‘Maayong’ Travel Tips for Iloilo
The City of Love, as they call Iloilo City, is about an hour and fifteen minutes flight from Manila. The best time to take a trip to Iloilo is the week before the fourth Sunday of January which is the city’s Dinagyang Festival.
It is an event that is similar to the well-known Ati-atihan Festival in Aklan, a neighboring province. Book your accommodation close to SM City in Mandurriao, Iloilo for convenience specially if you’ll be using public transportation – they have a Grab taxi booth there that can assist in your travel needs. If you’re flying to Iloilo, it is best to reserve your ticket early so you can avail of cheaper price. To get there from Urdaneta City, you can take a bus that is headed to Pasay City (via TPLEX will cut travel time to 3.5 hours) from the bus stop infront of CB Mall along the McArthur hi-way. From the bus’ Pasay terminal, grab a taxi (or any of the available app-driven transport) to the domestic airport.
Arriving in Iloilo days before the festival will give you the opportunity to visit some of its fascinating places.
Those who enjoy urban life can find themselves at home in Mandurriao’s Megaworld area
and vicinity. It is the newest section of Iloilo City where it is being developed with the live-work-play concept. You will find new hotels, businesses and dining areas.
It is a few minutes away from shopping centers like the SM City, Plazuela
and Atria and the Festive Walk Parade or the Esplanade
where you can get a relaxing stroll. You can also enjoy a pedal boat ride along the river
or rent a bike and tour Esplanade 1 & 2 and the Festive Walk Parade. When exhaustion hits you, there are coffee and snack shops along the route to recharge one’s energy like the Riverside Boardwalk.
If you have a religious background or love outdoor activities, you might like visiting the Garinfarm in San Joaquin. Travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour ride from Iloilo city. Take a taxi from SM City to the Mohon jeepney terminal where you can get a ride to San Joaquin church. A tricycle can take you from there to Garinfarm. Aside from the heavenly scene atop a hill,
they also have several activities that young and old can enjoy such as a zip line across a lake, horse back riding, water rides, etc.
You’ll also get the chance to feed the doves, fish and the sheeps during their feeding time at around twelve noon.
Then if you want an island adventure, take a 15-minute travel on a pump boat ride to the Guimaras island. From SM City, grab a taxi to the Ortiz wharf downtown and pay a ticket
for the boat ride to Jordan, Guimaras. Once there, register at the Tourism Office
where they’ll help you find a transportation to your destination. Although all the roads are paved, we opted to rent a jeep for the travel for P450 instead of P250 for a small tricycle due to my stature. We went to Raymen’s Resort in Alobijod (or Alubihod) beach, Nueva Valencia. Here you can rent a room (the hotel type has private bathroom) overnight and explore, swim and/or play in the un-crowded beach. They have their own restaurant that serves cheap but good food
which is very convenient since the beach is far from from the town. Check also with the front desk if you want to go island-hopping and enjoy nature at its best.
Bearland Paradise Resort
If you just want to just soak in the water without the waves or sand getting in your flip-flops or shoes, you will love this inland resort in Tigbauan. It’s about a 30-minute travel time from Iloilo city. From the same Mohon terminal, take a jeepney ride to Tigbauan then a tricycle ride to the resort. They have several size pools overlooking the beach where you can wade and bask in the sun.
Go to bearlandparadise.com to reserve an accommodation if you plan on staying overnight.
If you visit around January and February, they’ll have fewer guests and youll have a more enjoyable stay.