Iloilo: Into the Giant’s Arms

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Iloilo is probably one of those underrated provinces, it’s not even in my bucket list. I have less knowledge of the place, well except for my boss whose from here. And aside from La Paz Batchoy (i thought La Paz is in quezon btw… hahaha… moron), the area is an unknown tourist destination. Little did i know that they have this secret paradise, yeah seems like the Philippines has many hidden secrets. hahah!

This fascination started when i was watching a sunday show and suddenly Iloilo just pop-in. They featured this picture perfect paradise in Carles, Iloilo. So i told my self… i need or rather i must go there..

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We arrived in Iloilo Muelle Loney Port from Bacolod around 6 PM. We’re not able to follow our itinerary because Weesam advised us that they dont have a 3 PM trip, so we then settled to the nearest one which is at 4:30 PM. Quite inconvenient because we really made a point to rush our Mambukal Trek just so we could follow our itinerary.

Anyway we ride a Parola-Super Jeep and alight at Maria Clara Monument – P8.00
(Alternatively, ride a Tricycle to Plaza Libertad – P10, hop in to any Mandurriao-SM Jeep – P8.00)

At 7:00 PM , we Checked in at Circle Inn located at Iznart St. Maria Clara City Proper Iloilo

The Verdict:

Location: ☺☺☺☺

Right at the heart of Iloilo, almost near to everything. Malls, market, places of Interest etc.

Cleanliness: ☺☺☺

Small but clean

Over-all: ☺☺☺☺

This is a budget friendly hotel with swimming pool. Interiors are simple, no fancy decorations with a clean, regularly-sized room. Good for a night or 2.

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Our initial plan is to head over to La Paz Market for Batchoy Hunting and try their 3 overrated Batchoy Kings: Ted’s Oldtimer, Deco’s Original and Netong’s Original

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We did try Netong’s first. We order one Big bowl in our hope that we could proceed to Ted’s after.

Unfortunately after Netong’s, Ted’s is already closed. So we just munched in some street foods like Isaw (chicken intestines) and Betamax (chicken blood).

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At 9 PM we headed back to our Hotel

(Ride Jeepney Jaro Liko-NFA or Lapaz Jeepney and alight at the end of Deleon St. or Rizal St. before it goes straight to Aldeguer St)– P8.00
Alternately, Ride Jaro-CPU, alight at Arroyo Fountain – P8.00, then ride Mandurriao-SM Jeepney and alight at Maria Clara Monument Cor. Rizal and Iznart St. – P8.00)

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DAY 3: 

We woke-up early , around 6:00 AM , eat Breakfast and prepare ourselves. At 7:00 AM, we begun our journey to Tagbak Terminal.

> Take Jaro-Liko Jeepney to La Paz Market – P8, then wait for the Jaro-Tagbak Jeepney – P13

Alternate Routes:
1. Take Leganes Jeepney from Jalandoni St – Diversion Intersection (across SM Iloilo) in Mandurriao District /or
Jaro Liko Tagbak Jeepney – passing by Jaro Plaza or Bonifacio Drive (fronting Iloilo Provincial Capitol) – P13

2. Ride Jaro CPU, or Jaro Liko-NFA to Jaro Plaza – P13, from there ride Leganes or Jaro-Tagbak Jeepney – P8.00

9:00 AM – Van to Estancia – P250

12:00 PM – ETA


Tricycle to the Port = P25
We secured ourselves for the 1 PM trip and left our bags to have our lunch to the nearest eatery.

1:00 PM – M/V Gerell boat to Gigantes North – P80

*There is only 1 passenger boat going to gigantes, so make sure to be there before 1 PM! (allot 1 hour to your itinerary, it used to be the St. Michael boat which leaves at 2 PM, many blogs didn’t mention about the change of the passenger boat, so it’s updated as of 2015. Luckily, we arrived at 12 PM just in time for the 1 pm trip)

3:30 PM – ETA in Langub, Barangay Granada in Gigantes Norte
Terminal Fee – P4
Motor to Inn – P10

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3:40 PM – Check-in at Jesa Beach Resort in Brgy. Granada, Islas De Gigantes – P1000 (P500 / 2 nights)

Initially our itinerary is to just Beach Bum upon arrival. Its just happened that while coordinating with Ms. Sally (the owner) about our island hopping for tomorrow. Our guide told us about the side trip to the Light House and Bakwitan Cave. So for P250 we give it a shot.

We went to Bakwitan Cave first… a place where Gigantes got its name.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

“The Gigantes group used to be called Sabuluag or Salauag, which is the name of a species of tree endemic to the islands. During the Spanish colonial era, the name was changed to Gigantes. Local legend describes coffins found inside Bakwitan Cave that contained gigantic sets of human bones, which constituted the name change.[3] For this reason, locals also believe the island is inhabited by enkantos.”

I thought its just a normal Cave exploration, but we ended up Spelunking! hahah. Going up is an easy breezy 10 minutes. The guide will give you an option to either go out on the same direction as going up or climb the rocky cave and squeeze yourself to the top side. You will then end up to the other side of the cave. The guide asked us if we wanted to push through. We thought that after spelunking the cave connection in sagada, we’re game of anything. We told ourselves, we did survived that grave digger spelunking in sagada, why not bakwitan? Hahaha, trying hard to be courageous!

