Papal Visit Philippines 2015 Special: Investing in the Haiyan – Ravaged City of Tacloban

This is a post, a part of a series, to commemorate the Pope’s visit to the Philippines on January 15-19 2015.


The highlight of the Pope’s visit in the Philippines was his trip to Tacloban, otherwise known as ground-zero of the Haiyan devastation. On the day the Pope visited Tacloban, another storm hit the city. Interestingly, the storm was named locally as “Amang”, which translates to Father in English. The storm cut the Pope’s Tacloban visit short, killed a woman volunteer, and caused a plane carrying government officials to skid off the runway.

The Pope in a raincoat, as he waves to a crowd after holding a mass in an airport in Tacloban City, Philippines on January 17, 2015. Image from Damir Sagolj/Reuters


The Pope’s visit gives residents of Tacloban hope and inspiration as they continue to rebuild their city.

There’s another thing that Tacloban needs — Investment. As the parable goes (and I am paraphrasing here), the people of Tacloban don’t only need fish, they also need the means to fish. On the 20th of November 2014, another event gave the people in Tacloban hope. It was the opening of a large mutli-level grocery store.

Many people have varying opinions about the SM group of companies (SM:PM latest stock quote), ranging from issues regarding their labor practices, relationships with suppliers and tenants, environmental track record, effect on local small businesses, etc. Even the design of SM malls and buildings are the subject of debates. However, there is no denying that an opening of an SM establishment, especially in the cities and municipalities in the Philippine provinces, carries with it the perception of progress.

SM Savemore opened in Tacloban on November 20, 2014. It was a project that was started before Haiyan hit. After the devastation, SM continued with the project.

See the progress of the SM Savemore Tacloban project in this Skyscrapercity forum.

People lining up to shop in SM Savemore Tacloban on November 20, 2014. A mob of shoppers usually stresses me, but in this case I’m all smiles for Tacloban. Image from forumer mao rong of Skyscrapercity

SM Savemore Tacloban is more of a mini mall than a grocery. It has three floors and has around 60 stalls for lease. As of the writinf of this post, majority of the stalls now have tenants and have opened.

See more pictures of the throng of shoppers on SM Savemore’s opening day.

According to this news report, from January to October 7, 2014, the Tacloban city government already generated PHP 92 million from business taxes and license fees. However, this is still a long way from the PHP 400 million the city used to earn annually.

Bangon (Rise) Tacloban!




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Finance, M.D.

Finance, M.D. is a practicing physician who dabbles in finance and investment. He has passed all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams, all in his first attempts.

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