Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Badiangan Tahu: The Sweet-Hot Pride of the Ilonggos

Even though you can find various brands of ginger tea at the shelves in any supermarket Badiangan Tahu Instant Ginger Tea tastes entirely different, remarkably better than any other brand available in the market.

Barangay Iniligan in Badiangan, Iloilo continues the long history of making ginger ale the old fashioned way. Mr. Diosdado V. Aguilar Sr., inventor and proprietor of Badiangan Tahu Instant Ginger Tea, has remained pure and true to his historical beginnings of preserving the rich tradition of making old-time ginger tea. His passion dates back to 1970 when he started doing his research on growing ginger and its many uses.

Mr. Aguilar soon developed Badiangan Tahu Instant Ginger Tea in the mid 1970’s and it became so in demand that the local folks simply could not get enough of his delightful tea. He quickly worked on having his product patented. Now, Badiangan Tahu Instant Ginger Tea, Philippines Patent UM 2460 is the only patented ginger tea in the whole Philippines. This would mean that his product is wholesome and super high quality. The town has its Ginger Growers and Producers Cooperative that was organized with Mr. Aguilar as its founding president.

The “Original” Badiangan Tahu by Mr. Aguilar is an impressive display of what happens when you take quality ingredients and let their natural flavor take center stage. In this case, you have got a formulation that relies heavily on the flavor of the fresh peeled ginger that goes into each pack. Presently, it has with sugar and sugar-free varieties.

Drinking tahu regularly is medicinal. Badiangan Tahu uses the whole fresh root so that it can better capture the health benefits of ginger which includes: (a) alleviating nausea – ginger tea is often taken for motion sickness and morning sickness; (b) helping digestion – drinking ginger tea can calm the stomach and attack toxins in food that might cause stomach upset or illness; (c) fighting colds. Drinking ginger tea is also good for women's health.

Ginger is a low-growing tropical plant which is easily grown. It grows up to 4 feet high with alternate, thin, green leaves up to 7 inches long. The part which is used is commonly called ginger root although technically it is the rhizome that is used. The rhizome is an underground stem from which roots and shoots grow. Ginger has a quite sweet, pungent smell and the taste is distinctly fiery. The chemical which makes it hot is called “gingerol” and is a relative of capsaisin which makes chillis hot.

The 5th class municipality of Badiangan is situated 40 kilometers from the city. Composed of 31 barangays, it has a land area of 6,335 hectares. Agriculture is the major source of income of its people. The town is blessed with abundant rolling hills perfect for planting ginger or Luy-a as it is commonly called by the Ilonggos.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pottery Making in Miagao: True to Tradition

a family of potters in Barangay Cagbang, Miagao, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Travel to Barangay Cagbang in Miagao, Iloilo to try your hands in making clay pieces like mini pots and jars, pendants, vases or beads under the guidance of local potters that have never stopped turning all their pieces by hand. There is even a workshop where you can test your own pottery-making skills with your clay ready.

traditional "pugon" for wood and charcaol, photo by Bombette G. Marin

The barangay has long been the cradle of Miagao's good quality clay pots. Traditional pottery making in the area starts with the gathering the clay from natural deposits. They go through pounds and pounds of natural clay weekly, normally dug at the back of their houses. The clay is then packed in thick paper cement bags or dried banana leaves and carried back to their homes to be worked into pottery. Before the potter could begin forming the clay, potters had to remove any hard, non-clay items, such as pebbles or twigs. The traditional process required adding water to the clay and then kneading the body using their bare feet for a long time to remove all inconsistencies making sure it is smooth and with even texture. Then they shape the clay body using basic traditional tools that include the wheel and turntable; shaping tools such as a paddle, rolling tools cutting and piercing tools.

Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of desired shapes. The figures are then dried. Before heating the objects, they are covered with fried hay then heat them to high temperatures. Baking normally lasts for 3 hours. For pots, a finishing tool such as a burnishing stone or a “Bato Bantiling” is used.

