Sunday, January 13, 2013

Passi: The Sweet City in the Heart of Panay

PASSI CITY, Iloilo is geographically located in the center of the island. Traditionally, Passi has been famous for its vast plantation of sugarcane of different varieties and fruits. However, its biggest asset is its people; sweet-smiling and demure ladies, gentle, peace, loving, family-oriented and hardworking citizens. It has its share of attractions and activities that are popular to local tourists.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

PINTADOS DE PASI FESTIVAL is an annual celebration in March. It foretells Passi’s pre-Spanish history from battles, epics and folk religion. Spaniards came to central Panay and found in the area heavily tattooed men and women, whom they called Pintados. The name “Pintados” is derived from what the native warriors, whose bodies were adorned with tattoos. They had a culture of their own, commemorating victories by holding festivals and honoring their gods after a bountiful harvest. The festivity displays the rich cultural heritage of the city, incorporating tribal music and dances. The streets in the city are filled with body-painted dancers in patterns looking a lot like tattooed warriors of old. Guests get a glimpse of the history of the people that once lived on the islands of Panay so long ago. The Pintados de Pasi Festival serves as the last bastion of an unbroken tradition of tattooing in Panay. The festival keeps the focus on creativity — without leaving behind the character at the root of tattoo traditions.

photo by Jun Fuerte

SAN GUILLERMO PARISH popularly known as Passi church is a massive structure in Baroque architecture. It was constructed in 1821 and finished in 1837. During its earlier years, the church was destroyed by a fire caused by lighting. The church is dominated with massive buttresses in all sides. From the entrance of the church, the Garden of the Saints or “Jardin de los Santos” can be found at the left side of its building. On its right side is a large relief of the Passi City Map.

photo by Toby Pagulayan Jr. (PALI)

CAVE EXPLORATION is one the most popular activities in the area. It boasts of 16 caves namely: Cueva ni Musyo Cave in Barangay Bayan; Cuadrado Cave in Barangay Agtambo; Suhoton Cave in Barangay Agtambo, Tinay Cave in Barangay Imbang Grande; Bitas Cave in Barangay Imbang Grande; Erimnat Maya Cave in Barangay Agtambo; Irimnan It Maya Spring Cave in Barangay Magdungao; Santos Cave in Barangay Magdungao; Baboy-baboy and Amorotik Cave in Barangay Magdungao; Tubigon Cave in Barangay Magdungao; Ninfa Cave in Barangay Aglalana; Kweba ni Wening in Barangay Aglalana; Ibajay Cave in Barangay Bacuranan; Bita-ogan Cave in Barangay Bita-ogan; and Cabugon Cave in Barangay Imbang Grande. They offer both self-exploring and guided opportunities. Whichever method of exploring the caves you choose, you are bound to be fascinated by this amazing underground world in the heart of Passi City.

MIDWAY in Barangay Bacuranan is a one stop organic and environmental shop with a public organic farm that combines education, recreation and nature appreciation. Visitors can explore the farm on their own or with a guided tour upon request. It has a greenhouse with plant nurseries of popular local fruit-bearing trees such as atis, chico, duhat or lumboy, durian, guava, papaya, jackfruit, lansones, mangosteen, marang, santol, sambag, pomelo, rambutan, dalandan, bananas and mangoes. They also grow lettuce, basil, tomatoes, cucumber, rosemary and thyme. The area also boasts of its fresh market and restaurant where it serves breakfast meals, lunch and snacks only. It also has a convenient store and pasalubong center. Everyone will surely enjoy its garden cottages built closely around its garden of fruits and vegetables, fishpond, chicken house and its mini-aviary. Midway has spacious parking areas, a very clean restroom and is wi-fi ready. Midway opens daily from 7 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. only.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

ROSARY HERBAL PRODUCTS in F. Palmares Street believes in the immense value of providing an alternative to mainstream medicine and have discovered that consumers agree with them. The company uses 90-98% organic herbs that are commonly found in farms, mountains and forest. Indigenous people attest the use of these herbs remedy their sickness and pains. Pharmaceutical chemicals used are very minimal, just as the base for the preparations of their products. Popular products are the Balanyos, Passi Herbal Vaporub, RHP Skin Disease Ointment, Q.C. Herbal Candle, Women Papaya Herbal Soap, Women Herbal Bath Soap, Nature Herbal Lotion and Glutathione Soap. For more information, please call Ma. Tessie S. Pagay at telephone number (033) 3315186 or at 09208912095. PINEAPPLE WINE, VINEGAR, PRESERVED AND JAM is also locally produced and had been exposed to various local trade fairs and exhibits.

Passi City is located along the Iloilo-Capiz National Highway. It is an hour ride from Tagbak Bus Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. It shares boundaries with San Enrique on the north; on the south is Dumarao, Capiz; Calinog on the east; and on the west is Lemery. It is composed of 51 barangays. It has the largest land area in Iloilo Province and is 50 kilometers away from Iloilo City.

To get to the city of Passi, busses are available daily at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mrs. Mae Pojol-Buenaflor - City Tourism Officer at 09213543537.

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