Tuesday, January 29, 2013

15th Salakayan Festival of Miagao

The annual celebration of Salakayan Festival of Miagao draws support from various organizations and groups especially those living and working abroad, inviting them to come home and re-discover the strength, talent, and beauty of their town and its people. As the community immerse themselves in the frenzied observance of their 297th town fiesta this year, the celebration will highlight the 15th Salakayan Festival with the theme, “Saulugon: Dugong Miagawanon” on February 2 -10 with the much-anticipated tribe competition on February 9 (Saturday) at 8 a.m.
Taken from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the tribe competition remains as the favorite of all special events during the 9-day long celebration. It gathers the largest crowds of spectators year after year, from its farthest Barangay, to witness their favorite tribe perform.

The dance-drama competition is marked by the dramatic presentation as interpreted by groups through dance as it trace back the historic battle that took place in the town where the locals successfully defended their town from the attack of the barbaric Sulu pirates in May 7, 1754.

Spanish chroniclers have recorded major slave raids that engulfed the coastal communities especially in the Visayas where men, women and children were captured and sold in Sulu and Java to work in the fields; bartered off to merchants for other Asian markets; some were used as household retainers others as rowers of pirate vessels.

Ancestral settlement near the sea became the objects of frequent Moro raids. Pirates attacked and enslaved Christian-Filipinos. Their invasions left tracks of death, blood, and ashes. The peaceful community of Miag-ao was not spared from these raids that resulted to the burning of the original church that was situated at that time in Barangay Ubos.

Along with the tribal dance competition is a special procession of the Gigantes or towering figures that commonly depict archetypes of the town, such as historical figures of local relevance. The festival is an opportunity for the people to pay tribute to their cultural roots

The Higantes is another feature of the festival tradition. Mammoth papier mache figures rising from 10-15 feet in height with bodies in large bamboo or  wire cages, draped in yards of colorful cloth. A man slips under each giant, holding up its torso with a metal or bamboo pole to make it walk, seeing his way through an eyehole somewhere in the giant’s clothes. The Higantes are crowd-drawers of the tribal dance competition.

The municipality of Miagao is 40.5 kilometers south from Iloilo City. It is bounded by the towns of Igbaras to the northeast, by Guimbal to the east, by San Joaquin to the west and by the municipality of Sibalom in the province of Antique to the northwest. It is comprised of 199 barangays sharing a land area of 13,286 hectares. To get to the town, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. Metered taxis are also available at the terminal.

If you are holidaying Iloilo, enjoy some day excursions to the different attractions of this historic town. For more information, please contact, Mr. Edison Molanida-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09206995881.

A Great Literary Show through HIRINUGYAW-SUGUIDANONAY Festival in Calinog

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival in Calinog is known to be Iloilo’s only literary festival that showcases the wonderful story of Hinilawod through dance performed in its unique mix of poetry, chants and music. This type of celebration is the most prestigious held annually in this beautiful heritage municipality.

The tribal dance competition is the heart of the festival celebration designed especially for literature lovers, to inspire them to go on to greater things. The event has been enthusiastically endorsed by educators and teachers.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Hinilawod is a great source of information about the culture, religion and rituals of the ancient people of the Sulod, a thriving indigenous community living along the banks of Halawod River in Central Panay. DR. F. LANDA JOCANO, a renowned Filipino anthropologist who did a comprehensive study on Hinilawod by living with the Sulodnons in the mountains for years so to gain the respect and approval of the people there.

a Sulodnon's garment

The Sulod tribe inhabits the mountains of Central Panay, Tapaz, Capiz, Calinog, Lambuanao, Iloilo and in Valderrama, Antique Province.  They speak in Sulod dialect, a combination of Kiniray-a and Hiligaynon. The Sulod women wear Patadyong (checkered cloth hand-woven in Panay) for their lower garment, a red top with long narrow sleeves, usually made of cotton with harmonious colors in various patterns. On special occasions, the women a headdress locally known as Pudong---a narrow headpiece of red color with old coins; a Biningkit or a necklace made of various-colored glass beads and silver coins strung together; and wrist-like accessory of various colored glass beads. They are known for their dances, the Binanog and Kuratsa.