Clays had been pumping through their veins and hands many centuries ago. And many generations of potters in the barangay have passed down the craft from its humble beginnings all the way to today. Though the pottery has made some concessions to modernity, including electric turning wheels and enormous gas-fueled ovens, most of them have no part of pot-making machines.

In August 11 of this year, potters have organized themselves as the Cagbang Association of Potters and are composed of 22 active members headed by Mr. Edgardo Reyes. Members are now making flower vases, ashtrays, paperweights, trinkets, showpieces, decorative figures and mini tea sets that can be offered as gifts to the loved ones and can be used for interior decoration.

Pottery art is the traditional of all art forms. Many of the world’s civilizations have left indelible marks of their art and culture through their art of pottery.  Ancient potteries with rustic shapes and coarse textures are heritage pieces that make for ethnic decorations.  The Terracotta objects, clay artifacts and glazed potteries are some popular antique pottery items.

Miagao church in the eyes of a 17-year old boy potter

Though pottery making has changed over the years, and the process of pottery making has been modernized in some ways, two things have remained constant down the generations: the passion family members show for their craft and the hard work they commit to it.

clay beads as bracelets for sale

Barangay Cagbang is situated 7 kilometers from the town center or a 20-minuter tricycle ride. For more information, please contact Mr. Arli John Nim-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09328748314 or Mr. Edgardo Reyes, President, Cagbang Association of Potters at 09052026543 or 09996535809. See more of their potteries on exhibit at the Miagao both for the 9th Tumandok on September 18-21 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place-Iloilo.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


a weaver in Miagao weaving hablon fabric for a Barong, photo by Nene Paguntalan Jr.

Weaving is one of the most ancient crafts in Iloilo. It has been a part of the Ilonggo culture that has survived for thousands of years. Textiles were an important commodity as well as symbol in many regions of pre-Hispanic Philippines. Dresses using hand-loomed fabrics suggested class, and gender identity. Every region or ethnic group, at the time of the conquest, was said to have its own style of dress and its own fabric.

Historically, sometime in the 18th century, Iloilo has a small industrial sector, dominated by artisan production and small home-based businesses. A lively trade in local handicrafts includes pottery, wood and bamboo crafts and hand-loomed fabrics. In the later part of that century, the development of a large-scale weaving industry started the movement of Iloilo’s surge in trade and economy in the Visayas. It was then when Iloilo was referred to as the “Textile Capital of the Philippines” where hand-loomed produce such as Sinamay, Piña (pineapple fiber) and Jusi (banana fiber) were exported to Manila and to other foreign countries. There has been a tremendous demand for these Panay fabrics. This ushered in a period of unparalleled prosperity for the Ilonggos.

shuttle carrying blue thread and rotex,
photo by Bombette G. Marin
The local textile industry became popular which gave rise to the upper middle class Ilonggos. The weaving industry in Miagao boast its “habol” or “hinabol” made only of fibrous natural materials. However, economic stagnation of the textile industry began due to competition of cheap cotton from Great Britain in the later part of the century.

Weaving took its backseat for some time because most people are not willing to pay for hand-woven cloth when inexpensive machine-made fabric became readily available in the market. The quality of their work was good, but the market was too small to support many of them.

Weavers made innovations by combining natural fibrous materials with man-made fibers introduced in the early 1920’s, and started to produced colorful textiles that became to be known as “Hablon”. This fabric has evolved to become a major player in the Philippine textile industry, with its heyday in the 1950’s up to the 1970’s. However, it again suffered a decline in 1980’s due to the predominance in the world market of less-labor intensive, machine-woven textiles. This also brought about a dramatic decline in the number of weavers, who started to look for better livelihood opportunities, and lack of interest among the younger generation to take up this weaving trade.

weaver from Igbaras (IKWA), 
photo by Bombette G. Marin

Today, there has been a revival of the weaving traditions thanks in large part to government agencies and concerned cultural workers in Iloilo that have made it viable to keep the tradition alive. Efforts are being made to keep it alive for future generations. The hablon fabric has emerged into a versatile and unique textile, currently making waves in the Philippine and international haute couture. It also shows great potentials in the global market for textiles, next to the old-time favorite, piña and jusi. Hablon has caught the attention of fashion designers who have developed a distinct couture out of it and has made its way into several fashion houses in the United States, Singapore, Hongkong, and the United Kingdom.

