Iloilo Diaries Day 1: Where We Stayed + Back To Exploring My Country


I was supposed to post just one packed blog entry for this trip, cramming all 4 full days we had in Iloilo just last week. But I am still (as usual) a trigger happy with my camera resulting to so many pictures that I want to include! 😆 Sayang naman if mastuck lang sila sa laptop diba!

I am still in the process of figuring out if this blog from hereon will become more of the tips and tricks type of webpage mirroring my favorite travel bloggers these days (no narratives, lesser photos, just direct to the point list of things to do, sample itinerary, budget, where to stay, etc), or if I will go with my old school ways: blogging everything per day ala diary style. I guess for this I will go for the latter because again, I have so much to say and nag hihinayang padin ako sa dami ng pictures ko. 😅




So anyway, only a month in for the year 2019 and I am already feeling that it will be another awesome year of travels. I already have sure trips at least once a month till June so kamusta naman ang budgeting! 😁 But I love that I started my 2019 exploration with a local destination! If only Multiply still exists, you'll see that I started my whole post-college traveling life going around our own beautiful country first (because of budget constraints), and even calling my personal project "Wow Philippines" (our former tourism slogan). Matagal-tagal pa talaga bago ako nakatuntong ng Japan o Korea. Now that I have been to different countries, I would sincerely say that the Philippines is such a beautiful place worth exploring too. May maibubuga talaga tayo!

If there's one takeaway for me from this Iloilo trip, it's ang yaman yaman natin sa kultura, sa arts, sa food, and lalo na sa sceneries. Kung meron lang tamang push sa tourism, and tamang pag aalaga at walang pang aabuso sa environment and resources that we're so lucky to own from the beginning--I dare say sana top destination na tayo ngayon.







So anyway, I got invited to fly to Iloilo by Injap Tower Hotel to celebrate Dinagyang Festival with fellow bloggers / influencers, and also to experience narin their hotel. We had an early flight, but since I was traveling with people I haven't been with for a long time, medyo nahyper ako sa airport palang and had fun catching up. When we reached Iloilo in less than an hour, we went straight to our hotel which is barely 30 minutes away from the Iloilo City International Airport so sobrang convenient.

Where To Stay In Iloilo?

We stayed for 3 nights in Injap Tower Hotel, located along Diversion Road in Iloilo City's business district. I have so many reasons why I will recommend this hotel when you go to Iloilo!

For a three star hotel, their goal is to give their guests the FIVE star experience! From great attentive staff, comfortable rooms, to complete amenities (they have a spa, gym, and pool), you'll actually get value for your money when you stay in Injap. Sabi nga ng mga kasama ko, ang hirap bumangon everyday just because ang lambot ng bed and pillows!!


No need to go farther, our first meal in Iloilo was in Injap's Horizon Café at the 21st Floor. They also serve their buffet breakfasts here although hindi ko na sya naavail because of our early call times. For lunch, I had pizza and coffee for more energy!



ROOM TOUR!

I got a room to myself yas!! Kahit matatakutin ako sometimes, haha, my stay in Injap Tower Hotel's HAPPY ROOM was solid comfortable. I had good sleep every night, inaantok na ako at around 12am the latest, which is already a feat for an insomniac who sleeps 3am earliest when in Manila. 😁

I learned that there are 194 Happy Rooms in Injap, all air conditioned, all with multiple beds so tipid talaga when you are traveling in a group, all have fast wifi, and of course hot & cold shower.

Here are photos I took of my room bago pa sya gumulo hehehe:



Self timer skillz.


Each room has 2 beds (1 queen size and 1 single bed) to comfortably accommodate 3 guests. Since mag isa lang ako, I slept in the queen size, but pagka galing sa labas and in my dirty clothes pa, sa single bed muna ako hehe.



Right next to the beds is a side table with lamp, telephone, wifi, and a 2 pin flat sockets to charge your gadgets (bring extensions kung madami kayo or madami kang chinacharge like me).



