Trip to the Fourth District of Iloilo

The fourth district is composed of seven municipalities and a city, these are the municipality of Dumangas, Barotac Nuevo, Anilao, Banate, San Enrique, Dueñas and Dingle and the City of Passi. We were assigned to gather information and make articles about this district. Mostly about tourism, interesting news and recent development in the municipalities. District four was named to be the Historical – Adventure destination of Iloilo. Where you can find lots of caves and hiking sites also old churches and structures.

We rented a van that would drive us to anywhere we go. It is better than commuting because it’ll be harder for us to transport our baggage from place to place. And so we hoped that the nine thousand that we spent to rent this vehicle for three days would be worth it.

(Name of the Paper) and its contents is not here if not because of these experiences. Here you will know the things that happened to us during our three day trip in district four:

Dumangas

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The girls posing for a picture in front of the ruins of the oldest stone church in Panay located at Dumangas, Iloilo

It was Thursday morning when we begin the trip. We leave at exactly seven in the morning, and our first destination is the Municipality of Dumangas. Though it is our first time to be there, the place seems to be familiar.

We arrived there at 7:45 A.M. then we go head to the Municipal Hall we waited for about 15 minutes because we are too early and some of the employees are still logging in, by that time we are preparing for our questions to be asked.

About 8:15 in the morning someone accommodated us and send us up to wait for the Mayor. Supposedly we are going to interview Mayor Ronaldo Golez for our questions related to infrastructure developments, but we were told that he comes to the office at nine. So we looked for the tourism officer, not knowing that he was the one who asked us about what we need.

We interviewed Mr. Ronaldo Del Oestre Jr the tourism officer of Dumangas and he was very accommodating to us. He toured us to the St. Agustine Parish, which present structure is a Gothic Byzantine architecture. He bought us a treat a certain cooking that can only be found in Dumangas. He also accompanied us to the ruins of the first stone church in Panay, which can be found in Barangay Ermita. We were overwhelmed of the hospitality that the people showed to us.

Before we go to our next destination, we went to the Siete Picados restaurant. A popular restaurant where it derived its name from the name of the seven islands between Dumangas and Guimaras. We are a bit disappointed as we got there. The attitude of how we were accommodated in the municipal hall is very contrasting. When one of us tried to have an interview with the server, but we are not attended properly.

When she tried to ask about the place, they refuse to answer and referred us to the manager who is not there at the time. Telling us that it is better to have an interview to him than to ask them. And about the information of the Siete Picados, they just pointed the board outside. That wasn’t really great.

Even though that thing happened we are still grateful that we have encountered an accommodating person in Dumangas. Especially their tourism officer.

Barotac Nuevo

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Casa Fiametta, a ranch style inland resort in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.

When we reached Barotac Nuevo from Dumangas, it was almost 11:30 am. We were already hungry that time. We stop at the municipal building in front of the plaza. Curious about why it seems to be empty with no information desk and everything, the building looks abandoned. Then we saw a signage saying “all offices are transferred into the new municipal building”. Not sure of were it is located we asked the people inside the post office. The woman gave us confusing direction, some turns and it is near the hospital, and the building looks like SM referring to a mall.

Even our driver was confused of the direction we gave him. So we asked another one, a tricycle driver resting at the side of the plaza. Then there he gave us clear directions. When we got to the place we were overwhelmed it really looked like a mall. Every one of us felt shame for our own municipalities and municipal building. Even manong driver hesitated to park near it. It looks so modern with its blue all glass windows. All we did was say, “wow”.

We came in and was accommodated nicely again by the personnel’s. We asked about the mayor and we were told that he’s on a meeting right now. Still, someone bring us to his office. At first we were confused of who is the mayor, there is an older guy sitting in his chair talking to a much younger one sitting in front of him. One employee even asked us if whom of them is the mayor.

Because they are still in meeting we were introduced to their tourism officer whom we interviewed about topics focused on sports. There he told us that Barotac Nuevo really have no tourism office yet. And when it comes tourism, it is always the sports tourism that they market.