Many women now continue to weave in the towns of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Igbaras and Dueńas. Many are also involved in the production of our local fabrics such as dyeing and hand-spinning fibers, particularly under the workshop model. The fabrics were woven on portable looms, which limited the size of the fabric as well as the tightness of its weave.

spinning the thread before placing
it inside the shuttle ready for weaving,
weavers from Salngan in Oton, 
photo by Bombette G. Marin
Weavers labor in cooperative workshops for around 8-10 hours daily, while others work in their homes to alternate their weaving with their domestic chores. As the men walk kilometers to their fields, women stay home to raise their babies and weave. They are not paid at an hourly wage, but rather for the completed fabric sold per meter in the local market.

With the rise of popular tourism in Iloilo and its surrounding municipalities, women now use their weaving as a way to provide for their families.

The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair organized by the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Provincial Tourism Office and SM City-Iloilo is an annual project that acknowledges these individual artists for their craft. Started in 2008, the event is set to promote our local weaving industries with the objective of exploring the history and importance of fiber and textile arts in our communities and our lives. Daily presentations through series of fashion shows does not only showcase the creativity of our local weavers but, more importantly, it hopes to generate sustained demand for these local fabrics both here and abroad.

a weaver in Badiangan fixes the thread before weaving, photo by Bombette G. Marin

The event is also aimed to foster inter-generational connections, share new techniques and project ideas, and provide opportunities for shopping of hand-made, unique gifts and collectibles, putting to fore the art of hand weaving, one of the most important crafts handed down from generation to generation along with the indigenous fabrics admired for their sheer beauty, uniqueness and global appeal.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Discover the Beautiful Resorts of Oton

ADHARA Villas in Oton, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

The historic municipality of Oton is one of the most visited places in Iloilo. It is a unique vacation destination located just 10.2 kilometers away or a 20-minuter drive from the city. Known as the “First Pueblo Panay,” Oton was the seat of confederation of Madia-as in Panay under Datu Paiburong in the 13th century that was situated in Katagman, presently known to be Barangay San Antonio. The Batiano Bridge that connects barangay San Antonio to the poblacion was identified to be one of the five ancient Malay ports of Irong-irong (Iloilo) that traded with Chinese merchants. The town became the seat of Spanish Government and of Christianity in 1572. In the year 1638 when Panay Island was divided into two major provinces, the present-day provinces of Iloilo and Antique were under the “Provincia de Ogtong.”

If you are a bit of a luxury traveler who expects the finer things in life, Iloilo has a lot of different options for you. And if you are seeking a beautiful resort near the city, this is the perfect place for you.

Sheridan poolside overlooking Ayanna Restaurant, Oton, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G.Marin

Sheridan Boutique Resort in Barangay Buray, Oton, Iloilo is an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hectic world and reconnect with themselves. Sheridan Boutique Resort features 10 guest rooms that afford privacy while still providing complete hotel pampering services. Each room has a private terrace that overlooks the resort’s picturesque garden by the lagoon. It has indoor and outdoor living spaces such as their Japanese Gazebo that blend seamlessly with an understated elegance, designed to put the mind, body and soul at ease.

the centerpiece of Sheridan's private room for your dining pleasure, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Delight your palate with flavorful cuisine at the Ayanna Restaurant where they use the freshest locally grown ingredients. Dine in at their elegant Thai-inspired dining room and lanai that creates the perfect setting for any occasion.  