Hinilawod, translated in English as “Tales from the Mouth of Halawod River” is one of the longest epics known with 28,155 lines in verses. It is even longer than the Iliad which has only 15,700 verses. This literary masterpiece, originally chanted in Kiniray-a (a native language prevalent in the mountains of Panay) from memory would take three days when chanted in its original form.

The verses that recounted the exploits of triplet Sulodnon demigod brothers (sons of Datu Paubari, ruler of the Halawod and the beautiful Alunsina) of ancient Panay, Labaw Donggon, Humadapnon and Dumalapdap.

Hinilawod is one of the hardest of all Panay oral literature passed from generation to the next. It has been said that the chanter, the Babaylan (native priest) can only take one apprentice at a time to learn the epic by listening and internalizing it. The apprentice needs to have a personal relationship with the Babaylan by being there all the time, watching the Babaylan while working and being involved in everything the Babaylan is doing.

Calinog is a peaceful town with ancient cultural traditions. The Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is a reflection of its historical roots. It is as an opportunity to revive the literary and intellectual spirit of the Ilonggos. The only one of its kind, it has not only brought together literary talents but also writers, poets and cultural figures from the region over.

Hirinugyaw-Suguinonay also helped to focus attention on and encourage respect for local traditions. Literature, dance and music, which most people associate with our local culture is a powerful tool in assembling and reinforcing our identity.

Entering its seventh year, the festival draws visitors from across the province. With this year’s theme, “Si Sr. Sto. Nino Pasidunggan, Kulturang Tumandok Amligan, Kalamidad Pakigbatuan, Padulong sa Kauswagan,”the celebration kicked off in January 25 (Friday) with the Torch Procession and Lighted Sto. Nino Contest and the Presentation of Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao and Linghuron nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao; January 26 (Saturday) with Biodiversity Exhibit and the Cultural Presentation of District II; January 27 (Sunday) with the Cultural Presentation of District I; January 28 (Monday) with the Talent’s Night of Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag  Ulitao and Linghuron ng Lin-ay kag Ulitao; January 29 (Tuesday) with Adlaw sang Panguma; January 30 (Wednesday) with the Cultural Presentation of WVSU-Calinog Campus; January 31 (Thrusday)  with the Coronation of Linghuron nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao kang Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival 2013; February 1 (Friday) with the Coronation Night of Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao Kang Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival 2013; February 2 (Saturday) with the Festival of Mini-Sounds; and February 3 (Sunday) with the Tribal dance competition at 9 a.m. and the Festival of Sounds at 1 p.m.

To get to Calinog, numerous jeepneys and buses run daily from Pavia People’s Terminal in  Barangay Ungka-II, Pavia, Iloilo or at the Bus-Jeepney Terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Concepcion: Natural Splendors of Sun, Sand and Sea

Bulubadiangan Island's main attraction is its sandbar, photo by Roy Gatpatan

CONCEPCION, Iloilo has some great island resorts with stunning white sands and tropical waters.It is one of Iloilo’s most beautiful ‘gifts of nature.’ Most of the islands are tasseled by white sand on the one side and old-growth mangrove forest on the other. The beaches are picture-perfect with cooling shady spots and beautiful deep-blue waters for good swimming. Best of all, you won't have to elbow for space.

Sandbar Beach Resort, photo by Norman Posecion (USA-CAP)

SANDBAR BEACH RESORT in Barangay Bulubadiangan is a satellite island of Barangay Polopina. It is known as the local’s favorite because of its beautiful long stretch of sandbar. It has picnic facilities and tent sites n face offshore Pan de Azucar.

AGHO ISLAND is a privately owned island measuring almost eight (8) hectares and offers white sandy beach with turquoise water. If you love swimming and snorkeling, the island assures  these experience to be unforgettable. And for a romantic getaway, it is the perfect private getaway to slip away on your own romantic adventure.

TAMBALIZA ISLAND is famous for its landmark, Mt. Manaphag or popularly known as Pan de Azucar. There is plenty of lush greenery and the ocean is a beautiful greenish hue that merges into a dark blue out in the open waters.

