Category Archives: Iloilo

Travel Shares: Expenses in Iloilo

Last March 19-21, 2011 we explored the beauty of Iloilo mainly visiting the city and Sandbar Island in Concepcion.  ZestAir served as our carrier which surprisingly exceeded my expectations.  It wasn’t as bad as others say.  Take a look at what I had to spend for our trip.

Iloilo Expenses

As for the airfare, we only got it for 833Php (roundtrip) per head due to an early 2011 promo thrown by ZestAir.  For me, Century 21 Hotel has one of the lowest hotel rates that you can find.  The rooms are clean and spacious.  I have nothing to complain.  No need to worry about food because just like in other cities, eateries and the usual fast food chains are visible nearby.

To see my blog posts about our almost 3 days and 2 nights stay, please refer below:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3 (First Half)

Day 3 (Second Half)

As promised, I’ll definitely go back to Iloilo and hope to see Guimaras and also take a sidetrip to Bacolod.  Hope my bank account and schedule permit me again. 🙂

Hope this post helps for those who plan to visit Iloilo soon.

Iloilo Day 3: Climbing a mountain with goggles and board shorts (Second Half)

Please read the previous three posts:

Iloilo Day 1

Iloilo Day 2

Iloilo Day 3 (First Half)

Lezz Go Island Hopping! (rate is 500php only).

It’s still cloudy in the afternoon but as we sail, the rain didn’t fall.  I’m very excited to see the 3 islands I saw in Ambot Ah‘s blog.  There were 3 that was featured but there were still more small islands nearby that we can check out.  I also referred to the itinerary he posted in his blog.  Unfortunately, we’re not able to follow it as it is.  But it was a lot of help! (Thank you!)

Along the way, Mang Sonny is telling us bits of information on the islands we see.  One of them is an island owned by Edu Manzano’s family.  Yes, you heard it right.  Not just a beach resort but the whole island itself! Enormously rich eh?!

30 minutes of smooth sail had passed and we reached Tambalisa Island. This is commonly mistaken with Pan de Azucar.  Pan de Azucar is the name of the mountain situated in Tambalisa.

The water is calling me to take a dip!

Unlike in Sandbar, the sand is fine and fairer in this island.  There are houses near the shore where a number of boats are docked.

A view of Mount Pan de Azucar

An old lady fishing for lunch

Knowing that it’s very near the shore, I thought she can’t catch a single fish – she proved me wrong then.

Slowly but surely catch

I asked if I can help her out but more than 20 minutes passed but no luck came my way.  If I wasn’t living in a mountainous area, I’ll definitely master this craft.  🙂

Mang Sonny showed us a rest house owned by one of former President Gloria Arroyo’s cabinet members.  It’s the only rest house you can find in the island.

The native rest house

The weather is just getting better and the sun shows up from the clouds. It’s time to beach bum! We’re all ready to take a swim..

Sun Block - check!, Board Shorts - check!, Goggles - check!

But hep.. hep.. before we dive into the water, Mang Sonny asked us to see Hampangan Rock – a small mountain just a few meters uphill.  He promised us that it’s going to take us a few minutes.  He doesn’t want us to miss seeing it. And so we go.. 🙂

Along the way, we met friendly and chatty locals and asked for directions on how to get there.  They said the mountain will give us a perfect view of Tambalisa and nearby islands.

After 15 minutes of brief walking, we saw the mountain.  I didn’t expect Mang Sonny to be as adventurous and extreme as a kid.  He didn’t follow the right path up the mountain but instead, went over the twigs and started climbing right away! (talk about excitement + adrenalin rush hehe) Without wearing any climbing gears on (but only bottle of pepsi at hand), we have no choice but to follow. . *sign of the cross*..  I never felt frightened until I saw how high we already were.  I shouldn’t have turned my head back. lol

Dem: I thought we're gonna swim!

We rested for a while, drunk the remaining drops of Pepsi (free advertising… hehe) and I didn’t even think of continuing the climb.  But, they’re all going so there, I reached the top!

The view's just perfect..

My first mountain top climb in years..whew!

