Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Northern Sun and Exotic Island Beach Destination in Ajuy

Barangay Silagon, Sitio Agua Bendita, Ajuy, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Top of the agenda for many visitors in Iloilo are the island beaches in the north, and rightly so. Northern Iloilo undisputedly has some of the best beaches in the region. Iloilo's best beaches are found on its islands. You could easily spend weeks travelling in the islands and just visiting the beaches.

Salog Gamay, Ajuy, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

The fishing and agricultural town of Ajuy, Iloilo is quite a remote area with few popular island beaches, few restaurants, but no hotels. Whether in the mainland or islands slightly further, Ajuy offers relaxation and tranquility as well as recreation for everyone. The town may not have huge islands but there are a number of the beautiful islands that offer white sand and waters of green and blue and few tourists visit. Plan on a whole day as the travel time is about an hour and a half each way.

Salog Gamay, Ajuy, Iloilo,
photo by Bombette G. Marin
A day trip to Sitio Salog Gamay in Barangay Punta Buri is a fun activity for first-time visitor in Ajuy. It is an island that is off the main tourist track about 10 kilometers or a 45-minutes motorized boat ride from Barangay Morocoro wharf. The island is approximately 73 hectares with 51 households. With no tourist amenities, however, the island only offer a place where you can hang a hammock and lean back, enjoy the sound of the waves without crowds ruining the peace and quiet. It has a great beach that is laid back and perfect for relaxing and taking it easy. It has soft creamy sand and tranquil, clear water that make it an ideal spot for families with young children. Though traces of the recent typhoon can be seen around the area Visitors can find good recreational swimming, snorkeling and boating around, or simply just finding a spot on the pristine beach and enjoy the gentle sound of the waves. The island is contiguous to the more popular Salog Dako.

Agua Bendita, Ajuy, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

If you want a perfect place to embark on a wonderful sightseeing trip and long to relax and enjoy the stunning island surroundings in solitude then Barangay Silagon, Sitio Agua Bendita is for you. The area is a family-friendly location known for its exquisite scenery, swimming and fishing. It is secluded and quiet. It has one of the most stunning views in Ajuy and it is worth going there and appreciate just how beautiful it is with its turquoise waters and backdrop of mountains. It is a small beach barangay with very minimal tourists and activities. But those in search of water sports can still find plenty to keep them amused. It is around 2 kilometers away from Salog Gamay, the island’s growth of tourism had been slow due to lack of infrastructure and transportation difficulties. But for those who can get there, it will surely take your breath away.

Summer season may soon be officially over but who says that we must stop going to the beach? If beaches with few tourists are your thing, the island beaches of Ajuy will definitely suit you. Choosing among them is a difficult task, but you will get to the same result: all of them will take your breath away.

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 Ajuy, busses are available daily at the Northern Central Iloilo Transport Terminal, Inc. in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please call Jocelyn Maalat, Municipal Tourism Officer-OIC at 09177037666 or 09177992521.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Desirable Island Beach Holidays in Concepcion

sandbar at Sandbar island Beach Resort in Sitio Bulubadiangan, Concepcion,
photo by Bombette G. Marin

Concepcion is one of the more popular island destinations in Iloilo where dreams of sun-drenched, palm-fringed tropical beaches are turned into exotic and romantic realities. With so many stretches of beautiful island beaches with kilometers of white sands, there will always be one perfect place for you to lie back, relax and enjoy in the island.

Agho Island, Concepcion, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Visitors can be as active or laid-back as they like. The pace of life on the islands is very relaxed and the people are very friendly. They will also find that the islands have various accommodation options. Few places in Iloilo are so perfect for a variety of vacations, from a family adventure to a romantic honeymoon. There will always be one perfect place for you to lie back, relax and enjoy in the island where a gorgeous day of sun and fun waiting for you.