BAGO SIPOL ISLAND is astonishing and almost indescribable. The waters ranges from the palest aquamarine and turquoise to the deepest sapphire matched with its sparkling white sand. Tourist who enjoys swimming and snorkeling are drawn to this exotic island.

TAKOT LUTAW REEF in Barangay Polopina is one of theMarine Protected Areas of Concepcion.The surrounding water is protected by a 10-hectare reef. Colorful corals are clustered in this area. Some of the areas are perfect for scuba diving adventure where one can get a bird's eye view of the coral formations in varieties of shapes and sizes. The best time to go is in the morning.

photo by Norman Posecion (USA-CAP)

Tambaliza Eco-Park and Resort in Barangay Tambaliza is one of the most important areas for an ecological experience. Visitors will enjoy their relaxing stroll along a boardwalk over a natural Mangrove preserve.. Overlooking are the surrounding Island of Botlog and the imposing Mt. Manaphag. The area has major board-walking or guided nature trail activities; upon docking at the eco-park’s main entrance, and; going through the reserve area. Amenities include three (3) cottages that can accommodate 25 persons at every cottage; 1 pavilion; two (2) open cottages. Entrance fee is P20.00 for a whole day visit at the park. Getting to the Tambaliza Eco-Park and Resort, tourists need to take a motorized boat at the municipal wharf and head towards Barangay Tambaliza. For more information please contact Rolinda de Julian at 09395032408.

Concepcion is full of exciting places that many of us do not remember to visit. Surely, its beautiful island barangays is one destination that would make tourists remember all their lives.

Concepcion is 111.4 kilometers north of Iloilo City. It has a land area of 9,702 hectares comprised of 25 barangays of which 16 are component islands. To get to the town, air-conditioned busses are available daily at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact, Mr. Jim Pendon – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09997710086.

Igbaras: Magnificent Natural Heritage

Rafflesia Garden in Barangay Igcabugao, Igbaras, photo by Bombette G. Marin

IGBARAS, Iloilo is brimming with arts, culture and outdoor adventure, along with a rich history. It is home to popular attractions such as caves, cascades and the rare flora gardens with varied recreational activities that is sure to delight visitors of all ages and interests.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Igbaras High Mountain View Resort in Sitio Pasong is a mountain resort-style with stunning views overlooking the green mountain ranges of Igbaras and Tubungan; the Tangyan River; the scenic seascape of Guimbal and the island of Guimaras. Tucked away quietly amid scenic views awaits finely appointed guest rooms sitting on the point of a private mountain ridge. It is surrounded by extraordinary mountain backdrops and picturesque views that provide an ideal setting for rest and relaxation. The two (2) casually elegant bedroom cottages are good for couples or for a group of four. The resort has an outdoor pool with an amazing view of the mountains for the enjoyment of their guests. Swimming fee is P60.00 for Igbarasnons and P80.00 for non-residents of Igbaras. You can get in touch with the resort through Mrs. Emily Javelosa – owner/ manager at 09189795040 or 09189795030.

IGCABUGAO CAVE in Barangay Igcabugao is 14 kilometers away from the town proper. It is a downhill walk on a rocky track where tremendous rock formations frames the way to the cave. One can relax in the cool and clear waters of Igbolo Creek nearby. The chambers inside the cave are eerie and immense. Lantern-equipped guides will take one to a pool of clear but extremely cold water. Although there are other caves in the area such as the Passi Cave, Bat Cave, Bais Cave and Lapusan Cave.

Nadsadjan Falls, Igbaras, photo by Erna Foerster (PALI)

NaDsadjan Falls in Barangay Passi is the most popular tourist attraction of the town. It is a 100-feet high waterfall that pours into a cauldron-shaped natural swimming pool. It also one of the most visited attractions by local and foreign tourists alike due to its pristine waters. From Igbaras Town Proper it is a 30 minute ride to Barangay Passi and another 45 minute trek along the river to reach the majestic falls. There are other popular falls in the area; Guiritsan Falls and Sampanan Falls. Visitors are advised to arrive early morning and visit the Municipal Tourism Office to arrange trip to the falls.

