Thursday, September 1, 2011

Iloilo: Of La Paz Batchoy, Churches and Falls

I have always wanted to go to Iloilo for a steamy bowl of authentic La Paz Batchoy, and finally I was able to get this one off my bucket list before 2010 ended.  And, surprisingly, this La Paz Batchoy craving that made me flew 295 miles to this province led me to discover an unexpected, wonderful and not so famous side of Iloilo.


Ted's La Paz Batchoy
As we arrived Iloilo Domestic Airport at 10 in the morning, we went straight to Guimaras for the first half of our vacation-adventure.  To read about the Guimaras trip, click here.


Iloilo is actually a gateway to many destinations in the Western Visayas Region of the Philippines like Boracay (3-hour bus ride to Kalibo), Bacolod (fast ferries serve Iloilo-Bacolod routes eight times daily), Negros Occidental, Capiz, Antique, and, of course, Guimaras.  Negros Navigation and Superferry dock to the city where it serves routes going to Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro City.

We chose Guimaras as it is the nearest and most convenient place to jump to, and we haven't been there yet.  How to get to Guimaras from Iloilo City? Click here to see details.


After spending 2 nights in Guimaras Island and exploring its wonders, we traveled back to Iloilo for the second, and final, half of our vacation.  We got back at Ortiz Port of Iloilo City at around 12PM, and then checked in at One Lourdes Dormitel.  Room rates here were cheaper with only Php 1,045 per night for a room for 4, and the room was nicer as well compared to what we had back in Guimaras.  If you want to check them out, their website is www.onelourdesdormitel.com.  We only stayed in Iloilo for one night.

Our room at One Lourdes Dormitel
After checking in and taking a rest, with regained energy we went out and looked for, my ultimate purpose of going here, a hearty La Paz Batchoy meal.  There was Deco's, but that would be corny as there are Deco's branches in Manila already.  I want to eat somewhere that does not look like too formal or proper or classy, if you know what I mean.  For me experiencing food when I'm in a travel destination means experiencing it in the most unexpected places.  But that would not be much of the case on this day as we had the meal at Ted's.  It does not sound too familiar to me, sounds home-cooked, looks old-fashioned, plus Ayn said she and her father used to eat here when she was young (her dad's from Iloilo), so Ted's it is.  We ordered the most complicated (the special of all special) bowl of all, and some puto to go with it.  How was it?  Of course it was good, but I was expecting more.  Something magical? Perhaps I was being too idealistic.  (Sorry for leading you on with the La Paz Batchoy's promise and then this abrupt and sort of dissatisfied ending. :p)




The Churches 


After our late lunch, we headed back to the dormitel to figure out a plan for the rest of the day.  We asked the staff hoping they could guide us with the tours and places, but they were not much help.  So we Googled the places we can go to strategically, and hired a cab for the city tour.  The cab was a bit expensive, but we decided to go for it because we just might get lost if we take chances with jeepneys and buses.


We visited the following:
  • Molo Church
  • La Villa Arevalo
  • Guimbal Watch Towers
  • Plaza Libertad
  • The famous Miagao Church
And then bought more pasalubong at Biscocho House










Mosaic made of really small tiles
Miagao Church, one of the most beautiful churches I've been to.






Iloilo's Smallville


The last stop before we and the cab driver departed was Smallville for dinner and some drinking.  We ate at Bauhinia, and hang out at Pirates bar after.



Crispy Pata Kare-Kare





The next day we would be flying back to Manila already.  But before that there's still one more stop we need to go to that will make our Iloilo trip one hell of an adventure.




Nadsadjan Falls


On the day of our flight back to Manila, we hired a cab to take us to Igbaras to see the Nadsadjan Falls.  Google told us this is the nearest falls from the city that we can go to.  Igbaras is located  39.9 km southwest of Iloilo City.  The cab driver took us to the municipal hall so we can inquire to the right people and to ensure our safety as well.




Surprisingly, the municipal hall has a tourist center and there was where we were asked to proceed.  One of the staffs accompanied us to the market to buy lunch as there are no stores where we will go.  And then we rode the cab again to take us to the starting trek point.  On the way, we picked up the guide from his house, and together with the municipal hall staff and this other guide, the 3 of us started the supposed-to-be 45-minute trek to Nadsadjan Falls.  It was certainly the highlight of our Iloilo trip, yes not the La Paz Batchoy.


From time to time I slowed down, not because I'm getting tired, but I wanted to just watch the surroundings, absorb it, marvel at it, because I know there are very very slim chances that I will be going back to this same place again.









