Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dueńas’ Forgotten Historical Secrets

one of the many historical wells, photo by Bombette G. Marin
The documented historical account of the municipality of Dueñas started when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi sent his men to Panay 1569 and made the island as the second Spanish settlement in the Philippines. Legaspi then assigned an encomienda to Diego Lopez de Valdepenas covering Sibucao, a district of Dueñas in 1571. Dueñas was founded in 1590 with the name of Sumandig. Remarks of this settlement are still remarkable in various barangays of this town. With its historical background and sustainable social and cultural evolution, Dueńas has a lot of diverse worth seeing sites that can satisfy tourist. The existing historical monuments in this ancient center of Ilonggo civilization are incentives enough for visiting this town. 

You can take on a tour of history's forgotten secrets, from mysterious ruins to nature walks. Interested in history? We have centuries-old monuments and crumbling ruins. The historical tourist may find many spectacular places in the area.

The ruined Miller House

Discover the off-beat, strange, haunted attractions of Hacienda Jaguimit that showcases some of its most unique Ancestral ruins. Hajienda Jaguimit is another important destination. Few places afford the opportunity to explore this type of attraction which takes you back hundreds of years into the lives of the people living in the area. The RUINS OF THE MILLER HOUSE in Haciende Jaguimit is believed to have been the ancestral house of an American Family who lived in the area during the Second World War. All that remains of the house is a roofless, hollowed-out shell of the main house with walls, each about a foot thick. It sits quietly in the middle of a sugarcane field community. A few meters across the house is the famous remain of a Muscovado Sugar Mill.

The seven century-old natural spring wells locally called as PITONG BUBON is one of the many attractions included in their Calang Eco-Historical Trekking Adventure Circuit.  Calang is a barangay situated two (2) kilometers away from the poblacion and could be reached through a 15-minute hike from the town center and Barangay Capuling. Barangay Calang is also tagged by the locals as the Spring Paradise of the municipality where adventurers can spring-hop in this very historic location.

Pitong Bubon was said to have been dug by pre-colonial ancestors to serve their water needs for drinking and bathing. These spring wells are found I the middle of a forest. Tuscany Wells are also found in Barangay Calang. Situated around 20 meters away from Pitong Bubon, this eight (8) historical wells form part of this barangay’s adventure circuit.

These remnants are among the forgotten tourist sites in Iloilo. At present, the community pays special attention to developing the historical aspect of the town to make it a tourist attraction and areas could be interesting in tracing Dueńas’ history. The community welcomes friends who are prepared to maintain the splendors of the past to get the best of the present.

Dueńas is 46.1 kilometers away from the city. It is made up of 47 barangays in its 9,052 hectare land area. It is bounded in the north by the component city of Passi; in the east by the municipality of San Enrique; in the south by the municipality of Pototan; and by the town of Lambunao in the west. It annually celebrates its patronal fiesta on the 30th of September in honor of San Jeronimo. Market day is every Sunday.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sara Living Large

Rodbon's Place, photo by Bombette G. Marin
Exotic mountain ranges and lush vegetation, genuine rural hospitality and scenic drives: the municipality of Sara has all the makings of a memorable holiday. The town welcomes travelers with happiness. The town of Sara is actually a fine mixture of sightseeing and to do activities: a swim at the Purungan Falls in Barangay Domingo and a trek to its 52-hectare watershed and reservoir, the Sampunong Bolo Bird Sactuary in Barangays Aposaga and Juaneza.

People coming here can get the promise of fun and enjoyment. In the same way the town can assure visitors a comfortable and convenient stay. The accommodation establishments in the area is perfect for the budget-conscious traveler, many of which accommodate no more than two dozen guests, feature simple Filipino dishes made from fresh local ingredients from the garden and sea. The establishments are similar in their casual style but their focus and amenities vary.

Rodbon's Place in Barangay Aspera, photo by Bombette G. Marin

The multi-colored RODBON’S PLACE is a convenient getaway to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Owned by Mrs. Evangeine Amado, the place is located in Barangay Aspera where the journey from the town center takes only about 5 minutes or a P10.00 tricycle ride. 

It is one of the two privately-owned accommodation establishments in Sara. The rooms look like apartment units of small rise buildings. There are 12 air-conditioned rooms; three (3) rooms with wi-fi television can accommodate two (2) persons; a suite room that can accommodate a group of four (4) persons for P1,400.00/ day; six (6) rooms that can accommodate a group of four at P1,200.00/ day. It also has a restaurant, a karaoke room that can accommodate a group of 15 persons at P100.oo/ hour. Food sell is relatively cheap and affordable. The best feature of the place is the friendly and helpful staff. For more information, please contact Mr. Kenneth Montinola at 09198667563.

Alexis & Alexa Pensionne, photo by Bombette G. Marin
Conveniently located in Barangay Damasco, ALEXIS & ALEXA PENSIONNE is a great base from which to explore the town. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that Sara has to offer. A haven of rest and relaxation, the pensionne offers total renewal just steps away from the market area. Owned by Dra. Reynaly Panes Alibogha, every effort is made to make guests feel comfortable. Accommodations have been carefully appointed to a considerable amount of comfort and convenience, with satellite/cable TV, air conditioning or fan in each room. The pensionne is an ideal place of stay for travelers seeking charm, comfort and convenience in Sara.

This modern budget inland resort, located in Barangay Damasco, is centrally located in the town. The resort offers a very reasonable accommodation options. It has nine (9) rooms for overnight stay with three (3) air-conditioned rooms good for two (2) persons at P1,000.00 / day; one (1) air-conditioned room good for four (4) persons at P1,200.00/ day; one (1) air-conditioned room good for five (5) persons at P1,500.00/ day; three (3) fan rooms good for four (4) persons maximum at P400.00/ day; and a fan room good for five (5) persons at P1,500.00.