Sheridan room, photo by Bombette G. Marin

As you know if you have visited any Sheridan Resorts, it has a reputation of operating luxurious inland and beach resorts in the country. What separate Sheridan are the beautiful surrounding landscape and their exceptionally nice people. You will be close enough to the big city if you want to go shopping or go to a nightclub, while at the same time being far away enough to get some peace and quiet.

the canopy beside the pool area overlooking the beach, Adhara Resort, Oton, Iloilo,
photo by Bombette G. Marin

The acclaimed ADHARA Resort is set against Oton's most unforgettable backdrop in scenic Anhawan Resort in Barangay J.C. Zulueta St., Barangay Poblacion.  Adhara resort is known for fun family getaway, honeymoons, and soon to be one of Iloilo’s finest conference facilities. Situated on a meticulously landscaped area, Adhara resort accommodations open onto Oton’s beach. The resort is suitable for all types of lifestyles, be it couples, honeymooners or families, with seclusion, peace and privacy along with an array of facilities.  

spacious bedroom at Adhara Resort, Oton, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

It offers guests amenities of a high-class inland resort destination with the comfort and privacy of a resort vacation home. Spaciously and fully appointed villas with rooms immaculately decorated, are tucked into lavishly landscaped clusters, some with beachfront views. Guests of the resort also have exclusive access to the pool as well as enjoy outdoor activities such as horseback riding, kayaking ad sailing.

Enjoy elegant accommodations, fine dining, and thrilling recreation at our high-class resorts. At the SHERIDAN Boutique Resort and ADHARA Resort you will have the opportunity to experience the best Iloilo has to offer -- whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure.

If you would like to learn more about the resorts mentioned here, or want some more options to choose from, For Sheridan go to or email at or you may contact their Iloilo Sales Office at (033) 3960033 or mobile at (+63) 09173077638. For ADHARA, you may contact their font office at (033) 3362247 or email at

Iloilo Province Celebrates the 6th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair

Fiber moves forward from the traditional design and colors through a showcase of garments created in a pure thought venue celebrating creativity and collaboration. The 6th edition of the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is an exclusive fabric promotion, networking and business opportunity for the local textile industry to showcase handloom fabric, apparels, fabric fashion accessories and more. And here, hand-woven fabrics from the municipalities of Miagao, Oton, Dueńas, Badiangan and Igbaras will be showcased.

The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair annually organized by the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism with SM City Iloilo held the first event in 2008. Celebrated this year on September 5-7, 2013 at the event center of SM City Iloilo, IFFF will weave together the fabrics of Panay through the fashion designs of talented Ilonggo designers’ Francis Ian Chua, Jun-g Candelario, Alfie Jolo Desamparado, Paul Conte and Easther Marie Grejaldo. 

 young weaver from Brgy. Salngan in Oton, Iloilo
The Handloom Textile Industry in Iloilo has centuries old history. This tradition of handloom weaving has been brought down from generation to generation in the local towns. The Ilonggo weavers succeeded in creating a distinct identity of their own by transforming the traditional woven patterns and color schemes into the beautiful textile designs.

Iloilo’s handloom industry is a highly labor-intensive, rural based industry. It demonstrates excellent fabric handling properties partly due to its weaving method. The fabrics presently manufactured in our weaving communities are mostly of cotton with relatively small quantities of rayon, and polyester cotton. Iloilo also produces a range of products by using abaca, pińa and jusi. These textile products have been able to compete successfully with machine made fabrics.

textile showcase at the event center during the 5th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair at SM City Iloilo

The organizers have turned their attention to fashion in the last six years as a way of reaching large numbers of people through every link of the supply chain. They believe in the use fashion presentations as an effective marketing tool to educate consumers on the existing weaving industry in Iloilo. Fashion is also a useful means of communication among weavers, designers and consumers. Sample garments, color forecasts, development fabrics and general trend ideas provide valuable information on planning and styling lines.  Through this, direct customers are shown how new products can be made using our local hand-loomed fabrics.