After the interview, the tourism officer heard us talking about how we were astonished by the look of their mayor, he then suggested for us to have a group picture with the Mayor Biron. Also the mayor, gave us an exclusive short interview with him as we don’t have any appointment with him, because they haven’t received the letter we have fax for them. Even we were very hungry at that moment, it was all worth it.

After we ate our lunch we went to the Casa Fiametta for an interview with the manager. Unfortunately he was not around, so we just took photos, checked out the place. The Casa is a Kentucky Themed Ranch Type Inland Resort. The structures are lovely, with animals and accommodation. We enjoyed the time that we spent there, we had a chance to fed the horses and touch them. It is also our first time for some of us.

Banate

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The Managopaya falls a relaxing and very environmental virgin place located at Banate, Iloilo.

It was late in the afternoon when we reached the municipality of Banate. Luckily for us, Sir Joemar Polio, the tourism officer of this town is still in the office. Even if they were about to close and employees are already going home. But we still got the chance to interview him and learned a lot about the tourism spots of Banate. That wastime we knew that they have a waterfalls to be proud of, and a coral island and more. He answered all our questions and presented us all of the plans that the municipality has for the improvement of the tourists spots. And also for the improvements of their town, focusing mainly on the pier and the bay.

Because we don’t want to spend a lot of money we stayed overnight at the house of our friend Kizzel. As we got to their house, there when we felt the fatigue we accumulated in that whole day of going to places. Staying one night at their house made us believe more that people in this place, in this town are naturally hospitable. Free dinner, free accommodation, and free breakfast in the morning with different dishes. That was a lot.

Read Beauty Of Banate.

Anilao

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Shrimp Paste main product of the town of Anilao, Iloilo , it also comes in different flavor.

In the morning we went to Anilao to interview their tourism officer. It was scheduled already so it would be rude not to go and see Mr. Emerson Franco himself, the tourism officer of Anilao. It’s also good to know that he is a graduate Bachelor of Broadcasting, also in West Visayas State University.

He gave us a book where every information about the tourism of Anilao has been listed. We know that it is possible to make camote and banana chips, so we were surprised to know that Anilao has squash chips and malunggay chips product. That made us curious, “How can you make manggay chips, if it’s all green and leafy.” It bothered us until we saw the product, we were impressed because they have made a unique snack out of malunggay. He also brought us to their tourism center where the Bana-ag Festival costumes are displayed. Trophies and a newspaper page where in Anilao has been featured. And the gown that has been used by their Jubilarian queen.

Anilao is known for their shrimp paste or “ginamos” in the common tongue. But I didn’t know that shrimp paste products could have flavors. They have the original, calamansi, spicy and sweet and spicy flavors. We also went to their shrimp paste processing center. That as you enter, the smell of the shrimp paste is very distinctive, even if there was no one working that time.

Back to Banate

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Me, looking down checking on how deep is the part of the water, actually is still shallow.

While we were still in Anilao, Sir Joemar called, telling us that he had already prepared the people who would come with us to the hike the falls. That’s when excitement came back to us. We are going to the waterfalls and will have a boat ride to the coral island.

It was 10 am when we got back there, we got confused about the directions given by sir Joemar. When we got to the place where he told us to park, he was with some teenagers, boys and he told them to get into the van, we never know until he told us that they are the one who’s going to be with us in hiking to the falls. We thought that they were just some students who also wanted to get to the falls.

So we went to the barangay where the falls is located. Before going hiking, we coordinated to the barangay captain and did some interview. Knowing and being told so that it is better to wear shorts, so some of us changed our clothes, especially our shoes.

We rode again to the base of the stream. Upon reaching the place we heard from one of our guides that we are already there, seeing the waterless stream made us doubt. It was later when we started to hike that we knew what is happening to the water. It is being diverted for irrigation. Right there at that part we saw children bathing and their mother rinsing their laundry in the flowing water.

There are five of us plus another five guides and even our driver come along with us to have some adventure. It is better to have these guides with us because the rest of the group are girls and they are short so it is hard for them to climb huge rocks.