Here's Mang Sonny, our friendly tour guide and owner of Sandbar (0906.819.7516)

Sporting the best climbing attire.. lol

We just spent a few minutes at the top because it started to rain – weird weather..  And we began our trek down.

Along the way, Mang Sonny told me that it was his first time to climb the mountain.  He spent all his life in Sandbar and just heard Hampangan Rock from stories of his childhood friends.  This explains the excitement and the smile painted all over his face.  At that point, I felt a jerk in my heart (honestly).  Being a part of someone else’s memorable adventure is priceless.  I won’t forget this as well.

Before we head back to Sandbar, we took our time to swim – finally! The goggles has found their use.. hehe  We decided not to visit other islands because we still have a 3-hour land travel going back to the city and another 30 minutes going to the airport.

At noon time, the sand hit high.  Look.

Lubog na ang mini-kubo..

Closer look..

Sandbar gone.. for the meantime..

At noon I thought the rains will delay our departure.  Good thing, it only poured for a few minutes. We’re going back to the city to catch our flight at 7PM!

Nami ang stay namin sa Iloilo! (hope I got that right!.. hehe)

P.S.  Before our flight take off, I received a text that there’s an ongoing earthquake in Manila. I was extremely worried that time.  Thank God, when we arrived it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Iloilo Day 3: Iloilow.. low.. low.. (First Half)

Please read the first two parts:

Iloilo Day 1
Iloilo Day 2


I think the last post was quite lengthy.. that’s why I decided to cut each post a bit.  Plus it’s taking me hours to finish every post.. Sumasakit ang ulo ko pag nagmumulti-task ng work sa office at pagba-blog.. hehe (during idle time lang naman.. ).. 😛 ooops… nawa’y hindi mabasa ni boss ang post na ito.. *peace*

I woke up at 7AM, sayang, hindi ko naabutan ung pagbaba ng moon at di ko nakuhanan, para kasing napuyat ako ng todo.. eh maaga naman ako nakatulog.. Bakit nga kaya? Let’s go back a few hours.. (flash back.. tugsshhhhh) 😛

Apat kami sa kwarto… dalawa ang kama.. pero hindi saktong dalawa-dalawang tao sa isang kama, mas malaki yung isa na pwede tatlo at yung isa, pang single lang.  Since ako ang pinaka-kuya ng tatlo, brabra-suhin ko sanang ako na lang yung sa isang kama.. tutal malikot ako matulog, baka ‘kako di sila makatulog ng maayos pag katabi ako. 😛 Ang oportunista ko lang.. hehe

Ang ending, pinagdikit na lang namin at pahalang kaming nahiga para everybody hapi.. Para fair sa lahat, joke lang yung pambbraso ng higaan.. hehe 😛

Tulog na ng before 10PM, di pa light outs at running pa naman ang generator ng isla.  Hindi pa man humihimbing ang tulog ko eh anak ng tokwa, may nagku-choir sa tabi ko.. Isang baritone at isang bass.. 😛 Hilik kung hilik.. ‘Kala ko makakalusot na ako kay Tekamots sa Ilocos, yun pala may kasama rin ako sa Iloilo at dalawa pa sila!.. 😛 Okay, ako rin raw naghihilik pero kumpara sa dalawa, newbie pa lang ako.. 😛 Apat na beses ata ako nagising dahil sa concierto.. Yaan nyo bro’s, no name dropping.. haha..  (safe si Khanto tahimik matulog.. nyaha!)

Our Day 3 started very, very low.. Nope, it’s not our energy but the very low-low tide in Sandbar.

First and last sunrise in Sandbar..

The tide was at its lowest and before we have our breakfast, we checked the  various underwater life forms.

Tsk!, walang beach bumming sa umaga olats kasi low tide.. sa island hopping sana makapag beach bum.. magagamit ko na ang bagong biling goggles! 😛

At first look, I thought I won’t see anything interesting.

Imagine the waters during high tide

Eto na pala, wag ng mag-imagine..