The event will be bringing you a unique opportunity to explore sustainable livelihood such as weaving by sourcing in a new and innovative way.  The organizers see this program as potentially an incubator for re-introducing and re-educating the Ilonggos of our local fabrics as a source of raw materials in the local and national textile industry.

The fashion show will feature collections in contemporary yet experimental for a local audience. The designers aim to break the local fundamentals and will create a global fashion aesthetic to an Ilonggo fashion arena without disregarding their comfort zones and heritage.  The collections will use local craft fabric to emphasize statement pieces to show their passion for locality.

September 5 (Thursday) will open with Habol Ilonggo featuring the designs of Jun-g Candelario at 5:30 and will be followed by ICONS featuring hablon pieces modeled by members of the Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines-Iloilo Chapter at 6:30 p.m.; September 6 (Friday) will open with Hablon Moda featuring the collections of Francis Ian Chua at 5:30 p.m., ICONS from the Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines–Iloilo Chapter will follow at 6:30 p.m., Easther Marie Grejaldo will close the how at 7:30 p.m.; September 7 (Saturday) will feature Habol Aninipay with Paul Conte at 5:30 p.m and Alfie Jolo Desamparados at 6:30 p.m.

The 6th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is also brought to you by ABS-CBN Iloilo, Women Lawyers Association of the Philippines-Iloilo Chapter. Hair and make-up by John Montinola.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Oasis of Greenery at EPHRATHAH

Ephrathah pavilion and dormitory

Natural farming is a culture where plants are grown in 100% natural environment with the least human interference and no harmful chemicals or synthetic products used. It is practically leaving the crops grow and produce in their natural environment, and man comes enhances the natural conditions to improve productivity.

The potential of the Ilonggo market for organic products is under-explored and the sector has immense growth opportunities with a good following taking to healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyles.

one of the major oranic produce of the farm, the dragon fruit

Organic agriculture continues to expand rapidly in Iloilo as these products continue to enter the mainstream retail trade.  Major food manufacturers are developing organic product lines and food service sales on organic produce in restaurants, canteens and other institutions are also increasing. Personal care, household products, etc. are also gaining market shares with organic produce.

The Cańoto family headed by Engineer Eddie Cańoto started working for the farm that bordered their property. He learned to farm using organic and sustainable methods that would mean applying environmentally sound and sustainable eco-organic cultivation with no chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides etc. ever used on the farm or in the nursery.

Farming over almost 9 hectares in the Barangay of Sariri, Badiangan, Iloilo, EPHRATHAH Farm is committed to organic and sustainable agriculture. The farm seeks to inspire a natural life style that cares for the environment.

red lady papaya organically grown in the farm

Organic agriculture is intended to produce high quality, nutritious food that contributes to the preventive health care and well-being of individuals. And that the use of fertilizers, pesticides, animal drugs and food additives that may have adverse health effects should be avoided.

pickled indian mango

As organic growers, the farm has gained new respect for the beauty and complexity of the natural system of growing. For the health of people and the environment, Ephrathah is committed to increase the production and availability of their organically grown produce. New doors have opened. Growing organically is a very rewarding experience for the Cańoto Family.

Ephrathah Farm is presently adding value to their organic produce at the production level, processing and even in packaging. It has been producing organic rice such as SL-8H, pink, black and violet varieties; fresh fruits such as the rare dragon fruit and red lady papaya as well as herbal plants and forage.

Other products of the farm include tilapia, pangasius and catfish. The farm also takes pride of their pickled red lady papaya, pickled indian mango and the very refreshing Ephrathah juice that is a mixture of lemongrass, malunggay, ginger, calamansi and basil leaves.

