BYAHILO on a Western Visayas Escapade!

I just got back from a 5days 4night trip in Western Visayas. This is probably one of the best trips I ever had. And probably the most tiring (But I’m not complaining!). Haha For 5 days, I was able to visit eight churches, three cemeteries, 2 eco parks, a few off the beaten track sites, and had seen 12 festivals perform.

Bakhawan eco park, kalibo aklan


I took a flight December 3 from Manila to Kalibo. Weather is really chilly in a town known for its festival. (Check the Kalibo Ati-atihan 2010 Schedule here). After lunch my host, toured me around Kalibo. We got to see the Bakhawan Eco-park, the Kalibo Cathedral, Museo it Akean, then we headed straight to the town of New Washington and visited the Sampaguita Gardens.

Sampaguita gardens

I love the Bakhawan Eco Park and the Sampaguita Gardens! A must-visit when in Kalibo.


I left Kalibo December 4. I took an L300 van which then brought me to the seafood capital of the Philippines: Roxas City. The trip takes about 2 hours. Just before lunch time, I was already in Roxas where Iloilo blogger friends Marc, Junelle, and Junnjun are waiting for me.

kalibo ati atihan 2010

Upon arrival we then had a quick lunch then headed to the City plaza to shoot the festival dancers assembled at the area.

12 major festivals of Western Visayas were in Roxas City to perform during the opening ceremonies of the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly 2009. This year, the grand tourism event is hosted by the City of Roxas in partnership with the provincial government of Capiz.

dinagyang 2010

We stayed at the Villareal Stadium until night time after the program ended. Thousands of locals as well as tourists flocked to the city streets and the stadium to witness this event.

Day 3 December 5

We woke up a bit late. We drove to the city outskirts and headed to the Culajao Mangrove Eco Park. I can’t help but compare Culajao with the eco park in Kalibo. The ones in Kalibo is much bigger. there were more mangroves, and the total length of the park is also longer. But the cottages in Culajao looks better. And there were more birds in Culajao too! I am so amazed looking at the herons and egrets at the swampy area flying back and forth, catching fishes.

culajao mangrove eco park

From the eco park, we were supposed to go to Dumulog sun drying area. the place is known to be a fish drying area. But just after we left Culajao, rain started to pour in. so I am pretty sure that we wont be seeing fishes dried in the open with this kind of weather.

So instead, we just decided to have an early lunch then travel out of Roxas City. This time to the town of Pan-ay.

pan-ay church

Pan-ay is known to be the home of the Santa Monica Church. The church has a stunning facade. I always love the wide space in front of the church yard. But the Pan-ay’s claim to fame is not its facade, its bells. the church’s biggest bell is said to be the largest in Asia and third in the world.

banica wharf

From Pan-ay we decided to drop by the Banica Wharf to arrange our transportation for the next day’s trip to Olotayan Island. But we were so disappointed as the coast guard will not allow us to travel. What is even worse is his line “I suggest you go to Carles in Iloilo or just go to Borcay, instead. Olotayan Island is ugly. It’s not developed

Wow. How can a local government actively campaign and sell Olotayan Island to tourists when its people are the one discouraging the tourists to go there. Honestly, I feel nasayang lang ang effort ko sa pag punta sa Roxas. Sayang ang airfare

people's park, baybay roxas

At night, we decided to go to the People’s Park in Baybay Roxas. The place reminds me of Baywalk, only that the People’s Park is much cleaner and the breeze has no stinky smell.

Day 4 December 6

The dream of basking in the sea sun and sand of Olotayan will never come true on this day. And since we weren’t able to go to Dumulog yesterday, we decided to go to the fish drying area of Dumulog. Dried fish or uga in the local dialect, are then packed in crates then sent to Manila.

dumulog sun drying area

From Dumulog, we then went to Panulce for a quick sweet treat. I ordered an egg pie and a can of Coke Zero for a midday merienda. From Panulce, we went to Tracy’s Bakeshop where Junelle bought a box of Sans Rival. I would have wanted to try their sans rival, unfortunately, they don’t sell cakes per slice.

