ILOILO AND NEGROS OCCIDENTAL

It was a work-related travel but I still made sure that I get to take photos using my own camera for my blog.

ILOILO, QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH

The thing that makes this trip so memorable is that fact that it’s my first time to go outside the islands of Luzon. Yup! It may be so proud for me to say this but, yeah, I have been to the Visayas region already! Haha! Iloilo is a beautiful place.

The moment I have set my feet on the very soil of Iloilo City, its beauty captivated my heart, setting aside the feels of the 4-hour delay of our flight in Manila.

SAM_0151City proper, Iloilo.

One of the things that Iloilo is known for is the famous La Paz Batchoy. From the name itself, it originated from the district of La Paz in Iloilo City. For the benefit of those who do not know what batchoy is, it is a soup dish composed of sliced pork, pig’s innards, and miki noodles.

The first batchoy house that we tried is Ted’s Old Timer La Paz Batchoy. It is just a couple of minutes away from the airport of Iloilo. Oh man, it does taste so good!

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On our first night in Iloilo, we took a walk in Esplanade along the very clean Iloilo River. The Esplanade was just opened to the public on August 18, 2012.  It is a 1.2-kilometer stretch starting from Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue, known as Diversion Road, to Carpenter’s Bridge in Mandurriao District.

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I also got the chance to pay a visit to The Church of St. Anne, commonly known as Molo Church located in Molo District of Iloilo. It was the second day of Misa de Gallo and I was so happy to attend its 4 AM mass with the locals. The mass was celebrated in Hiligaynon/ Ilonggo language and I was like (?). But it was fine! I did enjoy their culture anyway! It’s people are so nice, too!

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The church was built in the 1860s inspired by the combination of gothic and renaissance architectural style. It is also said that in 1886, our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal passed by this church to pray on his way back to Manila from his exile in Dapitan. Molo Church also earned the moniker “women’s church” because of the presence of 16 images of women saints inside.

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The Church of Saint Anne is such a beautiful edifice!

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A mandatory selfie in front of the church. Haha! Almost everybody does it so…

In front of the church is a plaza where locals used to jog around, play basketball, or just simply gather with their families and friends at their leisure. The air’s fresh, the streets are clean, and the jeepney minimum fare is P7.00. Haha!

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SAM_0196Before we left for Bacolod, we, for the second time around, tried the original batchoy house located at the La Paz Public Market. It’s called the Netong’s La Paz Batchoy house. The place is so famous that even celebrities like Richard Gutierrez and Manny Pacquiao (I forgot the others) went there. Photos of them are posted on the walls of the noodle house.

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I am so happy to know that Ilocanos strictly observe the No Smoking in Public Places Ordinance. Another thing that is really praiseworthy is the fact that its market is really clean and tidy!

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(Burps…)

After having lunch at Netong’s, we also dropped by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Candles located in the District of Jaro.

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The Marian image of Our Lady of the Candles also has the distinction of being canonically crowned by the late Pope John Paul IIduring his visit to Iloilo City on February 21, 1981, making it as the only Marian figure to be given such stature in the Philippines.

Filipino folktale recounts the statue’s first appearance in 1587, where a group of fishermen found the statue floating in the Iloilo river yet could not lift it due to its heavy weight. Upon the decision of the fishermen to bring it to Jaro, the image became bearable to carry. In 1865, Jaro became an official diocese and a cathedral was constructed under the patronage of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. (wiki)

The orginal cathedral was built in 1874.

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Across the street facing the cathedral is the isolated belfry called the Campanario de Jaro that was buitl in 1744. It has served both as a religious structure and as a military watch tower during the Spanish Colonial Period. This three-storey tower, which stands 29 meters high, is currently made mainly of bricks and hewn limestone blocks and follows the Baroque-style architecture.SAM_0220

THE BELFRY. The view of the famous Jaro belfry from the balcony of Our Lady of the Candles.


Iloilo is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Iloilo occupies the southeast portion of Panay Island and is bordered by province of Antique to the west and province of Capiz and the Jintotolo Channel to the north. Just off Iloilo’s southeast coast is the island province Guimaras, once part of Iloilo but now an independent province. Across the Panay Gulf andGuimaras Strait is Negros Occidental. Iloilo’s capital is Iloilo City though the city itself is independent and not governed by the provincial government of Iloilo.


BACOLOD, CITY OF SMILES (NEGROS OCCIDENTAL)

20141217_155750THE PORT. We arrived in Bacolod at around 3 in the afternoon. A water vessel courtesy of 2Go Travel took us there. Contrary to what my mind is thinking of, the trip was safe. Thank God!

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WARM WELCOME. A rainbow welcomed us after an hour of a dizzy boat ride.

From the port to the city proper of Bacolod, we went to The Ruins in Talisay, Negros Occidental. It is one of the famous landmarks of the province.

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TAJ MAHAL. The Ruins was a mansion of then Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar baron married to Maria Braga, which was built sometime in 1920. Just like the story of Taj Mahal, the house was established by Mariano in loving memory of his deceased wife Maria.

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SYMBOL OF LOVE. It can be seen in the foundations of the house wherein two letter E’s facing each other which were actually flipped “M”, the initials of the couple.

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COMIC TOUR GUIDE. I can say that The Ruins has the best tour guides! Aside from the famous guide, Kuya Roger, there is another equally funny TG in the person of Kuya Mars. Proof? See the faces in the next photo! Haha!

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THE SIMBORIO. The chimney for the muscovado sugar mill of the family’s sugar farm.

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The mansion was intentionally burned with the consent of the family. Why? Because during the World War 2, the Japanese soldiers planned to make the mansion as a headquarter but US Armed Forces went to the area first, recruited locals and advised them to burn all houses that may serve as garrison by the Japanese soldiers. SAM_0280 SAM_0286

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The next morning, we visited the Philippine Rice Institute office in Cansilayan, Negros Occidental.

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This trip is memorable to me because it was my first time (1) in Visayas, (2) to do site monitoring visit (work), and (3) to try the three major modes of transportation in a single trip. Haha!

I definitely enjoyed the places that we’ve been to and the good Visayan people that we met.

Thank you Iloilo! Thank you Negros Occidental! 🙂

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