The farm is also carefully selecting their distribution channels. Presently, they are supplying their organic produce to Central Philippine University for use in their dormitories and canteen.

Marketing, promotion and communication is also given much emphasis by the farm. Before the end of this year, the farm will be open to public for daily visits. Adding to their attraction of organic produce, the farm will open its facilities such as its mini-hotel, swimming pool, pavilion, restaurant and shop.

Whether in farming, processing, distribution, or consumption, the basic role of organic agriculture is to sustain and enhance the health of ecosystems and organisms from the smallest in the soil to human beings. 

For more information please contact Engr. Eddie Cańoto at 09273302191 or the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism – Iloilo Province at telefax (033) 3384910.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Second District: Iloilo’s Eco-Cultural Destination

It does not need to be said that the Second District of Iloilo province is an area with natural beauty; gorgeous mountain ranges, dense forest, adventure activities as well as arts and music. It draws on its legacy of eco-cultural adventure and provides its visitors with opportunities to explore the area with a sense of discovery and wonder. The Second District presents them with wonderful traveling opportunities and culturally enriching adventures with minimum impact on its fragile environment.


One of Iloilo’s most scenic and adventure spot is the municipality of Leon.  An old town 28.2 kilometers away from the city is full of fun. With a landscape dominated by mountains, the area offers sweeping downhill and uphill trails, from technical mountainous and remote terrain to surfaces suitable for family trips. The crown jewel of its attractions is the pine-clad BUCARI. Popularly called as "The Little Baguio of Iloilo," it is surrounded by mist-covered mountains with a subtropical highland climate. It is situated in the highest portion of Leon situated 1,200-meter-above sea level. Declared as an Eco-tourist zone, Bucari is 10,432.875-hectares. The cool climate is fitting for growing rice and other high-value produce such as fruits and vegetables. Farmers grow their crops along the hills and mountainside in terraces. The tour can be relaxing where visitors will surely have fun and take time to take photos and enjoy the fantastic scenery Leon has to offer. The town offers a plethora of activities to its visitors that include trekking, biking, rock climbing, cave exploration and swimming to its falls. To get to Leon, one can take a jeepney or van in Barangay Desamparados at the Jaro Public Mark. The upland barangay of Bucari can be reached by jeepney at the Leon public plaza on a scheduled trip every day.

Leon Church, photo by Jun Fuerte
The Baroque architectural design of ST. CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA PARISH in Leon was once considered as the biggest stone edifice in the whole of Panay. The construction started in 1869, three years after the town was transferred from Camando, the original townsite. The interior was Renaissance-Romanesque in style. It measures 100 feet high and 300 feet long and covering almost two streets of the town, namely Sta. Catalina and Sto. Niño. The walls were three and a half feet thick and five feet in each post is elevated to more than 32 feet to the roof. The rocks used in the construction were quarried from neighboring sitios.


A municipality of unspoiled natural wonders, Alimodian has pristine rainforests, hills, lakes and waterfalls, a perfect place for a superb nature holiday. The most popular is its highland community known as the "SEVEN CITIES." Promoted as an eco-tourism site, it is coined from its seven clustered barangays: Tabug, Cabacanan Proper, Cabacanan Rizal, Dao, Lico, Manasa and Umingan. It is home to attractions like Tinagong Danao, Agua Colonia, Umingan Plateau, Ibagat Spring, Farm Terraces, Maslog Falls, Bato Dungok and Oyang Cave. The area is also known as the town’s rice granary and producing high-value commercial crops such as cauliflowers, carrots, Baguio beans and sayote. This historical town is located on the southwest portion of Iloilo.  It has an area measuring to 14,482 hectares majority of it devoted to agriculture. It is subdivided into 51 barangays grouped into 9 districts.

