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Historical Sites in Iloilo

The Spanish conquest has been evident in the Western Visayas.  The Spanish influence in Iloilo is depicted by centuries-old churches.  Here are some of the historical and religious sites in the towns of Iloilo City, Guimbal, Tigbauan and Miag-ao in Iloilo.

Miag-ao Church or Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church

The baroque architecture was built from 1787 to 1797 and became a fortress during the Moro pirates attacked.  The church was preserved as it was named  UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tigbauan Church or Saint John of Sahagun Church

A unique church because of its Latin American churrigueresque architecture that had been built in the 16th century by Augustinian friars.  Inside the church is a grotto containing the chapel of Sto. Nino.

Guimbal Church or St. Nicholas de Tolentino Parish

The Spanish-colonial style church was built using corals and adobe.  It was also known as the iconic Iloilo’s Yellow Stone Landmark because of the yellow colored limestone blocks and coral powder used. The four-story-high belfry serves as a watchtower against Moro pirates during the Spanish era.

Santo Nino de Arevalo Parish Church

The church possesses the third oldest Sto. Nino figurines in the Philippines brought by the Augustinian friars during 1581. The church stood in one of the places that were first to be named in Spanish as La Villa Rica de Arevalo and is now known by the locals as Villa de Arevalo.

Molo Church or St. Anne’s Parish

A Gothic-Renaissance inspired church exudes beauty which was built by Dominicans in 1831.  A feminist church due to the presence of sixteen statues along the aisles is feminine saints.  The massive two belfries consist of 30 different sizes of bells.

Molo Mansion

Across the famous Molo Church is a mansion of the Yusay-Consing clan or widely known as Molo Mansion.  It was turned into a heritage museum.

Jaro Cathedral or National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles

The cathedral is declared the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles and also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro.   Housed inside the church is the stone image of the miraculous Our Lady of Candles.

Jaro Belfry

Separated from the church is the belfry across the national highway and situated in the Jaro Plaza.

 

Kalanggaman Island

Kalanggaman Island is a small paradise island in the Palompon Leyte but is also accessible from Cebu. It is also one of the beautiful islands in the Philippines and is considered as untouched and unspoiled.

How to get there

It was a two hours boat ride from Malapascua Island, we decided to rent a boat towards this island. I was already intrigued with this island but never had a chance to research about it, and upon seeing that the Blue Coral Beach Resort had an island tour in this island, we decided to stay for one more day. Instead of heading back to Cebu City to have a city tour we decided to explore Kalanggaman since we were near.
It was 8 in the morning when the boatman picked us up. He was with his son and 1 other companion who bought our lunch. It was a hot day and the one hour ride was rather boring because we could only hear the splashing of water to the boat. There were islands on both sides, the mainland of Cebu and Leyte but they were rather small. But after an hour, you could almost see the island.

Seeing Kalanggaman Island

And inch by inch, we were getting closer to the island. Seeing a very small island with a pristine sand bar from end to end glistening to the sun, we get excited. It was breathe taking just by looking from afar. A very long stretch of sand bars from the island where you could walk as far as you could during low tide.
When our boat approached the main island, we were really excited.


Kalanggaman Island is untouched, unspoiled. We went to the west end first. You will see the coconut trees going to the back of the island. There were no people here except us.

Then we walked through the rocky side of the island that leads to the main beach front. It was already high tide, and the long stretch of the sand bar was disappearing. But we still walked to the sands feeling the cold water in our feet.

We looked for a covered shade from the coconut tree and had our lunch courtesy of our boatman, and a treat of coconut juice fresh from the coconut in the island. After which we immersed to the water again, on the different sides of the island.
It was past 2 PM when we decided to head back to Malapascua for another 2 hours boat ride. But it didn’t matter anymore, because the island was really amazing and beautiful.


The island is managed by the government of Palompon, Leyte. It is not part of Cebu anymore. They told us it was a 45-minute journey if you were from Palompon. There was a shop on the island, but there’s no place to stay except to do camping.