MOUNT NAPULAK is the highest mountain in the area measuring 1,200 feet above sea level. Its shaped reminds one of a woman’s breast where massive coral rock as big as a one-storey building sits on peak, providing an eye-catching view of Iloilo and portions of the Antique Province. The trails getting to the mountain exposes the area’s virgin forests and abundant wildlife.

RAFFLESIA GARDEN in Barangay Igcabugao is a popular campground with for local tourists because it has some of Iloilo’s richest series of exceptionally beautiful forested mountains, from lowlands to highlands, large enough to preserve the integrity of the town’s ecosystem. It is home to the world’s largest individual flower, the Rafflesia. Many call it as corpse flower due to the vile smell it gives off. Its diameter can grow to over 100 centimeters and can weigh up to 10 kilograms. Even its smallest flower specie (the ones commonly found in the in this barangay) measures 20 centimeters in diameter. It has a lifespan of 5-7 days.

photo by Julius Sollesta
TANGYAN Festival annually celebrated every 3rd week of May is a time when this scenic town unites in recognizing the economic importance of its Tangyan River to the community. The river has functioned as the economic heartland where Igbarasnons are engaged in agriculture. As they say, the most fertile areas for farming are in the plains near the Tangyan tributaries where it provides irrigation, potable water and fish stocks, supporting livelihoods in the area. The festival is also dedicated to the preservation and protection of their cultural heritage and to be able to share them with the younger generation.

Igbaras is bounded on the north by the Municipality of San Remegio of the province of Antique; east by the Municipality of Tubungan, Iloilo ; west by the Municipality of Miag-ao, Iloilo; south by the Municipality of Guimbal, Iloilo. It has a total land area of 15,245 hectares subdivided by 46 barangays.

To get to the, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. Metered taxis are also available at the terminal. For more information, please contact Engr. Wilfredo “Boy” Delgado-Municipal Tourism Officer at (033) local 104- 5184022 or at 09209643404.

Anilao: A Picturesque Charming Community

photo by Jun Fuerte

ANILAO, Iloilo is a lovely little town that for some reason does not often get a mention in the papers or site or any other for that matter. There is so much to see and do here.It is a very cultural little community with beautiful natural sites in and around the town itself. It is a great little town very much worth a visit, any time of the year.

photo by Jun Fuerte

photo by Jun Fuerte

photo by Jun Fuerte

MT. HAMUGNAW situated in Barangay Manganese is dubbed as the “Cold Mountain of Anilao," It is this town’s highest mountain peak. To get to the barangay is more than 5 kilometers from the Poblacion. Passing by the area, one will see remnants of an old sugar mill center where a century-old chimney and sugarcane grinder sits quietly in one of areas to the peak. It is ideal for adventure tourism that offers good trekking and mountain climbing activities.

AGTAMBO FALLS in Barangay Balunos is a popular tourist destination of the locals especially during the summer. 

photo by Toby Pagulayan Jr. (PALI)

BANAAG FESTIVAL is annually celebrated in the last week of October till the first week of November. It is a celebration of life and spirit of its people is seen through the mesmeric and enchanted performances that revisited the significance of fire that once saved their lives as they fought for freedom against the Spanish authorities. It celebrates life and spirit through their pathways of music and movement. Dancers work with fire or light, taming and shaping its flames that flicker on poles carried by performers or dancers. They even spin flaming torches and hoops of fire to the beat of drums and percussion instruments as they raise their voices to chant, dancing and bringing their hearts in sharing this fantastically fun cultural presentation of fire and festival with the community. The community come together to explore the beauty and mystery of life: its history through this light-hearted image ritual of upbeat performances in ecstatic bliss of modernized theatrical interpretations of its history.

