things like that for some reason.  Do you spot the error?

Anyway, I point the error out to a guy that is standing next to me.  After that he starts talking to Ramil and Robbie.  Come to find out that he is actually from Calbayog and he is there waiting for a friend to bring back to Calbayog.  Shortly after that he gets a message from his friend that he will not be there.  So he offers us a ride back with him in his SUV.  Of course we accept. Ramil went back to the window, got all our money back and we rode with him.  It’s much nicer riding in there than in the van and I was able to sleep some because I had the front seat.

Come to find out that this guy, and I didn’t even get his name until later, knows Scott Van Torres.  It got me wondering if this is the same SUV that Scott drives when ‘his friend’ is not in the PI.  The guy’s name, according to Robbie, is Gil Quilangtang.  So far Scott has not answered me when I asked him about Gil.  Maybe he will soon.

After getting home, I finally got to get on the computer for the first time that day.  I was waiting for a message from Gil.  He was suppose to send me something to check out, but it never arrived.  Maybe he forgot.  I still hope to get that from him soon.

So that was our trip.  A little more eventful than normal, but it was educational and I’m glad we did it.  With all the things that we learned, it should makes things smoother for our next trip, and there will be a next trip.

Salamat Y’all



  1. Hi JJ! I logged in about 45 mins ago but had to do other things. I’ll have to come back and read a bit more another time. Been so busy lately – well, this past year. . But just one thing: MARASBARAS is the name of the area that you want, where Robinson’s is. 🙂 I’ll be back sometime tomorrow around 5pm PST. You’re 15 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

    • Howdy Winda, long time no hear. I hope you got to come back later to read some more. Thanks for the information. I went back and corrected it. I wasn’t sure if it was right, but I knew I’d be close. I wasn’t as close as I thought I was though.

Texan in the Philippines