Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Year-end Trip: Iloilo-Guimaras Part 1

Sometime in the middle of this year, I took advantage of an Airphil Express sale promo for a MNL-ILO roundtrip ticket, which I think costs P400 one way, dated Dec.9-11. To be honest, I have the slightest idea of this province although my mom who went there some two years ago told me that it could pass as a pilgrim’s haven because of there are many too churches all over the place. I immediately turned to my acquaintance, Google for a quick search on the must-see places and my mom’s right----CHURCHES everywhere! Hahaha, good thing that Guimaras is just a 15-minute boat ride so I thought an Iloilo-Guimaras Tour would be a nice gift for myself this Christmas. So I wasted no time and booked six people, including myself already.

Fast forward to the “big day.” Our flight’s at 10:55am so we set a 7:30 call time at Edsa LRT/MRT station. And since we’re all pure-blooded Filipinos, we follow the infamous Filipino time except for Aizel and Luis who got there at 7am. I arrived past 7 though. Anyway, the rain is really pouring hard that day and got me all worried of two possible scenarios that will ruin this trip: cancelled flight or a very bad weather that awaits us in Iloilo.

We arrived at NAIA 3 all wet and shivering at 10am and managed to check-in just in time before the check-in counter closed. Whew! I was not used to this “amazing race” kind of thing because whenever I travel with my family, we’re very early at the airport...as in 2.5 hours early even if our destination’s just out of Luzon. Haha! In all fairness, what I love about late check-ins is the fact that you don’t have to endure long lines plus the waiting time for the boarding and departure time is not that long. Agree? ;p

Outside, it’s still pouring hard non-stop and moments later we heard over the PA system that two of CebuPac’s flights were already cancelled due to weather.  By this time, we’re already preparing ourselves for the worst but we’re relieved that our flight’s a go----although, it’ll be delayed. Delayed flight is still better than a cancelled flight so we waited for further advise. Finally, at around 12 we boarded the plane...and had to wait for another couple of minutes at the runway since it’s really really cloudy and gloomy. Alas, the plane took-off and the trip went smoothly without any turbulence at all. Thank God ^_^
Fan girls meet former colonel Ariel Querubin  
Waiting for our flight
Ready to take-off
Touchdown Iloilo
We’re surprised that a beautiful weather greeted us upon our arrival in Iloilo City Airport. I was surprised that despite being an international airport, it’s small...actually, smaller than Mactan International Airport if I’m not mistaken. But it’s beautiful, clean, and new which reminds me of Davao International Airport.

Aerial shot of Iloilo
Hello, Iloilo!
Welcome to Iloilo!
This control house is better than the one in MIA ;p
It's somewhat gloomy when we arrived at the Iloilo Airport
The guards are instructing us to get inside the airport.
E kumukuha a kami ng pictures e!
Grand welcome for us, oha! Haha!
Anyway, we boarded a van to get to SM City Iloilo. Although travel time took less than hour, what made our travel time long is the fact that we’re starving to death already since we haven’t eaten lunch yet. We arrived at SM City Iloilo at around 2pm. Faith and Luis have a 2:15pm ferry bound for Bacolod to catch so the remaining three-me, Aizel, and Rei---had lunch at the foodcourt. 

We also had our last-minute toiletries shopping and left SM at around 3pm. Since we don’t have a map and we’re clueless of how to get to One Lourdes Dormitel, we boarded a taxi and told him about One Lourdes Dormitel. He was clueless of the place but he remained nice and promised us that he’ll bring us there. He was relieved to know that One Lourdes Dormitel is near the famous “Super Terminal.”

