By Chloe Elizabeth Hill
I’ve been living in Tacloban City for a month now and since then have witnessed new restaurants and cafés popping up everywhere, and I couldn’t wait to try them all. Yep, I’m a foodie. I love café culture and, if you can keep a secret, I’m also a bit of a hipster*.
With every second café, restaurant, and bar having a ‘Help wanted’ sign, Tacloban’s food industry and employment opportunities seem to be booming.
So why is the café culture booming in Tacloban? Perhaps it’s the diversification of the service industry. Or maybe it is the influence of all of the NGO workers running about the city needing their caffeine fix? If this is the case the hip café and restaurant owners of Tacloban aren’t the only industries benefiting from the presence of the many relief workers in the city. Rumour has it that the increased demand for hotel rooms has pushed prices through the roof, making it difficult to find a room for less than Php 1000 per night.
When the first wave of NGO workers entered Tacloban after Yolanda there was speculation that they were pushing up the prices of food. Is this the second wave of market distortion? And will these industries suffer once the majority of the NGO workforce goes home? Maybe… or maybe the hipster culture is here to stay.
*NOTE: admitting to being a hipster is clearly very un-hipsterish but for the sake of the blog, please bear with me.