“You’re crazy!” That’s what my parents told me when I told them we will be travelling one whole region. The Philippines being an archipelago meant going on different kind of adventures each time. I think it’s pretty obvious that me and my friends had developed an addiction into collecting boarding passes to accomplish our ultimate goal of seeing all the 81 provinces of our beautiful country.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, SCORING A CHEAP TICKET:
My office mates thinks I’m a ticket whisperer because I always manage to score cheap tickets and wanted to know what my secret is. But there is really no secret or formula here, just patience and persistence. I liked Cebu Pacific’s Facebook page because that’s where they usually post updates about on-going promos and my afternoon routine includes browsing for tickets and checking the prices for the places where I want or dream to go. Doing this daily (and I mean daily, also thanks to my best friend who’s also doing this out of habit) got me familiarized with ticket prices and so it was now easy for me (us) to spot if the prices were really a good deal or not. When the ticket price shows a 3-digit figure, I’ll tie my hair up and book!
We booked our one way ticket to Iloilo (one way because we are exiting in Kalibo) last March 2016, and our travel date was this November. Yes, that’s 8 months apart. That gives us time to curate our itinerary and save up for the trip.
MNL – ILOILO
P684 each including taxes and other fees
Our ticket back home. KALIBO – MNL
P499 each including taxes and other fees
Everything was equally divided to 8, hence why everything was cheaper than usual. Since we have a solid itinerary, we also made a rule to sort out our money/payments individually so that it will be easier for us to pay. It was my idea since it is always a problem and a source of stress when you have to remember who owes who and how much. This made our life a lot easier!
(I’ve color-coded the money that I sorted because I’m OC-OC like that)
(Screenshot from our expenses matrix table)
Read the travel and expenses guide here ; posted by my best friend.
Day 1 – Guimaras
We started the day early (5:30 AM) and head off to Iloilo Ortiz Port and hop on a boat to get to Jordan Port where the island of Guimaras and our friendly multicab driver is waiting for us. It was a short boat ride, and while at it, I am mentally arguing how I can bring home Guimaras mangoes when we still have so many places to go. So goodbye mangoes.
The multicab driver brought us to Raymen Beach and we started our Day 1 trip in low spirits because it was raining! We went to the Trappist Monastery and had lunch at The Pitstop where they are serving MANGO PIZZA & MANGO SPAGHETTI! We went nuts and took lots of photos at the I LOVE GUIMARAS sign. We went back to our hotel in Iloilo and packed up and rode our chartered van for Miag-ao church. The church was part of the UNESCO world heritage sites and took ~dramatic~ photos. After Miag-ao we breezed through the Iloilo river esplanade, La Paz public market to eat dinner and authentic LaPaz Batchoy and bought Roberto’s siopao that is super sarap!
Facade of Miag-Ao Church
~dramatic~ photos at one of the doors of Miag-ao Church
Day 2 – Isla Gigantes Island Hopping
We rode a tricycle to Bancal Port and met with Paul of Gigantes Island tours. Still raining, but that didn’t stop us from going to Isla Gigantes. Although it wasn’t as picturesque as I hoped it would because of the rain. We sailed off to 4 Islands: Cabugao Gamay, Bantigue Sandbar (where the P1 scallops are being sold), Tangke Lagoon and Antonia’s beach. After braving the sea while it was raining, stuffing our tummies with crabs and scallops, it’s time to go back and be in time for the last trip to Roxas City. We are pretty much beat when we arrived to Roxas so we just ate dinner and hit the lights out.
Trying to make the most out of it even though it’s raining! 😀
Tired & hungry look on our faces
Day 3 – Roxas City & Tibiao, Antique
Our trip to Roxas is short but sweet. This is my second time here. We visited the Panay Church which is famous as it has the Biggest church bells in Asia. After taking pictures outside the church, the old Spanish Well and the bell we immediately left and went to Café Terraza to grab brunch, take a photo at I LOVE CAPIZ and left for Kalibo where we will ride another bus that will take us to Antique, which is 3 hours away. We had to take the non-aircon bus as the aircon bus will leave at 4pm and we couldn’t wait that long. It was a hot and sticky ride. HAHA.
Facade of Panay Church. I was here when I was just 9 or 10 years old and it’s still as beautiful as I remember
This humongous bell whose sound can be heard within 8 kilometer radius measures 5 feet in height and weighs 10,400 kilograms. We were told that the bell was made using 70 sacks of coins collected from donations from the folks in Capiz in the 1800’s-ish.
The biggest Catholic Church Bell in Asia
Scallops and Oysters for Brunch. Photo grabbed from my bff
Eto talaga yung habol namin sa Cafe Terraza haha
At Roxas City Terminal
It was almost nightfall, when we arrived to Antique but we still pushed to go to Tibiao, Antique for the Kawa Hot Bath, it was dark and the only source of light is the light bulb from the Kubo which wasn’t enough to take decent photos. Wrong move. We should have done this on Day 4.
Kawa hot bath is a big cauldron that has petals and some herbal leaves with a fire underneath to make the water hot, and you get inside and sort of cook yourself. Yes, just like how witches cook kids in fairy tales!
Kinda freaky and exciting
About to be a Sinigang in a few moment
Day 4 – Malalison Island, Culasi, Antique
This is the last day of our #TraversingWesternVisayas adventure. The sun is out and we headed to Malalison or Mararison (locally) Island. The boat ride to the island was quick and pleasant, too. The scenery was also great. They call it the island where the mountain meets the sea. I got drawn as to how majestical the mountains looks like (sadly, no good photos because I only brought gopro with me), here I enjoyed floating around like an otter while some of us went trekking which they claim as little Batanes.
Sea. Blue skies. Mountain at sight.
Selfie while swimming, not sure if Wilson was snorkeling or drowning HAHAHA
my best friend and her Moo at the top of “Little Batanes”
On our way back to Kalibo, we had another side trip scheduled at Malumpati Cold Spring – Bugang River the cleanest river in the Philippines. Wilson and I were so tired we decided to stay in the van and just sleep while my best friend and her family trekked Malumpati. My best friend says that the water is so clean you can drink the water straight up. The water is cold, like chilled AF. If you are going to Bora and is landing on Kalibo, this will be a good side trip.
Malumpati Cold Spring ; photo from my bff Kets
This trip is the longest that we’ve ever been to and to be honest, I expected to die every 30 seconds because of the tight itinerary and the blisters on my feet, but we had such a good time and while waiting for our delayed flight back to Manila, Kets and I are already planning our next trip.
Safe travels to everyone!