Food

Bacolod 2014 [B.I.G. Adventure 2]

After a very sumptuous breakfast at La Paz, we went back to our hotel to check-out and rode a cab to the port. We bought a Libre Balik ticket to Bacolod for P410 at Ocean Jet. Travel time is 1 hour.

Scorching heat welcomed us as we arrived at lunch time. We quickly hailed a tricycle going to the nearby SM City Bacolod for our luggage check-in. Spending only a few hours here so we didn’t want any unnecessary weight. And since we’re kind of tight with time, we decided to hop in a cab to go to the famous local site, The Ruins. We agreed on a P400 rate which I think is a bit of a rip-off but, yeah with the heat and all that, I’d rather pay for some comfort.

Entrance fee for The Ruins costs PhP80. We thought it’s a bit too small to be a mansion but it’s beautiful almost unreal, to be honest! The photos I’ve taken did not look real. Few groups were in there and it’s almost quiet. No tours going around. Not minding the heat, we went around the place while the dry grass tickled our feet.

DSC_0105DSC_0104DSC_0089We asked the cab driver to drop us off the capitol. From there, we just went around looking at different places. There’s a wide lagoon at the park before the capitol. Beside it is the Negros Museum and Cafe (entrance fee is PhP100-150).

DSC_0132DSC_0135The highlight of our Bacolod trip is Calea! We rode a pedicab from the capitol to Calea. There are lots of cake choices and I can’t choose one! We’re not that hungry but we decided on ordering a few bites since our trip back to Iloilo would be too long since we’ll go straight to Guimaras.

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Calea made up for the rather expensive and quick trip we had in Bacolod. Literally, the White Chocolate Cheesecake which we deemed as the Redeemer did it! I can say, hands down, that it’s the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. And what’s more awesome about it is that it only costs PhP85/slice!

DSC_0147We might have enjoyed Calea a little too much. We ended up missing our ferry back to Iloilo. we had to pay another PhP100 to Ocean Jet for the rebooking.

All in all, Bacolod has still a lot to offer which I haven’t seen yet. Maybe it’s just because we didn’t have much time to roam around and commute, that’s why I felt this quick trip is a bit too expensive. Maybe next time I need to dedicate a day to explore and not ride cabs! 😉

If you’re planning to do the B.I.G. adventure, I’d suggest you start with Bacolod than Iloilo. Fly to Bacolod from Manila then depart from Iloilo back to the Manila. Would cost you less with the ferry fare.

Next and last stop — Guimaras!

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Iloilo 2014 [B.I.G. Adventure 1]

B – Bacolod            I – Iloilo             G – Guimaras

Iloilo is very tourist-friendly. From the airport’s exit, there is a station for vans bound to SM City Iloilo for PhP50. From the famous mall, jeepneys going around the friendly town roam around. We rode one going to Mandurriao to get to Go Hotels. It is located at the Robinson’s Mall. Have booked a room early this year for almost PhP800. Regular room rate won’t cost you much (probably less than PhP1,500).

After leaving our luggage to them, off we went to our first stop – Molo. There are jeepneys directed to the nearby town. Molo Church would easily get your attention. Don’t hesitate to ask the drivers as most of them are happy to help and guide you. Regular fare is PhP7.50.

DSC_0017DSC_0007DSC_0001From Molo, we then rode another jeepney bound to San Joaquin (thanks to the kind policemen who waited for a ride with us!) I was originally planning on visiting Miag-Ao which is 45 minutes away from the city. San Joaquin is even farther but since it’s only 15 minutes awa from Miag-Ao, we gave it a shot. Fare is PhP60 each.

The surroundings of the towns we visited are identical. Near the church is the plaza and the town hall. There’s usually a gazeebo and a statue of Jose Rizal. San Joaquin Church’s facade was under construction. After a few moments of silence and roaming around the town, we traveled going to Miag-Ao. Fare is PhP15.

DSC_0019Miag-Ao is one of the UNESCO World Heritage site. To be honest, I expected it to be bigger but it’s still beautiful! The architectural details and the historical vibe of the place really made all the effort worth it. The sun is not shying behind the clouds but it was very cool even inside the church.