While hiking it is really not avoidable for them to complain. What we only keep in mind is that this is for our future. This day is also the birthday of Zaireen, so we told her that this is her birthday gift. That this is better than celebrating at home eating, this one is full of adventure and fun.

As we get into the falls we were amazed of the place and the weariness we all felt was gone.  The place is cool because it is surrounded by trees and the sound of the running water is very relaxing to the ear. We enjoyed the place, the view from the brink of the first waterfalls, and the peaceful environment.

Back at the town we went to a small restaurant for lunch. Sir Joemar was already ordering meals for us and for our guides. We hesitated because all of these foods are for free and we haven’t paid anything. Again they showed the hospitality that had been shown to us when we got there.

After we have eaten we go to the Coastal Village where we are going to ride a boat to go to the coral island. It was high tide that time so the boat was anchored at the middle of the Bay and you really need to get walk through the water to board the boat.

While riding to the island we come across some fishermen pulling up there crab cages. There are also some sets up their nets and some are fishing. Even though I grew up at the sea I was afraid of that trip a little imbalance of the weight in the boat can turn us upside down.  Thankfully that did not happen. Even though it is high tide we are still lucky to see the corals underwater and because of the waves our plan to harbor and go off the boat did not happened. I really enjoyed the trip. It was already 3 in the afternoon when we decided to go to our next destination.

San Enrique

When we got to San Enrique it was already 4 PM. In the way going there, we passed through a barangay that is conducting a coronation program. We never knew the person we’re going to interview would be on that place. So, we still go to the municipal Hall of San Enrique. As we get there is already no one in the building, plus it is Friday. But there is someone who gave us information and has talked to us for a couple of minutes. It was the Secretary of the mayor he was the one who told us that the tourism officer we’re looking for was in that place. So because he cannot answer our questions and also he doesn’t have the authority to give us those information we just went to Passi City to look for a place to stay for the night.

Passi City

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Rows of pineapple bearing fruits at Passi City, Iloilo.

On our route to the Sweet City of Panay- Passi, we almost lost on our way. Thanks to the advanced technology we have, we used our GPS location and the Google Maps to find our way. It was everybody’s first time to be on that city, so we don’t really know where to spend the night safely. We chose the Pintados Pension House and took the air-conditioned room for 4 at 1200 pesos and additional 200 for the extra person. We had our dinner, and because of our tiredness we have fallen asleep early.

In the morning we went to the City Hall of Passi but unlike every other municipalities and cities the City Hall of Passi was located kilometers away from the city. Because it was Saturday there was no office, we just tried our luck. We then go to the police station and ask if the tourism officer of Passi is available at the moment. So the police told us to try and visit the tourism office which is located at the plaza of the city. Before we go back, we have asked directions going to Brgy. Bitaogan where the pineapple plantation is located, and also the directions going to Brgy Sarapan where we can find one of the 17 caves in Passi – the Ma-anghit Cave.

Going to the infamous pineapple plantation we decided to ask some people on the way. Maybe it was coincidental but we stumbled with the barangay officials of Sitio Libtog of Brgy. Bitaogan, so they ride with us and take us to where we could interview some people. Same to other municipalities’ people we met in that barangay and of the whole city of Passi are very accommodating. On the way going to that barangay, we notice and stumbled a minirtruck full of pineapples. They stopped us and gave us some and we were very thankful of that.

After we’ve interview people in Sitio Libtog, we move and travel to Brgy. Sarapan where the Ma-anghit Cave is located. That is when the people of the fourth district have proved us their hospitality. It was almost noon that time so we worried if there will be someone who will accommodate us because of the time we went there. We were overwhelmed, even though it is already lunch time and rest time still one of the kagawad toured us to the cave, from the end to its entrance.

Caving was everybody’s first time, so we were overwhelmed of the experience. Even though we were still exhausted of the hiking and the boating that we did at Banate we excitedly entered. Inside the cave are the different mission of stalactites and stalagmites formations, formation of style of tights installing nights. There are also holes in the ceiling of the cave where a kind of bird builds an edible nest that can be harvested for to be made into a soup.

