Iloilo is Western Visayas’ heritage hub and home of native, mouth-watering Ilonggo dishes. But, there surely are other interesting things to see and experience aside from the old churches and delicious servings of batchoy (noodles and pork innards soup). You’d be glad to know that in Iloilo are some great locations for your summer getaway!
The following breathtaking sites (which are all budget-friendly too) welcome just about anyone who seek some thrill, chill, and summer adventure in Iloilo:
Beach/Island: Isla de Gigantes (Carles, Iloilo)
For some sun, sand, and seafood, Isla de Gigantes is sure to top the list of the best island-hopping destinations in Visayas. Situated off the coast of the municipalities of Carles and Estancia, the island paradise can be reached via a two-hour sail from Estancia.
Postcard-perfect view of the island on top of a rock formation: Magical! (Photo courtesy of Albert Manansala)
Fresh seafood equals exquisite lunch, available from the fresh catch of local fishermen in the island (Photo courtesy of Lala Calle)
The island is known for its crystal clear water, lagoons, rock formations, white sand, and abundant seafood. Scallops and other seashells are also typically seen being sold by the locals at a very affordable price.
Among the most popular sites to visit are the Tangke, a blue saltwater lagoon, and the Cabugao Gamay Island, which looks just like a giant sandbar straight from a postcard.
Breathtaking view of Cabugao Gamay Island (Photo courtesy of Albert Manansala)
Travellers may stay overnight and bring their own tent or may opt to pay a fee to rent one. The island does not house commercial establishments nor does it have electricity for most time of the day, thus, leaving visitors to explore the place in its purest, cleanest beauty.
Campsite: Bucari Pine Forest (Leon, Iloilo)
Locally known as “Iloilo’s Little Baguio,” Bucari boasts of its weather, which can go as low as 9°C in December and 18°C during the summer season. Among the most popular places to visit in Bucari is the Tabionan Campsite situated on a plateau and surrounded by pine trees. The campsite offers fairly sound rates: Php100 for setting up your own tent, Php400 for a rented tent, and Php1,200 for a cottage rent overnight.
Mountain meets the sky at Bucari, Leon, Iloilo. (Photo courtesy of Lala Calle)
To reach Bucari, it will take a two-hour travel, or a 58-km ride, via public transport from Iloilo City. Public utility jeepneys (PUJ) at the Jaro Public Market are available only until 2:00 to 3:00 PM. One could then hire a motorcycle and bargain for a reasonable fare deal to go straight to the campsite.
Local produce are also available such as mangoes, Baguio beans, and even strawberries!
Sleeping with nature and waking up to a mist is an ordinary thing at the campsite. (Photo courtesy of Lala Calle)
Trekking Site: Mt. Napulak (Igbaras, Iloilo)
Stand like a boss on top of Igbaras’ highest peak, overlooking the provinces of Iloilo and Antique. (Photo courtesy of Guia delos Santos)
For greater heights and steeper trails, Mt. Napulak is the perfect trekking site. The mountain is shaped like a woman’s chest and made iconic by the rock formation at its peak. At 3,936 feet above sea level, Mt. Napulak welcomes trekkers with a 360° view of the nearby province of Antique and the rest of Iloilo.
Photo courtesy of Guia delos Santos
Greeting the sun and sky on top Mt. Napulak (Photo courtesy of Guia delos Santos)
It is, however, required of hikers to coordinate first with the local tourism office of Igbaras. Arrangements will be made to provide trekkers with a local tour guide and to brief them before trekking. The tourism office may be reached through Igbaras Tourism Office at +63 33 518-4022 loc. 104.
From north to south, Iloilo is undeniably a home to many pristine beaches and scenic heights. Known as the City of Love, Iloilo is sure to win your heart over this summer.