Sandbar Island Beach Resort, Sitio Bulubadiangan, Concepcion, Iloilo,

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Of particular interest is the 15-hectare Sandbar Island Beach Resort in Barangay Polopińa, Sitio Bulubadiangan. It is Concepcion’s premier and most successful beach resort which annually attracts many pleasure-seeking visitors. The island has played an important role in the tourism aspect and with its increasing popularity it has made all of its adjacent beaches so lively as well. It can be reached within 30 minutes through a motorized boat ride from the municipal wharf.  Visitors will discover that island is equally beautiful beneath the surface. Its white coral sand beach and clear blue waters is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. The most attractive feature of this resort is its sandbar. Presently, it has one (1) close cottage that can accommodate 10 persons and three (3) open cottages also good for 10 persons. For those who would wish to stay overnight, tents are available for rent. Entrance fee is at P25. For more information, please contact Mrs. Henrietta “Bebing” Eusala at 09106339915 or Mr. Rex Eusala Jr. at 09487045123.

Sanggutan Rock Resort, Sitio Sanggutan, barangay Polopina, Concepcion, Iloilo, 

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Adjacent to Sandbar Island Beach Resort to the north in Sanggutan Rock Resort located in Sitio Sanggutan in Barangay Polopińa. It is a fishing community. People depended on fishing and for a living. The resort is highly recommended to those who seek a better accommodation facility, where the creamy sand, bright sun and clear blue sea are always pleased to welcome all vacationers.  The resort offers a wooden house with two rooms with unobstructed sea views. It is a perfect blend of comfort and simplicity. The upper portion of the house can accommodate 14 persons and another group of six persons on its lower portion. It also has two restrooms and a bathroom and an open shower with a commanding view of the neighboring islands. Its coastline has fringes of coconut trees offer vacationers pleasant atmosphere for relaxing and viewing the sun setting in the sea. Its calm sea is also suitable for swimming and playing all kinds of water sports for the whole year. The resort is an emerging destination appealing to those who love comfort and tranquility amidst its pristine nature. From the municipal wharf, it is a 30 minute motorized boat ride to the island. For more information, please contact Mr. Lester de Juan at 09297878618.

Agho Island, Concepcion, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Agho Island is another weekend picnic island destination catering mostly to families and friends. Set in serene surroundings on a dazzling white sandy beach with a sweeping view of the islands of Igbon, Mangalabang and Tambaliza, it is the perfect getaway for those seeking peace and tranquility. Its secluded locality offers travelers a refreshing holiday by its glorious seas. The alluring emptiness of its white sand beach offers a personal oasis in nature's tropical playground. Relax and listen to the sound of the breeze in the trees and the gentle waves on the beach. Bring your family, friends and even your corporate group on a journey through the waters of Agho Island or just a day on a private island. Personalize your excursion to fit your needs, whether you are a couple or a party of 10, the Municipal Tourism Office of Concepcion can arrange your day in paradise. Entrance fee to the island is at P25. For more information, please contact Mr. Augusto Familaran, Municipal Tourism Officer-OIC at 09306514876.

Barangay Taloto-an, Pan de Azucar island, Concepcion, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Barangay Taloto-an, Pan de Azucar island is a 45 minute motorized boat ride from the municipal wharf. Enjoying its laid-back lifestyle from an off the beaten path, the island offers an unforgettable experience without the distraction of tourism and commercialism. Though the island is inhabited approximately with 200 households with traces of destruction from the recent typhoon, a considerate portion in the island provides ample opportunity to relax in natural and secluded beauty on its beach with views of the islands o-f Bago Isi Gamay and Dako. There are no rooms with bathroom facilities, as tourists do not commonly visit the area. It is a great place to get your toes wet or just watch the local kids play.

Tambaliza Island, Conepcion, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

The exotic island beach of Tambaliza will never lose an ounce of its appeal. Many visitors find that the isolated location is a blessing. When you are so far from home, you have no choice but to sit back and relax. A stay at Airishane Beach Park in Barangay Tambaliza Proper is perfect for those budget-conscious beach lovers. It has a house with one room that can accommodate a group of 10 persons, a mini living room and a balcony that faces the beach.  It also has tents for rent. The house rests at the foothill of the majestic Mt. Manaphag which serves as its backdrop. Its beach features golden sand, palm trees and shallow water that provide swimming, snorkeling and boating opportunities. Come in and discover the delight of this resort. For more information, please contact Mr. Daryl Balogo at 09157224923.

Barangay Taloto-an beach, Concepcion, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Concepcion is truly a popular vacation destination on the northern portion of Iloilo. It is an absolutely stunning and picturesque locale that is marked by gorgeous island beaches that are relatively secluded and almost always empty and are situated within very close proximity to other major island beach destination in the area.