This kind of product is very expensive and most of the buyers are Chinese people. From time to time local residents are taking it, so the birds does not come back there anymore as we haven’t seen once. We love going inside the cave though the way inside was dark and slippery and we were not prepared that time. We haven’t bring a flashlight with us so it was a bit difficult. Still we enjoy the view inside with shiny formation of stalagmites. We also enjoyed the presence of the kagawad who came with us. He is a joker, but we even doubt him sometimes. We were relieved as we saw a hint of light at the other end. As we got out every one of us felt dizzy, aftermath of being in a narrow place for a long time for the first time.

Dueñas

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Brenda Mae interviewing and listening to the stories of the old about the famous ‘aswang’ in Dueñas, Iloilo the story of Teniente Gimo.

From that barangay in Passi City, we went back to the city to buy our lunch. We just take out our food and ate our lunch inside the van as we go along to our next destination which is Dueñas. It was Saturday, same through with the Passi City Hall, there is no office in Dueñas. So again we just went to the police station and ask for the specific directions of how to get to barangay Calang where the Springs Paradise is located as well as we got the barangay captains name and his mobile number for contact. We didn’t know that it was slightly far away from the poblacion. We need to use the GPS in order to locate the said barangay although we got some directions from the police station.

On our way to Barangay Calang, it was not easy for us to locate the way going to the barangay so we have to ask some people passing through the road to ask for the way in going there. We have to go back again they told us because we already passed through its way. There we go to the house of the barangay captain to coordinate with our intentions in his barangay. We told him what we need to go to the “Pitong Bubon” that was located in their barangay and he accommodated us gratefully. He brought us back to the barangay proper and introduced us the two (2) elderly woman whom we asked about how Dueñas has been called as the place of the aswang.

Again we were overwhelmed by the hospitality that they showed us. Kapitan also gave us their own product which is the calamansi juice. That is when we realized that the barangay is full of calamnsi platation and there are calamansi trees everywhere.

After our interview and a long story telling with the elderlies, we went to the Spring Paradise or what they so called Pitong Bubon. When we got there, that is when we knew that the Bubon has been dug in the edge of a limestone rock, and the water is stagnant there. It was clean, they said that before, when accessibility to water is not that easy, that is where they get their water that they use for their living such for bathing and drinking.

When we got there it is not just seven (7) wells, but there are additional two, that made us confused of which of which is the original. So we assume that the bigger ones are. After we have taken some pictures for our articles we went back to the barangay proper. We thanked the barangay captain and also the three Lolas who entertained us so well and gave us the information that we needed for our articles.

It was already 4 in the afternoon when we reached dingle. We planned to go and hike bulabog putian national park but we were told that it is not possible to do it at that time and if we really want to, it will take us hours. So they cannot let us go there at that moment. What we did there was just an interview and nothing more. But a big thank you to Mr. Dane Dizon that he let us interview him in his house.

Back to the city

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Have a coffee by the sea at Corvus Cafe at Dumangas, Iloilo.

Before we went back to the city we head back to Dumangas again for Zaireen’s article. She took a picture of the “Curvus Café” and asked question to some people inside. We also had our dinner there. The food is great especially the one we ordered. We also had some last pictures of the place before going back. We really enjoyed the trip.

Honestly we are not prepared from all the things that had happened to us during the three (3) days trip. All we had prepared was our route and the van that was going to take us to the municipalities of the fourth district. We never thought that we are all going to have a wonderful experiences and adventures.

Above all, the people at fourth district are very accommodating, very hospitable that you will really enjoy and will have a great time dealing with them. We have learned a lot from what we have done there especially that no one from our group came from the fourth district. We’ve got to know that the district four (4) had a wonderful and amazing tourist spots that others were not included in the Iloilo’s beautiful spots. The untold histories of the different towns and their landmarks that their town could be proud of and the beauty of a something that was not just found only on one place but also to others. Every municipalities in the district has their own kind of distinct and natural beauties that could be proud of.

 

 

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