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How To Spend 4 Full Days In Iloilo For Under P7,000

It's a place that's full of surprises!
by Mars Salazar | Jun 17, 2017
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The charming province of Iloilo has a lot to offer, from historical attractions to gorgeous beaches to gloriously dirt-cheap seafood. If you've got a trip here coming up, here's how you can see the major sights without totally depleting your last sweldo:

DAY 1:

9:00 AM: Start your day with some coffee and bread at Madge Cafe—you can go to the original shop located in La Paz Market, or head to their fancier branch at Atria.

Budget: Around P120 per head.

Madge Cafe is located at the La Paz Public Market, Rizal cor. Huerva Streets, La Paz, and Atria Ayala Land, Mandurriao.

10:30 AM: Stop by the Molo Cathedral, the only Gothic church in the Philippines located outside Manila. Say a prayer, then cross the plaza to visit the Molo Mansion.

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Budget: No fees.

11:00 AM: Learn about Panay Island's rich history and culture at the Museo de Iloilo, where you can see artifacts dating back to the 19th century.

Budget: P50 per head for adults

Museo de Iloilo is located at Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City Proper.

1:00 PM: You can't visit Iloilo without sampling its seafood, and one of the best places for that is Breakthrough, where you can get a plate full of oysters for as low as P60.

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Budget: Around P300 per person.

Breakthrough is located at Villa Beach, Villa Arevalo.

3:00 PM: Step back in time at Camina Balay nga Bato, the 150-year-old ancestral home of the Avancena clan. Take a look at their hablon and antiques, and end your tour with pancit molo and tsokolate.

Budget: P150 for entrance fee + tsokolate, P200 for entrance fee + tsokolate and pancit molo.

Camina Balay nga Bato is located at 20 Osmena St., Villa Arevalo 

5:00 PM: Walk along the 1.2-kilometer Iloilo Esplanade overlooking the Iloilo River and watch the sun go down.

Budget: No fees

7:00 PM: Have dinner at one of the restaurants in Plazuela, located right beside SM City Iloilo. It's also a great place for photo-ops!

Budget: Around P300 per person.

Plazuela de Iloilo is located along Benigno Aquino Ave., Mandurriao.

9:00 PM: Experience Iloilo's nightlife at the Smallville complex, which has several restaurants, cafes, and clubs for the hardcore city dweller.

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Budget: Around P300 per person.

Smallville Complex is located along Diversion Road, Mandurriao.


DAY 2:

7:30 AM: Head to the La Paz Market for an authentic batchoy breakfast. Ted's Oldtimer La Paz Bachoy, Deco's Original Batchoy, and Netong's are regarded as the best.

Budget: P100.

The La Paz Public Market is located at the corner of Rizal and Huerva Streets, La Paz.

8:30 AM: Stop by Jaro Cathedral, where Graciano Lopez Jaena was baptized and where Sen. Grace Poe was found as a baby. Built in 1974, it's one of Iloilo City's most famous landmarks.

Budget: No fees.

9:00 AM: Ride a jeep to the Tagbak Bus Terminal and ride a bus to Carles, the jump-off point to the Gigantes Islands.

Budget: P175 for a one-way bus ticket to Carles

Tagbak Bus Terminal is located along McArthur Highway in Jaro.

1:00 PM: Have lunch near the Bancal Port riding the boat to the Gigantes Islands.

Budget: P100

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2:00 PM: Catch the boat going to the Gigantes Islands.

Budget: P80 per head for the boat ride and P70 for environmental fees.

3:30 PM: Disembark at Gigantes Norte. Ride a habal-habal to your accommodation.

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Budget: Room rates at Gigantes Norte start at around P500. Rosewood Place Resort and Arjan Beach Resort are the most popular options. P20 per head for the habal-habal ride from the port to the resorts.

4:00 PM: Ride a habal-habal around the island to see the Bakwitan Cave and the Gigantes Norte Lighthouse.

Budget: The habal-habal ride to the lighthouse costs P60, while the ride to Bakwitan Cave costs P200. 

7:00 PM: Head back to your place for dinner and drinks, maybe even some karaoke!

Budget: P200 per head


DAY 3:

7:00 AM: Leave Gigantes Norte for a half-day island hopping tour. Visit Antonia Beach, Little Boracay beach, Cabugao Gamay Island, Tangke Lagoon, and Bantigue Island, where you can have lunch. Take advantage of the fresh seafood and order all the scallops your tummy can hold.

Budget: Island hopping prices depend on the tour provider, but it should start at around P1,500 for a chartered boat. Bring at least P200 for lunch (scallops cost P1 per piece here, with a minimum P100 order) and entrance fees to the islands.

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12:30 PM: Go back to Gigantes Norte. Shower and pack up.

2:00 PM: Catch the boat going back to Bancal Port in Carles.

Budget: P80 per head.

3:30 PM: Arrive at Bancal Port in Carles. Ride a van to Iloilo City.

Budget: P200 per head for the van ride.

6:00 PM: Have an early dinner at Patpat's Kansi, where you should order the Ilonggo version of bulalo. If you're not yet tired, you can have a nightcap afterwards at one of the many Coffee Break branches in the city.

Budget: Around P150 for Patpat's Kansi and around P200 for Coffee Break.

Patpat's Kansi is located along Lopez St., Jaro. Coffee Break has several branches across the city.



DAY 4:

8:00 AM: For breakfast, head to Roberto's, the home of the best siopao and sotanghon guisado in the city. Their queen siopao should keep you full for several hours.

Budget: P150 per head.

Roberto's is locate at JM Basa Street, Iloilo City Proper.

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9:00 AM: Head to the Molo Terminal and ride a bus to get to Miagao. You'll be dropped off at the plaza.

Budget: The bus fare should cost around P80.

The Molo Terminal is located along San Pedro Street, Molo.

10:00 AM: Visit the 220-year-old Miagao Church, one of the four Baroque churches in the Philippines and a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Budget: No entrance fee.

11:00 AM: Walk to the Miagao campus of UP Visayas, which houses the College of Fisheries and Ocean Studies.

Budget: No entrance fee.

1:00 PM: You can enjoy fresh seafood by the beach, or head to Sulu Garden, a Japanese restaurant in town.

Budget: P300 per head

Sulu Garden is located along the Iloilo-Antique Road, Miagao.

2:30 PM: You can enjoy the beach, or ride a jeep to the nearby towns to go church-hopping. If you're doing the latter, check out the San Joaquin Church, the Guimbal Church, and the Santo Nino de Arevalo Church, where the third oldest Sto. Nino in the Philippines can be found.

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Budget: Around P200 for transportation fees to San Joaquin, Guimbal, and Villa Arevalo.

6:00 PM: For your last authentic Ilonggo meal, head to Tatoy's Manokan and Seafood Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Iloilo. Don't forget to order their litsong manok!

Budget: P300 per head

Tatoy's Manokan and Seafood Restaurant is located along the Valuarte-Calumpang-Villa-Oton Road, Arevalo.

Where to stay in Iloilo City:

Urban Inn Iloilo has fan rooms that can accommodate two people for P500.

Luna cor. Arroyo St., La Paz

Highway 21 Hotel has aircon rooms that can accommodate five people for P1,900.

General Luna St., Iloilo City Proper

Ong Bun Pension House has rooms for as low as P330.

Ledesma St., Iloilo City Proper

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