Saturday, August 27, 2016

Road-tripping in San Joaquin

CPU tourism students enjoy Kuliatan Marine Sanctuary in Barangay Sinogbuhan

From Iloilo City, your tour of San Joaquin begins with a beautiful scenic drive to the southern coast of the province where your first stop is the Neo-Gothic architectural style of San Joaquin Roman Catholic Cemetery where it serves a s a popular landmark for tourism. Built in 1892, this coral stone walled cemetery is considered to be one of the most photographed heritage structures in Iloilo is known for its Camposanto elevated 20-steps from the ground.

CPU tourism students pose with Erlyn Alunan - Municipal Tourism Officer in front of the church

Next up is the Baroque architectural style of the Roman Catholic Church. Though not the original structure, it stands on the same foundation with first church said to have been finished earlier than 1850. Declared as a Historical Landmark in 1974, the present church is made from gleaming coral stone called “sillar” that were rectangularly shaped into a given dimension was built in 1859 and finished in 1869. It is known to be the most militaristic church in the Philippines with its pediment’s bass relief commemorates the 1859 victory of the Spanish over the forces of Morroco in Tetuan, Africa. The sculpture is so intricate that even the expression of wounded soldiers is visible. Skilled masons and craftsmen, famous sculptors and painters from Spain and Mexico were employed to work for the construction of the church. It was used as a fort during the Muslim raids; burned in January 29, 1943; and, rocked by the 1948 Lady Kaykay earthquake.

Pasungay sa Agosto 

Not to be missed is the most exciting fiesta event of the municipality, the PASUNGAY bullfight. The conduct of bull fight is done every January and August as the people continue this tradition because of its cultural importance and to raise fund for an important municipal project. Lasting only for a day, the fight starts after the mass then people start to flock at the enclosed arena situated at the middle of the San Joaquin Sports Stadium situated at the back of the Municipal Hall overlooking the coastline.  The first pair rears up, bite, spin round and kick with their hind legs as the exciting and absorbing fight arouses cheers from the crowds of spectators kept far away from the fenced area.  If one falls down or runs away, the other one is declared the winner. The fight normally goes on for a few minutes until one or the other collapses or is simply too exhausted to continue.

CPU tourism students snorkel around the sanctuary

Most first-time visitors to Iloilo do not make it far but wandering around the town’s scenic coastline barangays starting from Tiolas down leads to a ribbon of Marine Protected Areas that support a number of beach resorts. These Marine Protected Areas form networks of remarkable sites. Fifteen (15) identified barangays formed the basis for classification and implementation of the MPA Policy set by the town in 2011 namely, 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 and the most popular, the Kulyatan Marine Sanctuary in Sinogbuhan, the last barangay of the town, 22 kilometers away from the poblacion. Swimming and snorkelling are popular activities in the site. There are four cottages available for overnight stay. To get to this sanctuary, one can take a San Joaquin-Lawigan jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Oton or at the market terminal at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. 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, Hon. Raymundo Sican at 09186516693 or George Mendoza – sanctuary caretaker at 09212609866.

Assemblage Point Resort and Convention Hub in Barangay Tiolas

If you have time, take a few minutes to relax along the route, soak up some of the scenery and just generally chill the hell out. Check out Assemblage Point Resort and Convention Hub in Barangay Tiolas. It is a perfect hideaway to enjoy privacy and the beauty of the coast. Check out the stunning view from the 18 air-conditioned rooms available, chill at the poolside or enjoy kayaking and swimming at the beach. For more information, please contact (033) 3362147/ 5033477 or 09985414511.

Dove calling in Garinfarm

Finally, if you really want to make your mark in San Joaquin hit up for Garinfarm, an Inland -   Pilgrimage – Agricultural Resort located in Purok 11, Barangay Poblacion developed for outdoor recreation, education and adventure. The resort opens daily from 8 am until 9 pm. Jeepneys from the city bring their passengers direct to the entrance of the resort. For more information, please call May or Bernie at (063-33) 3147555 direct to Garinfarm.

San Joaquin is a 2nd Class municipality and is 85 kilometers south from Iloilo City. It is the last town south of the province. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays. To get to the town, one can take a San Joaquin jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, take any bus at the Antique Terminal in Molo or at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09176619120.