It’s higher at night time.  Whenever I wake up in the middle of my sleep, I check it out through our window. Our cottage is located just beside the shoreline.  But I cannot see it clearly because the lights outside are all turned off.  I just assumed that any moment, I could feel the waves touching my head. 😛  Thank God it didn’t. lol

I get to see a glimpse of the underwater world, without getting under it but by walking through it.

Starfishes.. ang aga-aga nyan..

Sea Cucumber

At first, I thought it was like a sponge.  But it freaked me out a bit when it started moving towards me.. Whew!

I tried to walk as gently as possible so that I won’t disturb or destroy their habitat.  I was able to see small groups of fishes swimming around as they go through some corals.

Not sure if it's alive or not, don't know how to differ

I stopped at this point for there are no more sand to step on as I walk through.  My underwater friends might kill me for stepping on their homes.

I just turned to where Jandee, Rodem and Gelo are.  They’re busy checking out the corals on the far side of Sandbar.

Seaweeds along the way..

Low tide as well..

This is where we took a dip when we arrived yesterday.  Barely no water at all.

Fish and coral watching

Wave prints..

It took us an hour to get back for the breakfast and along the way, we saw a group of starfish(es?).

You won't see the "sandbar" during low tide..

They're already formed that way when we saw them.. *just kidding*

And we had our breakfast, just in time for our rumbling stomachs.



Left over Adobo but still tastes good!

Itlog na Maalat

Scrambled and sunny-side up

Puro nga kami lalake, puro itlog kasi.. 😛 Protein-rich morning!

There’s just one thing that concerns me.  It looks like it’s going to rain hard.  The clouds don’t look pleasant at all.  Good thing Mang Sonny told us that it’s gonna be hot on the islands we’ll be visiting.  The weather will be perfect.  Relieved! Now, lezz put on some sun block and lezz ride the boat!



Ang lengthy rin pala netong post na to.. haha 😛

Iloilo Day 2: Time to see Sandbar!

Please see Iloilo Day 1 here.

We woke up late from last night’s walkathon and La Paz Batchoy indulgence  – di ko pa rin talaga makalimutan ang sarap ng batchoy na yan.. 🙂 We agreed that we’ll tweak our itinerary a little bit and travel to Concepcion at noon instead of the scheduled 6AM.  BTW, Sandbar is in Concepcion.  It will take us 2-3 hours to get there from Tagbak (Iloilo City).

At 8:30 in the morning we woke up and and got out to see the rest of the city proper during day time.  Sarap ng tulog eh..

My healthy morning breakfast.. yay..

Pag medyo tipid ka talaga.. okay sige, (kuripot).. eh matututo kang magbaon in times na tingin mo eh maoover budget ka.. Isa pang tip, just bring an ample amount of money based sa na-project na expenses during the planning. Magdala ng sobra pero itago sa ibang parte ng wallet or bag.. 😛 Wag mo lang kalimutan kung san mo nilagay para hindi ka mayare pag kinailangan na.. 😛

Okay.. Lezz go!

No trash along the streets

Museo Iloilo and the Provincial Capitol

Museo Iloilo is open from Monday-Saturday at 8AM-12noon *lunchbreak* then 2PM-5PM.

Photo-op ko naman syempre.. 😛

Kahit saan na lang, maka-jump shot lang!.. 😛

Iloilo Jeep

It’s not the conventional jeepney we have in Manila.  Wala kayong makikita sa city proper nun, puro ganito lang. Cool!

St. Paul's Hospital

The hospital has a church at the back but surprisingly, it’s not open to the public and closed during Sundays.  Hmmmm.. A church that’s not open during Sunday? – I (leally-leally) wonder why?

All these places are just a few meters away from each other.  We maximized our time to see the city before we head to Concepcion.  The weather was not great but it was good though.  It’s cloudy and humid as the time nears noon.   We got back to our hotel after an hour and  a half to pack our things. The hotel receptionists are kind enough to accommodate our request to stay an hour longer and check out at 1PM instead of 12NN.