I didn’t expect much of One Lourdes Dormitel, because it’s just a “dormitel.” But really, it’s the best dormitel that I’ve seen and I really can’t stop admiring its simple but very hotel-ish look. Swear!!!
Nice bathroom with 24hr hot and
cold shower
Impressive room. We even have a ref inside! 
Since it’s just 3:30 pm that time, we decided to stay a little bit longer to rest and besides our shoulders were already aching because of our bags. We left at 4pm and headed to Super Terminal, which is about 20 feet away from where we’re staying, and confidently boarded a San Joaquin bound jeep. 
uma-ANC si Reignell haha!
Aizel, ano daw?
This is it! Iloilo is famous for its churches so we decided to check them out: San Joaquin Church and Cemetery, Miag-ao Church which is a UNESCO Heritage Site, Tigbauan Church, and Oton Church. Since San Joaquin is the farthest, we decided to went there first-----and turned out to be our biggest mistake!
Prior to the trip, I made a little research on these churches and found out that San Joaquin—being the farthest-- would take 45 minutes to an hour if one will be coming from Super Terminal. But we’re devastated when we found out that travel time in totoong buhay took us almost 2hours!!!!! It’s really crazy and scary because: 1. we’re unfamiliar of the place; 2. it’s getting dark; and 3. fewer jeeps back to the city.

To make things worse, the San Joaquin Church was closed when we got there! Epic fail! So we decided to leave and go to Miag-ao Church. After asking the locals how we could go to Miag-ao, a nice tricycle driver agreed to take us there for only P200! Actually, he was a little bit hesitant because the charge seems “high” but after we told him we’re willing to pay, he obliged.  The trip from San Joaquin to Miag-ao is really scary because aside from passing by various cemeteries, there are no streetlights (hello, it’s a province!) so the entire trip was almost covered with darkness, similar to scenes you see in horror movies where a bloodied white lady suddenly appears out of nowhere and scare you. 
San Joaquin Church
This scene welcomed us in San Joaquin. :(

Impressive carvings in San Joaquin Church
Anyway, we’re just relieved to reach Miag-ao because it seems more “active” than San Joaquin. We only saw Miag-ao Church from the outside since it’s already closed at around 7pm.  It was really heart-breaking not to be able to see and pray inside Miag-ao L We decided to pray inside the adoration chapel instead.
Ivory-made statue of Mama Mary.
Okay, blurred ang kuha ko ng Miag-ao Church ;p
We knew that it’s already impossible to visit the remaining churches in our itinerary so we decided to go back to the city. Besides, it’s already past 7pm. We waited for a Ceres Liner who’ll take us to SM City Iloilo. We explored “Smallville” which is a famous hang-out spot there. For dinner, I requested for a La Paz Batchoy which is Iloilo’s most famous delicacy. It was my first time to actually eat La Paz Batchoy since I’m not really fond of noodles and inner organs. And since we passed by Deco’s, we decided to dine there.
I didn't thought that La Paz Batchoy is somehow sweet.
This one from Deco's is really, really, and I really mean really
Nabad-trip ata sa kinain nya.
 After finishing our bowl of La Paz Batchoy, we found out that we’re not in Smallville but in Plazuela de Iloilo. Haha, shame! 
The fountain in front of Plazuela de Iloilo
Photo op muna in front of the fountain
Aizel and Rei at the fountain
So from there, we boarded another jeep to get to the real Smallville to grab some desserts since I’m not satisfied with my dinner.

Smallville is your typical gimmick place---several bars, loud music, teens in skimpy clothes, and a little bit of smoking and alcohol here and there. We went there for Nothing But Desserts which was recommended by Klaris. Their cakes really look delicious and tempting but we ended up getting ourselves with this:
Mix of all the gelato flavors.Yum!
It's funny that when I asked kuya, ano po ito? He answered me in their local language...and I tell you, his explanation is quite long! And then I smiled and said, kuya ano po yun ulit and that's the only time he realized that we can't understand his dialect (which I believe is Hiligaynon unless he's speaking another bisaya dialect). Anyway, I forgot the flavor of this gelato but it's a mixture of all the gelato flavors in the store. It was delicious and kinda reminds me of Caramia's Mango Jubilee, which I also love. We learned from kuya also that they'll be opening a store near ABS-CBN next year. Aizel's best bet is it'll be in Il Terrazzo. The silly me consider The Loop. After satisfying our sweet cravings, we went back to One Lourdes and prepare for our Guimaras Day Tour the following day. 


  1. Nice pictures! When did you book your flight BTW? :D

  2. hehehe thanks. I think Sept or October