Posted by: Leap of Faith | January 16, 2008

Jampacked with Adventure, our Philippine Trip (Part 5)

We landed in Ilo-ilo on time.  The airport, which opened in June last year, was very beautiful.  The Manila International amd Domestic terminals paled in comparison.  This is world class.

Our shuttle service came late.  Apparently, there were two flights that day coming form Manila and the hotel personnel thought we were taking the latter flight.  Honest mistake, no harm done. Anyhow, the waiting lounge was very nice and clean so that was okay.

We were booked at Sarabia Hotel, the most awarded hotel in the province.  Apparently, the last time our President was in town, she and her whole entourage was booked in the same place.  Wow, how posh naman ng Veguillas clan.

Upon arrival at the hotel,  we were ushered to the front desk.  The hotel lobby was decent albeit nothing compared to the fancier hotels of Manila… but of course, we knew that. After checking in, we all went to the elevator – everyone eagerly planning our itinerary for the day.

Ting! Kids this is our floor.  The elevator door opened and aghast, we were suddenly transported to the Twilight Zone! All our eyes (I’m sure even Marga’s) were wide open in disbelief.  That few seconds in the elevator made a shocking difference.  We were now in Bates Motel!

Upon exiting the elevator one could immediately notice the poorly lit corridor, which undoubtedly smelled like molds.  The rooms were not the slightest bit better.  It was spacious alright but who needs space when the whole room smelled like dust.  I seriously felt ill… my allergic rhinitis was acting up again.  The bathroom was equally as sickening – white tiled with matching mildew all around.  Toe curler is definitely an understatement! Oh, sorry, I forgot about the view… the view of the neighbors rusty rooftops and clothes, which were hanging out to dry. This is every traveller’s worst nightmare.

The whole day was spent coordinating with our travel agent in Manila and my mom’s friends, who were based in Ilo-ilo.  Fortunately, they were able to bail us out of that pitiful establishment and transfer us to a much, much better hotel near the newer part of the city.  Now, our vacation can begin.

It was such a harassing morning that we decided to take it slow that night.  We all ate at this Japanese Restuarant, which was located at this row of nice restaurants and bars in front of our hotel (something like the old El Pueblo in Ortigas).  Apparently, one of the hotel’s claim to fame is that Christian Vasquez (the model of PLDT’s “supportado’ kita” commercial) stays there whenever he is in town. We were all pleasantly surprised at that place, which looked really, really nice.  By the way, our dinner was meant to celebrate our 10th year wedding anniversary *people now shouting: get a room! get a room!*

All was going well until Pippo suddenly disappeared.  When he came back, he’s face  was all red and sweaty.  Apparently, he was not feeling well and had to throw-up.  What!  The curse continues.  To back track a bit, early that day, we ate at this so-so Korean Restaurant at Sarabia Hotel and he had eaten a lot of spicy food, which we thought caused him to feel sick. Boo hoo hoo! Since we could not do anything anymore and after realizing that we had enough activity for one day, we all decided to call it a night. Kayo naman, anniversary night namin ‘to no?!

The following morning we were all ready to do our city tour.  Pippo, however, was feeling more ill. He could not sleep the whole night because of diarhea, which weakend and dehydrated his body.  Unfortunately, he could not be left alone in the hotel either. Armed with only a hydrite solution and a lot of guts, he decided to join us for our day tour.

For the most parts, Ilo-ilo seemed like any other province in the Philippines.  The rural scenery (i.e. nipa huts, carabaos and tricycles) were very prevalent all throughout the place.  Of course, the newer developments by Mr Henry Sy (i.e. SM) were also present in the crowded business district. 

The pride of Ilo-ilo of course are their old churches, one of which has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Miag-ao Church, a baroque church built during the Spanish era, is definitely worth all the travel.  The facade of the church is very beautiful with ornate rock carvings and all.  The altar is also made out of gold so that was enough to make as all go ooooh! and aaaah!