Designed with a very modern architectural theme that is carried over to the room decoration and appointments. Alexis & Alexa Pensionne has a kiddie pool of 2-4 feet deep and the soon-to-be open adult pool of 7.5 feet deep blending perfectly with its chic atmosphere. It also has a function room that can accommodate a group of 50 persons for that intimate moment with friends and loved ones. It has a very reasonable rate of P4,500.00 for a 4-hour air-conditioned usage or P3,50000 for a fan use for the same number of hours. The pensionne house is perfect for guests who want comfortable accommodation in a fashionable area for a reasonable price. The resort opens daily from 8 a.m. till 10:30 p.m. For more information, please call (033) 3920041/ 09999959156/ 09308440198.

The 2nd-class municipality of Sara is stretched in the 5t district of the province of Iloilo. It is 97 kilometers northeast from the city and is subdivided into 42 barangays of which 3 barangays compose the town center and the rest distributed in the outlying areas totaling to 18, 300 hectares. It is bounded on the north by the province of Capiz, on the east by the towns of San Dionisio and Concepcion, on the south by Ajuy, and on the west by Lemery. It annually celebrates its patronal Fiesta every 24th of June in honor of San Juan de Bautista. Market day is every Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Scenic Acres of Batad

Alapasco Small Reservoir Irrigation Dam in Barangay Alapasco in Sitio Luy-a, Bulak, 
photo by Bombette G. Marin 

Looking for a weekend drive through into the countryside to a destination that will amuse you? The scenic municipality of Batad in the northern portion of Iloilo has some of the most beautiful natural sites to take in. It features deep valleys, vast farmlands, foothills and acres and acres of cornfields that provide an excuse for a stroll in the sunshine.

Watch corn grow as you drive through this quiet town where nearly half of its cropland grows corn. The town’s beautiful landscape enhances the drive. The cornfields make many appearances as they weave through the valleys.

corn harvest, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Corn had been important to Batad's citizens, livestock, wildlife, and general economy. Corn grains can be processed by either dry milling or wet milling for human consumption or for industrial use. The plants themselves can serve as forage for livestock and wildlife or can be consumed directly as a feed grain. Many animals, including poultry, cattle and swine depend on corn as their main feed source. 

removing the kernels from the cob, photo by Bombette G. Marin
Majority of the people of the town depended on corn grains to sustain life and trade. A high percentage of the population in the town consists of poor, rural, subsistence farmers who grow corn as their main food source and income. Every season, these families must shell or remove the kernels from, all the corn that they grow for storage and consumption. This traditional process is performed by hand, by women and children of every family.

Cornfields are the most noticeable attraction of the town. Located in very rural barangays that lack a steady stream of visitors, the municipal government is trying to raise the bar on this kind of attraction. 

Though not quite established as a local destination in the province, Batad have had its share of community visitors in the past years.

corn trails leading to the dam, photo by Bombette G. Marin

One popular activity when in the area is the cornfield walk in Barangay Alapasco situated approximately five kilometers from the town center. Open to the public, it has pathways where visitors can submerse themselves deep wind through these mazes. The crown jewel of the trek is a beautiful man-made attraction amid the rolling plains of cornfields, the Alapasco Small Reservoir Irrigation Dam.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Beauty is everywhere you look, the farms, trails, the lake and sightseeing is evident. The Alapasco Small Reservoir Irrigation Dam in Barangay Alapasco in Sitio Luy-a, Bulak Sur serve as a water storage reservoir in the low foothills of cornfields that forms a backdrop to this artificial lake. Besides being an educational site, it is also cheap entertainment, that is, there is no fee for enjoying the exhibits and scenery. The dam originated in 1993 and was finished in 1997. Its length measures 264.90 meters with a height of 21 meters. Near the dam you can visit the golden tilapia hatchery and ponds. Its hatchery allows visitors to view its rearing ponds as well as the ponds where they keep some of the adult fish just for visitors to see. Paddling boats are popular activities for visitors in the area. A trip to the dam is one fun activity that keeps visitors coming back.

As corn is by far the largest component of the local coarse-grain trade for this town, none of it is put to waste. While the kernels are traded is used for feed with smaller amounts traded for industrial and food uses, the corn husk, also called corn shuck are crafted to a variety of items for both practical and decorative use.

corn decorative item and bag, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Once the husks are dried, it is a strong, resilient piece of material that can be woven. When shaped while wet, the corn husk will retain that shape after it dries. Because they were so prominent and easily available, people have been making flowers, trays and other decorative items with them for some time now. They fashion them by using florist wire to wrap petals cut from husks around stamens made from several husks bunched together. Glue the corn onto a circle of construction paper and glue on top.

students make corn flowers, photo by Bombette G. Marin
Presently, an organization from Barangay Caw-I called Caw-i Rural Improvement Club involves 25 members who are in to this backyard industry. They use corn husks to fashion a variety of household decorative items.

Outstanding scenic attractions, recreational opportunities and rural community life are scattered throughout this town. If you have not been to Batad, you should, and if you have been here more than once, come again, as this quaint town is home to ecotourism surprises and activities galore. You will not be disappointed.

Batad is a 5th class municipality situated north in the province of Iloilo. Comprised of 24 barangays sprawling over its 4, 476 hectare and area.  It is 125 kilometers or a three-hour bus or van ride from North Central Iloilo Terminal in Tagbak, Jaro Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Hon. Ernesto Balida at 09193410068.

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