GUINAMOS or Shrimp paste or Bagoong is this town’s One-Town-One-Product (OTOP).  Anilao is the leading producer of shrimp paste in Iloilo.  It is processed at Barangay Poblacion.   Guinmos is a common ingredient used in many Ilonggo cuisines. It is made from fermented ground shrimp mixed with salt. Some versions are in its wet form and other versions are sun dried and either cut into fist-sized rectangular blocks or sold in bulk. It is often an ingredient in dip for fish or vegetables and even fruits. It is commonly eaten as a topping on green mangoes or used as a major cooking ingredient.  It varies in appearance, flavor, and spiciness depending on the type.

photo by Jun Fuerte

BAGS FOR LIFE is a project of Anilao’s unemployed women is a project that trains them to produce and market fashionable bags made of used newspapers and magazines. This project is in cooperation with the Zonta Club of Iloilo City II, of which the lady mayor is an active member and officer. Bags made from recycled materials is now not a new thing to the fashion world. Well, if you thought the piles of newspapers lying around you are not good for much of anything, think again. Today recycling newspapers has become a profitable venture for many communities. This situation is a result of increased environmental awareness, voluntary agreements, government mandates, and improved technology.

Anilao is located 40 kilometers northeast of Iloilo City.  With 21 barangays, it is bounded in the north by the town of San Enrique; the highest mountain of the town in the west; in the south by Barotac Nuevo; and the Guimaras Strait in the east. To get to the town air-conditioned busses are available daily at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact, Mr. Emerson Franco-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09395804484.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Duenas: Nature, Culture and History

DUENAS, Iloilo is a unique destination. Culturally enriched and colorful, it offers visitors a unique experience. The town is a perfect day trip outing. You will enjoy history and nature watching and experience great stops.

ST. JEROME PARISH popularly known as Dueñas Church was constructed in 1878 of stone and bricks with interiors that follow the Tuscan order and exterior of Doric origin. It has one main nave and spacious transepts measuring 65 meters long and 16 meters wide. The church columns are mounted on a rectangular section divided into three equal segments. The semi-circular arched entrances are crowned with rose windows that indicate the second story and the choir loft. It was burned in World War II and damaged by a strong earthquake in 1948. The transept and the dome were reconstructed in 1981 and the facade and bell tower restored.

CARMELITE MISSIONARIES RETREAT AND TRAINING CENTER is located in Barangay Tinocuan. Opened in 2001, this 14-hectare center provides spiritual refreshments to its visitors. It is comprised of eight (8) hermitages of two rooms that can accommodate two persons in every room. Its conference hall can hold 150 persons for seminars and meetings. Food served is organically grown by the Carmelite community. The outdoor area of the site is conducive for camping with function room that can accommodate 50 persons. Another building can accommodate 100 persons. The site also introduces sustainable agriculture that helps out the community especially the mothers by engaging in small business and technical skills is developed to be able to manage a profitable, environmentally sound and community-based small farm or agricultural business. For more information, please contact Sr. GertitaTacuyan, C.M.-Supervisor/ Administrator at telephone number (033) 3510193 or through email: cmcenteroflife@yahoo.com.

ROCKY’S PLACE in barangay Cabudian is a family-owned inland resort established in 2007. It boasts of eight (8) classy cottages that can accommodate a family or a group of six (6) persons for those who would like to stay overnight. It has a function hall that can accommodate 60-80 persons, ideal for seminars, trainings and other social events. It also has a karaoke bar and a pool where one can leisurely immerse and relax. Swimming fee is P50.00.  They offer packaged catering services for special occasions such as weddings, baptismal and parties. Visitors can take a tricycle from the poblacion to the area with a fee of P20.00 per person. Entrance fee is P50.00. For more information, please contact Mr. Robbie Pechon-Manager at 09466702900.

CALANG ECO-HISTORICAL TREKKING ADVENTURE in Barangay Calang could be reached by a 15-minute trek. Several points of interests are found in the area where sets of historical spring wells can be seen. Most popular is the PitongBubon or the seven (7) century-old natural spring wells in the heart of a forested area. It is said that it existed since the pre-colonial period and were said to have served as drinking and washing areas. Another group of eight (8) Tuscany Wells are located in a cliff of the same barangay, just 20 meters away from PitongBubon and approximately 30 meters away from Ered Falls in the east. Ered Falls got its name from the word “air raid” since the area was used to be an air raid shelter during the Japanese Occupation. The GinoongTawo form a series of spring wells on an adobe bed flowing towards a huge spring forming mini falls and is found at the base of a century-old Balete tree. Another cluster spring wells are found in the area that has become a popular bathing site.

