Travel Diary: Unexpected IloIlo City, Guimaras Island and Isla de Gigantes tour for 4,920 Php

In all the cities in the Philippines, I always love Cagayan de Oro city, but it all changed when I recently visited IloIlo City. IloIlo city is located at the western Visayas in the Philippines, It's known for its Spanish colonial churches and old houses and beautiful nearby Islands. I don't have any plans to visit IloIlo, until my closest friend invited me to explore the amazing place since there is a flight promo, so without any hesitation we booked it. What's in IloIlo by the way?





WHERE TO STAY

We stayed in an Airbnb condominium at The Uptown Place Condominium located at General Luna street opposite UP Visayas Campus. However, my friend booked it directly to the owner's Facebook page so we get a lesser price. It is a condominium with a fully equipped kitchen, a mini living room, two bedrooms (one master bedroom with a queen-size bed, air-condition, TV, and a balcony. The second bedroom has one single bed, one bunk bed and we ask for another extra pull-out bed because we are 6 in total) and shared bathroom. We paid 5,000 Php for 2 nights (please continue to read until the bottom, I will summarize all the breakdown that we spent per person ). Honestly, the place is so beautiful and clean, the location is so convenient. The owner is so kind enough to explain all the amenities inside his condo, and he even stored foods, coffees, cup noodles, water, etc with a tag price of course but it's affordable. We just put the money and get the change in an honesty box, so cool right?








THINGS TO DO

ILOILO CITY TOUR
When we arrived at IloIlo International Airport, we already greeted and pick-up by our driver, as we rented a van for our city tour include driver, fuel, and pick-up from the airport, for the city tour its 10 hrs. a total of 4,300 Php. 

We went first to Sulu Garden for our sumptuous lunch, we ordered Sinigang na Isda for 245 Php and Stir fry vegetables for 195 Php, Steamed rice for 20 Php, and a pitcher of Lemonade for 130 Php. The place is nice and the foods are great. 





After a lovely lunch, we traveled to Garin Farm for 30 minutes. The entrance fee is 150 Php, they also have some rooms if you want to stay overnight and some activities as well. We just preferred to check out the place and see the famous Garin Pilgrimage. Beware, going to the pilgrimage area you will smell a foul odor because the farm is surrounded by live farm animals like chicken, cows, goats and many more. When we reached the Garin pilgrimage, the place is so beautiful it brings me back from the time of Adam and Eve, its a holy place so better pay respect from others who visited the place as well. There is a very high stair going up to the top, and you will see some sculptures of events in the mysteries of the rosary on each side of the stair. Since I'm weak at climbing stairs, I need to slow down and catch my breath. Once we get to the top, it is so solemn, and you will see the view of the entire farm, the air is so refreshing though its a little bit hot. There is also a small canteen where you can buy bottled water if you felt thirsty after all the walk. Before you enter the famous all-white shrine of Jesus Christ, you need to enter first a tunnel where it is so dark. It represents darkness in our life, it's like a struggle in our life. At the end of the tunnel is a very white, open shrine of Jesus Christ. It means at the end of your struggle there's always a light and God is waiting for you and you will be ease from all the pain that you experienced. A tip for your loves, always bring a sunglass to cover your eyes when you get to the all-white shrine, it's honestly hard to stare to the shrine directly because it's so white and the sun hits the shrine directly so its a little bit painful from the eyes. We take our time to appreciate the beauty of the shrine and of course take a lot of videos and pictures.  