Alimodian Church, photo by JV Perez (PALI)
The cornerstone of ST.THOMAS OF VILLANOVA PARISH in Alimodian was laid in December 5, 1859. It was finished in 1864 and was formally opened to the public for worship on December 22 of the same year. The construction of the convent was completed in 1868. It was said that the belfry of the church was one of the tallest and the most beautiful in Panay and Negros. The convent of the church was completed in 1868 and was just as big as the church though longer in length. The stones used in the construction of the church were taken in Camando (Leon). The 1948 earthquake known as “Lady Kaykay” rocked the church, its convent and belfry collapsed. The ruined church was renovated an opened for public worship in 1951.


One of the greatest ways to enjoy Santa Barbara is to visit its golf course, known as the oldest golf course in the Philippines built in 1907. The scenic beauty of the town is a natural complement to the game. Fun and challenging par 70 on 5,248 meters rolling hills with well-manicured lawns boasts an amazing golfing experience around every turn. This 18-hole golf course is only 16 kilometers or about 20 minutes by car from the city. Amenities include a Clubhouse, restaurant, Tea houses on the course and Practice area Caddies. There is always a new reason to enjoy a day of golf and fun times with family and friends at the ILOILO GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB, an ideal way to enjoy the outdoors and the company of others.

Sta. Barbra Church and Convent, photo by Norman Posecion (USA-CAP)
The Filipino-Baroque colonial structures of the SANTA BARBARA CHURCH AND CONVENT were constructed in 1845 and finished in 1886. The huge stones that were used as post, walls and floors of the church and convent were called bato piedra sileria and piedra tsina. Made of adobe, coral stone and red bricks, the church and convent served as the headquarters for the Ilonggo Revolutionary Forces under General Martin Delgado in 1898. It was declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute.

BOBBIN-LACE AND EMBOIDERY-MAKING is a livelihood project of WUTHLE Inc. (Women United Through Handcrafted Lace and Embroidery) at the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Barangay Inangayan, Sta. Barbara. The lace textile made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread attached on bobbins. It may be made with coarse or fine threads. The woven pattern is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placement of the pins is determined by a pattern or by pricking on the pillow. The products made by WUTHLE can be customized in terms of the materials used, colors combination, size and print or design.  The facility is open to the public and visitors can see how these simple threads are made into delicate works of art.


The Barangays of Jibao-an and Pandac in Pavia has a thriving POTTERY-MAKING industry that has since provided economic benefits and had improved the way of life of their people. They are known for their pottery skills using the traditional method. They are known for their pots locally known as “coron”, firewood-fired stoves or “sig-ang,” drinking jars or “banga,” and water containers or “tadyaw.” Open pit firing method is applied. The finished products are then transferred to the public markets in the city and to other markets of its neighboring towns.


There is no better way to get to know Leganes than through their intense spirituality and religious faith to San Vicente Ferrer, the central figure of the PALAPAK, a popular practice among devotees where the base of a small statue of Saint Vincent Ferrer is pressed on the head of a devotee hoping for a miraculous cure from the winged saint. Many who suffer from various sickness and even those with physical disabilities are amongst those faithful hoping that a miracle might happen through St. Vincent Ferrer’s intercession. Wonders and miraculous healing have been attributed by the faithful to their vow of devotion to the patron saint.

PANGAYPOT or salt-gathering is the means of livelihood of the people of Barangays Napnud, Gua-an and MV Hechanova in Leganes. They are known as the prime producer of fresh sea-salt in Iloilo.  In the summer, salt-beds are a favorite attraction of the town due to the harvest activities where people gather around their salt beds. The salt making process is simple in nature, requiring only physical strength, as it demands extensive toils. Leveling the sand, the initial part of the procedure, takes place in the early morning, between 5.00 to 6.00a.m. to prepare the pans. Seawater is then collected through pails and poured into the pans. A pan of 10 by 10 meters requires two-hours pouring by two people to get it fully filled.

