Saturday, June 7, 2014

Iloilo City To Guimaras Island

As the quote says, “Every year try to be in some places that you haven’t been”. Actually, I’d been to Iloilo City way back 2008 with City Department Heads in one of its benchmarking activities. And I really say that the City of Iloilo had improved a lot in terms of infrastructure and road network, though we experienced traffic congestion along the central business district. It only shows that the City of Iloilo gets enormous support from the national government in terms of infrastructure project. They have an on-going road widening and construction of convention center in preparation for the upcoming Asian Summit on 2015. The City Government of Iloilo is lucky to be one of the chosen city destinations in Western Vizayas region of delegates to the Asian Summit come 2015. 

I’d been to the famous Biscocho House, City Tourism Center and the famous Lapaz Batchoy House in the heart of the City proper. We were also able to go on top of the City Hall building assisted by city tourism staff and have the chance to view the city proper of Iloilo on higher ground. It was really a fascinating view to see the long, clean and wide river of Iloilo free of informal settlers.

Just off Iloilo's southeast coast are the island province of Guimaras, once part of Iloilo, but now an independent province. It’s been my long hope to be in Guimaras Island and this dream was realized, courtesy of my dearest best friend who is now based abroad and seeking for a different kind of vacation and relaxation. The previous Lady Mayor of this Island is rooted from my Province of Bataan. What amazed me about this place is the simplicity of life, its closeness to nature and its serenity. We went to the Trappist Monastery. The Trappist Monastery ground is a peaceful and sacred enclave in Guimaras run by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. These monks follow the rule of St. Benedict and are best known for the extreme austerity or strictness that characterizes their discipline. I think this is one of the best retreat places for recollection and spiritual gatherings. Their source of living comes from selling their locally made pastries, jams and candies. I bought pasalubong for my friends and relatives.  

Of course the vacation will not end up by just merely lurking around the place. Guimaras has beautiful beaches like the private resort of La Puerta el Paraizo. You would really feel like you were in paradise. A very unforgettable vacation, as I was able to make new friends!