Miag-ao Church in San Joaquin

With only two full days in Iloilo, how can you make the best use of your time?

I just got back from Iloilo with long-time travel mates, Neil and Jewel. Like most first-time visitors in the city, I rely on travel bloggers for information on budget and DIY tour planning. With everything I’ve read about Iloilo, I felt more confident that it would be an easy destination to explore. And it really was! (Just bring a lot of energy and don’t forget your sunscreen!)

Only interested in Guimaras? Read: Top 10 Things to See in Guimaras in 1 Day

In this quick post, I’d like to share with you our Guimaras-Iloilo travel itinerary. Hope it helps you plan your next Iloilo adventure.

Day Date Est. Time Activity Cost/pax
Day 1 – Arrival
September 21, 2018 5:50 PM Arrival at Iloilo International Airport ₱0.00
6:30 PM Ride an L300 van from Iloilo Airport to SM Iloilo ₱70.00
7:00 PM Dinner at SM Iloilo (Classic Savory) ₱200.00
8:00 PM  Check in at El Haciendero Private Hotel (Landmark: Robinsons Jaro | Address: Jayme St., Brgy. Our Lady of Fatima Jaro)  ₱866.66
9:00 PM Walk around the area or buy something from 7-11 or get coffee from nearby cafes ₱0.00
Day 2 – GUIMARAS  September 22, 2018 6:00 AM JARO Area Heritage Walk (Optional) – Take a snap of Nelly’s Garden (Vicente Lopez Heritage House), Jaro Cathedral, Campanario de Jaro, etc.) ₱0.00
7:00 AM Free Nescafe Coffee (Jollibee breakfast is only available for walk-ins) at the hotel  | Prepare for Guimaras trip ₱0.00
8:00 AM Ride a jeepney with a “Jaro CPU” signage and get off at CityMall to reach the new Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal ₱8.50
8:30 AM Take a 15-minute boat trip from CityMall Parola to Jordan Wharf (Guimaras) ₱15.00
9:00 AM Approach the guest information desk and rent a tricycle for the standard 8-hr Guimaras tour ₱500.00/pax (P1500 for 3)
5:30 PM Return to Iloilo (Jordan Wharf to Ortiz Wharf or CityMall Parola) ₱15.00
6:00 PM Freshen up and rest a while at El Haciendero Private Hotel (2nd night) ₱866.66
7:00 PM Dinner at nearby eateries or in Robinsons Place Jaro or Patpat’s Kansi House, Jaro. Kansi is the Ilonggo version of bulalo. ₱200.00
Day 3 – ILOILO  September 23, 2018 7:45 AM Take a Jaro CPU jeepney to La Paz Market ₱8.50
8:00 AM ₱200.00
9:00 AM Take a jeepney to San Agustin University then another jeepney to Iloilo Supermart (in front of Molo Plaza), then get on a jeepney with a Miag-ao signage  ₱77.00
 10:30 AM Miag-ao Church > Cafe De Hablon (lunch: P200) > Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort (entrance: P150), Molo Mansion (free entrance| souvenir shopping) >  Molo Cafe (Molo Pancit, dinuguan and puto: P150) > St. Anne Parish Church ₱500.00
6:00 PM Take a cab back to the hotel ₱165.00
6:30 PM Freshen up and nap (3rd night at the hotel) ₱866.66
8:30 PM Dinner at Wawa Heritage Restaurant ₱250.00
Day 4 – Departure September 24, 2018 3:00 AM Prepare for flight back to Cebu/Manila and check out ₱0.00
4:30 AM Take a cab to the airport ₱350 -₱500.00
6:15 AM Fly back to Cebu ₱0.00
Total ₱5,158.98 – ₱5,659.98

Note: There are updates on transportation instructions. We found that the best way is to ask locals what rides to take. Most of them were incredibly helpful.

P.S. We also imagined another scenario. What if you want to go to Gigantes from Iloilo? Here’s a sample itinerary I planned after online research.

Gigantes Tour (Saturday, September 22)

3:45 – 4:00 AM – Take a cab from El Haciendero Private Hotel to Tagbak Terminal

4:00 – 7:30 AM – Travel by bus/van from Tagbak Terminal to Carles Terminal

7:30 – 8:30 AM – Breakfast at Carles (Bancal Port)

8:30 – 9:00 AM – Meet the tour guide at Gigantes Travel Hub and Cafe

9:00 AM 5:00 PM Day Tour

Destinations: Cabugao Gamay or Selfie Island, Bantigue Island Sandbar, Antonia White Sand Beach, Tangke Saltwater Lagoon, Little Boracay, Pulupandan Islet)

Inclusions: Licensed boat, pro guide, all entrance and environmental fees, lunch with scallops, drinking water

5:00 PM  – Travel by van to Iloilo from Carles Port (If there are no vans or there aren’t enough passengers at the port, take a tricycle to Balasan Terminal and get on a bus, last trip to Tagbak is at 6:30pm)

After some careful consideration, we all agreed that spending most of our time on a bus/van wasn’t a good idea. If you only have two full days in Iloilo, it’s best to visit places nearby. I would have spent all two days in Iloilo City alone. We haven’t explored many sights within the city but who would want to miss a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a glimpse of heaven? That’s how we settled for Miag-ao and Garin Farm. The Molo Mansion and the Neo-Gothic Molo church happened to be located along the way.

Stay tuned for more stories and tips about our recent adventures in Guimaras and Iloilo (Check this post about our DIY Trip Around Iloilo). I hope this post inspires you to plan a visit to Iloilo – the province of many ‘firsts’ in Western Visayas.

For this DIY itinerary, I consulted these awesome blog posts. Thanks, guys.

Happy Trip’s Guimaras Travel Guide

Detourista’s Iloilo One-Day Tour

Iloilo Transport Terminal Guide

By Issa

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