Know more about San Joaquin on the 12th TUMANDOK, a Tourism Month celebration on September 22-25 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo organized by the Provincial Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government, the Department of Tourism Region VI, the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Inc. and Robinsons Place Iloilo in cooperation with Central Philippine University, Tinukib, Department of Trade and Industry and The Daily Guardian.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Unmissable Gigantes in Carles

Cabugao Gamay, Barangay Gabi, Gigante Sur, Carles, Iloilo

The Gigante Group of Islands, located 21 kilometers northeast from Bancal Port in Carles, Iloilo, are among the most scenic and unique of all the islands of the province. This famous island group is a major tourist destination consisting of Gigante Norte (the islands of Bolobadiang, Uaydajun, Gigantona and Giganteleo) and Gigante Sur (the islands of Antonia Point, Bantigue, Cabugao Dako, Cabugao Gamay, Polopandan, Balbagun and Tangke).

Each of the Gigante Group has its own distinct appeal for travellers. Some portions feature white sandy beaches, others isolated coves and picturesque fishing villages, and still others with many scenic cliffs, remnants of the century old watchtower, and a number of caves. Several of the Gigante Group had become favourite holiday destination itineraries for travellers both local and foreign.

When you are looking for inviting beaches bathed by year-round sun, Antonia Point, and the islands of Cabugao Gamay and Bantigue  in Barangay Gabi, Gigante Sur awaits.

 Antonia Point, Barangay Gabi, Gigante Sur, Carles, Iloilo, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes 

Antonia Point is one of the most beautiful island beaches of Gigante Sur with coconut palms and enhanced by the 365 days a year of sun. Although the island has no accommodation establishment for visitors who would want to stay overnight, visitors are sure to find a quiet spot for their sunbathing or casual stroll and little more activity at one of the more popular beachfront areas. 

Gigante Water Sport in Antonia Point. photo by Chelsi Eroy 

Gigante Water Sport offers lessons in Jetski for two persons at P2,500 for 30 minutes or P3,500 for an hour, for more information  please contact 09988841396. They also rent out Banana Boats good for eight persons at P1,600 and Kayak good for two persons at P150 per hour. The island also offers rentals for tents good for 10 at P200 per person and snorkelling gears. 

scallops in Antonia Point, photo by Chelsi Eroy
And the best way to enjoy eating in the island is to try their main local food mix up your packed meals. Steamed scallops sold at P1.00 a piece with a minimum order of 100 pieces and Wasay-Wasay at P200 per order. Environmental fee to this island is at P40 per person. For more information, please contact Danilo dela Cruz at 09473884070.

back beach portion of Cabugao Gamay

The Maruja’s Floras Island paradise popularly known as Cabugao Gamay in Barangay Gabi is Gigante Sur’s most popular and pristine island beaches. If you want a quieter, more relaxing experience, this picturesque island is an ideal location. It has a beautiful beach great for swimming with a quiet strip of white sand in an island requiring a short motorized boat ride, around 10 minutes off Antonia Point. Known as the “Selfie Island” among tourists coming from Manila because of its rock formation where visitors can climb all the way to the top, the best spot for viewing the whole islet and a selfie shot. For visitors who would want to stay overnight, they have air-conditioned and fan rooms with individual bathrooms good for two till a group of 15-20 persons. The island is generator-operated which starts from six in the evening to six in the morning. Tents for 10-15 persons are also for rent at P300 per person. They serve the best sugba nga baboy (pork) and manok (chicken) as well as serve a variety of fish and shell foods either grilled or as soup base. Environmental Fee is at P50 per person. For more information, please contact 09399212456.

Bantigue Island Sandbar

Bantigue Island Sandbar is another charming islet, a popular stopover because of its picturesque golden brown sandbar lapped by its emerald green and azure waters where visitors can enjoy swimming.

for their Tumandok fieldwork, CPU Tourism students 

pose with Miss Marjorie Gumben - Municipal Tourism Officer, Carles

Everyone paying a visit to Gigante Group of Islands must depart from Bancal Port in Carles. Passenger boats leave daily for Gigantes Group only at 10 in the morning. A lovely breezy journey to Gigante Group takes 1.5 hour via motorized boat ride. Presently, there are 79 registered motorized boats for hire for day trips to the islands for a group of 10 maximum at P3,500, 15persons maximum at P5,000, 20 persons maximum at P6,000 and 25 persons maximum at P8,000. An environmental fee of P75 per person is charged and 20% discount is given to all government employees, student, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Carles is the last town north of the province of Iloilo. It is 147.6 kilometers away or a 3-hour bus ride from the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Miss Marjorie Gumban – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09101249946.