Right in front of the beds is another desk, where I basically just put my hand-carry bag. It also has the Horizon Cafe menu in case you want room service.





On the other side near the doorway is the 46” LED cable TV, and a minibar with microwave, mini ref, kitchen sink, and the usual free bottle water, and snacks that aren't overpriced.




Sliding closet with a bath robe, some hangers, and a safe box:


And lastly, here's how the bathroom looks like. They have lots of towels provided, hot and cold shower, small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, a small bar of soap, dental kits, toilet paper, hair dryer, etcetera etcetera (the works).





I guess my favorite part of my room is the view! Aside from seeing that SM Iloilo is just across the hotel (hehe), sunsets are also the best from here. We even watched the Dinagyang fireworks display from our rooms.



Rooms are from Php 4,500 to Php 5,500. To book for your Iloilo trip accommodation with Injap Tower Hotel, check out their published rates HERE.

Day 1 Itinerary: Within The City

Since our Day 1 is dedicated to free time so we can rest from the early flight, others decided to stay in their rooms. But if you know me and my traveling style, I did a quick research and went out of the hotel right away! 😁



First Stop: Museo Iloilo

I think we finished lunch at around 1pm, and our next call time was not till 6pm for dinner. I had hours to myself and decided to go out and not waste a day! Thanks to Google and Google Maps I was able to list down about 3 places that I wanted to visit near Injap, yung mga tig 10 minutes away lang. True enough, our hotel is in the center of most of these internet recommended sites.

Ang swerte lang that Iloilo also has Grab, but taxi lang wala pang car pero ok nadin. I just topped the taxi fare with Php 10, and still felt safe to go around on my own.

For a little background on Iloilo, I decided to check out a museum.





Museo Iloilo is located along Bonifacio Drive in Iloilo City Proper. It has an entrance fee of Php 50 (or Php 20 for students), and they are open from Mondays to Saturdays 9am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 10am to 6pm. The museum looks smaller in actual, but it features a good sneak peek of Iloilo's culture and history.

Some stuff that I picked up while going around Museo Iloilo:

1) Iloilo is the first Queen City of South, a title acquired during the Spanish period because of their socio-economic importance next to Manila.

2) The city was formerly named Irong-Irong, and then Ilong-Ilong, and was eventually shortened to Iloilo.

3) Iloilo is a very cultured city early on! In short, mga ARTSY ang mga Ilonggo!

They already have a system of writing that they used in dealing with foreign trades, they wove beautiful textiles using piña and abaca, they used porcelain plates and not coconut shells in eating, and they practiced Pintados, bodies adorned with art, or what we all know now as tattoos!









Second Stop: Lopez Heritage House

When I got off my Grab Taxi for the Lopez Heritage House, I had to go in a tall gate that almost made me think that the place is not open to the public and sayang naman ang pinunta ko hoho! The guard by the entrance then offered me 2 things na medyo napaisip ako baka payment schemes lang nya (haha sorry kuya!) pero legit naman!

Guests of the Lopez Heritage House can either pay Php 100 to just check out the house from the outside and enjoy the garden view, or pay Php 1000 to go inside the heritage house complete with a tour guide. Nagkuripot ako haha so I just went for the Php 100.



They kuya guard, after calling the main office, told me to just walk straight and go in the first house on the right to pay. I walked slowly and leisurely towards the house, and saw a happy group of staff trying out what I am guessing was a new acquisition at that time--a steamer!! They were trying it on their curtains, before they saw me inside the office. They apologized for not noticing me at once, then asked for my payment.

Then they called a guy, I guess about 3-5 years younger than me, who was assigned to lead me nearer the house. I thought he was there para bantayan lang ako na hindi pumasok, but then he introduced himself as their resident taga-photo for guests who prefer the Php 100 entrance! 😄 Nasa Facebook generation na nga pala tayo at hindi pwede walang photo ops!!