After a very nice experienced at Garin pilgrimage we head back to the city for more places to visit, unfortunately, the rain comes so we skipped some tourist spots and go directly to Molo Mansion. Molo Mansion is located at Yusay-Consing Mansion, Locsin St, Molo, Iloilo City, it is in front of St. Anne Parish Church and the town plaza. The Molo mansion was built in the 1920s. The first resident was Doña Petra Lacson who married Manila’s judge of the Court of First Instance, Estanislao Yusay. And now, the mansion was preserved and turned into a museum, it's not only a heritage museum but they also sell local delicacies, products, and arts made by Ilonggos. The mansion-museum also has a cultural retail shop. Since we are already in the Molo Mansion, we crossed to its front neighbor and visited the Molo Church or the St. Anne Parish Church. St. Anne Parish Church is one of the oldest church in the Philippines, it is so magnificent and I love how they preserved the park and the church itself, its clean and everyone loves to hang-out. It is also called as the Female Church because it has 16 female saints inside. It was also visited by Dr, Jose Rizal a long time ago.
After a short and enjoyable city tour, we decided to go to the nearest shopping mall to have dinner and head back to our accommodation to check-in and rest.












GUIMARAS TOUR
On our second day, we headed to Guimaras Island. We took a taxi from our Condo to Ortiz wharf for 100 Php. We also paid 22 Php each for the boat going to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. Before we boarded in the boat, we wrote our names first in the guest list, this is also for security and safety purposes. It was a beautiful fine day at the ocean, the sea is calm so it wasn't scary at all to crossed from Iloilo City to Guimaras Island, there was news lately that people died while crossing the ocean to Guimaras, good thing we arrived safely in Guimaras Island. When we arrived at the Jordan wharf, there are a lot of motorized cabs (local transportation) who offered tours around the island. But there is this guy who owned a multicab jeepney who offered us a tour around the island for only 2,000 Php. We decided to get the multicab so that it is more comfortable for us to sit while on the road than in a small motorized cab with 6 people fitting in, besides it's a whole day around Guimaras so it's better to opt for comfort than a hassle. We went first to the famous smallest park in the Island where the statue of Jose Rizal stands, took some photos and went to the Guimaras park to take a photo as well with the big letters of the word "GUIMARAS". We had our breakfast at the famous Pitstop restaurant, where the famous mango pizza was recognized. I ordered a pancit molo (a local delicacy in IloIlo) with Ice tea for only 54 Php, we then decided to dine out the famous Mango pizza for 495 Php. After a delicious breakfast, we travel to the Trappist gift shop, where the monks are the ones who made the souvenirs and local delicacies. After buying souvenirs, we continue our travel to Alobijod Cove Resort. We paid 40 Php each for the entrance fee and rented a  nipa hut for 600 Php. We rest a bit and some of my friends went for Island hopping, I did not join anymore because I don't feel the weather of the ocean, its low tide during that time and the waves are very strong. So, I decided to stay in the hut, with two of my friends and enjoy the beach and just swim and lay down in the sun under a tree shade. It was ended a very relaxing moment, during that time I honestly needed that from all the traveling that I've been doing before my IloIlo escaped. We also eat Mango pizza from the Pitstop and boy! it's so worth it. It's very delicious, tasty, cheesy and you can taste the sweetness of the mango. It is worth to try, I love that the bread and crust taste like a homemade dough. After relaxing on the beach we traveled back to Jordan wharf, as we tried to catch the 5:00 PM boat trip to IloIlo city. But before we say goodbye to Guimaras, we stop at the Ceian restaurant to have our late lunch. After a whole day of exploring the Guimaras Island, we go back to our condo and rest and enjoy each others company.

TO SEE THE FULL DETAILS IN GUIMARAS ISLAND CLICK HERE






ISLA DE GIGANTES TOUR
On our 3rd day in IloIlo, we opt for the most-awaited tour and most popular tour in IloIlo, the Gigantes Islands tour. My friend whose with me at that time got a discounted rate for 800 Php per person and an additional 260 Php per person per way for the transfer. We were pick-up at our condo at 4:00 AM. From IloIlo to Bancal Port in the town of Carles is 3 hours, it is where the jump-off point for the Gigantes Islands tour begins. We arrived in bancal port and write our names in the guestlist for security and safety purposes, waited for our group to be called while waiting we had our breakfast at the nearby eatery. Our boatmen are so entertaining, friendly and very supportive in taking our photos and videos, I appreciate their service, making sure we enjoyed our tour, they even help us carry our stuff and making sure our safety as well. Our first Island is the famous Cabugao Gamay, Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island, Tangke lagoon and Pulupandan island. To summarize all my experience with the Gigantes Islands tour, it is so beautiful and amazing especially the Cabugao Gamay Island and the Tangke lagoon. I wished I had more time on each island, but unfortunately its a group tour so we have to be on schedule. We had our lunch at one of the Island and I wasn't expecting that the table will be full of delicious foods, like whole chicken soup, fried fish, and other kinds of seafood, they also have the famous unlimited scallops. It was ended a feast that everyone loves. After a whole day of exploring the Gigantes Islands, we went back to Bancal port and paid for 20 Php for a shower and head back to IloIlo. 