Then we headed to the old and the new Gigantes Light Houses.

We arrived in the resort before sunset, freshen’ up and get ready for dinner. We pre-arranged our dinner before our tour and the meal cost P150 each. Consist of 2 choices of meat, fish, seafood, soup with rice, ice tea and fruits. Gigantes is the scallop capital of the Philippines, so don’t ever go home without trying one. Their Adobong Scallop with Chili is to die for!

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DAY 4

Woke up early and had our pre-arranged breakfast for P100 per meal

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8:00 AM – We started our Island Tour for (P2000/boat). The 2 of us, our guide, and 2 boat men.

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Our first stop: Tangke or Water Basin


Bantigue Sandbar


Cabugao Gamay

our Packed Lunch!

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Antonia Beach

Secret Lagoon

More View from Jesa

7:00 PM – Dinner – P200

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DAY 5

Again we woke up early to catch the only boat going to Estancia. We didn’t take our breakfast in the resort cause we don’t want to miss the ride.

8:00 AM – M/V Gerell to Estancia – P80

9:30 AM – ETA to Estancia

  • Took our breakfast first and hail a tricycle to bring us to the Van terminal

11:00 AM – ETA
Tricycle to Van Terminal – P25
Van to Tagbak Terminal – P250

2:00 PM – ETA in Tagbak Terminal
Ride Jaro Liko-Tagbak – P13
Then Jaro Liko-NFA, alight at the end of De Leon-Rizal St. – P8.00

2:30 PM – Hotel Check-in at GT Hotel – De Leon St. City Proper Iloilo (walking distance to Robinson’s Iloilo)

The Verdict:

Location: ☺☺☺☺

Right at the heart of Iloilo. 5 minutes walk to Robinson’s Mall. 2 Minutes to church.

Cleanliness: ☺☺☺☺

Spotlessly Clean

Over-all: ☺☺☺☺

The best hotel of this trip. Room is modern with queen-sized bed. Tho’ breakfast selection is limited, the ambiance of the restaurant made-up for it.

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  • Took our Lunch at Ted’s Original in Robinson’s

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Tourist spots that is walking distance from Hotel
Museo Iloilo
Calle Real
Plaza Libertad
San Jose Church
Masonic Temple
City Hall Roof Deck

3:00 PM – Downtown Iloilo
(Ride Jaro Liko or Jaro CPU jeepney), alight anywhere at JM Basa St.

  • Visit Jaro Cathedral
  • Jaro Belfry
  • Buy Pasalubong at Biscocho Haus
  • Try Panaderia ni Pa a (the oldest bakery in Iloilo)

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4:00 PM – Molo Church & Plaza
Take Molo-Baluarte Jeep from Plaza Libertad – P8.00
Alight at the Molo Church or Molo Plaza


Casa Rizaliana (San Jose St. – 2 blks away from Molo Church

6:00 PM – Back to Plaza Libertad – P8.00
Jeep to SM Mandurriao – P13

6:30 PM – Stroll along Iloilo Esplanade

7:00 PM – Dinner at Plazuela (near SM Iloilo)

We wanted to try bar hopping at Smallville, but unfortunately it was raining that night. So we just decided to chill and drink a few beers in Plazuela

11:00 PM – Back to Hotel
Jeepney Ride Mandurriao-SM Jeepney to De Leon St. After passing Rizal/Iznart St.) – P13

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DAY 6 See separate post for the Guimaras Day Trip

Our last Dinner in Iloilo

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DAY 7

6:00 AM – Breakfast – Free

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7:00 AM – Miag-ao Church
Go to Mohon Terminal (jeepney located along Infante-Gen. Luna St. Ride Villa/Arevalo/Oton Jeep) – P8.00 , then take Miag-ao jeep – P24 or go to the Iloilo Terminal Market near Robinson’s and Take Miag-ao Jeep – P34 (we took the latter)

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8:00 AM – ETA

Miag-ao Church is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines. Declared as a Unesco heritage site, this is hailed as one of the 4 baroque churches in the Philippines. From the unique church color, the facade carvings, the big bell towers and the rustic feel of its interior.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

The church’s over-all architectural style falls under the Baroque Romanesque architectural style.[3] Its ochre color is due to the materials used in constructing the church, adobe, egg, coral and limestone.[5],[4] The church’s foundation is 6 meters deep[6] and the massive stone walls at 1.5 meters thick are intensified through the use of 4 meter thick flying buttresses as protection to the Moro invaders as stipulated under Royal Decree 111 of 1573 (Law of the Indies).

9:00 AM – Back to Hotel
Miag-ao to Mohon Terminal – P34
Jeep to Robinson’s or Plaza Libertad – P8.00

10:00 AM – ETA

  • Lunch at Deco’s Batchoy (Robinson’s)

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11:00 AM – Check-out
Jeep to SM – Mandurriao Iloilo – P13

11:30 AM – Van from SM City Iloilo to Airport – P70

12:00 AM – ETA

2:50 PM – Departure from Iloilo Airport via Cebu Pacific Air

4:00 PM – Arrival NAIA Terminal 3

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Iloilo is probably one of the most progressive provinces in the Philippines. This place has a lot to offer. It has beautiful churches, prestine beaches, a paradise named Gigantes plus its’s the home of batchoy, pancit molo and biscocho! Well-deserved to be included in one’s bucket list!

 

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