Iloilo! I answered, when A said, “Pick a Place!”. The trip was our first trip outside Cebu together. But what exactly is in Iloilo? Both of us are beach lover, so a beautiful beach is certainly a pre-requisite. Delicious food is also a must. We are not so fond of the city; I don’t fancy much the idea of spending the whole weekend walking around the town marveling at different heritage sites.
So we were excited to find out that we can have both. Beach for Guimaras, culture, and food for Iloilo. We booked a flight departing early Saturday and coming back home to Cebu Monday early morning for work. Upon arrival in Iloilo, we directly headed to Parola wharf heading to Buenavista instead of the Ortiz Wharf headed to Jordan. We aimed to tour the island by ourselves by renting a motorbike. Upon checking (at that time), we found out that only one person was renting and he only has three motorcycles. We got a brand new three-days-old bike. But he is located in Buenavista and kind enough to meet us directly at the port. We saved money hiring a vehicle on our way to the resort and coming back.
I wondered why it seemed familiar to me; then I remembered the oil spill incident. I’m glad to say that they somehow have recovered if not wholly, at least partially from it. It’s not one of the famous tourist attraction, and you could only see a few foreigners (I’ve seen two when I was there, and that included A).
These are the places we’ve visited. However, please don’t follow any other route option if possible in finding places. A and I decided to use another way because we missed our turn and too stubborn to go back, only to realize that it was such a bad idea. Although some parts were scenic, some part were downright scary. I was afraid; we might have ended ruining the three-day-old bike.
Things You Must Do in Guimaras
Guimaras is known to have the sweetest mango in Ph. The one I tried wasn’t that exceptional, but it was sweeter for sure.
Ride Jeepney on the Topload (Roof)
If you are up for an adventure, then it would be fun to do with your friends. I would have loved for A to try this but even riding the jeepney was already a rare occurrence for him, so I settled for just letting/forcing him to ride the jeepney.
It’s a small stretch of white sand beach. I’m a beach girl and been around plenty of beaches, so I don’t find it exceptional. Plus it was crowded during the weekend. You can also find a place to stay here. We opted to stay at first in Raymen’s Beach Resort, but we didn’t like the room much because of the noise and the condition of the accommodation. They were kind enough to let us cancel our reservation. Upon walking around, we found California Coral Beach Resort. It’s a bit pricey, but the room was very comfortable. If you are in a group, you probably could save.
Our next-door neighbors happened to have some celebration, and the caretaker was grilling some fish. They all shared their food with us. Filipino hospitality at its finest.
Guisi Beach and Lighthouse
It was my favorite during the trip. We drove all the way there and somehow lost our way and ended up finding a secluded part for us to swim. After swimming, we went up to the lighthouse.
The next day, we returned our motorcycle and hit Iloilo.
Iloilo was our entry point to go to Guimaras. So we allocated a day, to make the most of our weekend: to explore the city and indulge our palate, before heading back to Cebu, early, on Monday.
Things We Do in Iloilo
Give Your Taste Bud a Treat
We wanted to try the Lapaz Batchoy at Lapaz, and it was quite near to the port. But we somehow missed it, so we tried Ted’s Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy. I am not an avid fan of lapaz batchoy, so I have nothing to compared it to. But I enjoyed it with the puto. Then we went to Bischoco Haus to buy some pasalubong for home.
After the batchoy, A wanted to try what is dubbed as, “the best tsokolate in the Philippines.” Plus it is near the restaurant where we planned to have our dinner for our last night. So went to Camiña Balay Nga Bato for the tsokolate. I am a coffee drinker, whereas A is a gourmet who probably has tasted plenty of chocolate drink everywhere, so he wasn’t so impressed. But it could be because the first time, we seemed to have gotten a batch that was a bit burnt. The second serving, he rendered it as a bit better. But it was a great place to hang out while we were waiting for the rain to stop.
Then we walked to our resort to prepare for our dinner at the Breakthrough. During this time, everything went awry in my stomach(must be the air, the tsokolate, the cookies, the puto or the batchoy) that lead to an embarrassing moment (read it here).
After my stomach had calmed down, we headed to Breakthrough to have some seafood. We tried the aligue rice but decided that we could use more aligue. So we asked them if we could order an extra aligue. For P70, we got more. So if you want to try their aligue rice, you ought to order an extra aligue to appreciate it fully.
Tour the Heritage Sites
Due to my short attention span, I normally don’t get excited about old houses. A made a sacrifice handling all these.
It is a Spanish-colonial ancestral home, with a beautiful huge banyan tree, built by Fernando H. Lopex Sr for his wife. A, with his Spanish features, looked more at home in this place than the sunkissed skin Filipina, moi.
Camiña Balay Nga Bato
Previously called Avanceña House but now popularly known as Camiña Balay nga Bato. A century and a half old ancestral home. They will show you a short video about the history of the place, and you can tour the ancestral home after, and then indulge yourself with their tsokolate.
So for a weekend trip, there is plenty that you could do at Iloilo.