Know more about the Gigante Group of Islands of Carles on the 12th TUMANDOK, a Tourism Month celebration on September 22-25 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo organized by the Provincial Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government, the Department of Tourism Region VI, the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Inc. and Robinsons Place Iloilo in cooperation with Central Philippine University, Tinukib, Department of Trade and Industry and The Daily Guardian.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Passi: Sweet City and More

pineapple plantations in Barangay Bita-ogan, Passi City

Passi, the only component city of Iloilo was originally an area of refuge for Malay migrants long before the arrival of the Spaniards. In 1766, it was organized as a pueblo. It became a component city in January 30, 1998 through Republic Act 8469 signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos.

sugarcane chimney in Barangay Sto. Tomas
Passi City prides itself as the “Sweet City at the Heart of Panay” because of its vast plantations of sugarcane and pineapple.  Not known to many, the title rests on the foundation of a rich cultural heritage.

Sugar farming was so profitable that plantations grew everywhere in Passi and its neighboring towns. Sugar Cane was a highly profitable and prosperous activity and was known to be the backbone of our economy. The surrounding plantations provide livelihoods for many of its residents. The town's surrounding attractions showcase the area's intimate relationship with this crop. Many sugar estates, as a prestige symbol, raised sugar mill chimneys. The sugarcane fields were flourishing and sugar were produced in the grounds of these chimneys. With time, however, there was a decline in sugarcane production because of low demand. 

Chinese chimney in Barangay Imbang Grande
These chimneys were operating in full force during the agricultural heyday. The old red brick chimney areas became overgrown and structures deteriorated rapidly. These ruins are a familiar sight to all driving along sugarcane plantations in the area.The existing Passi Sugar Central II in Barangay Man-it reminds visitors of an industry still dominating the area.

CPU tourism students for their Tumandok field work posing in front of the Balete tree

Along the sugarcane plantations in Barangay Imbang Grande stands a historic Balete tree  said to be the biggest of its kind in Passi, because of its gigantic structure it would take around 20-25 men to encircle its huge trunk. Though people believe that it is a dwelling place of a supernatural being, it has become an attraction for many who are drawn to its massive root system. It had become a popular spot to take souvenir photos and had served as a wonderful shade for everyone passing by the barangay.

Passi Presidencia, old Municipal Hall finished in 1930

The Passi Presidencia also known as the old Municipal Hall was completed in 1930 under Former Mayor Jose Paloma. This 2-storey white building with wooden floors houses the Passi City Gallery where it showcases old photos, coins and info about historic Passi. The gallery is joined by the Special Project Office of the City Mayor and the Population Commission. The ground-floor is occupied by the Post Office, Commission on Elections, Parole, City Registrar and Department of Agrarian Reform.

CPU tourism students exploring Bita-ogan cave
Get your daily dose of adrenalin by exploring the city's most important feature --- its caves. It is home to Tinay and Bitas caves situated in Barangay Imbang Grande; Cueva ni Musyo in Barangay Bayan; Erimnat Maya, Cuadrado and Suhoton caves found in Barangay Agtambo; Irimnan It Maya Spring cave, Santos, Baboy-baboy, Amorotik and Tubigon caves in Barangay Magdungao; Cabugon cave in Barangay Imbang Grande; Ninfa and Kweba ni Wening caves in Barangay Aglalana; Ibajay Cave in Barangay Bacuranan and Bita-ogan cave in Barangay Bita-ogan.

Iloilo is a beautiful province that attracts local and foreign visitors each year. There are too many less popular travel destinations in Iloilo that are often underrated and overlooked and Passi City is one of them.

chimney in Barangay Quinagaringan Pequeno
The component city of Passi is 50 kilometers away or an hour and twenty-five  minutes away from Iloilo City. It is located along the Central portion of the province using the Iloilo-Capiz National Highway.  Made up of 51 barangays over a land area of 25,068 hectares, it annually celebrates its cultural festival every March and Religious Festival every February in honour of San Guillermo.

