Taking Iloilo by Storm


What is it with our vacations and rain? First was Baguio..Puerto Galera..Boracay (where our flight was cancelled!)..Bantayan (swimming under the rain, anyone?)..and now, Iloilo.

Shirl and I arrived in Iloilo at 6 AM…a good 10 hours before Rhiza boarded the plane to join us. We were greeted by strong winds upon stepping out of the plane.

But that didn’t discourage us to pursue the #1 in To-Do List — to visit Miag-ao Church. After taking a nap at Century 21 Hotel Lobby (nice hotel, btw) and a much-needed 30 mins doze off session, we proceeded to Molo Church and Plaza to visit the Church and take our ride to Miag-ao from the said place.

Molo Church has a gothic renaissance architecture but reminds you of a castle with its red roof. You might want to imagine Sleeping Beauty inside instead of the saints on each pillar.

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St. Anne Parish (Molo Church)
We had an idea that it would take us time before reaching the Unesco Heritage site…but we didn’t expect that we will be travelling an hour, passing 3 towns while rain was pouring non-stop and the waves were hitting the shores like there was no tomorrow. It was a bit of sight to behold (or gasp) – on our left was the sea, on our right were the mountains.After so many stops, we finally reached our destination. It made as sigh .. the sight floored us. Of course, we saw more than a dozen churches in our lives but with Miag-ao’s facade, color and structure – it did demand attention. We were not able to go inside the Church so we just strolled its perimeter, including the churchyard and occasionally posed for a photo-op under the drizzle.
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Miag-ao Church up front.
With the threat of incoming heavy rain, we proceeded to Guimbal Church that we passed before reaching Miag-ao. Sandstone, old style and small. One won’t miss it since the church seems to welcome you upon reaching the town (more welcoming than the municipal hall and the humongous gym).
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Sandstoned Guimbal Church
And the rain didn’t bother to wait for us to reach the city. It poured nonstop upon reaching the town of Oton. We managed to reach the city without looking like basang sisiw.Time to meet Rhiza! After the greet and chika, we travelled to Arevalo to get a taste of Breakthrough. It was a toss between Tatoy’s and Breakthrough and somehow, we did choose the latter. We had sisig, prawns, oyster (talaba, bala haw), chopseuy and crablets for dinner. Takaw tingin! We were almost done and Carlo was nowhere to be seen. He managed to join us after a few minutes (which was fast considering we travelled almost an hour to reach Breakthrough) and after getting shocked at how cheap our bill was…we went videoke at Nuova.I let the real singers sing. I was the pampagulo. No wonder it rained so hard that night. We had a blast singing (and listening for me) love songs, heartbreaking songs and songs for the sawi. It was a night-out! And this is just day 1.Day 2 could have started very early since we planned to leave for Guimaras. But with the incessant rains and strong winds, we ended up in SM Delgado and Marymart. We visited Jaro Church and its belfry, glimpsed at Nelly Garden and look at old estatwas in Museo Iloilo. Had a steaming hot batchoy at Ted’s and off we went to San Pedro to see Guimaras from a distance(good thing we didn’t force ourselves to hop to the next pumpboat, the waves were not so friendly). We strolled along Calle Real and tried to relive pre-war Iloilo with the old structures standing along the JM Basa Street. And we proceeded to the 3rd oldest parish in Arevalo. Villa in the town is also the older capitol of the province. The Church reminds you of old American churches in a 1930s village… or probably think of “The Village” or American Gothic painting.
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Calle Real in downtown Iloilo
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Shirl and Rhiz in La Villa del Arevalo
We revisited Molo church by this time, we know the route by heart).We were able to go inside the church this time. Indeed, if one needs ideas for a name of a girl – there were plenty to choose from the lady saints lining the pillars of the Church.

We went pasalubong shopping at the must-visit Panaderia de Molo for its famous Kastila sounding delicacies such as galletas and bañadas. After we had our tastebuds filled with sweet everythings, we took some baby steps to Biscocho House for the must-buy butterscotch. Yum yum.

At that point, we did look like tourists carrying bags of pasalubongs. 🙂 With aching feet and bad weather, we had dinner – room service.

I, on the other hand, had a night cap that lasted til 3 in the morning.

Sunny and rainy…that was our third day. Time to pack and leave the city of biscocho and talaba. While we raced ourselves to the airport, we ended up waiting for a good 45 minutes before boarding. We must be the 1% delayed flight 🙂

It was literally a wet trip. And we enjoyed every minute of it. The rain might have dampened our spirits a bit but it didn’t stop us to stroll the streets.

Our next stop? Hmm, probably, I have to start refilling my piggy bank again.