Malapascua Island Diving Sites

Malapascua Island is a premier dive site, in which divers have been visiting regularly.

Diving Sites

The famous area for diving sites around Malapascua Island are:

1. Deep Slope
2. Lapus Pinnacle
3. Bantigue


4. Evo Reef
5. Blue Corner
6. Dakit Dakit

7. Lapus Lapus
8. Lapus II
9. Deep rock

10. The Lighthouse

Other dive sites along the area within the northernmost tip of Cebu are:
1. Monad Shoal
2. Gato Shoal
3. Kimud Shoal
4. Dona Marilyn Shipwreck
5. Maria’s Point
6. Chocolate Island
7. Nunez Shoal
8. Kalanggaman Island

Thresher sharks and manta rays are regularly cited in the diving sites. There are shops for diving gears and diving lessons.

For other posts about Cebu, please check: Bantayan Island in 2009 Revisiting Bantayan Island Why Cebu? Bantayan Island  Camotes Islands

Malapascua Island

Malapascua Island is an island in the northernmost tip of Cebu Island and is part of Logon, Daanbantayan.

Touring the island

Bounty Beach

Our resort was located on the left side of the beach, called Blue Coral Beach Resort. The room was a non-air conditioned room, had a wide window which gave fresh air from the sea. And because it was built on high rocks, our room gave a spectacular view of the Bounty beach. Bounty beach gets crowded because of the number of resorts and restaurants on the beach front.


Our resort also offered an island tour in which we availed. We started at 9 AM.

Dakit Dakit Island

The first site was the snorkeling near Dakit Dakit Island, known for its coral garden and coral walls and different fishes.

The Lighthouse

After which we passed by the lighthouse in the northwest of Malapascua island. There is a dive site near the lighthouse. Another beach is also near the Lighthouse.


Guimbitayan

We stopped at Guimbitayan, where the sand bar meets from both sides of the sea. There were children of the locals who were also enjoying the beach.

Lapus Lapus Island

You can also see Lapus Lapus Island where they do cliff diving. Another site called Lapus Diving Cliff is connected in Guimbitayan slopes which are overlooking the Lapus Lapus Island.

Langob Beach Heaven

We headed to Langob Beach Heaven, where we stayed for more than an hour before having our lunch. The lunch was also included in our tour, where our boatman freshly catch fishes where cooked in the boat while we enjoyed the water and the long sand bar.


Bantigue Beach

After we had our lunch, our boatman took us the Bantigue Cove Beach Resort where there is Bantigue beach, a private beach resort, but we were allowed to tour the cove. It was also a high spot, to check the other side of Malapascua Island. After which we went to the Coral Garden to enjoy another snorkeling activity. We were backed in Bounty Beach at 4 PM and stayed there enjoyed our sunbathing.


Other beaches on the island are Logon Beach, Gugma Beach, Kabatangan Beach, Bakhaw etc.

How to get there

From the airport we hailed a taxi towards the North Terminal and rode a bus going to Daanbantayan, to reach the Maya Port. It took us almost 6 hours to get to the port. A boat, that leaves every hour, was waiting for us for another two hours ride to the island. After a long journey, we were excited when we finally saw the beautiful white sands. There were no ports on the island, the boatman stopped on the main beach.

For other posts about Cebu please check the posts: Bantayan Island in 2009 Revisiting Bantayan Island Why Cebu? Bantayan Island

Camotes Islands

Camotes Islands

Camotes Islands is located east of Cebu Island and southwest of Leyte Island. It is a group of islands which consists of four towns – San Francisco, Tudela, Poro and Pilar. Camotes group of islands is composed of Pacijan, Poro, Ponson and Tulang.

How to get there

From the North Terminal, we rode a bus that was passing to Danao, one hour and a half ride from the terminal. Danao port is located on the right side of the road. We waited for the Ro-Ro vessel that would take us to Camotes Island for another two hours boat ride going to Puertobello Wharf Port. There are other ports from Poro coming from Cebu City and in Pilar coming from Ormoc and Leyte.