It was awesome.  It was deserted, very quiet, only sounds of nature can be heard.  It was like a big world of rivers and rocks with only us as the inhabitants.  There was not a single soul that we encountered on our trek to, and even as we headed back.









As we got near the falls we could hear the water gushing.  After about an hour, we finally made it.  Nadsadjan Falls is a 100-foot high falls dropping on a giant cauldron-like natural swimming pool.  It does not look boastful, but rather contented and confident of its own beauty.  It was one of the most beautiful falls I have ever seen. If this falls has a gender, it's sure to be a lady. It's definitely worth the trek.



Photos cannot justify the  beauty of this falls.
It was emotional, just watching it.


We had lunch by the falls, and then trekked back to where our cab driver was waiting.  We were covered with sweat and dirt and it would be embarrassing to go to our flight like that.  So we asked the cab driver to just drop us off at SM, as it was still early, so we can grab a bite and wash up and change clothes.  After looking like ladies again, we made our way to the airport.



Here's the complete summary of our Iloilo-Guimaras trip itinerary:


GUIMARAS
To read about the Guimaras trip, click here.


Day 1 - Nov 27 (Sat)
9:50 AM –  Arrival at Iloilo Domestic Airport
                    Transport from Iloilo Airport to Ortiz Port via van (Php 250 for the 3 of us)
                    From Ortiz Port take a boat to Jordan Port, Guimaras
                    (Travel time: 45 minutes -1 hour)
12:45 PM - Arrival Jordan Port, Guimaras
                     Take a tricycle to Villa Igang (Php 250 per tryk)
1:30 PM -   Arrival at Villa Igang
                    Lunch at the resort
                    Rest
5:00 PM -   Dinner at Raymen Resort (nearby resort)

Day 2 – Nov 28 (Sun)
8:00 AM -  Move to Raymen Resort, check-in 
                   Breakfast
9:00 AM -  Island hopping (Php 1,150)
                   -SEAFDEC
                   -Lawi Marine Turtle Rescue Center
                   -Snorkeling at Soly Luna
                   -Lunch at Baras Beach
4:00 PM -  Guisi Lighthouse (Tricycle to Guisi Php 150)

Day 3 – Nov 29 (Mon)
9:00 AM -   Drop by Trappist Monastery for pasalubong  (Tricycle to port Php 250)
10:30 AM - Arrival at Jordan Port, then take a ferry back to Ortiz Port of Iloilo City...


ILOILO

12:00 PM - Arrival at Ortiz Port of Iloilo City
                    Check in at One Lourdes Dormitel
                    La Paz Batchoy lunch at Ted's (walking distance from One Lourdes)
4:00 PM -   City tour
                    Molo Church
                    La Villa Arevalo
                    Guimbal Watch Towers
                    Plaza Libertad
                    Miagao Church
                    Buy pasalubong at Biscocho House
7:00 PM -   Dinner and night life at Smallville


Day 4 – Nov 30 (Tues)
9:00 AM -    Check out
10:00 AM -  Trek Nadsadjan Falls at Igbaras
                      Lunch by the falls
4:30 PM -    Eat and freshen up at SM Iloilo
6:30 PM -    Arrival at Iloilo Domestic Airport, go back to Manila!

Iloilo has more than just La Paz Batchoy and Nadsadjan Falls to brag about.  It has a number of falls, beaches and lakes to go head to head with other tourist destinations in the country.  It's obvious that there are no "formal" tours yet being organized to Nadsadjan Falls with certified guides and fixed rates or packages for tourists.  No wonder it's still amazing, free from undisciplined humans trying to make money out of it.  We just gave monetary tips to the municipal hall staff and the other "guide" who gladly accompanied us.  It was no joke to trek forth and back that falls. They were really nice and polite.  I am so grateful that with trips like these I not only discover the wonders of each place, but the goodness of the people there as well. ♥

See all TRAVEL posts.

5 comments:

  1. hi monique, thanks for sharing your adventure. ill be going to iloilo and being a falls lover i wanted to see that falls too. how much did it cost you with your hired cab, and the tour guide. if you dont mind :)

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  2. The cab cost around Php 1,600, the trek to the falls has no cost at all, zero. Nor the tour guides. I think it is not frequent that tourists go there to visit the falls, but they are really nice enough to accommodate and guide those who want to. Just provide food and give generous tips to the guides. ;)

    Make sure you go to the municipal hall to inquire about tour guides, do not just approach anyone, just to be on the safe side.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi monique! thank you for the very nice blog about Iloilo. :) i think one of the churches you visited was the church of Oton.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there! Are you from Iloilo? Thanks for the info :)

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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xoxo, Monique

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