As we landed at Tacloban City the previous night, there was only one thing on our mind, lechon. Granted, Tacloban is no Cebu when it comes to this porky delight, but we were told that the city boasts of a good lechon culture all its own; the numerous lechon stalls along Real Street is a testament to that.
Do we eat now? That was the question on our mind as we navigated the highway en route to Lorenzo’s Way Bed & Breakfast. We were, however, told that we should probably wait until the morrow since most of the lechon being hawked right then were probably not that good anymore as most of these were cooked very early in the morning.
So we waited until lunch the next day.
|TIMO ROMANO TAKE-OUT PACKS|
And so came the hour, under the shade of a tree at MacArthur’s Landing Site in the town of Palo, we sat and Googled our way to the best lechon in Tacloban City. We spotted three, but two of those had already closed down after Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the region. We were left with one, Timo Romano Lechon.
The name sounded legit enough and its founding date seemed to confirm it, 1968. That’s a lot of years making roasted pig. Their slogan, Once Tasted, Always Wanted, finally convinced us.
|A SLAB OF LECHON BELLY|
Taking a multicab from Palo, we were dropped at the center of lechonan along Real Street and right at the doorway of Timo Romano. A big-ass slab of lechon pork belly greeted us from the street. Apparently, they’ve already ran out of traditional roasted pig, so we made do with the belly.
Were already quite familiar with this kind of lechon, as we always bring one to our staycations courtesy of Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly, so our expectations only doubled as the pork was chopped in front of our eyes.
|CHOPPED SPICY LECHON, WISHED WE ORDERED A SERVING|
Most of the lechon houses along Real have no dining areas, most are for take-outs, Timo Romano is one of the few with tables and chairs for eating. Passing several trays of carinderia-style ready-to-eat food—and ordering a couple too—we made our way inside.
|DIM INTERIORS OF TIMO ROMANO LECHON IN TACLOBAN|
The place can easily seat about twenty people on plastic Orocan chairs and wooden tables. A small TV set blared on one corner while the air-conditioning rattled its death throes. The place is very, very dim, and it’s not due to mood lighting either.
|HALF A KILO OF CHOPPED LECHON BELLY|
Soon enough, a half a kilo of Timo Romano’s chopped lechon belly (PHP 200.00) was plunked down our table together with an order of lumpiang togue and some sort of liver dish. Like Cebuanos, Taclobanons do not use liver sauce or Sarsa ni Mang Tomas for dip, instead, they use vinegar.
From the look of it, Timo’s lechon is appetizing enough. But it stopped right there. As we attacked the pork, we found the meat to be a tad too rubbery and some parts of the skin, too hard. It was flavorful enough, even with no Mang Tomas, which I dearly miss, but BG’s mom, who’s with us, told us that they might’ve used an old pig for the lechon, hence the hardy meat. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t the best either. The thing was, we were expecting the best.
|THEIR READY-TO-EAT DISHES SAVED THE DAY|
Oh well, our first lechon adventure in Tacloban City didn’t turn out that well. Next time, we’d really go early to catch a freshly roasted pig for ourselves; we won’t settle for anything less. Good thing their lumpiang togue and liver something (igado?) saved our meal.
Timo Romano Lechon
Address: Real Street, Brgy. Sagkahan,
Tacloban City, Leyte
Contact Number: (053) 832-2460
Facebook: Click Here
GPS Coordinates Map: 11.226757, 125.001811