Touring the Island

Mangodlong Beach

We rented a habal-habal to take us to Mangodlong Rock Resort located in San Francisco town. We had our lunch in the restaurant. We explored the beachfront of Mangodlong beach and the overlooking Mangodlong bay thru the rock formation. With its seashell shore and rocky beach, they also made connecting bridge and ladders to the rock formation.


We then rented a habal-habal again to tour Camotes Island. We passed by the San Francisco Town. From the town there’s a Poro San Francisco Mangrove Highway going to Poro Town before we went to the other side of the island.

Bukilat Cave

Our first destination was Bukilat Cave in Tudela which was around 30 minutes from Mangodlong. We went down to the cave and took pictures. It was a small cave and we were the only tourist inside at that time. It was also a great time because it was low tide and we could see the rock formation and the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave.

Buho Rock Resort


We went to Buho Rock Resort also in Poro Town where you could see the Buho Garden. We had to go down to see the amazing rock formation and the beautiful garden which was located along the stairs going down. Beneath the rocks is clear water where there is a cliff where some children were cliff diving.

Lake Danao


From Buho Rock Resort we headed to Lake Danao which is also in San Francisco town. Lake Danao offers zip line, boat ride and other water activities.

For other posts about Cebu please check the following: Bantayan Island in 2009 Revisiting Bantayan Island Why Cebu? Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island in 2009

In 2009, I decided to go back to the first island I fell in love with. With this post, I want you to see what Bantayan looks like ten years ago.
It was August when we came back, my second time on the island where the southwest monsoon occurs and make seas rough. But it was still the same feeling seeing Bantayan Island for the second time. We again stayed in Budyong, traversed the Sugar Beach, ate freshly catch seafood bought from locals and went back to Sta Fe Beach Club and the Ogtong Cave.

Here’s a video of Bantayan in 2009.

Where to stay in Bantayan Island

Sta Fe Beach Club and Ogtong Cave Resort.

Sta Fe Beach Club is located at Talisay in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. From the port, you could see the beautiful beachfront resort on the left side of Alice Beach. And easily accessible by tricycles. If you book earlier you could also ask to be picked up at the port as they have a free transfer.


There are so many rooms in Sta Fe Beach Club, airconditioned and fanned rooms. There are rooms for Clubhouse twin, triple and quadruple; Cottage Triple Seaview, Double Duplex and Family Cottage. The rooms have a veranda. It would be nice to pick a room facing the beach front. Some rooms don’t have a television.
There’s a restaurant in the hotel but breakfast is not included in the rate. They also offer island tours.
At night most visitors preferred hanging out on the beach front to mingle with friends. You could also see the view of the port at night.

Another resort owned by Sta Fe Beach Club is the Ogtong Cave Resort where you will find inside the resort is a small cave with cold crystal clear waters. The resort is open for visitors if you’re going to check out the cave.
The resort has a view of the beach and a swimming pool. They also have rooms and their own restaurant.

Budyong


Budyong Resort has been one of the first resorts in Bantayan Island. It is located along Sugar Beach. It is also accessible by tricycle. The resort is also near the town of Sta Fe’s church and market and near the different restaurants in the area.


Budyong has its own restaurant. The rooms are a concrete Nipa Hut facing Sugar Beach. There are different rooms to choose from. You could also buy fishes caught by the fishermen.

For other posts about Cebu, please check Why Cebu? Revisiting Bantayan Island Bantayan Island

Revisiting Bantayan Island

I came back last summer of 2014 to Bantayan Island, revisiting the place some months after Yolanda devastated the island. And this time around, I traveled with a group. There were eight of us who went there after our convention in Cebu City. That Friday night, we went to San Remigio and stayed at our colleague’s house. In the morning, we went to Hagnaya Port to bring us to Sta Fe port. We stayed at the side of the ferry and enjoyed the view and breathe of fresh air going to Bantayan Island.

