CHEAP THRILLS: Small-Town Carnival in Tacloban

June is probably the busiest time of the year in Tacloban.

Yes, you read that right. Now, Christmas season is a very *very* close second but it’s in June when there’s always something going on. The reason for this? The cultural-religious Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival on the 29th and 30th this June. (Think Mardi Gras or St. Patrick’s Day but Filipino)

Parades-galore, food and music abundance in Magsaysay Boulevard and a pop-up carnival. JOHNMER CARNIVAL only comes to town during this festive season.

Whether you’re there with family or with friends trying to outdare each other, this once-a-year carnival has something for everyone.

There’s an entrance fee of PHP 20 (USD 40c | AUD 60c | CAD 50c) whether you’re a child (4 years old and above) or an adult. And the rides? They only range PHP 40-PHP 60 (USD | AUD | CAD) per person. Cheap thrills, man.

FERRIS WHEEL (PHP 40) USD 80c | AUD 1.15 | CAD 1
This ride in this carnival isn’t something I would suggest for couples who’re trying to have a little romantic moment up in the sky with a view of the city. The passenger cars are pretty closed up and you might feel a little caged. But there’s a reason for that. See, the two-minute spin you get for your PHP 40 starts off slow but gets faster and faster. Hence, the protection.

DRAGON COASTER (PHP 50) USD 1 | AUD 1.50 | CAD 1.25
This one’s pretty child-friendly. The ascent was a little rickety and the sudden descending plunge will inspire a little squeal maybe, but it’s all fairly predictable. You get three spins so I guess it was okay for the price.

VIKINGS (PHP 60) USD 1.20 | AUD 1.75 | CAD 1.50
This one’s for the braver ones, hence the name. The swinging ship ride lasts about a minute in reality but actually feels like forever if you’re on it. Some after-effects of the ride? White knuckles, wobbly knees, a hoarse voice and that funny feeling like you’ve had your internal organs rearranged. But lastly, a shaky smile that’s equal parts relief and smugness.

Other rides include an Octopus ride, a Frisbee ride and a Carousel. Last 2018, they had Bumper Cars and Flying Chairs, but they couldn’t find space for them this year. If you’re not a fan of screaming your lungs out or if you suffer from motion sickness, there are darts and shooting games available. The prizes aren’t all that fancy but the bragging rights are enough consolation. They also have betting stalls around (minors aren’t allowed to play) and even a karaoke machine…because why not?

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