JanAc met us at our hotel.  We rode a jeep going to Tagbak where vans and buses travel to Concepcion.  We chose to ride a van instead of bus to save more time.  We thought vans are faster than buses.  Magpupuno pa kasi ang bus at posibleng never ending ang stop overs.. kahit walang Bus Stop sign eh titigil para makapagsakay ng pasahero.. Ultimo waiting shed na walang tao eh titigilan pa.. We held that thought until we saw the van.  IMBA!

Sa unang tingin, mukhang mismatch yung van kasi parang anytime bibigay yung mga pinto at babagsak ung makina. Parang pache-pache pa lang ung kaha tas parang kinabukasan nasa junk shop na sya.. Ganun ka IMBA!

Magdadalawang isip pa sana ako pero aalis na rin kasi.  Hanggang Sara lang ang biyahe at walang direcho ng Concepcion. Fare is 100Php going to Sara then we’ll just ride a jeep going to Concepcion which is 15-20minutes away.

Nagstart na si Manong driver.  Hindi pa masara yung bintana, asus! pero okay lang para sagap ko lahat ng hangin.  Pagkaabante, ratrat na si Manong! heavy duty naman pala ang van nya, hindi uso ang preno, overtake kung overtake!. Maganda ang shack at suspension, hanep lang.. Dyan ko napatunayan.. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.. ” lol at isa pa.. “Looks can be deceiving.. ” mas lol… 😛

Travel time is longer, it was about 3.5 hours. Nagsakay pa kasi ng ilang sako ng bigas yung jeep kaya natagalan. By the time we arrived at Concepcion, I texted Mang Sonny (0906.819.7516) of Sandbar and his son fetched us immediately.  They brought our bags to the boat and we bought our food at the town market that’s good for the rest of our stay in Sandbar. Buti na lang marunong akong mamalengke.. hehe Adobong manok na lang ang menu namin for the night with matching itlog na pula, kamatis.  Binili na namin lahat pati toyo, suka, asin, mantika, etc.  Bumili na rin kami sa city bago bumiyahe ng cup noodles, tasty bread, chips, cheezee, 4L of H20, special tinapay etc.  Mahirap ng magutom sa isla, ayokong magpaka-survivor. 😛

We were informed that there are no stores and food in Sandbar pero pwede magpaluto.  They also get their supplies from the town.

Culture, History, Arts and Tourism Office of Concepcion

30 minutes of smooth sail had passed — Sandbar at last!

Hello Sandbar!

The Welcoming Committee

They have a lot of pet dogs – not sure if they’re all guys though.  Pano sila magpaparami nyan? tas nasa isang island lang?.. 😛

Mang Sonny’s family and his brother’s are the only ones living in Sandbar  There are other families living on the other side of the island.

It’s 4:30pm.  We just put our bags on the wooden bench and explored the beach.  I’ll show you around.


The signage to remind you where you at.. 🙂

Reminder number 1

Reminder number 2

Sandbar is not yet a commercial island.  It is yet to be discovered by most beach bums.  A group of foreigners were here a week ago and for sure they knew about this island from the internet.  Soon, more and more people will be visiting.  We’re the only guests for the day that’s why it’s very liberating to explore and take and take pictures.


Reminder number 3

Mang Sonny is not strict.  But to maintain what Sandbar has now, he wants to make sure that everything is clean and green. 🙂  Their family is accommodating as well.  They attend to our concerns and also check us from time to time.  Tutal naman eh mga lalaki kami, wala naman kami masyadong concerns.  Masaya na kami sa simoy ng hangin at duyan sa cottage. 😛

Our dining area

Lutuan area

Our Cottage

There’s no need for a fan inside.  Nature’s cold winds will serve as your ventilation.  Bad thing though, you cannot turn it off! 😛

Low tide when we arrived

And now, the sand and the waters..

Not white but fine sand

To the edge, where I think the name "sandbar" was coined

There were pieces of stones scattered along the sand.  The high tide is the reason why those stones are spread all over.  High tides happen at night and after lunch.  The part on the right disappears already when the high tides hit.

Sunset @ Sandbar

The sun quickly set upon us so we decided to go back after dipping into the water for a few minutes.

At night, we don’t have any activities in mind kaya todo relax lang kami at sinagap ang kapreskuhan ng hangin sa dalampasigan.. 😛  This is the life! The island has its own generator which only operates from 5PM-1oPM.  The power is off beyond 10PM except for the fluorescent lights.

