Chinitowanders: 24 Hour Backpacking in Iloilo City and Southern Iloilo (Travel Guide)

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Tried to do a 24 hour tour around Iloilo City and south of Iloilo and pretty much succeeded going to the places I wanted to visit.

I may call this trip a Visita Iglesia tour since most of the places we went to were ancient Churches.

Aside from the tour, is the food trip! My trip wont be complete without trying out ones local Specialty. So I did a little pigging out! Hahaha.😂 Enjoy! I hope this short travel will be of help to those adventurers out there with limited time to explore Iloilo.

Thanks to my best friend who suddenly invited me to go with her to Iloilo City for a quick getaway.

It was a night before the said trip that she invited me to go with her knowing that I was not able to visit there ever since.She will only be working in the morning having the rest of the day free to explore the area.

I agreed to go with her since I was also itching for a quick adventure at that time, and not to mention got excited to taste some of there famous local delicacies.

Budget agreement with my best friend was 3,500php (all in) for each of us.

1ST DAY:

We boarded a Supercat Water Taxi at 9am and arrived in Iloilo City around 11am. I helped her with her work to hasten it and started our exploration right after.

We started our trip at around 1:30pm. I researched through a couple of blogs on where to go, the must try to eat. I just picked out those that i took interest in considering the limited time that we had.

I planned to visit in a “Farthest to nearest” rule, starting way down south then stopping one municipality at a time going up and finally arrived back in Iloilo City as the last place to explore.

Southern Iloilo Tour:
San Joaquin Cemetery –> San Joaquin Church –> Miagao Church –> Guimbal Church –> Tigbauan Church –> Iloilo River Esplanade –> dinner at Punot –> back to hotel

DETAILS:

Municipality of San Joaquin:

To get there ride a San Joaquin Jeepney from Molo or at the Terminal Market (locally called “Super”) near Robinsons Place Mall. Tell the driver to that you will be dropping off at San Joaquin’s “patyo” or cemetery. This will be your first stop.

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Entrance facing the highway road
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Above is the famous Campo Santo

The San Joaquin cemetery, known for its imposing Campo Santo or mortuary chapel, is a Roman Catholic cemetery and perhaps the grandest and best preserved in the entire Province of Iloilo.

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Seeing it truly marveled me and at the same time creeped me out a little. You’re going in a cemetery after all without anyone around in a very gloomy day. Yikes!😄

After we had explored it and did a bit of photo op (thank goodness there wasn’t anything something fishy on our photos😁), we went to San Joaquin Church.

From the cemetery, ride a tricycle (motorized rickshaw) to the town proper and tell the driver to drop you off at the church. Fare was 10php each of us.

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This ancient church was built in 1869 made of lime stones extracted from the mountains of Igbaras and sparkling white coral stones abundant in the shores of San Joaquin. . The church distinguishes itself from other churches in the Philippines because of its militaristic theme. Carved on a disproportionately large pediment on the facade is an intricate sculptural relief depicting the Spanish victory over Moroccan forces in the Battle of Tetuan.

The low relief mural captures the drama of victory where cavalry and infantry are tearing down Moorish defense. So intricate is the sculpture that even the expression of agony by wounded soldiers is visible. The title of the composition “Rendicion de Tetuan” is carved at the base of this animated relief.

We then proceeded to one of the only 4 Spanish-era Baroque Churches in the Philippines, the Miagao Church.

Miagao Church

To get there: From San Joaquin Church, walk or ride your way up to the Highway intersection. Ride the Mia-gao or San Joaquin Jeepney going to Miagao  Town. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the church.

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According to Wikipedia, The Miagao Church also known as the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church. It was also called the Miagao Fortress Church since it served as defensive tower of the town against Muslim raids. The church was declared as aUNESCO World Heritage site on December 11, 1993 together with other four Baroque Spanish-era churches in the Philippines.

We had a quick snack outside the church afterwards in a local food vendor who sells fish ball and local tempura then proceeded to the next church visit.

Guimbal Church

To get there: From Miagao Church, just hop on again in a Jeepney going to Iloilo City, telling the driver to drop you off at Guimbal Church.

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The Guimbal Church is one of the oldest churches in the country. This yellow sandstone church is made from adobe stones called igang and coral stones quarried from Guimaras, an Island near Iloilo City known to be the home of the world’s sweetest mangoes. It was built in 1774 by Father Campos.