The Lopez Heritage House or Mansion de Lopez is also known as Nelly's Garden, named after house owners Don Vicente Lopez and Doña Elena Hofileña's daughter. The Lopezes of ABSCBN are already nieces of the house owners.


The mansion is very grand from the outside, and has now become a National Historic Landmark and Queen of Heritage Houses in Iloilo. I will forever be haunted by what's inside this crazy rich Ilonggo house, but thanks to Kuya who took my pictures I have at least photos to prove that I've been there!

Some stuff I learned about the Lopez Heritage House:

1) The house is still liveable, the owners still stay here whenever they are in Iloilo.

2) The place is now open for garden weddings and events. Ang ganda naiimagine ko yung celebration with the white mansion as their backdrop.

3) Depending on the season, some of the plants in the garden changes in color! Sinabi lang yan sakin ni kuya while pointing to a random green tree, I guess parang fall / autumn din na nagiging orange sya sometimes.


Welcome to my crib! 😜


Third Stop: Veggie Delight

A tip for those who want to try Vegetarianism, download the Happy Cow app which shows restaurants within your area that are either vegan, vegetarian, or have "vegetarian options available". For some reason, I seldom use this app during my travels because I always rely on groceries or convenience stores. But for this trip, I tried lang to see what food and restaurants ang lalabas. Btw, you can use Happy Cow anywhere in the world.

One of the 3 restos that showed in the results for Iloilo is Veggie Delight. I picked this one since it is just within the city, very near our hotel, and they serve a meatless version of Iloilo's famous dish Batchoy.



The eatery is open air and turo-turo ang style niya, which is not an issue for me. By the counter, ang dami pang ibang ulam but I stopped myself from over-ordering since mag didinner pa ako with the group.



Here's my hot bowl of vegetarian batchoy! I have no point of comparison since I never tried batchoy during my meat-eating years except for Lucky Me's instant La Paz Batchoy hehe. But the hot soup was too perfect for Iloilo's cloudy welcome.


Btw, I only paid Php 45 for this!


I was back in the hotel at around 4pm, in time to help Lissa shoot her fitness vlog. We met up in the hotel's gym.


I was back in my room when this view appeared on my window. Too late na to run to the helipad for photos, so we planned to catch the next day's sunset instead. In all our 3 nights in Iloilo, this was the best. ♥️





The whole group gathered again for dinner, where we went to DoVa Brunch Cafe. Brian said it is comparable to Manila's Wholesome Table. They serve really good selection of salads, pizza, and pasta that I forgot about my "dinner diet" (supposedly on no carbs for my last meal of the day). Oh well, I lived a little just for this trip!

I also had the chance to talk to Marcelo, Lissa, Brian, Bennix, Seph and Trice during dinner, and sobrang naenjoy ko silang kasama! We extended the night by going to the mall just across the resto where we had popcorn, free taste of local coffee, and availed a free photo zone just for kicks!











I guess I have to end this post by saying you don't have to go far or spend too much to say that you have travelled. My first taste of adventure was right here at our home.

To be continued.


Watch Day 1 Snippets:


Special thanks to Brian, Bennix, and Injap Tower Hotel for taking care of us!!!

Comments

  1. Yay! New blog post. I really enjoy your "diary type" of writing. It is so relatable, raw and no pretentions! More power xx

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    1. Thank you so much for this! I need more writing inspo and now back to reading books so I can write more sensible blogs :)

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  2. Love the images of sunset too �� Beautiful photos! Agree po dyan Ms Ana, ako i wanna roam around Phil muna ( if i have plenty of chance and money to do that too ) , dito palang solve na tayo sa mga tourist destinations. Pero i still dream of exploring beautiful places outside Pinas ❤️ Ang grand ng house, mga pamangkin na pla yan sila nasa ABSCBN. ☺️ I get to know places to visit in Iloilo kaya im looking forward to travel here too ☺️ Thanks Ms Ana��

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