I actually lived in Tacloban for a year. It was a relatively small city so a lot of the locals recognized each other by their last names. Unless I’m mistaken, Gaisano was their only major mall at the time (97-98). Jollibee was just about to open its first branch and I remember that it was a pretty big deal for the locals. To some of them, it seemed like significant step towards becoming like manila, which I guess was the ideal city for some of them. I remember the househelp saying “may Jollibee na. bakit pa kelangan pumunta ng manila”.
Tacloban changed a lot since I left the city. Last time I checked, not only did they have Jollibee, they also had KFC, mcdo; They had a robinsons mall and an SM mall was scheduled to open next year. To see Tacloban in its current state is heartbreaking mostly because of the loss of humanity but also because the typhoon wiped away decades of slow but steady progress. -Progress that the locals cheered for every step of the way.
Photo grabbed from CNN