The facade is a two-story affair flanked by twinned round pilasters decorated with floral carvings. Its vintage belfry is 4 stories high and doubles as a watchtower during the Spanish occupation against pillaging Moro pirates. It has undergone some reconstruction after it was destroyed twice, during the Second World War and during the 1948 earthquake. Recently, it was rehabilitated to its original structure.

We just had a quick peak then went to our last church stop which was the Tigbauan Church.

Tigbauan Church:

To get there: From Guimbal Church, just walk towards the highway and ride a jeepney goin to Iloilo City then alight in Tigbauan Church.

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Stone Mural

The Tigbauan Church is unique in the country because of its Latin American architecture. The church was constructed in 1575 and destroyed during an earthquake in 1948.

The church interior was gutted during the Second World War. Today, it has one of the most beautiful modern-type interiors made up of colorful stone murals.

After mesmerizing the murals, me and my best friend decided to get back to the city.

Going back to the city was a breeze, just get in on a jeepney to the city proper.

When we arrived back at the city and rode a taxi going to the River Esplanade to have our dinner. Famished from all the walking and exploring, our taxi driver suggested to try a certain restuarant named Punot and decided to give it a try.

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Punot Restaurant, not knowing that it was a posh-kind restaurant. Waiters where on there uniforms (well not really the suit type) but it was decent and we were just on our shorts and our backpacks. Hahaha.😁😄 We just look at each other and said “The Hell”. Hahaha

We got in and realized  while we went up to the 2nd floor area to have our seat, that this restaurant is frequently dined by celebrities and public figures. It’s a modern Iloilo Cuisine Restaurant. Surprisingly, there food prices were reasonable.

We had  Roasted Duck in Mashed Sweet Potato, Bicol Express and Bagoong Rice for dinner. No Photos for this one. Its for you to find out. But it was really good.

After getting our stomachs full, we stroll along the river esplanade to digest some of the food we ate and took some photos then went to our hotel to end the day.

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2ND DAY:

Brunch at Netong’s La Paz Batchoy –> coffee at Madge Cafe –> take away of Yam (Ube) Brazo De Mercedes Dessert in La Paz Bakeshop –> stopped by for Iloilo’s famous Siopao at Roberto’s –> took the ferry back to Bacolod. End of trip

Details:

Initial plan was to wake up early and have the famous La Paz Batchoy in La Paz Market for breakfast, but due to my best friend’s work that she had to talk with her boss over the phone, we got our plans delayed and instead had our batchoy for brunch.

Jeepney routes in Iloilo City are actually very easy to navigate and are accessible. Luckily, jeepney stops for Jeepney La Paz Market Loop was just a few meters away from our Hotel.

Rode a jeepney to La Paz Market while taking photos to some heritage sites that we  passed by.

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After getting off at La Paz Market, you’ll be able to see a lot of La Paz Batchoy vendors. You can take your pick from Ted’s or Deco’s which is located just at the roadside outside of La Paz Market, but decided to ate at Netong’s which is located inside of the market. Netong’s is said to be the original creator of authentic La Paz Batchoy. That rich flavor is totally living up to its reputation.

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Netong’s La Paz Batchoy

Batchoy is a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock, beef loin and round egg noodles topped with green onions. Its origins can be traced to the district of La Paz, Iloilo City in the Philippines, hence it is often referred to as La Paz Batchoy.

We moved to Madge Cafe afterwards to have a sip of there famous Native Coffee. I wont give you much information about this cafe, just see it for yourself. It’s definitely worth it!

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Then head off to La Paz Bakeshop just at the corner of La Paz Market and bought there famous Yam (Ube) Brazo de Mercedes for take away.

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After we got our dessert treat, we rode a taxi going to our last food trip shop which was Roberto’s to try there famous Siopao. Located at the downtown center of Iloilo City.

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Roberto’s offer few variants of Siopao, namely: mini, The King, and the Queen. Making “The Queen” as the siopao packed with lots of everything nice. We bought one for take away also as we were still full and did not have enough time as well because our trip going back to Bacolod via Super Cat Sea Taxi was at 1pm.

Iloilo City has its history so well preserved up to the present. Roaming around the city was also quite safe, and so far, the taxis we rode on to did not scammed us. I wish to go back there soon enough and head my up to the north this time.

 

 

 

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