The municipality is about 111.4 kilometers from Iloilo City and is possible to take a two-hour bus or van trip from Tagbak Terminal in Jaro to get to the town. For more information, please contact Mr. Augusto Familaran, Municipal Tourism Officer-OIC at 09306514876 or at the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, Province of Iloilo at telefax (033) 3384910.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lagaw-Lagaw sa Miagao

photo by Bombette G. Marin

For some visitors a trip to Miagao is the highlight of their visit to Iloilo. The town is a beautiful rural retreat about 45 minutes south from the city by jeepney. The town is partly coastal and partly mountainous. The poblacion is located in a hill overlooking the sea. It is bounded by the town of Igbaras in the northeast, in the east is Guimbal; the town of San Joaquin in the west; and in the northwest by the town of Sibalom, Province of Antique.

The progressive municipality is endowed with numerous historical and cultural relics. Vast fields and seas gave birth to many beautiful mountains and riverways. This was an old and rich country sending an air of mystery.

Not only is Miagao of significant historical and religious importance but the natural beauty surrounding the town is simply breathtaking.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Not known to many, but there are also a lot of interesting walks through the mountains where visitors, especially those who are adventurous in spirit can choose a number of different walks, all with amazing views. Visitors will also experience some of the unusual rock formations in the area.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Whether you are in search of a small group guided trekking holiday led by one of our locally based and experienced walk leaders, or prefer to set off on your own and discover the delights of the mountains. There is something here for everyone; from gentle walks through the countryside to strenuous days to satisfy the serious hikers and hill walkers. 

From the poblacion, one can take a 12-kilometer jeepney ride to Barangay Tigmalapad for a P50 transportation fee to reach Barangay Ongyod. Visitors can also take a tricycle ride from the town proper to Barangay La Consolacion and a take a moderate trek to reach the base of Barangay Ongyod.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Barangay Ongyod offers visitors access to its rich ecosystem characterizing the higher portions of the town. The roads take visitors through lowland meadows and along swift-flowing river tributaries and up through populated mountain barangays. Visitors may park here to access their first hiking trail. The hike offers a dramatic experience on trekking routes, with enough climbing.

photo by Bombette G. Marin
The crisp mountain air of early summer morning provides an amazing long range view of its pine-clad area. This scenic area and natural reserve is covered by Benguet pine trees planted by DENR sometime in the early 1970s as part of its reforestation program. The area offers wide shades of thick pine trees where visitors can rest before proceeding to the next attraction.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

The Gi-ub ni Tidoy is a dome-like coral rock formation situated in the middle of a rice field surrounded by picturesque rice terraces and lush forest trees. This rock formation is as big as a 3-storey building where visitors can climb to its topmost portion and enjoy the view of the area.

photo by Bombette G. Marin
The Sinuhotan Cave in Barangay Unop is for the physically fit. Hikers will come across cave openings with grated entries. Like any other caves, Sinuhotan is wet though not that muddy. The coolness inside is a welcome relief from the warm summer heat. Some of the passage ways have wooden stairways that lead into the interior. Inside there are varying degrees of access, with some level and some uneven walkways and narrow passageways. One attraction of the cave is an area almost near to its exit that is illuminated by the sunlight streaming through a hole in the roof of the cave. Another feature in the darker portions of the cave is this tiny spring water channels underground where explorers can drink. Visitors will need flashlights to explore more passage ways. It is a 45-minute tour from its main entrance to its exit.

Miagao is truly a haven for those seeking outdoor adventure, healing and relaxation, a romantic getaway or family vacation. The town headed by its very dynamic tourism-oriented municipal Mayor, Hon. Macario Napulan is dedicated to promote the beauty, fun, and excitement of its mountain getaways.

Come join us on the journey to a town of mystery and adventure, of beauty and peace. The trip will guide you and your family through charming attractions, friendly people, and some of the most breathtaking views in Iloilo.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Pack picnic basket, a blanket with your family or friends and explore Miagao's beautiful backyard. A trip to Miagao is highly recommended and if you intend to take a few of the mountain walks it is a good idea to schedule at least one day for your visit.

