Iloilo City and Guimaras Island In One Weekend
The month of April has been a busy one for me. Not only did I hustle twice as hard at work but I also explored (and re-explored!) places. This time, my feet took me to The City of Love, Iloilo City, and the mango capital of the Philippines, Guimaras Island, and I tagged my brother and sister along.
I've been to Iloilo last February but that was in Carles, which was in the northern part of the province. I wanted to come to Iloilo City since last year because something about the place captured my attention. It's a huge city, but it's not as crazy big as Cebu or Manila. Plus, their heritage sites are well-preserved. Seeing them in person was one of the main reasons why I wanted to visit.
The first place we visited was the St. Anne Parish (or simply known as the Molo Church) in Molo. Its Gothic style is so captivating. When I got out of the taxi and saw its facade for the very first time, I was in awe. I've seen old churches before and they're all beautiful, but none of them has stunned me as much as when I saw the Molo Church. It looks like a church that a couple from a Filipino teleserye would get married in after surviving all the "kontrabidas" (villains lol) that tried to separate them.
I wasn't able to take photos inside the church because there was an ongoing mass though. After that, we walked around the Molo Plaza and took pictures of the Molo Mansion. A must-do for any first timer haha!
Statues of female goddesses
The Molo Mansion was originally owned by the Yusay and Consing families. It was supposed to be demolished due to its poor state, but SM bought the property and restored it to its former glory (source). Getting inside the mansion doesn't require an entrance fee. You can also shop for souvenirs since SM's Kultura products are being sold inside.
What I love about this place are the design and the location. I could imagine the family going out every Sunday to hear mass in the church right across their house. Also, their courtyard is oh-so-spacious. How cool it must have been when they held parties back in the 30's and their guests came in vintage cars!
One of the unexpected places that we were able to visit was the Iloilo Esplanade. We didn't plan to go there because I know beforehand that there aren't a lot of things you can do there except maybe take photos of the place as the sun sets.
What happened was, we were looking for a Ted's Oldtimer Lapaz Batchoy branch and our taxi driver dropped us off on the wrong block. So we walked to the nearest branch with Google Maps as our guide. Then we found ourselves crossing a bridge and didn't know we were walking in the esplanade already until we saw the huge sign. It was a good thing though because it made us realize how much we need a similar walkway (and wide national highways) in Cagayan de Oro. Plus, we got to snap sunset photos while we were there.
Guimaras Side Trip
On a Saturday, my siblings and I went to Guimaras Island. It was only 15-20 minutes away from the Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City. My brother and I were especially amazed by the abundance of motor boats going to and from the island. They're basically jeepneys on water lol.
Number one on our itinerary that day was to visit the Guisi Lighthouse. We rented a tricycle for 1000 pesos that took us to some spots on the island (more details on a separate post!) The lighthouse is an hour away from the Jordan Port. Honestly, we didn't expect it to be that far.
There aren't a lot of things you can do in the lighthouse except to take tons of pictures. We couldn't take as many pictures as we like because there was an engagement shoot that was happening during our visit. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the panoramic view of the Panay Gulf.
Guimaras Island is known for their export quality mangoes!
The next thing we did was eat lunch, relax, and took a dip in Alubihod Beach. It was too crowded that day so I wasn't able to take decent photos. After that, we stopped by a mango stand (they're almost everywhere) and bought mango flavored delicacies to bring back home.
Seeing More of Iloilo City
were next on our must-visit list. When we got inside the Jaro Cathedral, the design of the altar immediately caught my fancy! I wish I could show you guys a photo but I wasn't able to snap one because when we got inside, it was already the homily part of the mass. Across the cathedral is the Jaro Belfry which was built during the 1860s (source).
From the cathedral, we did a 20-minute walk to Lizares Mansion. It's located inside the Angelicum School. The mansion was owned by Don Emiliano Lizares during the 1930s and was later sold to the Dominicans. It now serves as the school's chapel (source). Tourists are allowed to enter the grounds where the mansion is but are not allowed to take photos inside. Too bad because I was actually expecting a tour inside lol.
Although there are some places on our list that we didn't get the chance to visit because it was either we were too tired to go or that it was closed, my siblings and I definitely had a grand time.
Iloilo City is oozing with so much charm. It's a huge city and it's growing fast but they keep a laidback vibe. Some of the things I noticed and definitely admire is the cleanliness of their roads. the police visibility, and the no smoking and no vaping policy that's being implemented city-wide. Not to mention, people actually use the overpasses! This is quite of a big deal for me.
If you're thinking of visiting Iloilo City, don't think. Just go! 😄 There's so many things you can do and places you can visit. Trust me, one weekend isn't enough.