We waited for the moon to rise to witness how “super” it will become (today is the ‘super moon’ day). Unfortunately, the clouds covered it and I wasn’t able to capture a good shot.

It may seem like a sunset but I assure you it’s the moon 🙂 The orange-yellowish effect is due to the white balance setting of my camera..

See? moon yan eh.. 😛 But damn those clouds.. 😛 Ang liwanang ano?

BTW, we had a good dinner courtesy of Ate Remily’s cooking skills.  Right after that, kanya-kanya munang moment :P.  Nabusog ako ng sobra-sobra! Napag-tripan rin namin mag night shoot (long-exposure) sa tabing dagat at mag light-trail.

Ikaw na maganda ang sulat.. 😛

Eto si JanAc.. Ang aming tour guide..

Third day na tomorrow and I’m very excited to beach bum and see other islands nearby.  Readyng-ready na ako for the beach! wooohooo!

Goodnight Sandbar!


First and last night on the island



Iloilo Day 1: Decision.. Accommodation.. Walkathon

When I created our itinerary for this trip, I made sure that it isn’t going to be as aggressive and tiring as what we did in Ilocos (though it was all out fun).  Khanto, Blogging Puyat and I all agreed that we need time to just simply relax and beach bum to the max.

2 weeks before our flight, there’s nothing coming into my senses.  I haven’t finalized what we’re going to do and where we’re going to.  It was a busy week at the office and I was also making preparations with my internal applications and other tasks.  Updating my resume is not as easy as I thought! 😛 Plus taking my own photo is not as easy as well.

In between these tasks, I was looking for blogs to help me out with the itinerary.  Most of them picked Guimaras and visited nearby churches with a sidetrip in Bacolod.  It’s a sure-fire tiring trip if we do the same.  Thank goodness I found Ambot-Ah’s blog and found this new-to-my-ears island called Sandbar.

Zest Air is our chosen carrier for this trip – thanks to the 211-peso promo last November. 😛 Our flight bound to Iloilo was moved from 4:55PM to 5:10PM and flight back to Manila from 7:55PM to 6:55PM.  Zest didn’t fail to inform me 2 days before which is a courteous move.  We arrived 2 hours before the scheduled flight and we had our baggage all checked in.  While waiting, I suddenly changed my mind and thought of going to Boracay instead of Sandbar.  The two agreed with me and we weighed the pros and cons.


– 2-3 hours travel from City proper

– No food in the island, you’ll have to buy in the town beforehand

– Electricity is from 5PM-10PM only

– Activities only include island hopping and beach bumming

– No Nightlife


– 5-6 hours travel time from city proper

– Boracay yan eh! 😛

Obviously we “weighed” our options subjectively as if choosing Boracay over Sandbar is out of the question. hehe We checked the web (using MDA’s weak public wifi) for cheap accommodations and ended up making a reservation. 4:40PM came.  Guess what happened next? – “Hello.. *pukpok ng mic for testing* Flights bound for Iloilo are….”

Tsk.. tsk.. I knew it, delayed for 1 hour.. Kain muna kami sa Jollibee at dun napagdesisyunan na Sandbar na lang ulit..  Sayang ang oras sa byahe kung tutuloy pa sa Boracay. Next time ka na lang.. 🙂

Travel time is 45 minutes.  We landed safely with no turbulence along the way.. Thank God! Iloilo Airport is undoubtedly clean and resembles NAIA 3 a lot.

Just arrived!

Taxis and vans are found outside going to the city but most vans are only available until 6PM.  So no choice, taxi kami.  Unang singil sa amin, 500 pesos daw.. (haaaaa????) di ko kakagatin yan, ako pa.. Hanap ako ng iba.. JanAc told me to look for Lights of Glory cabs.  They only offer 350php going to the city.   I found one but the driver’s charging me 400php and we hopped in. Wala ako sa mood makipag diskusyon kaya okay na yung 400, besides aabutin kami ng dis oras ng gabi kung magpaka kuripot pa ako. 😛 Mabait naman si Manong driver, nakikipagkwentuhan sa amin, yun nga lang, Ilonggo salita nya.. kaya yung mga huling words lang ng sentence ang nage-gets ko.. tas tatango na lang ako sabay ngiti 🙂 Taxis in the airport don’t use their taxi meters.  Lugi raw kasi sila paghatid at pagsundo dahil hindi ganun karami ang pasahero papunta at pabalik ng airport – an airport officer affirmed this to me as well.

