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.
































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