Since new year is now approaching, maybe I should post my last out-of-town trip for 2014- Iloilo. Actually it was my first time to travel outside luzon because of lacks budget. Luckily my friend invited me to go with them for his brother’s wedding. I don’t had second thoughts, and easily grabbed the opportunity to travel for free since it was our sembreak.
To tell you the truth, it was my first time to ride on a plane. At first, I was terribly scared because God knows that I’m afraid of heights. But thanked God I was able to surpassed my fear. When were in up the sky, I could see the panoramic view of Manila. The dazzling lights of the entire city. Indeed it was magnificent. After 30 minutes, we arrived at 5:30am in the Iloilo International Airport. I think it’s the cleanest and modern airport I’ve ever seen.
Before we went here, I searched little information about Iloilo. Aside from being “The City of Love”, it was once called ” Queen City of the South”. Because during the Galleon Trade, Port of Iloilo was opened to the world market, and it has been steadily conducting inter-island trade. The Port of Iloilo gave Negors, and Panay local industries, and agriculture , most specially sugar- a gateway to foreign markets and made Iloilo the biggest center of commerce and trade in the Visayas, and Mindanao, next to Manila. Having said that, Iloilo is rich in culture, heritage houses, festivities, old cities, and authentic cuisines and delicacies. That’s why when our plane finally landed, I was so eager to explore, and enjoy the spectacles.
Panay Farmer’s Center
First we went to my friend’s grandfather’s house in Molo, we took a van ride costs of 50php, and a jeep costs of 8.50php. When we got to his grandpa’s place, you would feel the tranquility, and simplicity they are living. We ate our breakfast there and took some sleep. After four hours of resting, we immediately hit the Panay farmer’s center. I could say that it’s good to visit their market ,wherein you can find your needs in one place. Also you would learn how the local people interact with each other. Plus hearing their dialect sounds good and sweet to my ears.
To have deep understanding about the certain place you would visit, it is a must to educate yourself about its history, custom and tradition, that’s why we went here to this small museum beside Iloilo provincial capitol. It contains lots of artifacts and paintings of Ilongos. Actually, it’s quite disappointing because there was no curator when we went there, although we paid 50 pesos.
It is declared as one of the heritage sites of Iloilo because of old buildings that were constructed during the commonwealth era along J.M Basa, Iznart , Aldeguer , and Guanco. Meanwhile, the has served as a shipping and entertainment center since 1930. Another name for Calle Real is ” Escolta” similar to Manila’s own historic street of commerce. Also, some scholars say that our national hero Jose Rizal used to visit that place.
Molo church is the only Gothic church in the Philippines outside Manila. It was built in 1831 under Fray Pablo Montano and was completed in 1888 by Fray Agapito. Originally, its name is St. Anne Parish Church . The church is made of white corral rock . It has two belfries and have around 30 bells of different sizes. When you go inside the church, you would notice that the altars are made of wood, and the murals is painted by Mariano Mabuhay. Also, there are 16 images of women saints found inside.
Sto. Tomas de Villanueva or commonly known as Miag-ao church is one of the baroque churches in the Philippines, and considered as one of the UNESCO heritage sites. The construction of the church began in 1787 during the leadership of the parish priest of this town Fray Francisco M. Gonzales. The church was completed in 1797, and it served as fortress against muslim raiders. During the revolution in 1898, the church was destroyed. Later, it was rebuilt and it was damaged by fire in 1910. Also, it was hit by the earthquake in 1948. Good thing it was restored in 1960, and completed its restoration in 1962.
Nearby the church, you would notice the Miag-ao pasalubong center, wherein you can buy stuffs and goodies of Iloilo.
We went in Oton during our last day in the province. We decided to swim here instead of Guimaras because of short time staying. It was somehow good, never mind the black sand,and dirty looking sea because the resort offers swimming pool, horse back riding, and cottages in its affordable prices.
Iloilo trip won’t be complete without buying any pasalubong in Biscocho Haus. It was built in 1975. Biscocho Haus was founded by Dr. Carlos L. Guadarrama, and his wife Theresa J. Guadarrama. their specialty and very first product was biscocho. Because of high demand of their delicious treats, they have come up with new products which were first made in their family kitchen.
Sadly I visited only few places. There are so many places in Iloilo that I would love to visit specially in Concepcion, Jaro, and La paz where you could see heritage houses, amazing views, and plazas. And if you are a food lover, I’m sure you would also enjoy this province because of its delectable delicacies that they might learn and inherit from our conquistadors. Maybe next time, if I get a better budget, I will return here to discover more the marvel of Iloilo.