DSC_0046DSC_0030From Miag-Ao, we traveled back to the city. We arrived an hour past lunch (and an hour away from hotel check-in!). We didn’t go far and had lunch inside Robinson’s Mall. We tried Hungry Ninja. Cheapest food (a portion of a chicken and rice) costs PhP46. As our feet grew tired for half a day’s adventure, we retreated to our room for a quick nap.

I was surprised at how pleasant the room is (given the amount I paid for it). There’s one queen-sized bed, a flat TV, basic toiletries, shower and a foldable table (?). AC worked pretty well. Only complain I have would be the noise from the hallway and the other rooms which are audible inside our room. But other than that, I felt like I got more of what I paid for.

DSC_0057At half past four, we roamed around the city. Starting with Plaza Libertad. Found nothing special about this place but it’s close to a branch of Coffee Break and Biscocho Haus. It’s a stone’s throw away, too, from the downtown where we walked in search of Calle Real. We asked a lot of people where it was and we got different answers. Little did we know that we are walking along the place we are looking for! It was a five-block (rough estimate) stretch. We walked from Plaza Libertad to the Iloilo Capitol and back.

DSC_0059Just as the sun is setting, we visited one of my Iloilo favorites – Coffee Break! We just chilled there until we decided to go to Smallville – Iloilo’s district for night life.

DSC_0068We had dinner at Mojave. For less than PhP900, we had a rack of ribs and shrimps! With little sleep and tired body, what’s a greater way to end a long day than having a hefty dinner? 🙂

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First half of our second day was spent in Bacolod. But before we rode a ferry going to the nearby city in the Negros province, we stopped by La Paz for breakfast. We searched for Netong’s which we found inside the public market. I’m not a big fan of noodles and innards, but Netong’s batchoy is a must-try for all those who wants to visit Iloilo.

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Jumping to our fourth day… We had a few hours left before our flight back to Manila, so we decided to visit Museo Iloilo and Jaro. Entrance fee for the museum is PhP50. There are a few interesting things in there. But what captured me the most is the gallery where they showcase paintings of local artists. They are for sale. Unfortunately, it’s out of my budget. I wanted to buy one piece (maybe when I come back soon).

i00322 (1)i00343 (1)i00346 (1)Jaro is 10 minutes away from the museum which is just beside the capitol. We visited Jaro Cathedral and its belfry. Too bad the church was closed for maintenance but it was one of the most photogenic places I’ve seen. The belfry at the plaza across the church is so intimidating. It’s almost similar to the bell tower we visited in Ilocos earlier this year. But this one is bigger.

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In general, Iloilo is one of the friendliest places I’ve visited. Though we had an itinerary at hand, going from one place to another is a task. We rode jeepneys without any guarantees that they’ll take us to where we want to go. But thanks to the kind locals who are always very willing to help out a lost traveler.

I can’t wait to be back and explore more towns! 🙂

Hapag Vicentico’s

We left Baler around midday on Easter Sunday. And since most tourists are on their way back to the city for Monday’s work, the expressway is jammed with vehicles. We let it ease up and detoured to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija to look for their famous Hapag Vicentico’s.

Hapag Vicentico’s is a restaurant serving Filipino food. It is located at the plaza, just in front of the city’s capitol. The interior of this well-visited place is like an old house – walls made of hard wood, delicate lights, windows with capiz and pieces of furniture like a rocking chair, wooden sofa and chairs.

DSC_0540DSC_0541DSC_0547DSC_0548Food served was superb. Authentic Filipino dishes for a reasonable price. The whole place gives you this old, Filipino under the Hispanic regime vibe. Would definitely come back and try more dishes.

DSC_0555DSC_0556DSC_0558DSC_0559DSC_0560DSC_0561Recommended food/drink/dessert: beef pochero, sinigang na hipon, buko shake with a dash of caramel and leche flan 😉
DSC_0568DSC_0573—Visit their website at http://www.vicenticos.com/.Like them on Facebook, click here.