Equally as impressive is the Molo Church, which has a very impressive interior with several female saints lined along the main aisle of the church, and the Ilo-ilo Cathedral, which unfortunately was being renovated at that time. 

Other sites we visited are the antique houses of the Lopezes and Javellanas, which looked spooky and all, a nice vegetable and animal farm, and the Ilo-ilo Museum.  Food tripping is also best in that place (you were right, Weng). In case you don’t know, Ilo-ilo is the birth place of the Molo Soup and the La Paz Batchoy – yum! 

We ended the day eating La Paz Batchoy.  It was so good.  I ate so much it made me want to “go to the bank and make my deposit,” if you know what I mean.  How was Pippo?  Well, let’s just say, he was definitely the bank’s preferred client that day!

Pause muna, tayo. I think halata na sa office na wala akong ginagawa :). Sa uulitin.




  1. hahaha, natawa ako sa banking reference 😀

    natakot naman ako sa sarabia experience niyo… siguro they have a totally decked out floor for VIPs (or possibly foreigners, too) tapos a dingy whole floor for poor hapless kababayans na they thought they could dupe. those who awarded that hotel probably did not stay on your floor hehehe. buti na lang nakalipat kayo. *whew*

    i can’t wait for the pics. 🙂

    Halata bang which industry I work for?

    Oh, I do hope they treat everyone equally. But it does seem logical to house GMA in a better place. That establishment was really bad. Do you know that wing is supposed to be the “new” wing pa!

    I’ll pressure Pinky to update our Multiply sight soon.

  2. Hay naku, Sarabia is really “holiday hell” if you ask me! To think that they even allegedly booked us in their “new” wing – what were they thinking??? 😦

    I don’t know how many people they bribed to award them to be Iloilo’s premier 1st class hotel – a big “BUYER BEWARE” flashing sign should warn all future clients for this establishment… just DON’T GO HERE PLEASE!!!

    Westown Business Hotel (where we ended up in) in Smallville is definitely much better so make sure you book here if you decide to visit Iloilo…

    Buti na lang I had my fair share of La Paz Batchoy from Deco’s to drown our Iloilo woes away – hahaha! 😀

    Hon, I’m sure Sarabia would have gotten a real beating if you did the blog. I can feel the raw emotion from your comment. Well, talagang sorry Sarabia but it was such a disappointing experience.

    Love the batchoy!

  3. la paz batchoy! the ones from iloilo are the best, and i haven’t tasted anything better. is ted’s resto still in biz? love there batchoy, kasi eto ako — batchoy rin. hahahah 😀

    You said it, Nell. The best (although my only comparison is the Batchoy of Luck Me… does that count?)

    Yes, they are still in business. Doing strong and with many branches, including Metro Manila. By the way, is your Ted the owner of that resto chain… just curious?!

    Kami rin Batchoy na! Nakakahiya.

  4. i guess it’s safe to say “cheers sa ating mga batchoy!” hehehe. i’ve had ted’s batchoy quite a few times and higop sabaw talaga ang ginawa ko. it’s so delish, at napa order pa ako ng isa pa. hahaha, takaw ko talaga? one more thing i miss from iloilo is the “pinasugbu”, corek me if im wrong sa spelling. yong saba covered with dark caramel and top with sesame seeds. yum-o!

    glad to hear ted’s resto is doing well. dahil gusto ko pang kumain dyan pag nauwi ako, hehehe. and btw, my ted here don’t know a thing about batchoy. so malabo syang maging owner. ako lang ang kilala non na ta-batchoy. hahahah!

    have a greet week end guys 😀

    Nell, sayang I only ate one bowl of Batchoy since Marga was fussing that time. Not sure what the “pinasigbu” is… it sounds like a bananaque…yum! I actually ate turon, which was also covered in caramel and had sesame seeds. It was so good.

    sayang, akala ko kay hubby Ted yon… we could have gotten special discounts so we can eat more Batchoy.

    Have a great weekend too.

  5. […] case you are interested to know more about our previous trip, you can read about it here, here, and here).  Please do wish us a “dikya-free” adventure this time.  […]

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