HABLON WEAVING is a small cottage industry in this town. In the early 1990’s, a group of weavers organized and formed themselves into a cooperative called MABUBA. The group became successful in the last ten years. In 1995, another group was organized, the Home Industries and Manpower Union for Rural Area Transformation, Incorporated (HIMURAT). This was developed to provide investment and employment opportunities to the people in the community.

The word “Dueñas” or “Dueña” is derived from a Latin word domna or domina which means landlady or madam who has dominion over a certain house or estate. Duenas is a 4th class municipality s 46.1 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is composed of 47; four barangays compose the center of the town and 43 are in the outlying areas. It sprawls to an area of 9,052 hectares. The town is bordered in the north by Passi City; east by Lambunao; south by Pototan, northeast by Calinog; southeast by Dingle and southwest by Badiangan

Duenas is a 4th class municipality s 46.1 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is composed of 47; four barangays compose the center of the town and 43 are in the outlying areas. It sprawls to an area of 9,052 hectares. To get to the town, air-conditioned bus is available daily at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, Please contact Mrs. Susan LabroLaboriante-Pacheo- Municipal Tourism Officer at 09228731561, 09173009041 or at 09176231203.

A Relaxing, Fun Adventure in Ajuy

AJUY, Iloilo is renowned as one of Iloilo’s most family-friendly vacation destinations. It offers unlimited opportunities such as trekking, sailing and island-hopping adventure. Its inland resorts are ideal vacation spots in Iloilo.

photo by John Rey Palmares (USA-CAP)

MARBUENA BEACH RESORT in Binongan-an Island is a beautiful holiday destination especially in the bright sunlight of summer. There are plenty of things to do. Activities include sailing, fishing and scuba diving and trekking. You can beach-hop your way down the Island situated seven kilometers from the poblacion.  It boasts of white sand surrounding the island; home to birds and fruit bats; and perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. To get there take a pump boat at Barangay Mangorocoro in Ajuy. For more inquiries you can contact Marbuena Island Resort at 0929-6465415 or at (033)3291780 or send inquiries through their email: marbuenaisland@yahoo.com and check their website: http://marbuenaisland.multiply.com.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

TERRA VERDE FARM AND FOREST PARK in Barangay San Antonio is an inland resort designed and inspired by its surrounding lush, green scenery. The facilities and the amenities blend perfectly with its natural environment surrounded by lush trees, established landscaping, and an ever-so-peaceful environment. Take a rest in a hammock or sit on the balcony in front of your room. Visitors will find at the resort very clean rooms for very reasonable prices. The fan rooms with private bathroom in duplex style that can accommodate 8-10 persons are built in with a porch overlooking the lagoon. A beautifully and intricately designed hall camouflaging its serene environment is perfect for seminars, meetings, conferences and other special occasions. By appointment, the resort serves excellent local food including some specialties like native chicken binakol, tinola, fish sinigang and lumpiang ubod with your choice of purple, red or basmati rice. Not to be missed are its delicious buco pie, cheesy cassava and banana muffin. This peaceful and well-maintained and historic property is owned by the very gracious Mr. and Mrs. Francis and Dulce Blas. For more information, please contact the owner at 09177233324 or at (033) 392-0210.

photo by John Rey Palmares (USA-CAP)

SALOG DAKO RESORT is an island in Barangay Punta Buri. This cozy and clean little island of is one of Ajuy’s very picturesque and popular destinations for day trips. Most of time, there are not many tourists around, as the tourist industry in this island is just getting going. Visitors who are accustomed to rusticity will surely have a pleasant time here. It has probably the best beach in Ajuy. This private resort is so famous for its tranquil beauty. Sprawl by the warm turquoise waters of the island and has accommodations perfect for the group or for the whole family.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

