It’s the archdiocese’s dream of restoring grandeur to the landmark of the Catholic faith in the Archdiocese of Palo, Leyte.

The Lord’s Transfiguration Cathedral – better known as the Palo Metropolitan Cathedral – has been undergoing major renovation work since August of 2010.

Last reconstructed in the early 1960’s, the historic structure has badly needed repair of its roof and ceiling, electrical and communication systems, and major renovation of its sanctuary and belfry.

The renovation project  costs over 25 million pesos under the commission of Filipino architect Gervacio Amistoso.

The major facelifting comes in time when the Archdiocese celebrates its Diamond Jubilee (75th anniversary) as a diocese on November 28, 2012.

Photos taken on January 25, 2012:

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The rains of Tuesday, March 16, 2011 in Tacloban City and nearby towns was unusually heavy. It was incessant, literally pouring with no letup starting late Monday evening, till the next morning and the entire day, and on… and on…  till past midnight.

Facebook posts were all petitioning the heavens for the rain to please stop.

A really heavy downpour lasting only  for a couple of hours easily puts low-lying areas of the city underwater, particularly some areas at the downtown area, the V & G Subdivision and some sections of the national highway. How much more for one lasting like more than 24 hours!

That was for the record!

It probably was one of the heaviest rainfall ever recorded for Tacloban in decades!

And the ensuing floods was truly unprecedented. It was common to hear folks claiming it was the first time ever in their entire lives to have experienced flood waters enter their homes.

Ever.

How massive the damage is to both lives and property is unimaginable.

Monitoring the radio and the internet for whatever news late into the night and the next morning, the first of tragic reports trickled in: Family of 7 dead, buried under a landslide in Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City. Landslides reported, too, in Brgy. Utap and Brgy. Upper Nula-tula. Calls for help for evacuation from terrified, trapped residents at some low-lying areas. Easily affected were those living along river banks and creeks whose water levels had overflowed.

Palo, the town next to Tacloban City, was flooded badly. Bangon River had swelled to threatening levels and the Bernard Reed Bridge, which is currently undergoing rehabilitation, was at risk of being damaged further.

We heard reports of a bridge in Sta. Fe being hit by flood waters and rendered impassable, effectively cutting off motor travel to the south from Tacloban to Ormoc and Biliran. (Update 11PM March 18: damaged bridge now passable; travel to Ormoc now okay. – gerry)

Gosh this was serious.

So me and my wife, Ludette, set off this afternoon for a look-see. We headed straight to Bangon River in Palo where we earlier heard reports of heavy flooding.

Here’s what I got…

Photos taken March 17, 2011.

The scene at the newly-opened Baras-Salvacion Bridge: Bangon River in Palo, Leyte swells and overflows.

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One of the main attractions at the ongoing Palo Christmas Festival in Palo, Leyte is the Saboren Christmas Fantasy House.

What attracts many to the very Christmassy abode at the far end of the Brgy. Luntad Christmas Village (that’s the first street corner on the right after crossing the bridge when approaching Palo from Tacloban) is the numerous sets of unique Christmas decors, toys and lights collected by the Saboren family over the years.

Displayed amidst the cacophony of multi-colored lights and Christmas songs, the Saboren Christmas collection is sheer magical experience, not only for the kids but to the kid-in-you of adults.

It’s a sure guarantee of catching, at the very least, a whiff of the Christmas spirit.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

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The Municipality of Palo, on a bid to reclaim its title as the Christmas Capital of Leyte, launched the Palo Christmas Festival 2010 with blazing lights during Switch-on Ceremonies held December 15, 2010 at the town’s plaza.

With the theme, “Du-aw ha Palo, Lamrag ha Pasko,” the switching on of the lights led by Governor Jericho “Icot” Petilla and Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla instantly transformed the plaza and nearby barangays into a Christmas fantasy land.

Currently on exhibit at the plaza are the various Belen or Nativity Display entries constructed out of indigenous materials by barangay participants in the Belen Contest.

The ceremonial switch-on program also launched the town’s new tourism-drive tagline, “Enchanting Palo.”

The Christmas Festival will be on till January 08, 2011.

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© 2013 gerryruiz photoblog mark II Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha