For a peek at heaven, Iloilo visitors venture farther south to Garin Farm, in pursuit of physical challenge, peace, and respite.
When you check the most-visited spots in Iloilo, old, beautiful Spanish churches top the list. But what if you are not a Catholic and you long for an adventure that challenges both your mind and body?
Consider going to Garin Farm.
How to Go to Garin Farm from Iloilo
Located in San Joaquin, Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort is about an hour or two from the city proper. Commuting by bus or jeepney takes about two hours. If you have hired a private car, the trip is normally faster, about an hour.
If Miag-ao Church is included in your Iloilo itinerary, you can simply take a bus from this church to San Joaquin. Most bus conductors know the right stop for tourists bound for Garin Farm. The inland resort is well-known, so locals can tell you where to hail a tricycle that will take you to Garin Farm’s entrance.
As An Agricultural Site
After paying the entrance fee of P150, I went inside Garin Farm expecting a quiet walk surrounded by greens and inhaling nothing but fresh air. Manage your expectations. If you have a sensitive sense of smell, pinch your nose as you walk along the path flanked by pens of hens, cattle, pigs, and other domestic animals.
A little further along the covered walkway, look to your left and find a classic Bahay Kubo surrounded by plants (likely based on the song Bahay Kubo). My companions entered this tiny hut for photo ops before we decided to go for the stairway that has taken tons of visitors to heaven.
As a Leisure Resort
Solo travelers, couples, and families can book a room here. The single room rate is P1,500, the standard room is P2,500, and the family room is P3,500. Some activities that you can enjoy during your stay are horseback riding, kayaking, fishing, pedal boating, water biking, and more. Check the rates.
As a Pilgrimage Site
The Philippines is largely a Christian country, so pilgrimage sites always attract a lot of visitors. Lately, these sites have also lured the younger crowds for their Instagram appeal.
Whatever the reason you want to visit Garin Farm’s Pilgrimage spot, know that it offers no short cut to heaven. Designed similar to other religious sites, there are stations of the cross where devotees can stop for a moment of reflection or to take a break from the hike up the 480-step ladder.
When you reach the top of the stairway, take a pause and soak up the scenery below. A soul-stirring sight of verdant grounds and the wide ocean views is worth the sweat-inducing hike.
Once satisfied with nature’s rewards, proceed to the higher ground via a dark tunnel, hiding a home of angels singing and playing instruments to praise God. The dramatic switch from darkness to blinding whiteness demonstrates enlightenment.
The journey is supposed to end here, but if it isn’t your time to go yet, use the exit and return to the ground by descending the same steps you used to climb up.
Was the trip worth it? If it inspires you to ask questions about our existence or ponder about the point of living, I guess it’s worth it.