El JARDIN CAFÉ AND INN in Barangay San Antono is a stop-over facility for tourists going to the northernmost municipalities of the province of Iloilo. The restaurant is locally acclaimed as one of the best food establishments in the northern part of the province. It serves breakfast daily from 7 a.m. and can cater to 40 persons serving traditional Ilonggo cuisine. The restaurant is known for its native chicken binakol, tinola, lumpiang ubod and fish sinigang. It is also known for its farm-produced vegetables and fruits. And of course, not to be missed is its mouth-watering buco pie, banana muffin and cheesy cassava cake.  It also has an inn that offers four (4) air-conditioned rooms good for 2-4 persons and another two (2) fan rooms good for two persons. It has a greenhouse conference hall that can accommodate seminars, trainings and other activities good for 100 persons. The Pasalubong Center sells locally-made produce such as purple rice, glutinous rice, basmati rice, red rice, organic coconut vinegar, packed adobong tabagak and candies. For more information, please contact Mrs. Dulce Blas at 09177233324 or at (033) 392-0210.

TAMBOBO FESTIVAL annually held every September is the presentation of this town’s incomparable and unequalled bliss of human, material and natural wealth. Witness and enjoy its cultural performances marked by a lavish feast thanking God for the crops that would sustain their community. Tambobo is a Hiligaynon term for “a storehouse, warehouse or a storage structure for agricultural products, or other goods that are stored and kept until a demand or need arises.”

Ajuy has a land area of 19,346 hectares divided into 34 barangays. It is a seashore and agricultural town. It has 4,400 hectares of forest area which in effect drains water to 16 creeks and rivers as its source of irrigation to its agricultural lands. It is 91.9 kilometers away from Iloilo City. To get to the busses are available daily at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please call Diona Silvideo – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09394533304.

Dingle: Nature and Culture Intertwined

Guiso Cave in Bulabog Puti-an, photo by Ramon Ramirez

DINGLE, Iloilo has been one at the forefront of the revolution from nature tourism to eco-cultural tourism. This was primarily enhanced so as to help environmental conservation. Tourists as well as tour operators have ascribed a different role to the local community that is based on this community’s right to benefit from tourism and the priceless value of interactions with people and cultures for tourists. From the magical, underground caverns to the beautiful and historical structures, we invite you off the beaten track to experience this municipality like you have never done before.

Hinulugan Tawo Cave, photo by Ramon Ramirez

Lungib Cave, photo by Ramon Ramirez

Litik Kabayo Cave, photo by Ramon Ramirez

BULABOG PUTI-AN NATURAL PARK in Barangay Moroboro can be enjoyed as a day visit to the area since one does not have to go on extensive trail blazing. Combining trekking and cave exploration, the trip offers a rare opportunity to get close to one of Iloilo’s rarest limestone rock formation in Panay excluding Guimaras. This old growth forest is also a perfect laboratory for the study of flora and fauna. It was designated as a National Park through Congressional Bill No. 1651, and such is considered a "nationally significant area." The centerpiece of the park is its 33 known and named caves where most are undeveloped, so there are no lights, stairs, nor walkways. Hike up and go cave exploration while enjoying the gorgeous view of the park over its wild and luscious forests. It has a land area of 834.033 hectares covering five of Dingle's 33 barangays.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH in Dingle was constructed in 1865 and finished in 1886. This 700-capacity Baroque church is made of limestone quarried from the mountains of Bulabog Puti-an. This church differs from its neighboring churches due to the absence of one of the bell tower. The church is elevated by a 9-step stairway with four rose windows in its façade.

photo by Joel Miles Molina
PAGDIHON FESTIVAL annually celebrated every October is one way on how Dingleanons would give thanks to its local heroes for the sacrifices they had given. In the time of the celebration, a tribal dance spectacle is built up at an open space as performers involved in a rousing telling of the events as they unfold history through a dance-drama presentation. A native of the town, Adriano Hernandez, the central figure of the celebration, is a Visayan general, military strategist and patriot who secretly organized a rebel movement in Iloilo against the Spaniards and staged the first armed uprising in the Province in Barrio Lincud, Dingle. The event was known as the "Cry of Lincud" in October 28, 1898.

The municipality of Dingle is 37 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is bounded in the northeast by Anilao; northwest by San Enrique; southeast by Pototan and Barotac Nuevo; and southwest by Duenas. It is subdivided by 33 barangays distributed around its 7,750 hectare land area.

