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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 30, 2016

Sharing Our Family's Great Long Thanksgiving Weekend In Guimaras Island And Iloilo City

WE SPENT THE recent Thanksgiving Weekend in Guimaras and Iloilo and had a great time in doing our share for domestic tourism. Guimaras used to be part of Iloilo but eventually became a separate province. It’s an island located in the Panay Gulf, between Negros and Panay in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Jordan (pronounced Hordan), where the pier is. You get a boat from the Ortiz port in Iloilo City and the boat ride takes about only 15 minutes. Our kids whose jobs are based in the U.S. just invited us to join since they’re on holiday because of the long Thanksgiving weekend.

We flew to Iloilo last Thursday and got to the pier at 5 PM, just in time for the last boat trip since Typhoon Marce was starting to make the waves bigger. We hired a van to take us to the resort where we stayed, Raymen, in Alubijod, Nueva Valencia. What’s nice is that they have a good network of concrete roads in the island so it’s very convenient to travel by car.

The next day, Friday, heavy rains really poured but it didn’t keep us from touring the island. We went to Guisi Lighthouse, Guimaras Capitol, mango plantations (famous for very sweet Guimaras mangoes), Pitstop Restaurant where they offer delicious mango pizza, the Trappist Monastery with its beautiful church and where we bought many pasalubongs, the windmills of Buenavista (bigger than the ones in Ilocos) and the Holy Family Hills where they recreated giant stations of the Cross.

On Saturday, the weather cleared up and the sun shone so we went island hopping. We also visited SEAFDEC, a marine reserve where they culture fish and other aquatic life. Sunday, we went back to Iloilo and toured the city. We’ve been to Iloilo several times because of Dinagyang but we’ve never really gone around. This time, we hired a car and went to visit the old churches of Jaro, Molo, and also went to Oton, La Paz, Tigbauan, Guimbal, where they have beautiful beaches all around. We also got to visit the Balay na Bato and many old houses.

Iloilo has developed by leaps and bounds since we first went there in the late 80s when my late wife was an invited lecturer in CPU (Central Philippine University). They have built a new international airport in Cabatuan and constructed new wide roads to and from the city where there’s no heavy traffic. At the old airport, they built the Iloilo Business Park which is now full of tall skyscrapers with call centers and eateries.

We used to stay at Iloilo Business Hotel at the Smallville Complex (a gimmick place) but now, we stayed at the new Injap Hotel with our children and apos. It’s very convenient as it’s just right across the new SM City Iloilo and you only cross the footbridge to get there. We really had a great weekend and we recommend you should visit the new Iloilo and also the island of Guimaras.