TO SEE THE FULL DETAILS IN GIGANTES ISLANDS CLICK HERE







Since we are only 2 nights at the Condo we transferred to another hotel for a night at Ong Bun Pension House and paid for 750 Php per room. For our dinner, we went to the nearest Jollibee and have some dinner, then back to our hotel to have some rest.

On our last day in Iloilo, we booked a van transfer to IloIlo International Airport for 500 Php. It was ended a very nice experienced to explore the city of love, IloIlo city. Now, I know why they called it a city of Love, people are sweet and friendly. Other than the locals, I honestly love the city itself, while we are on the road, I noticed that the roads are so wide, buildings are organized, it's not chaotic to look at, there are lanes for bikers or those who prefer to walk. Some old buildings were preserved and taken care of. It feels like I'm not in the Philippines, its a city of another country, I am proud to say that IloIlo is now my 2nd favorite city in the Philippines. I will surely come back to IloIlo and explore more the city. 





Below is my breakdown Itinerary cost in IloIlo city for 4 days and 3 nights, please note that flights are not included as well as small buys like coffee or water and snacks, also souvenirs.  

I hope you like my IloIlo travel Itinerary and see you in my next adventure, by the way, loves you can also watch my IloIlo travel vlog click the links below:

Unexpected IloIlo City and Guimaras Island II My 2nd favorite city in the Philippines



Day 1 ILOILO CITY TOUR

Airbnb for 2 nights
5,000 Php / 6 pax = 833 Php
Van w/ driver + fuel  + pick-up from Airport
4,300 Php / 5 pax = 860 Php
Lunch at Sulu Garden
690 Php / 5 pax = 118 Php
Garin Farm Entrance Fee
150 Php
Dinner + other small expenses like water
120 Php
TOTAL
2,081 Php


Day 2 GUIMARAS ISLAND TOUR

Taxi to Ortiz wharf
100 Php / 6 pax = 16 Php
Boat to Jordan wharf in Guimaras Island
22 Php
Multicab Jeepney (tour around the Island)
2,000 Php / 6 pax = 333 Php
Mango Pizza at the Pitstop
495 Php / 6 pax = 82 Php
Breakfast at the Pitstop (own order )
54 Php
Entrance fee Alobijod cove  resort
40 Php
Nipa hut inside the resort
600 Php / 6 pax = 100 Php
Lunch in Ceia restaurant
1000 Php / 6 pax = 166 Php
Boat back to Ortiz wharf in IloIlo
22 Php
Transportation back to Condo
100 Php / 6 pax = 16 Php
Dinner cup noodles
25 Php
TOTAL
876 Php


Day 3 ISLA DE GIGANTES TOUR

Van transfer to Bancal Port
260 Php
Breakfast in eatery near the port
45 Php
Island tour  + lunch (we get the promo)
800 Php
Shower
20 Php
Van transfer to Ong-bun Penshion house
260 Php
Ong-bun Penshion house
750 Php / 2 pax= 375 Php
Transportation to nearest Jollibee roundtrip
20 Php
Dinner at Jollibee
100 Php
TOTAL
1,880 Php


DAY 4 FLIGHT BACK

Van transfer to Airport
500 Php / 6 pax = 83 php


GRAND TOTAL PER PERSON
4,920 php





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