To get to the town, a van is available at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact, Mr. Dane Dizon – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09477424341.

Dumangas: History and Culinary Destination of Choice

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

DUMANGAS, Iloilo positions itself as a place of history and business destination of choice. It is a friendly municipality set out with a scenic coastline. It offers opportunities for history and adventure.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

photo by Bombette G. Marin
San Agustin Church popularly known as Dumangas was declared as a National Landmark by the National Historical Institute, the Gothic style of the church was made of red bricks and coral stones. It was constructed in 1887 and finished in 1895. The predominant design is Gothic with flame-like arches of the main entrance and windows. The rectangular opening of the pediment distracts from the main motif. The windows are flanked by slender Corinthian columns. It was architecturally considered as the most artistic in the Philippines in the 19th century.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

photo by Bombette G. Marin

RUINS OF THE FIRST STONE CHURCH IN PANAY in Barangay Ermita was the mission center of Panay when Spanish authorities set foot in Panay. Araut, the old name of the town was where Fr. Martin de Rada visited in 1566 and preached the gospel by the banks of the Jalaud River. In 1569, Capt. Luis de la Haya, together with Augustinian Fr. Juan de Alva built the first church in Dumangas.  It was declared a national landmark by the National Historical Institute.

HAW-AS Festival is celebrated annually every last week of October. Haw-as, a Hiligaynon term that commonly refers to fish harvest in ponds, is an annual thanksgiving for the bountiful fish harvest from the waters in the area. The festival uses the iconic bangus as its symbol because it is their number one product. Aquaculture such as fish farming is feasible, sustainable and a profitable business here and which is also being patronized by rice farmers as a source of their income to help improve the living conditions of their respective families. It is the fastest growing and the most popular food industry of the town. Haw-as also celebrates the contribution made by those persons involved in the local fishing industry. The festivity offers every visitor the opportunity to learn more about the town’s culture and to better appreciate and understand its value to the community.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

photo by Bombette G. Marin
IJT KATAMNAN INLAND RESORT in Barangay Pulao is a 3-hectare resort established in 2004. It has a pool for both kids and adults to enjoy. For the adventurous type, it has wall climbing activity, biking, volleyball area, and fishing. The resort is planted with over 300 trees and with seasonal mango picking activity. Native cottages for small and big groups are also available for day trips. It has overnight rooms: air-conditioned rooms and fan rooms that can cater to two, four and six persons in every room. Air-conditioned and fan room barracks are also available for a group of 40-60 persons. The resort is open daily from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. till 6 p.m. on weekends. Entrance fee for kids is at P20.00 and adults are charged P30.00. For reservations and more information, please contact the resort at (033) 3291331 and (033) 5273028 or 09099260102 or email: info@katamnan.com, or visit their website: http://www.katamnan.com.

Dumangas roro port in Sitio Nalu-oyan, in Barangay Sapao is considered an important part of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH). It is a seven hectare Port Complex was made possible with the assistance made by the government of Japan. From the Iloilo Strait in Dumangas to Bacolod City docking at Bredco Port or vice-versa, sea travel will take you approximately two (2) hours at a cost of P60.00 per person for every trip. It is a popular mode of travel for local travelers, backpackers, and motorist who wish to leave for Dumangas or Bacolod. Schedule of vessel departure or arrival is every hour or at times depending on passenger and rolling cargo traffic. The first trip starts early in the morning until evening.

Dumangas is a 1st class municipality in the province of Iloilo. Politically subdivided into 45 barangays, it has a land area of 11, 677 hectares. The town is located northeast or 30 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is bounded in the north by the Municipality of Barotac Nuevo, on the south and east by the Guimaras Strait and on the west by the Municipalities of Pototan and Zarraga.

When traveling to the municipality of Dumangas via the Monfort Coast Boulevard, one can take a van at Baldoza Transport Terminal in Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz, Iloilo City. From the terminal, taxis and jeepneys are available going to the city. Jeepneys to Dumangas is available at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak,Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mr. Benny Derequito- Municipal Tourism Officer at 09477900562.

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