11 March 2012

DAY 4- Iloilo's Grand Old Churches and so much more! (The Bacolod-Guimaras-Iloilo Trip)

(This last post was so delayed due to time constraint but finally! Yehey!)
The final leg of the Bacolod-Guimaras-Iloilo trip! Time flew by so fast especially when you are enjoying the moments along the way.

For this trip, here is the summary where we've been for the past 3 days:

-Jomabo Island (Escalante City)
-Ancestral houses, El Ideal Bakery and the San Diego Pro-Cathedral (Silay City)
-The Ruins (Talisay City)
-Dinner at Imay's and desserts at Calea (Bacolod City)
-Mambukal Resort (Murcia)
-Pasalubong shopping at Bongbong's (Bacolod City)
-Late lunch at the Manokan Country (Bacolod City)
-Late arrival at Iloilo City
-Dinner at Breakthrough Restaurant (Arevalo District, Iloilo City)
-Chill time at Smallville (Mandurriao, Iloilo City)
-Countryside tour (Guimaras)

For Day 4, one should not pass up the chance to visit Iloilo's heritage churches as it encompasses a culture and faith that this region is made of. Here are our adventures:
Bye, Guimaras! Till our next visit.
Well, hello again, Iloilo. We'll conquer you today. But gotta have lunch first. So hungry!
1ST STOP: For lunch, of course, we just got to have Iloilo's prode..La Paz Batchoy! What to choose..Ted's or Deco's since they both claim that they ARE the pioneers in making this dish. We opted to go with Deco's since my companions have tried Ted's in Manila already.
We told our rented van driver to head off to the nearest Deco's and he drove us to the SM Mall at downtown. I requested if  he could bring us to another branch as we wanted to experience authentic batchoy in a more 'proper' setting other than the mall. Luckily, there was a branch near the mall. We were in a mad dash to start our itinerary and we just have 5 hrs to accomplish all of it.
2ND STOP: Nelly's Garden mansion located ar Jaro, Iloilo. One of the grandest mansions in Iloilo that was built in 1928 by Don Vicente Lopez y Villanueva. It is owned by the Lopez clan and this beautiful mansion with its splendid gardens is a landmark in its own right.
See how beautiful the mansion is and how expansive the front lawn is. Simply majestic. A haven in the midst of modern life.
3RD SPOT: MUSEO ILOILO. We arrived here during noontime, if we could have more time to spend, we surely would've went inside to check out the collection that defines the cultural and archaeological history of Western Visayas. I was interested to see the Mickey Mouse money that they have piles and piles of. Well, there is always a next time. For now, a picture outside would suffice.
4TH SPOT: BISCOCHO HOUSE. A trip into a new place would not be complete if you don't take home its native delicacies. Biscocho House is the leading 'pasalunong' place to shop for great snacks such as, of course, the sugary & milky Biscocho, butterscotch bars and a whole more.
5TH SPOT: JARO CATHEDRAL. The only cathedral found in Iloilo City. The seat of Catholic faith in the region.
It was a sight to behold. The structure is massive and its grandiosity will pull you towards it to come and visit.
Too bad we did not have the opportunity to come in so I just took a sneak photo of how it looks inside. I just slipped my camera inside the closed bars. I bet it would have felt great to offer a prayer and make 3 wishes, as they say that if it is your first time in a church, ask for 3 wishes and your wishes will be granted. Some of mine happened, some did not, I think.
6TH SPOT: Molo Church. A grandeur of the finest level. Called a "feminist church" due to all the female saints that stands on pillars on each side of the church. Sta.Ana is their patron saint.
Images of female saints line up on each side of the church. High ceilings gave an airy and light atmosphere. And Gothic design is very visible in the interior designs.
The church is made of coral rocks. Per larryscaprockandstone.blogspot.com, coral rocks are resilient and natural and has a timeless beauty. And that is so right, the Molo Church withstood the test of time and the elements but it still stands proudly, for all generations to come.
7TH SPOT: Mama's Kitchen. Their chewies and crunchies are so good! I like the Pinipig Crunchies the most! This was introduced to me by my former ward when I was still working at GMA-7 and it has stuck like glue in my mind. I haven't had these for a couple of years already so I would not let this moment pass by. Bought a couple and also 1 box of Mango Chewies. Happiness!
Mama's Kitchen is housed in an ancestral house that also houses the Sinamay (also known as Abaca) house where products from this fiber are being made and sold. Whew! A lot of 'house' in just one sentence. =) Look at that vintage car!
Mama's Kitchen is located at 16 Osmena St, Arevalo, Iloilo City. Prices of their yummy products are very affordable, I do not remember the exact amount but it's less than P130 per box of crunchies/chewies. A must try and great pasalubong idea.
8TH SPOT: San Joaquin Church. 53kms away from the city, southernmost part of Iloilo.
This was the farthest that we have reached on this journey. We were near the province of Antique already. Since we were under time constraint, it was a good thing that we got a van rented for this trip so we can get around much faster and get in time to the airport for our trip back to Manila. The van rental cost was for P3,000 for 10hrs, driver and fuel included, since we went out of the city. Plus, we were very comfortable. It was drizzling that day, so having a rented transpo was a big bonus.
9TH SPOT: San Joaquin Cemetery. This was built back in 1892 and is located along the highway leading to the town. I have seen blogs about this place and it was a must that we see this place. For a cemetery, it's the most eerily yet beautiful resting place of the dead that I have ever seen. I was entranced! If only time can accommodate, I would have loved to spend some more minutes just to drink in the ambiance of the place.
The highlight of this visit is to have our photo taken at this structure in the middle of the cemetery which is the mortuary chapel designed in Baroque architecture. You need not to be educated just to appreciate the design. It's everything I love to see, old and structured.
So well-preserved!
10TH SPOT: Miag-Ao Church. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1993 under 'Baroque Churches of the Philippines. There are only 3 other churches declared under this category-- San Agustin Church in Manila, Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur, and San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
A must-visit for any tourist going here. According to Iloilo Board, "The history of the Miagao Church began in 1797 when it was built, and was done so out of the conviction that the Christian population living in the town needed a place where they could show their love and devotion to the Creator." Its present look now is the product of a restoration work that began in 1960 as the church was destroyed during the 1898 Filipino revolt against Spain. Then, it was again rebuilt as it was badly damaged by fire in 1910 and an earthquake in 1948.A lot of catastrophes that this beautiful church has experienced already. Whew! But the people came together and gave money in order for the restoration to be done.