Miagao is one of the seven towns comprising the First District of the Province of Iloilo. It is situated 40.5 kilometers southwest of Iloilo City and 58 kilometers from San Jose, province of Antique. It has a land area of 13, 286 hectares subdivided into 119 barangays, of which 22 are in the urban area of the town and the rest are rural. Its coastline stretches 16 kilometers and covers 22 barangays. Its town fiesta in honor of St. Thomas de Villanova is annually celebrated every September 22. Market day is every Saturday. For more information, please contact the municipality of Miagao at (033) 3152145 or 3158050 loc. 101.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Experience a Sense of Other-Worldliness in Kuliatan

photo by Bombette G. Marin

The municipality of San Joaquin has some of the most unique tourist attractions in Iloilo. The town is an open-house classroom and natural museum, waiting to be explored by visitors. First-time visitors will be surprised by the treasures and incredible spots this southern town offers particularly its beach-related attractions. On the outskirts, Marine Protected Areas form the southern edge of this town and visitors will surely find it especially appealing.

Between the barangays of Lawigan, San Joaquin and San Francisco, Anini-y, Antique is the most popular among the 15 MPAs of this historic town. Kuliatan situated in Barangay Sinogbuhan, the last barangay of the town, is 22 kilometers from the town center was declared a Marine Protected Area in 2011 alongside Pagang-Guibongan Marine Sanctuary in barangays Tapikan and Manhara; Crossing Dapuyan Turtles Marine Sanctuary; Tambi-Tambi Marine Sanctuary; Talisayan Marine Sanctuary; Baybay Marine Sanctuary; Igbangal Marine Sanctuary in barangay Siwaragan; Masagod Marine Sanctuary, Sta. Rita Marine Sanctuary; Tiolas Marine Sanctuary; Balabago Marine Sanctuary, Basang-Basa Marine Sanctuary in barangay Amboyu-an; Cata-an Marine Sanctuary; Igcundao Marine Sanctuary; Bugnayan Marine Sanctuary in barangays Lawigan and Igcadlum. The creation of these Marine Protected Areas where made possible via Municipal Ordinance No. 7 series of 2009 as amended by Municipal Ordinance No. 2011-4.

The area provides an ideal ecosystem for its rich marine resource. Even the locals themselves have been astonished at the variety of objects the sea has deposited on its beach. Municipal ordinances restrict the disturbance and removal of certain natural and historical objects.

The municipal government brings together the community to help them understand the value of this vital natural environment and through this effort will succeed in its mission to sustain it for the future. The local government also seeks to increase the public awareness of the towns’ marine resources and maritime heritage by monitoring, exploration and educational programs..

Snorkeling and swimming are popular among visitors who are willing to travel to the sanctuary. Exceptional habitats, fish populations go hand in hand with the coasts’ extreme conditions, with a few diving for those who have advanced skills and expose open-water experience. Snorkeling the Marine reserve allows visitors to learn and see many marine creatures, corals, plants and fishes.

The sanctuary offers an assortment of year round water adventure that is ideal for anyone looking for a combination of adventure and relaxed yet affordable accommodation. Of course the importance of relaxation is never lost whether it comes from being active or unwinding on the area or just enjoying the ocean breeze from the veranda. It has three (3) bamboo cottages for those who would want to stay overnight. Cottage 1 is good for 6 persons at P500; Cottage 2 is good for 6 persons at P400, and Cottage 3 is good for 6 persons at P500. Restroom is communal. The sanctuary has four (4) picnic areas good for 6 persons at P50 with three (3) picnic cottages at P50 and a pavilion that can accommodate 50 persons at P200.
The marine reserve has a viewing deck connected by a bamboo bridge from the accommodations area to the swimming area and is suspended between two huge coral rocks. The swimming and snorkeling area is delineated with bouys.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

To get to the sanctuary, one can take a San Joaquin-Lawigan jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. When in San Joaquin proper, one can also take a tricycle ride to the area with a contracted rate of P200.00. For more information, please contact Barangay Captain Raymundo Sican at 09186516932, Mr. Goerge Mendoza at 09212609866 or Mrs. Erlyn Alunan, Municipal Tourism Officer at 09179857804.

So, visit Kuliatan, it is a place of refuge, and careful management of this area ensures the long-term protection of Iloilo’s underwater treasures for generations to come.

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