The Beauty of Western Visayas: A solo-backpacking

Tourist Spots in Western Visayas
From Roxas Airport, I rode in a tricycle to my first destination - Panay Church. Travel Time: 23 minutes. Fare: 200 pesos. ETA: 7:30 AM. Upon arrival, I easily felt the cool and fresh air blowing. Also, noticed an event banner hanging by the side of the church, thus, as a respect, I did not check the entire part of the Panay Church, including the largest bell on top. However, I stayed in the area for an hour and thirty minutes. Had my breakfast at 7-11, in front of the church, while starring on its gorgeous facade.

Panay Church
I really had no idea what to do next but according to my itinerary, next part will be a heritage walk in Roxas City's historical sites. Sabi nga sa commercial, "wag mahiyang magtanong." Since I had no idea about the mode of transportation to the city, I asked the residents and they provided the answers I needed, with a super friendly tone. How to go to the City: I rode in a tricycle and alighted at the boundary, with Welcome arch. Then, another tricycle ride to my next destination - the Museum or Ang Panublion.

Capiz Capitol
Photo above is Capiz Capito. To continue, the Panublion has the collection of several memorabilia from politics, cultural, heritage and other artworks. A separate space is allocated for the memory and for life of the late President Manuel A. Roxas. On the other side are the collection of antiques, art works, earthenware from the sunken Chinese ship and many more. Entrance is for FREE.

Capiz Bridge
A few meters away from Ang Panublion are the historical landmarks of Roxas City. These are the Capiz bridge (photo above) and the Panay river, the Bandstand, Roxas Cathedral, Roxas City fountain, Jose Rizal Monument, and the Capiz Provincial Capitol. Walking in the city at 12 noon was tiring and I forgot to apply my SPF85 sunblock, as a result, my skin became roasted. With GPS, my plan is to take a long walk to City Mall, but, I chose to ride in a tricycle because of the harmful UV rays. Had my lunch break at City Mall and dessert at Grand Gaisano Mall - an yaman ko no???

Baybay Roxas City
From Gaisano, rode in a tricycle to Washington Street to check in at Pete's Inn, one of the cheapest hotels in Roxas City. I booked an overnight stay here via Expedia.com.ph for only 368 pesos for a fan room and it's not bad! Rested for few hours and had my dinner in Baybay, with the golden sunset. In Baybay, there are fresh seafood and other ihaw-ihaw products. Went back to the pension house and this is the end of my first day!

Mararison Island
I checked out at Pete's Inn at 7AM - this is the start of my DAY 2. The capitol is just a few meters away, this is where I rode in a tricycle to Pueblo - a central terminal in Roxas City to the other provinces of Panay. Travel Time: 20 minutes. Fare: 10 pesos. Had pieces of bread and a cup of coffee for my breakfast. Since there is no direct route to Culasi, Antique, I rode in a van to Ceres Bus Terminal in Kalibo. Travel Time: 2 hours. Van Fare: 120 pesos. Had my early lunch. ETD Kalibo - 11:45 AM, ETA Culasi - 2:30 PM. Bus Fare: 129 pesos. I asked the residents about the location of the port and the tourism office. They provided a useful instructions and finally reached the Tourism Office. Paid 30 pesos for environmental and a terminal fee.

homestay in Mararison island
Instead of paying a special trip for 750 pesos to get to Mararison Island, Kuya Rey arranged everything. He advised the people in Tourism Office to let me join the last boat trip to the island together with the locals. Paid 100 pesos for one way. Travel Time: 15-20 minutes. Met Kuya Rey at his house. Wala pa kaming napapag-usapang kahit anu, itinulak nya agad ako to join a group for the trekking before the sunset. Para daw mas maka-mura ako, which is very true. I gave Ate Shirley 100 pesos.

On top of the mountain, there's a 360 views of the entire Mararison Island. I didn't get sweat because the wind was cold and the air is still fresh. From afar, the white sand beach of Mararison is visible surrounded by the crystal clear waters and Mt. Madjaas added a perfect backdrop. FYI, the island has electricity from 5PM to 10PM only, thus, an NGO is building a Solar System facility that will harness power from the sun and to generate enough electricity needed by the residents.

