Around Iloilo City

During my first day in Iloilo, while awaiting for my friends Chin, Aileen, Tinay and Mina's arrival the next day. I spent the whole Friday walking around downtown Iloilo City. I tried La Paz Batchoy on both Ted's and Deco's (both located at Valeria Street). I'm not suited to be a food critic as I rarely encounter a food I didn't like. However, I still gave Ted's and Deco's a high mark for their La Paz Batchoys.


I stayed at this cheap backpacker Inn that Mina found online called Ong Bun Pension House. Not much to expect but a place to sleep in and keep your things for the meantime. I was able to check in at lunch time after arriving very early in Iloilo at about 6:00AM, I spent the time in between walking around, having breakfast and buying ice cold drinks to quench my thirst.


By lunchtime I was able to rest briefly in my room, a small space with an A/C unit, a single bed and a cable TV and a respectable size bathroom. After taking a bath I went out on another briskly paced walk around the area. I ended up Gaisano Mall on the opposite side of a bridge, I saw some remnants of old Iloilo in Calle Real, the old and new Provincial Capitol building.



Iloilo actually reminds me of some areas in Manila like Escolta and Recto. Thriving with activity, seeing people from all walks of life engaging each other in their daily resonance and eaves dropping on conversations that echoes back in your ears like buzzing sounds and wonderful catchphrases. Chaotic for some, romantic for others. Well it could be romantically chaotic as most cities in the Philippines would present to visitors. Some would love and find it indulging, while others would like to escape from and settle on a more quiet and lazy setting of a tropical island.


In my case, I dig both worlds. I may sometime grew tired of the big city setting here in Manila, Makati, Quezon City and might find wonder in almost similar set up in Cebu, Davao or in this case Iloilo City. Same but different and in those tiny set of contrasts one could see enough reasons to appreciate the diversity in how people live in different locations and all that add up to the charm of walking into and experiencing a new place.


As night time approaches I settled back to my room and slept early to anticipate the arrival of my travel friends the next day. In the middle of my sleep though I was awaken by a mild earthquake, still half awake I went back to sleep and waited for the next day ahead in a new place.



The next day (Saturday) my new friends started arriving one by one. Aileen and Chin (I first met the two of them online in way back in 2005), Mina and Tinay along with her backpacker German boyfriend Ben and myself started our journey around Iloilo.

The first stop we went to was Miagao Church before proceeding to Guimaras Island the next day. We stayed at the same inn in Iloilo, this time on a much bigger room good for 5-6 people at about 850 pesos per night. Do the math its only about less than 150 pesos each. A good deal if you ask me. It still comes with an A/C unit, a cable TV, a bathroom with a view lol (as the next image would show).


and a hallway that usually reminds you of horror films.


It was a day spent on getting to know each other as I just met all of them for the first time in person that day. Aileen is also a passionate photographer, in fact she is doing it professionally as she puts it "I shoot people for a living", while Chin, just like me loves to write although she writes far better than me. So we kid her of "underachieving" because instead of blogging she should very well be having her own regular newspaper or magazine column as she definitely writes way better than most columnists we have today.


Mina, works at the Philippine Daily Inquirer while Tinay, in between backpacking trips with her backpacking boyrfriend does writing gigs online. Backpacker Ben meanwhile is not your average Joe who spends Euro and US Dollars in third world countries like they're from a first world country (well they are) but not Ben, he is a hardcore backpacker who travels a lot BUT ala Chris McCandless, he travels by spending as less money as he could. He ditches beach resorts in favor of sleeping in a tent, he wont buy food and would rather cook pancit canton on his stove. He calls these rules as part of his "Backpacking principles".


Not as hardcore as him, but I do share his notion that traveling should not be limited to rich people. One can experience the joy of traveling by not spending so much money and the thing that counts the most are the new things and experiences that you'll gain after a period of venturing into a new place. 

Just like my trip in Iloilo, I met new friends, learned a thing or two about traveling, was able to visit my mother's hometown of Dumangas. and most of all kept my itchy feet itchier than ever before. If not only for work, I'd be backpacking around the Philippines now for a much longer time. However I need to go back to my own life and by doing so, I'm already thinking and wondering about my next destination.