Bantayan Island Beaches

Upon seeing Bantayan Island again, I felt I was home. It saddened me though, that the coconut trees were cut into halves. Other trees were disheveled too. I could still see the effect of Super Typhoon Yolanda within the vicinity of Sta Fe as some houses had broken down.

Alice Beach


We went to the town proper of Sta Fe and ate a sumptuous lunch in a restaurant called Coucou Bar Bantayan Island Hotel and Restaurant. There were new restaurants in the area. Restaurants before were located in the resort and there were only some carinderias around. We checked in at the Sta Fe Beach Resort near Sta Fe port. We booked two cottages without aircon, and we split into two. The cottage and the veranda were big enough for us. Our cottage was near the beach, while the other one was at the back.


We headed to the beach front and started enjoying the beach front. We took pictures while waiting for the boat that would take us to Virgin Island or Silion Island. We walked thru the fine sands of Alice Beach towards the boat.

Virgin Island

Virgin Island was a secluded area and you need to pay an entrance fee for the day tour. We took pictures and and enjoyed swimming in the beach. We waited until the sunsets from the horizon.

It was already low tide when we got back to our resort. We took a bath and ate at the Island Daddy Dok’s restaurant where we get grilled pork, fish soup and shrimps. We also took some time in the grocery to buy our drink for the night, ice and some snack foods to munch during our drinking session. As we get back to our hotel we drank and shared stories about lives. When we finished drinking, only half of the group decided to take a night swim. We actually didn’t swim but, enjoyed the cold beach water.


We transferred to the beachfront where there were other customers who were also enjoying the night. We were the ones left until past midnight. We already finished our drinks and we headed to the waters where we stayed there for another hour.


The following day, we were already up when the sun rose. Because we were on the east side of the island the view of sunrise was fantastic. After taking pictures of the sunrise, I toured the group in Sugar Beach.

Sugar Beach

This side was the best hit area during the super typhoon. Some of the resorts where recovering but there were also resorts that were really devastated. We walked from Sugar Beach until we reached the area where we could also see the port.

We went back to Sta Fe Beach Resort where we enjoyed our breakfast before we went back to San Remigio. The next time I visit Bantayan Island, I need to go to the Bantayan town proper and Madridejos. These two municipalities that I haven’t explored yet.
Bantayan Island has been listed as my number two travel destination in terms of beach, food, resorts and people. And I would never get tired of going back. It would always be my comfort zone. My first love. My first ever worthwhile travel. And the reason why I started exploring the archipelago and loving my very own country.

Why Cebu?

This is my favorite province. If you read my blog, I’d been featuring different locations here, and still, there’s a lot to explore.

Why Cebu?

Sugar Beach, Bantayan Island

I’d been to the different cities and towns in Cebu like Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay, Bantayan Island, Danao, Camotes Island, Malapascua Island, San Remigio, Daanbantayan, Carmen, Oslob and Samboan and the most recent is Moalboal.

Dako Island, Moalboal

Where to go in Cebu

For starters, tour the city first, from the famous Sinulog Festival every January, a visit to the oldest church of Basilica Minore del Sto Nino, Magellan’s Cross, Fort San Pedro and Taoist Temple.

Malapascua Island

The different islands and towns promote numerous activities. But it depends on what you want, like diving, island tours, trekking and canyoneering falls, mountain climbing, watching whale sharks, viewing the heritage sites.

San Remigio

Name it Cebu has it. It just depends on what you want to see and what to do. It is the best place for Lechon, seafood, the famous Larsian food stall and the Lantaw restaurant with a view of the city.

Camotes Island

My favorite destination is Bantayan Island, my first love, but overall Cebu is worth your time, money and memories.

For the next posts, I will concentrate on the Visayas area, most especially about Cebu. It is my favorite province, a province with all my favorite destinations. Cebu will never get old to travel, I’d been here for the nth time, either for work or vacation.