After trekking, had a time for a tsimisan with the locals. According to them, the white sand shoreline became narrow after being hit by Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda and the sea water level is getting higher. Anyway, instead of eating at the nearby carinderia, my dinner and breakfast were included in Kuya Rey's menu (of course there's a fee). It was nice to eat on a table with this family - there's a homey feeling. Kuya Rey is famous in the island and he also offers a Homestay in Mararison.

tourist spots in Antique
I woke up at 3 AM because my body normally wakes at this hour and sleep again. Nanay was already preparing for our breakfast when I woke up at around 5 AM. She greeted me with a smile and a Good Morning Sir!!! Ang sweet nya no?? Kunting hilamos and proceeded to the sandbar to take morning photos. Medyo nanibugho ang puso ko noong masasihan kong medyo makulimlim ang langit. Kaya agad akong naglakad pabalik sa bahay. Di nag-tagal, napansin ko na may pumatak sa gilid ng mga mata ko - at mas binilisan ko pa ang paglalakad dahil mas lalong bumabaha sa pisngi ko ang mga patak ng ulan. Akala nyo luha no???? Mali kayo......

Pag-karating ko ng bahay, naka-handa na ang aming agahan. Habang malakas ang ulan kami nama'y nag-kukwentuhan ng buhay ni Nanay. Dahil sa likas na makwento itong si Nanay, nadaanan namin ang experience nila sa Bagyong Yolanda hanggang di nagtagal may tumulo naring mga luha sa mga mata nya habang malakas din ang ulan sa labas. Infairness to the residents of Mararison, they are really strong because after the devastation they were able rise again. Walang bahay na naiwang may bubong, lahat nasira, yung fish cages, mga bangka nila walang napakinabangan. But now, looking at the island - there is no trace of the typhoon.

Matapos ang breakfast, habang umuulan parin, agad na lumabas si Nanay para asikasuhin ang kanyang mga isdang itatawid sa Culasi para ibenta. Habang sya ay nagpaplastik ng mga banye-banyerang mga isda, ako nama'y ibinabalot ang bag sa isang malaking plastik para hindi mabasa sa byahe patungong Tibiao, Antique - para sa Kawa Hot Bath experience.

La Escapo Mountain Resort
After getting off the boat at Culasi Port, Kuya Rey got his motorcycle and drove me to Tibiao. We were challenged by the weather, but we were undefeated. I was wearing my waterproof jacket, my backpack was enclosed in a huge plastic bag, and my electronics were in a dry bag but upon entering the Municipality of Tibiao, the rain stopped and everything in the area was dry. Galing no???? Kuya Rey brought me at La Escapo Mountain Resort, one of the mountain resorts in Tuno, Tibiao. The receptionist was kind and has good smile, so, I decided to stay here.

Bugtong Bato Waterfalls
After settling everything with Kuya Rey, placed my backpack in the cottage room and proceeded to my next destination - a trekking experience to Bugtong Bato Waterfalls. Kuya Rey already left and I was turned over to Ate Marialyn, my trekking guide. Registered at the Baranggay outpost and proceeded. Bugtong Bato has different level and visitors can only visit until the third. The trail has a combination of concrete, rocky and a muddy soil. Passing by the residents houses and farmlands. We were fast paced, so our trek to the waterfalls was within 20 to 30 minutes. A total of an hour including our descent.

Waterfalls in Antique
Bugtong Bato Waterfalls is one of must visit tourist attractions in Antique. It is surrounded by luscious greens, composed of trees, shrubs and other plants. The ambiance in the area is cool and the wind blowing is fresh. The sound of the waterfalls is very relaxing and the water is very cold - kaya hindi talaga ako naligo. The trail to the higher level is much steeper, though, the trail has a concrete stairs and ropes going up. After taking several photos, our descent was on the other side - a traverse but has the same jump off. Settled the guide fee and a motorcycle ride to La Escapo - my cottage room.