For sightseeing, Passi has guided tours that explore nature, culture and adventure. You can visit the City Tourism Office under Miss Gina Palmares – City Tourism Officer at (033) 3115087/ 3116072. Visitors to Passi City can take the bus at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Kamalig, Jaro, Iloilo City. 

chimney in Barangay Agtambo
Know more about Passi and its offerings on the 12th TUMANDOK, a Tourism Month celebration on September 22-25, 2016 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo. The event is organized by the Provincial Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government in partnership with the Department of Tourism Region VI, the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Inc. and Robinsons Place Iloilo. The event is also brought to you by  Central Philippine University - College of Hospitality Management, Tinukib, Department of Trade and Industry and The Daily Guardian.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tourism and the Arts for the Annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair

Jerry Anas , Tourism Officer, Leganes, Iloilo 
in Hablon top
Iloilo is a beneficiary of a richly diverse artistic heritage. Many traditional arts have continued to be useful in contemporary life still flourish because it had shaped the economic landscape of many communities.

Touristic appetites for aesthetically interesting traditional art such as hand-loom weaving have encouraged local governments to create programs and activities to help revive a traditional craft stimulated by the tourist market.

Iloilo is known for its incredible weavers. The towns of Miagao, Oton, Igbaras, Badiangan, Duenas and the District of Arevalo create unique textiles that are exquisitely hand-woven. Their striking color combinations and geometric patterns are examples of skilful traditional design and craftsmanship. There have been artistic innovations but have drawn upon traditional roots. Women blend traditional knowledge of weaving with new patterns to make eye-catching handicrafts, ranging from clothing to household items.

Jennifer Osorio, Tourism Officer, Lambunao, Iloilo 
in hablon gown
Tourism has stimulated the small-scale crafts production of these weaving communities. It has helped market our municipalities as a travel destination as well. 

The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair serves as a drawing card for the Fiber Month   celebration of the Provincial Tourism Office. For the last nine years, it had helped weaving be more profitable and because tourism is central to the provinces’ economic vitality, it had increased tourist traffic in weaving centers throughout the years.

The Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Incorporated is a collaborative tourism association in the Province of Iloilo delivering one voice focused on tourism marketing and promotion. The association believes in responsible tourism and ensures that every program implemented benefits the people and places they visit.

Susan Pacheo, a weaver herself, Tourism Officer, 
Duenas, Iloilo in hablon dress
To show their support to this inspiring project, Municipal Tourism Officers and SB Members on Committee for Tourism will once again take centerstage as they showcase their hand-woven attires in Hablon and Patadyong on August 7 (Sunday) at 5 p.m., SM City Event Center for the 9th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair.

The Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Incorporated will be joined by other designers on August 5 (Friday) at 5 p.m. will make way for the graduating students of the Fashion Design and Merchandising Department of ISAT University featuring JEFFY TICAO, JO NINO DAMASCO, ELON DELGADO, JOHN EDWARD SALES, JOHN ASDOLO, MELVIN ARANGA, MARIA ERICKA CELIZ, CLOE ANN SERUE and JOHN LARLAR and 6 p.m. will feature LEXTER BADANA for PRECIOSA; August 6 (Saturday) at 5 p.m. will spotlight LGU-MIAGAO on Centerstage and 6 p.m. will have International Lifestyle Designer PJ ARANADOR for PATADYONG ACCESORIOS; 

Hon. Norlene Cabangal, SB Member Committee 
on Tourism, Banate,Iloilo in hablon dress
August 7 (Sunday) at 5 p.m. will present the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Inc. on the Ramp and 6 p.m. will be highlighted by the ILOILO FASHION DESIGNERS COUNCIL featuring JOHN MONTINOLA, IAN JORDA, HELLO HELLO, JUN-G CANDELARIO, PAUL CONTE, LEXTER BADANA, BINKY PITOGO and AUDREY ROSE ALBASON.

The 9th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair on August 3-7, 2016 is brought to you by the Provincial Tourism Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo in partnership with the Department or Trade and Industry, the Department of Tourism Regional Office, LGU-Miagao, LGU-Oton, LGU-Duenas, LGU-Badiangan, Tinukib and the Daily Guardian.

Empowering Bitas Through Burihan Festival

Barangay Bitas, Tigbauan, Iloilo will celebrate its annual religious fiesta highlighting the 9th Burihan Festival on February 3-11, 20...