June 11-14, 2010 with a bunch of great personalities
i've been to these places several times but i never thought i could still get to discover more places and enjoy it even more. this is one trip we plan out each year and everything seemed to have worked out as planned.
for one, we managed to secure promo flights from air philippines express at just around 2333 roundtrip.
we touched down Bacolod-Silay airport at around 7am where our previously arranged chartered van waited and proceeded immediately to our Silay tour after breakfast at El Ideal, one of Silay's oldest restaurant where we also got to try their famous guapple pie.
from El Ideal we visited Balay Negrense, San Diego Cathedral and the Hofilena Ancestral Home where we stayed almost 2 hours having been entertained by the owner/curator Ramon Hofilena.
A descendant to one prominent family in Negros, Mon came home from New York and tried hard to restore their ancestral home. their home eventually became the first ever ancestral home in Silay which was opened to the public, and yes, he still lives in the same house thus visiting the place is taking a peek on his private life. we got to see his rare collection of paintings even his portraits and old quite revealing photos.
he beguiled us with his knowledge of Negrense and Philippine culture in general peppered with anecdotes and trivia which entertained us to no end. never mind if he called us dumb at one time for not recognizing his favorite artists from the days of yore hehehe...
he could have invited us to stay the night but we were not really in the mood for an orgy wehehe...
from Silay we proceeded to Bacolod City and checked in at Saltimboca (not Salbakuta, stupid!)
from the hotel, we walked quite a short distance to have lunch at the nearby Chicken Deli for our first taste of authentic chicken inasal.
at around 5pm we went out to the capitol for fish feeding, playing and more photo ops. Bacolod's capitol has to be the most relaxing landmark i've ever went to. i remember taking Xan there and enjoying running around, feeding the fishes, and squealing at the sight of the swings, slide and seesaws at their park.
and it kinda reminds me of the monument in Washington DC, not that i've ever been there hehehe...
from the capitol we went Pala-pala for dinner consisting of fresh seafoods (dampa style).
after dinner, we took a dip at the pool in Saltimboca to hopefully burn some calories before we went out for some Bacolod nightlife! we had a few round of drinks at the billiards bar with May and hubby, then went up the rooftop of L Fisher Hotel for a glimpse of Bacolod skyline.
from there we walked towards Cafe Bob but it was closed already (around 2am) so we had no choice but to go to Starbucks instead for our caffeine fix before finally calling it a night.
we woke up quite early the following morning to check out and to visit more places in Bacolod and its nearby towns. we first checked out the Chapel of Cartwheels and the Gaston House in Manapla which is a good 45 minutes from town.
the Chapel of Cartwheels as the name implies boasts mostly of cartwheels used as walls and decorated with broken glass for its windows. shaped more like a salakot, it's high ceiling gives it a more airy and bigger feel.
on the same compound is the Gaston mansion which i remember more as the house where they shot the classic movie Oro, Plata, Mata.
from Manapla we dropped by at Victorias for the Church of the Angry Christ also known us The Church of St. Joseph the Worker. Sir Mon Hofilena would definitely disagree that the mural portrays that of an Angry Christ but rather Christ showing intense passion.
as per Sir Mon's suggestion, we also went around the chapel and checked the mural at the back which reportedly uses imported paint that could withstand rain and heat and the harsh outdoor weather.
from Victorias, we dropped by Talisay to see the Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson Ancestral Home which is now more known as the Ruins. Built in the 1900s the house is made by the sugar baron, Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson for his first wife, Maria Braga. It boasts of Italian architecture with belvederes and renaissance-type balustrades. The high grade cement is said to be mixed with egg whites thus giving it a more lustrous finish? I don't know, i didn't bother actually tasting it.
the house was burned down by the Americans just so the Japanese cannot use it as their headquarters. it burned down continuously for three days destroying its wood work but its strong enough pillars and walls stayed standing tall.
after lunch and quick pasalubong shopping of Victoria sardines in Robinsons we rushed towards the port to head off to Iloilo and later to Guimaras Island.
it was almost 6pm when we got to Guimaras so we caught a glimpse of the sunset just before we got to the resort.
checked in at Villa Igang at almost 7pm and had pale pilsen after dinner kasi yun lang ang available. haay, there isn't much to say about Villa Igang, we felt we were way too secluded in the island that last orders for food was at 7pm and there isn't much to buy in their store. our room was further up some hill and we didn't get to wake up early enough to check out the caves and the rock formations around the resort.
we went island hopping early the following day and was so amazed with the marine sanctuary at SEAFDEC.
the most awesome creature for me will have to be their giant lapu lapu at about 10 kilos each and they are all carnivorous, EEEEK!
from there we moved to another sanctuary where we got to interact with live turtles. ;)
our last stop was this pristine white beach at an islet in Ave Maria where we finally got to dip and frolic in the sun.
just before 12 noon, we headed back to the resort, checked out and transferred to Raymen's for lunch and more beaching and stayed there till late afternoon.
went back to Iloilo late that afternoon stopping at the Trappist Monastery, the smallest plaza and the municipal hall in Guimaras before heading to the port. we checked in at Ong Bun in Iloilo, rested and checked out the night scene. after dinner at Ted's we went to Smallville and spent a couple of hours at some ktv bar, had cocktails at O2 and coffee at Coffee Break.
we started out with an early breakfast trip at the public market consisting of fresh mangoes, native delicacies and rice meals at some carenderia.
we later went to Breakthrough for lunch and stayed there a while pigging out on seafood and lechon.
we checked out at Ong Bun and went for a quickie visita iglesia starting with the prominent and breathtaking Miag ao Church, around 45 minutes from Iloilo proper.
after visiting several more churches namely Tigbauan, Guimbal, Molo, Jaro and dropping by Biscocho house for pasalubongs, we headed to the airport for our 9pm flight.
sunkissed, sated and full we could not help but say how much fun we had from this trip.