Resorts in Tibiao, Antique
At the cottage, rested for few minutes and tidy up. Wala akong magawa kundi ang makinig ng musika gamit ang premium account ko sa Spotify at genuine JBL speaker ko. hahaha. Yabang ko no?? At patingin-tingin din ako sa agos ng ilog at nagbabakasakaling may mga naliligo sa ilog, na nasa gilid lang ng cottage. Pag-napagod, Ayun, nood ng KDrama files ko: Devilish Joy, 100 days my Prince, Terius, at marami pang ibang mga videos, pero walang X-Rated. Hindi rin ako maka-pag-alter at Grinder dahil walang 3G signal. Hahahaha. 11:30 AM - had my lunch. Ang slept for 2 hours.

Kawa Hot Bath
4PM - had my Kawa Hot Bath experience. While the Kuya's were preparing, I was a bit  excited because it's my first time. Preparation wasn't easy because they need to ensure that the water temperature is okay - dahil kung hindi, sinigang ang labas ko. The warm water with flower petals while the fresh cool wind blowing, the tranquility of the sound of the running water by the river mixed with the reggae music?? WOW! It was such a relaxing moment of this backpacking experience. It only lasted 30 minutes, yun lang kinaya ng budget. Then, another 30 minutes body message. Then, your dinner is served on the table. AN SYEREPP TALAGA!!!! Kaso andami at anlalaki ng lamok. Thanks for OFF repelent lotion for protecting my that night. No worries, there's no dengue case in Tibiao. At ako'y naka tulog dahil sa lamig. Alam nyo na ........ 3 AM gising ko ulit.

In the morning, I already prepared my backpack for my next destination - Ilo-Ilo City. Settled my bills and rode in a tricycle to Crossing, where buses and vans are passing by. I rode in a van with San Jose sign board and allighted at San Jose Terminal. Travel Time: 2 hours. Fare: 100. At the terminal, I rode again into a van bound for Ilo-Ilo City. Travel Time: 2 hours. Fare: 120 pesos. Had a Taxi ride to SM city for 120 pesos. Had my lunch at KFC. Rode in a jeepney to Robinson's Ilo-Ilo and walked to Ong Bun Pension House. Checked In. Rested. 6 PM had dinner at Robinsons. Had a mocha frappe in Starbucks. Went back to Ong Bun. Browsed the internet and rested. Syempre, 3:01 AM, I woke up! Prepared my backpack. Tidy up at 6 AM. Breakfast at the cafeteria.

how to get to Guimaras
How to Get to Guimaras: Because I have no idea about the route to Parola Port in Ilo-Ilo City, I asked the guard at Ong Bun Pension House. He said: "just walk straight, for about two blocks away, you can ride a jeepney with ARU/GPU signboard." Ang he is correct! Alighted at Parola Port. Bought ferry ticket for 15 pesos. Got on the Ferry. Selfie Selfie and after 15 minutes - it's Guimaras Island.

Guisi Lighthouse
Photo above is Guisi Lighthouse or Faro de Punta Luzaran which is the second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines, lighted up for the first time in 1894. The island province of Guimaras has a complete combination of tourist spots, from historical, heritage, beaches, nature, food and many more. At Jordan Port, in Guimaras, I met Ken, my driver and a tour guide. I left my bag at his friends store by the Pasalubong Centre and proceeded to our next destinations. Guimaras tourist spots we visited are: (in order) The Smallest Plaza, I Love Guimaras sign in front of the Capitol, the mango plantation, Trappist Monastery, the view deck of Lawi Bay, the fine white sand beach of Alobijod cove, Guisi lighthouse, Guisi beach, lunch at The Pitstop, and lastly the gigantic Windmill. 

beach resorts in Guimaras
Photo above was taken at Alobijod Cove, Nueva Valencia and I stayed at Raymen Beach Rersort, one of the beach resorts in Guimaras, for an hour. It was a lazy afternoon; I was sitting in a quaint cottage while watching those visitors playing on the fine white sand. The the area has a relaxing ambiance and the crystal clear emerald waters from afar. On the side, there's a cottage on a rock formation - perfect backdrop. The entire tour lasted for 4 hours for 800 pesos - it's worth it!

3PM PM - rode in a ferry back to Parola Port, in Ilo-Ilo City. By the port, rode in a a jeepney with Super sign board and alighted in the plaza. Rode a jeepney again to SM City. Stayed in Starbucks while waiting for 5 PM. Then, rode in a taxi to the airport. Fare: 350 pesos.
backpacking in Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Ilo-Ilo and Guimaras

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