This is a long overdue post, but let me travel back in time to one of the highlights of my 2015 – my little adventure in Iloilo City.
Last December, one of my closest friends in college got hitched and she gave me the honor of being one of her bridesmaids. She and her family are now residing in Roxas City, Capiz, so I had to travel there for her big day. I brought my sister along with me because I didn’t want to travel alone.
From Roxas to Iloilo
The day after the beautiful garden wedding, my sister and I headed back to Iloilo to explore. We left Roxas City at 4:00 AM and arrived at the Ceres Bus Terminal in Iloilo at around 5:45 AM. Travel time is usually around 2 hours, but since we left at dawn, there was barely any traffic. Upon arriving at the terminal, we headed straight to Go Hotels, located beside Robinsons Iloilo. Like any other hotel, we weren’t allowed to check in until 2 PM. We couldn’t wait that long before we can explore the city. Good thing the hotel has a luggage repository. We freshened up in the public washroom in the hotel, left our luggage, and went out to explore.
Going around Iloilo wasn’t a major part of our itinerary because I had my eyes laid on Guimaras (which I will talk about in my next post, so watch out!). It was both our first time in Iloilo, so my sister and I were literary clueless on where to begin and which way to go. Although I’ve done my research on the places worth checking out, it’s always a struggle to DIY, especially for newbie travelers like us. In the end, we just went with our gut and let our feet take the lead.
We decided to take the jeepney instead of a cab the entire trip to 1.) save money, and 2.) truly experience the city like locals. Getting around Iloilo was surprisingly a breeze. I had no qualms in my heart that we would get lost. Ilonggos are really nice and friendly people, so we didn’t have a hard time asking which jeepney to ride going to our destination.
First on our DIY itinerary was Jaro Cathedral. One of my goals in life is to visit as many old churches as I possibly can and I’m happy that I get to tick this off my bucket list. It’s as majestic as what I imagined it would be.
There’s always something magical about old churches that makes me emotional and this once certainly gave me that overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
Next on our list was SM City Iloilo simply because we were already hungry by the time we left Jaro Cathedral. The mall was still closed when we got there, but it was a blessing in disguise because we discovered Plazuela de Iloilo. I’ve heard about it, but I didn’t know it was just beside SM. My sister and I roamed around the plaza while waiting for the mall to open.
We had lunch at SM City, roamed around a bit and watched A Second Chance (to waste time because it was still too early to head back to the hotel). At around 3 PM, we checked in at Go Hotels and rest for a little while.
Recharged and rejuvenated, we took off to visit the historic street of Calle Real(also known as JM Basa Street). Now declared as a heritage zone, Calle Real embodies the rich history of business and trading in Iloilo.
Here you can see old buildings dating back to the Spanish era (which I don’t have a photo of, as with most of the snaps I took along Calle Real because those files got corrupt! T_T). Walking along this street felt like traveling back in time. We also spotted some old houses and infrastructure that were fascinating and haunting at the same time. We even spotted an old, abandoned house that reeked a really foul smell. Eeek!!
We ended our day with a hearty dinner at Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy in Robinsons. It was the perfect ending to a day filled with many firsts.
I don’t have a lot of photos from Iloilo, to be quite honest, since it was just a bonus to our real itinerary. I have to say though, I quite liked touring around Iloilo. It’s less hassle as compared to most cities I’ve visited in Visayas. And it was my first time to commute (riding a jeepney, at least) outside my homebase. I’m definitely going back to explore more.
On my next post, I will be taking you to our wonderful adventure in the beautiful Island of Guimaras. Stay tuned! =)