You can also check my post about Bantayan Island

Tigbi Waterfalls, San Francisco, Quezon

After San Andres is the last town in the Bondoc Peninsula, a town called San Francisco.


Our boatman also gave us a contact person on the motorbike ride going to San Francisco Tigbi falls. From Alibijaban we went back to the San Andres Port. From there, we went to our boatman’s house in the town proper. We left our bags there before we go to the falls.


Since there were four, we also had four motorbike riders with us, all locals from San Andres town. It was thirty minutes ride, but as we go up to the mountains we stopped at a small store where we had our snacks before heading to the barangay going to the falls.


We reached Barangay Mabunga where we left the motorbikes and we had to trek for 30 more minutes. While trekking the river, we saw locals swimming along the water and some carabao’s enjoying swimming.


You could see the top of the waterfalls before going down to the raging water and to see the picturesque view of the whole stretch of the waterfalls.

Once you go down to the raging waterfalls you will see the whole waterfalls. There were tourists and locals who were also swimming when we arrived.

Our riders were doing cliff diving in the raging waters. After enjoying the water we head back to San Andres. On the way back, the view of Alibijaban Island is seen from the top. 

To know more about Quezon Province, check out my other posts: Gumaca, Quezon, Borawan Island Beach, Quezon, Dampalitan Island, Padre Burgos, Quezon, Calauag, Quezon, and Kamay ni Hesus.

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Burias Island Masbate Tour

Burias Islands in San Pascual Masbate is along the Ragay Gulf and 2 hours away from Alibijaban Island, San Andres, Quezon. Burias Island is one of the three main islands of Masbate province and is a part of the Bicol region.

Masbate is between the boundaries of Visayas and Luzon. The province is included as part of Bicol region but in proximity is also near the Visayas. Masbate is a group of island and the main town is Masbate City. The famous Burias Island is known for the stunning rock formation and pristine white sand of the beaches. The other two islands are Ticao and Masbate.

Tinalisayan Island

After two hours of boat ride from Alibijaban Island, Tinalisayan Island is seen from afar. It is a small island with some rock formation nearby the island. It has a small sand bar where the boats dock. During low tide, the sand bar is visible but since we arrived during high tide, we had to walk at thigh high level of water.

The island is astonishing because of pristine white sand and clear turquoise water. They also have small rocks that they balance to form a tower. Tinalisayan island also a camping site but they only have one male and female restroom. There are small stores that sell food.

Tinalisayan island is also a 30 minutes boat ride from the town of San Pascual where they get the stuff for the island. You can also see Snake island from Tinalisayan.

Sombrero Island

While riding a boat going to Sombrero Island, you can also see the town of San Pascual. There are small islands with a rock formation and where some locals were doing cliff diving.


Sombrero Island is called sombrero because of the shape of the rock formation which is like sombrero or “hat.”
The island also has a unique sand bar. It has a wide sand bar and there is an area for camping where there are coconut trees.


To go to the Sombrero rock formation, you need to walk along the rocky sands along the shore. To get to the small island you need a boat to be able to explore the island.

The Burias Island Tour also includes Animasola Island and Snake Island, but because we left Alibijaban a little late we weren’t able to go to the other two. The boatman reminded us to leave at 7am but we weren’t able to wake up that time. We left Sombrero past 4 PM, and the water was already rough.

Animasola and Snake Island are known for stunning rock formations. We went back to Alibijaban Island just in time for the sunset.

How to get there

Since we were in Alibijaban, San Andres Quezon, there are different boats to rent to tour you going to the famous Burias Islands. Rates differ from the capacity of the boat and the number of passengers. You can also ride a passenger boat from San Andres port going to San Pascual. It is 2 hours ride from San Andres, Quezon to San Pascual, Masbate.

Another route is coming from Naga. Go to Pasaco Port and ride a passenger boat for 2 to 3 hours going to the town of San Pascual. From San Pascual, you can rent a boat going to the islands.

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