It took us 30 minutes to get to our hotel, Century 21.  Along the way, tinuturo ni manong yung mga lugar na pwede namin puntahan like yung SM Iloilo, yung mga restaurant, yung mga gimikan.  Akala ko nga walang night life sa Iloilo pero dito pa pala ako mageenjoy.. 😛 I was in awe na hindi ko pinahalata dahil malinis ang mga daan at walang masyadong traffic.  Iba kasi ang na picture ko sa isip ko na itsura ng Iloilo. Right at that very moment, I realized na mukhang mag-eenjoy ko ang stay namin dito.

We made our reservation 2 weeks before and the hotel does not require any reservation fees.  Payment is done upon check-in. Cool!

Neat and nice

My bed, sa dulo si Khanto

Sanitized indeed

Parang ayaw ko na ring umalis ng hotel.. okay lang na matulog ako buong araw dito.. hehe Kumpleto na pati TV, cabinet, aircon at toiletries.

Later that night we headed to Smallville to hangout and chill.  This time JanAc met us together with his friend Nick.  They’ll tour us around and introduce us what’s in store in Smallville. Umambon for a few minutes pero tumigil rin when we reached the venue.  Ang lakas talaga namin kay Lord. 🙂


This way..

The four of us decided to have a coffee instead of beer.  JanAc said they always hang out in Coffee Break and it’s interesting to give it a try.


Tempting? Tempting? Tempting?

Weh?! Di Nga?

Just like how it looks, these cakes are equally good.

Hot or cold - you choose

The price of each is less expensive than that of Starbucks.  For less than a 100php, you’ll get a coffee or cream-based frap.  However, the size compensates its cost.  Mas maliit yung size. Nevertheless, you still get the value of your money.

We kept walking afterwards to check what else to see and we reached Boardwalk.  It’s a riverside park where you can just sit down and have your quiet/alone time with yourself.  As we walk along, I realized that it’s a good chance for a night shoot.  The skies cleared up and the lights are just perfect.  Di baleng walang tripod, buti may mga sementadong bakod na magsisilbing tripod ko.. 😛

Houses on the other side of the park

The river looks wide and it’s shallow. I think it serves as a passage way of flood during strong typhoons and not boats.

No stars shine at night though

Boardwalk measures a little less than 1KM, 600-800 meters I think.  It already reaches the other side of the highway.

Before we wrap up the day, we tried Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy.  For those who didn’t know, La Paz is in Iloilo where the renowned delicacy originated.

Open 24 hours!

Neat and Nice

Ano pa ba synonym ng Neat and Nice?.. hehehe

Special Beef Batchoy

Special Pork La Paz Batchoy with Egg

Hungry? 🙂 Yes, we were…. that time… Pagkahigop ko ng sabaw… wala na.. speechless na ako.. Ang sarap! That’s what you call authentic La Paz Batchoy!..Pwede pa magpa refill ng sabaw pag naubos mo na.. Kung hindi lang ako inaantok nun, makakadalawang bowl pa kami ng sabaw.. 🙂

La Paz Batchoy Boys.. L-R: JanAc, Nick, Bloggingpuyat, Khanto

Ako yung nasa lower right.. kahit pangalan ko man lang eh masama sa pic.. wala kasing tripod eh.. 🙂

Back to hotel na to rest and prepare for the Sandbar Island Adventure.

That’s next! 🙂 woot-woot!

P.S: Sabi na eh, hindi pwedeng mawala ang walang katapusang lakaran.. hindi rin natupad ang “need time to just simply relax sa first paragraph – boo! hehe.. pero enjoy! that’s the best thing!