From Tracy’s we then took a long drive out of the province of Capiz. Our next stop was the city hall of Passi City, Iloilo. Junnjun and Marc took truckloads of photos.


From Passi, we continued to drive southward. Our next side trip is in the town of Dingle, Iloilo. It has been a long time dream of mine to actually see this church. I love its facade. Really beautiful. I just can’t imagine what’s running on the mind of the priest when he installed a canopy at entrance door. It’s horrific.

dingle iloilo church

From the church, when then headed to the Moroboro Dam. I love the place. It’s so quiet. the only noise you can hear is the gush of the water.

moroboro dam

We arrived in Iloilo City at sunset. We took our dinner at JD’s Bakeshop. Junelle left ahead, while Marc, Junnjun and I decided to go to Central Philippine University (CPU) in Jaro top check out its colorful lights inside the campus.

CPU jaro iloilo

Day5 December 7

It’s the last day of my Western Visayas escapade. And I have a full schedule ahead before heading to the airport.

After breakfast, Marc, Junelle and I met in the town of Oton. From there Junelle drove us to the Church in Tigbauan. It’s one of the churches I often see when passing by, but I just don’t have much time to explore it.

tigbauan church

From the church we then headed to SEAFDEC. SEAFDEC stands for Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center. The place has a very impressive museum. I really enjoyed my short visit there.

From SEAFDEC, we took our lunch at the South Park Grill in the town of Guimbal, beore heading to our next destination: The town of San Joaquin.

SEAFDEC seahorse

While in San Joaquin we got to visit two of its treasures: it’s beautifully crafted church and the cemetery. After San Joaquin, we then drove to the town of Miag-ao.

san joaquin cemetery

The UNESCO World Heritage Church of Miag-ao is currently undergoing restoration. the restoration project is headed by the National Center for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

miag ao church

The restoration looks promising. The facade now looks more cleaner and the yellowish tint is now more prominent. From the church, we then visited the brick-domed mortuary chapel of its cemetery.

miag ao cemetery

From Miag-ao we then went to the church in Guimbal. there was an on going funeral mass when we went there. And the sunlight is just too strong. So i decided to skip Guimbal and hope to return during the Dinagyang 2010.

guimbal church

From Guimbal, Junelle drove to SM City in Mandurriao, where I took a shuttle that will bring me to the Iloilo Airport.

I barely have enough time. Schedule is full packed. But definitely worth all the fun and laughter. Details of my itinerary SOON!

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Comments (8)


  1. emj says:

    The travel show Trip na Trip also had the same experience when they tried to go to Olotayan. They coast guard didn’t allowed them because there weren’t life jackets on the boat. Also heard that the island is now privately owned.

  2. Pweng says:

    I have been to Olotayan last year and I was surprised to hear the bad news from the coast guard. There weren’t life jackets but I trust the boatmen for our safe voyage and it was all worth it. I told my teacher, who also blogs about Capiz, about this incident. If you are interested to go there, just email him at

  3. chymera00 says:

    Thanks for the link eric ^_^ had fun the trip. Sa uulitin.

  4. emj says:


  5. Itchie Dimacali says:

    I’m retiring to the Philippines and I would like to do what you’re doing now; bacpacking around the Philippines. How do I go about it? Do you carry an expensive DSLR or just a point and shoot? Do you have an organized group or association Where a blogger from one area will host bloggers from another area?

    Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Itchie

  6. jake sully says:

    i think roxas city govt should think rethink its priorities. its definitely confusing. its a shame that they keep on promoting their place yet no one supports it. what an attitude! i pity them.

  7. tonipet says:

    ive been to olotayan…i thing i can say..the place is a paradise..yeah..i really love olotayan and im planning to go back there.fresh air,crystal clear water and beautiful scenery..The best ang olotayan!!!sad to hear that from you na di ka nkapunta.sana mpuntahan mo na ang olotayan.GOOD LUCK!!!!

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