Iloilo Province has been promoting its natural and cultural attractions in order to attract tourists, with an emphasis on “eco-cultural” sights and activities. These are expected to attract well-heeled visitors who spend more and have less of an impact on the environment. For more information, please contact the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, Iloilo Province at (033) 3384910.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Farm Holiday in BALBOA

view of Balboa Farm from the monkey-trail area

The town of Barotac Viejo has a large farming community where a growing number of its farmers are little by little turning into entrepreneurs, earning from something they normally offer for free to their friends and relatives, that is, a healthy and relaxing time to unwind in lush green farms, ride a carabao-drawn cart, milk a cow or pluck fresh seasoned fruits from their orchards.

nipa huts
Farm tourism, once a small niche, is expanding rapidly. The local government is now focusing on advertising to boost visitor numbers and spending capacity with the goal of reposition farm tourism so that visitors would regard it as fun, exciting and a basis of a great day out in a rural environment. It is to promote the town by capturing tourism activities that are usually overshadowed by inter-island travel from its neighboring municipalities. Efforts include development of new farm attractions with farm tours that allow tourists to meet local farmers and to get that opportunity to have their hands dirty on a real farm. Not an opportunity offered in many other destinations in Iloilo.

Balboa Farm viwed from the base of the
zipline area
Barotac Viejo is now focusing on being a farm getaway with plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities.

BALBOA FARM in is an isolated farm situated in Barangay Vista Alegre almost 7-kilometers away from the town center. It can be accessed via tricycle at P15.00 per person. The farm is a kilometer from the Barangay Road. The farm was purchased by Mr. Miguelito Balboa in 2009 and was developed in 2011.

The young and young at heart will enjoy this 3.7-hectare land, a perfect place where you can enjoy nature and at the same time take part in all outdoor activities. Balboa is perfect for that smaller backpacking tourist group who would want to have a glimpse of the rural life and farm practices of Barotacnons.

There are many activities that Balboa Farm offers that visitors can participate at. Visitors will revel at the endless excitement in this adventure farm. Ziplining your way to the farm is an enjoyable and thrilling adventure. Zip over a lush landscape, swaying palms and savor the view of the farm with its single zipline with a length of 130 meters and suspended 35 feet from the ground. One can also take the trail down to the farm using a bamboo bridge. Originally, it was used to transport feeds to the farm.

volleyball area
The farm also provides many more activities for different guests. They are operating different games such as football and volleyball. Enjoy walking on the swing bridge with a length of 20 meters and suspended 20 feet above the area’s mini forest. Balboa also offers opportunities to explore its scenic farm via horseback and its 1-kilometer motorcycle trail. A shooting range or firing range is also available for enthusiasts.

fat-bellied pig
The farm would not be complete without farm animals such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, fat bellied pigs and horses that are used for the entertainment of kids and adult guests. It has fruit-bearing trees such as papaya, guava, guyabano and pomelo that add beauty to its landscape and provide delicious, edible produce during the harvesting season.

Private family and group events can be held on site with their pavilion that can accommodate 50 persons.  Nestling among beautiful trees, the farm offers 5 traditional nipa huts that can accommodate 3 persons and a house good for 10 persons for those who would want to stay overnight. Balboa is unique in offering very affordable family rates.

monkey trail
Now, the number of visitors had finally increased, and tourism activities and agri-tourism have been extended to many of its barangays, the concept of farm tourism will surely provide great economic benefit for the tourism industry of Barotac Viejo.

So, if you are looking for moments of solitude in the fast bustling city life, what you need is a trip to Barotac Viejo, Iloilo which will bring you peace and closeness to nature. Leave all your worries home and plan your trip to its farm resorts because you deserve a break.

To get to Barotac Viejo from Iloilo City, one may take a bus or a van that are readily available in Tagbak Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. To get to Balboa Farm, please contact Mr. Miguelito Balboa at 09399242982; Mrs. Lorie Ann Dumdum-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09995796398 or at the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism-Province of Iloilo at telefax (033) 3384910.

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