Guimaras is the fifth smallest province in the Philippines and its capital is Jordan. It was initially a sub-province of Iloilo until it was made an independent province on May 22, 1997. Aside from pristine beaches, Guimaras is also famous for its sweet mangoes.
Access point of Guimaras is via pump boat from Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo going to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. It’s a 15-minute sail and schedule starts from 5:30 AM up to 7:30 PM with 15 minutes’ intervals.
Once you reached Jordan Port, there is the tourism office who can help you arrange tour either by tricycle and or by multicab.
The highlight of our Iloilo tour is to see the old churches of the whole province. Jaro Church is the only church in our itinerary that we were not able to visit due to time constraint. Got a glimpse of San Joaquin Cemetery, Guimbal and Tigbauan Church along our way to Antique. We were able to attend Sunday Mass at Molo Church and gaze at the grandeur of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Maig-ao.
Also known as St. Anne Parish Church, it was constructed in 1831. Dubbed as “Feminist Church” in the Philippines because all 16 statues along the pillar aisles are all female saints.
It was declared a National Landmark by National Historical Institute in 1992.
Also known as San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church, it was constructed between 1769 and 1774. It is made of yellow adobe sandstone called “igang” and coral stones from Guimaras. Considered one of the oldest churches in the country.
Also known as St. John of Sahagun Parish Church, it was constructed between 1575 and 1580. One of the feature in the interior of the church are the colorful tile mosaic murals in the altar and the Way of the Cross. Regarded as the only Latin-American inspired church in the Philippines.
San Joaquin Cemetery
Also known as The Campo Santo or mortuary chapel, it was initiated in 1892. A baroque style of architecture made of white coral and red bricks. It was declared National Cultural Treasure by National Museum in 2015.
Also known as Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church, it was constructed in 1787. Exhibited with large buttresses and two unique belfries with a very detailed façade featuring the image of St. Christopher holding on to a coconut tree while carrying the infant Jesus.
It was listed by UNESCO World Heritage as one of the four Baroque Churches in the Philippines in 1993.
There are plenty of cuisine that originates from Iloilo. Molo soup is said to be from Molo District, Iloilo City. For pasalubong, Biscocho Haus is the top choice. There are other chows that you should try when you’re in the province.
Netongs’ Original Special Batchoy
Iloilo is famous for La Paz Batchoy, it is a soup dish made of noodles with egg and pork innards topped with toasted garlic, spring onions and pork crackle. There are 3 well-known diners for batchoy, Ted’s Old Timer and Deco’s La Paz Batchoy that has several branches in Iloilo and Netongs’ Original Special Batchoy with its only branch located inside La Paz Public Market in Iloilo City. I was able to taste La Paz Batchoy of Ted’s and Netong’s and for me, Netong’s is tastier and more authentic than Ted’s.
Tinu-Om is a soup dish made of native chicken wrapped in banana leaves, the taste is similar to tinola. Got to taste this dish by chance when we went outside the Iloilo Airport to have our early dinner while waiting for our flight. Jeara’s Tinu-Om is located in the municipality of Cabatuan just outside the airport.
Bull Jack’s Talabahan
Iloilo has a number of coastal areas and so marine food supply is abundant We are fortunate that the driver of the van that we rented brought us at Bull Jack’s Talabahan on our way to Capiz province. Located in the coastal road of Jaro District in Iloilo City. This quaint eatery sells fresh shrimp, fish and of course oyster for a very low price and you get to choose how would you like your order to be cooked, similar way of “Paluto” style here in Manila.
Iloilo is one of the six provinces of Western Visayas Region. It is our access point in the other three provinces, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras. Iloilo International Airport was opened in 2007 in replace of Mandurriao Airport.
We stayed at Ong Bun Pension House, a common name for backpackers because of its affordable room rates. Strategically located in the business district of Iloilo, walking distance to malls and very accessible to public transportation. Rooms are clean and well-maintained, staff are friendly and helpful.
Like Negros Occidental, Iloilo has its fair share of ancestral houses one of which is the Ledesma Mansion. This is actually not part of our itinerary, but you will not miss this huge ancestral house if you are going to Guimaras via Ortiz wharf. Located at the corner of Ortiz and General Blanco St., it was built in 1928 by Don Celso Ledesma and was well-preserved by Don Zaffy Ledesma, third generation of the Ledesma clan.
We included this city as part of our itinerary because we were invited by our colleague, who is also part of the traveling group and also a pure Negrense himself to have our lunch at their house. Cadiz City is known for its fishing industry and so, all food that was served are fishes and seafood.
After a few hours of stay, we went back to Bacolod City straight to Bacolod Port off to our next destination… Iloilo.
Our special thanks to Jade and family for the warm welcome and sumptuous meal they have prepared for us. God bless you and your family always.