Another name of this church is the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church. St. Thomas of Villanueva is their patron saint.
It was already raining but we did not let that dampen our eagerness to have souvenir shots of all the places we've been to.
Before we moved forward to our next destination, we stopped for some sustenance and nothing beats the local and cheap yet truly satisfying street foods.
Passing through Guimbal Steel Bridge, the longest bridge in Iloilo. Constructed during the American period. The construction was ordered by US President Roosevelt. It is approximately 0.350 kilometers long and made of Pittsburgh Steel, which were imported from Virginia, USA. It is the longest steel bridge in Western Visayas.
11TH SPOT: Guimbal Church at the town of Guimbal. Per Wikipedia, Guimbal is a 4th class municipality and it has been cited as the most business-friendly local government unit in Western Visayas, and the cleanest and greenest town in Iloilo. With a 9 km shoreline facing the blue waters of the Panay Gulf, it has attracted tourists from different places because of its scenic beaches and inland resorts.
The newly restored 400-year-old church made of yellow adobe and coral stones, is one of the oldest in the country
This church has already undergone several reconstructions as it was destroyed during World War II and like the Miag-Ao Church, during the 1948 earthquake.
The full name of the Guimbal Church is the Church of San Nicolas of Tolentino. We thought there was a mass going on when we visited, well, there was a mass indeed but for the dead.
Translation: "Ating simbahan, Ating Linisin". True!
Guimbal was awarded the 2010 Cleanest and Greenest Municipality. Discipline and love of the people for their municipality made this happen. Keep it up always!
12TH SPOT: Tigbauan Church. Per www.exploreiloilo.com, the church is unique in the country because of its Latin American churriquesque architecture. The church was constructed in 1575 and destroyed during an earthquake in 1948.
Because of the rain, we were not able to go out and take a peek inside the church and make our 3 wishes (they say that if it is your first time to go to a church, make 3 wishes). Such a shame. Next time maybe.
13TH SPOT:  Santa Barbara Church and Convent. Declared a National Landmark by the National Heritage Institute back in 1991. The church was built in 1845 and is of Baroque Renaissance architecture. Because it was raining heavily already, we just stopped in front but did not go out. I really wanted to but due to lack of time, we just took a photo, and literally, fled straight to the airport. What a rush!
Boo-hoo! The hardest part, going back home to reality.
The Airphil Express queue.
Got our dinner here. The small place was packed to the brim so we just ordered our food to-go.
Their Clubhouse Sandwich was a sure winner1Just less than P100 but so filling and delicious.
Their Leche Flan was good. A nice finish to a great sandwich.
Bye, Iloilo! We'll be back for sure, especially me.
For just around 6 hrs, we went to all of these. So tiring but so fun. So worth the effort and trip and everything else. A cultural experience that made us aware how rich our country is and how big it is to be part of our responsibility, duty or advocacy, to share these things to the rest of the world.

For more posts on this trip, check these out: 


  1. my friends and i had our own tour of the panay island way back in 2004... and the jaro cathedral was quite memorable for us. brought back so many fun memories just by looking at your photos :)

  2. Hi ms Gladys, I'm glad my photos brought back those memories for you. There are still so many churches in the province to go to next time I visit. I love that.

    I like your blog. Liked it on FB. =)


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