This trip was scheduled as part of my travel spree this year and in line with the on-going sale at Philippine Airlines when I booked the ticket.
Early morning today, I took the flight to Iloilo International Airport, which is the jumping point of this backpacking trip. Upon arrival, I rode a shuttle that took me to SM City Iloilo and rode another jeepney going to the pension house I will be staying this weekend - the Ong Bun Pension House.
As it was still early, no room was available yet for me, so instead, I left my backpack and strolled around the city by walking. Calle Real is just 5 minutes walk away and here you will see a number of 19th and early 20th century structures, making it like walking into a museum of vintage buildings.
The whole city is in fact filled with a number of heritage houses and buildings like these. Walking further away from the pension house, I reached the Aduana or the Customs House, a structure built during the American colonial period.
Today this building is used by the Bureau of Customs.
river wharf allong Muelle Loney street, in front of the custom house
Walking toward the plaza, I passed by the Iloilo City Hall Annex building.
Right in front of the Plaza Libertad stands the Masonic Temple. It was originally built as a lodge and even served as a headquarters for the Japanese Imperial army during Japanese colonial period.
another view of the Masonic Temple
Plaza Libertad. This is the place where the flag of the First Philippine Republic was raised after Spain surrendered its last city during the Spanish colonial period.
On the other side of Plaza Libertad is the Church of San Jose de Placer, an old church built during 1617.
inside the church
After the short walking tour, I then headed back to the hotel to take a rest, a few minutes after I arrived, I was led to a de luxe airconditioned room where I will be staying this weekend. For PHP495 a night, it is pretty much reasonable and the room included airconditioning, cable television and it's own toilet and bath.
Seeing the bed made me sleepy since I left early today. It was time for lunch when I woke up and after eating at a nearby eatery, I then hit the road for more exploration.
One jeepney ride and then I reached the district of Jaro, still in Iloilo City.
Here you will find the famous Jaro Belfry, built in 1744 and located within the plaza of Graciano Lopez Jaena Park. It is one of the few remaining belfries in the country that is separated from the church structure.
Jaro Cathedral or the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, built in 1864
Graciano Lopez Jaena Park. Jaro used to be a separate city in the 1800s and this was the city plaza.
I then hailed a jeepney back to city center again and roamed around that area. I alighted near the capitol buildings
old building of the Provincial Capitol and Arroyo Fountain, named after Sen. Jose Maria Arroyo
new building of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol
Museo Iloilo is located in front of the new provincial capitol building. The structure attracts attention from a far due to it's queer shape and color.
me in front of the musem
Entrance fee to the museum is a mere PHP5. This will give you access to Iloilo's cultural heritage including potteries, war paraphernalias, religious relics, etc.
artifacts from the church
After the museum, I visited the tourism office just across it. Talking to the guide gave me ideas what to do for tomorrow and he insisted that I visit La Paz (which is actually a separate city already) to try their country-famous batchoy. I've eaten one during my visit in Bacolod, but I guess I have to visit the place where it started.
I rode a jeepney towards La Paz Public Market and there, I found Ted's Old Timer La Paz Batchoy. Highly recommended to me by the locals and was one (of the two choices) given to me by the person in the tourism office.
La Paz Batchoy and puto and drink (not seen here), all for PHP89
a closer look of the batchoy - you can see the innards, pork craclkings and other garnishing floating with the noodle soup here
Later this afternoon, I also went to Molo Church or Church of Sta. Ana, built in 1831.
entrance to the church
historical marker of Molo Church
inside the church
outside faced of the church
Iloilo City has the quintessential old city charm where vintage meets the modern. It's only day 1 for me here and I'm looking forward for tomorrow's explorations!
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